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There are many buildings that kiss the sky in downtown Los Angeles, but there’s one that stands a little taller than the rest. Open since June 2017, the striking 889-room InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown soars as part of the 73-story, 1,100-foot-high, LEED Gold-rated Wilshire Grand Center building. (In fact, Wilshire Grand is the loftiest building west of Chicago in the U.S.)
With such immense height comes, of course, jaw-dropping panoramas of the surrounding urban hub — which includes the Staples Center, Los Angeles Convention Center and L.A. Live — and beyond. As my partner, Ben, and I waited for a table at Sora, the hotel’s 69th-floor sushi and omakase restaurant, we sipped on a strawberry-topped mimosa and a spicy bloody mary, respectively, from the adjoining buffet-style Dekkadance restaurant. In one direction, Echo Park Lake’s water fountains took turns dancing in the sunshine, while the hillside Hollywood Sign beamed at us farther still. All the while, helicopters swooped in and out of view — below us.
But guests don’t need to peek out the window, much less step outside, to get a sense of the City of Angels. Practically every square inch of InterContinental DTLA is imbued with the locale’s spirit.
For example, advise clients to look up during check-in at the 70th-floor lobby. A chandelier has managed to turn two things that Angelenos such as myself normally regard with dread — the 10 and 110 freeways, both just outside the hotel — into something beautiful. Arguably more of an art piece than the typical light fixture, the chandelier maps out where the two freeways intersect, but flipped upside down.
However, that’s only the start of a love song to L.A. After sunset, if guests can tear their eyes from the lit-up city nightscape framed by floor-to-ceiling windows in the modish lobby, they’ll notice the same shimmery scene on the check-in counters; these are shrewdly designed so that flecks of light pierce through the graphite material.
And over by the Lobby Lounge’s bar that specializes in vodka (though guests can still pick other poisons, too), a neon-yellow sign charms onlookers with its sweet message: “From Main, we Spring to Broadway and over the Hill to Olive. Oh, wouldn’t it be Grand if we could Hope to pick a Flower on Figueroa?” The poem is taught to schoolchildren to help them remember L.A.’s main downtown streets.
Guests will stumble upon the L.A. theme in InterContinental DTLA’s other spaces, too, from the carpet in the first-rate club lounge that depicts the San Gabriel Mountains to the porte cochere (entrance) mural that showcases a silhouette of local landmarks including Watts Towers, Randy’s Donuts, palm trees, power lines and more. In the property’s guestrooms, which include 110 suites and a presidential suite, billboard-inspired headboards flaunt classic L.A. scenes. Our Deluxe Suite’s king-size bed featured an aerial shot of a neighborhood we immediately recognized: the ritzy, pool-equipped homes of Beverly Hills.
Also in our suite were a spacious sitting area; a minibar and Nespresso coffee machine; contemporary furniture; a large bathroom with a separate bathtub and rain shower, as well as Le Labo Santal 33 toiletries; and, unsurprisingly, floor-to-ceiling windows to maximize the city landscape. (Note: Standard rooms feature Keurig coffee machines and Agraria toiletries instead.)
The brand-new, 889-room InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown features modern accommodations, such as the Deluxe Suite above, and breathtaking views of surrounding Los Angeles. // © 2017 InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown
A Superior King room // © 2017 InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown
In-room bathrooms are spacious. // © 2017 InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown
All guestrooms are accessed from the 70th-floor lobby. // © 2017 Maya Myers Photography
Graphite check-in counters depict the lit-up L.A. nightscape. // © 2017 InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown
The lobby’s stunning chandelier is an artistic interpretation of the 10 and 110 freeways, which are just outside the hotel. // © 2017 InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown
La Boucherie is a stunning on-property French steakhouse. // © 2017 Wonho Franke Lee
The bar at La Boucherie // © 2017 InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown
Sora is located on the 69th floor and serves up sushi and omakase-style meals. // © 2017 Wonho Franke Lee
Also on the 69th floor, the buffet-style Dekkadance restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. // © 2017 InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown
Spire 73 is the hotel’s rooftop bar and is said to be the tallest of its kind in the Western hemisphere. // © 2017 InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown
Five signature restaurants run the gamut at InterContinental DTLA, including the aforementioned Sora (limited seating; better for parties of two) and Dekkadance, in addition to La Boucherie, a French steakhouse, and Spire 73, a rooftop bar and lounge serving drinks and small bites.
“Los Angeles is a melting pot of different cultures and backgrounds, so we wanted to embrace that as much as we could and offer as many diverse culinary options as possible to our guests,” explained Jean-Jacques Reibel, general manager for the property.
A stunning establishment and a highlight of our stay, La Boucherie will delight any design lover, with sumptuous velvet and leather furniture as well as brass and marble decor accents. In addition to multiple private dining rooms, the restaurant has a cheese-and-charcuterie cave filled with globally sourced cheeses that date up to 15 years old, and a wine “tunnel” with more than 1,200 bottles. Don’t miss the bathrooms, either: They require a bit of walk, but the men’s American cowboy theme and women’s Marie Antoinette theme are undeniably remarkable and parallel the overall motif of La Boucherie.
At the bar, we ordered drinks from a menu listed on an iPad, then brought our Peche Brise (gin, Lillet Blanc aperitif, pistachio, lime, basil and white peach) and Full Bloom (vodka, lemon, absinthe, rose and lavender soda) cocktails over to an intimate table with a sweeping view.
Here, we were presented with another technological device — food menus illuminated on a tablet (not on an iPad) — and, not long after, noshed on oysters with mignonette and pickled cucumbers; an incredible cut of filet mignon, served with tomatoes and squash blossoms; and duck-fat fries. Our server also brought out an assortment of steak knives from Italy, Wales, Brazil, Italy, France and more, in addition to about 14 varieties of mustards and eight types of salt for our choosing. This was a welcome and interactive twist to an already stellar dining experience. For dessert and a show, order the flaming, brandy-covered chocolate mousse, which melts to reveal ice cream inside. Finally, I’d recommend ending the evening on an even higher note with a tasty nightcap at Spire 73.
If something more casual is preferred, Dekkadance will fit the bill. The all-you-can-eat international marketplace has a little bit of everything, but the seafood station should be a priority. Choose from crab, shrimp, lobster, mussels and clams; these have already been poached in a lemon sauce and will be broken down upon order so guests don’t need to dirty their own hands. We visited during brunch, where elaborate setups of meat (ham, strip sirloin, leg of lamb), omelets, pizzas, hummuses and more were also available.
As Los Angeles residents, Ben and I rarely check into a local hotel for a weekend. But we would gladly hop on the 10 or the 110 freeway — traffic and all — if InterContinental DTLA is our destination.