Two L.A. Live Hotels Transform Downtown

A firsthand, on-site review of the JW Marriott Hotel Los Angeles at L.A. Live and The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles By: Deanna Ting
LA Live // (c) 2011 Ritz-Carlton
LA Live // (c) 2011 Ritz-Carlton

The Details

JW Marriott Los Angeles at L.A. Live
www.lalivemarriott.com

The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles
www.ritzcarlton.com/losangeles

Starting room rates for the JW Marriott begin at $189 per night; room rates for The Ritz-Carlton are priced from $299 per night.
The anticipation leading up to the March and April 2010 openings of the JW Marriott Los Angeles at L.A. Live and The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles in downtown Los Angeles, was, in a word, intense.

For years, Angelinos had watched downtown slowly transform itself from an empty wasteland of parking lots and skyscrapers — for lack of a better description — into the vibrant, urban metropolis that it is today. The two hotels at L.A. Live, by all accounts, would be one of the biggest cornerstones of the area’s revitalization. From what I can tell you, having watched the hotels from their initial construction to today, they have lived up to the hype, for the most part.

The two sister hotels actually occupy a single 56-tower Gensler-designed building, the newest addition to the towering downtown skyline. At first, it might seem like a strange concept but, once you find yourself inside, it all starts to make sense. Floors four through 21 are occupied by the 878-room JW Marriott, while the very top floors comprise the 123-room Ritz-Carlton.

Entering the building from the main lobby, which is located on Olympic Boulevard, you find yourself inside the JW Marriott. Guests of the Ritz-Carlton enter the building via a separate, more secluded entrance/porte cochere located on Georgia Street. The ambience of both lobbies is sleek and urbane; the JW Marriott lobby, in particular, feels rather expansive, while the lobby at the Ritz is much smaller and more intimate.

JW Marriott Los Angeles at L.A. Live
My stay began at the JW Marriott where I was booked in an Executive King Room, located in a corner of the building. The well-appointed room measured more than 500 square feet and provided a bird’s-eye view of the fourth floor rooftop pool, as well as the nearby Staples Center.

In-room amenities included high-speed Internet access; a fully equipped work desk with multiple data ports; cable/satellite television on a large flat-screen; complimentary in-room coffee and tea; an iron and ironing board; a plush bathrobe; a refrigerator; and an in-room, laptop-compatible safe.

Guests of the JW Marriott have access to a rooftop pool located on the fourth floor, which offers views of the downtown city skyline. There is also a 3,000-square-foot fitness center, which is located on the second floor (guests of The Ritz-Carlton also have access to the fitness center). Those interested in booking a spa treatment can do so at The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Los Angeles, which is also located on the second floor. Signature spa treatments include a decadent Champagne & Citrus Sugar Scrub and a Glowing Gold Facial. The spa features a total of nine treatment rooms as well as manicure/pedicure stations and haircutting/styling services.

The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles
Although guests of both hotels share some facilities — the spa and the fitness center, for example — guests of The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles, have a few more exclusive options from which to choose. This includes an outdoor, heated rooftop pool on the 26th floor as well as an exclusive The Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge on the 23rd floor.

The 3,400-square-foot Club Lounge, like most Club Lounge facilities at other Ritz-Carlton properties, offered a rotating menu of small bites and dishes, as well as extensive beverage offerings, from full-bodied wines to refreshing artisanal sodas. The lounge also has a dedicated concierge, computer stations and even a high-powered telescope for viewing the downtown city skyline.

My favorite features of my 450-square-foot Deluxe King guestroom included the walk-in shower facility with rain shower head and separate bath tub, as well as a built-in television in the bathroom mirror. I also appreciated the smart guestroom design/layout which maximized the space and offered amazing views of downtown.

Dining Options
While the L.A. Live complex adjacent to the hotels offers a number of dining and entertainment options, the hotels also boasts two excellent venues for dining: WP24 by Wolfgang Puck and LA Market by Kerry Simon. WP24 specializes in modern Asian cuisine while LA Market’s menu emphasizes fresh farm-to-table dishes. There’s also an Illy Espressamante coffee bar on the bottom lobby level, a wine bar and The Mixing Room, which serves cocktails and small plates. Both rooftop pool bars on the fourth and 23rd floors have lounges that serve cocktails and tapas-size dishes. 
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