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It was amid the fray of MTV’s Video Music Awards (VMAs) that I arrived at L.A. Live last month. Sadly, I was not staying for the awards ceremony but was visiting for a trade show. As a native Angeleno, I knew full well that from my home in the west San Fernando Valley, traffic to and from the convention center was going to be a nightmare. So, I decided to check out one of downtown’s newest properties, the Luxe City Center Hotel.
The property, directly across from L.A. Live, is conveniently located next to both the L.A. Convention Center and the Staples Center. It’s easily reached via public transportation and is steps away from local L.A. eateries such as El Cholo Mexican Restaurant, The Farm Beverly Hills and popular hangouts like ESPN Zone and Starbucks.
The hotel has been completely redone from its former incarnation as a Holiday Inn. It is virtually unrecognizable. The rooms are tastefully decorated in a modern style with a Hollywood flair. In-room artwork features famous musicians, athletes and iconic L.A. images. Each room has a sitting area with plenty of desk space and a multimedia panel that allows guests to plug in just about every device. The panel even allows ipads, iphones or other mobile devices to be connected to the television with the proper cables. There is also a single-serving Keurig coffeemaker in the room as well as complimentary Internet access.
I thoroughly enjoyed my 765-square-foot Platinum Suite, which featured added amenities such as a mini-fridge, a wet bar, two large, flat-screen televisions, a remote-control Kohler shower and a free-standing soaking tub in addition to stunning views of L.A. Live and – most importantly – the red carpet at the VMAs.
What is really outstanding about the property is its restaurant, Fig & Oly, and its second-floor patio space. Chairs surround a glimmering fountain on the large outdoor terrace that is complete with a fireplace -- not that L.A. needs anymore heat but it does create a cozy atmosphere in the evenings. There is so much space that, even after the VMA’s finished and attendees began pouring into the hotel, the bar still didn’t feel too crowded.
FigOly serves up fusion food with an Italian flair. The restaurant offers an outstanding tuna carpaccio with avocado, aji pepper, granny smith apples and sesame tuille. The fritto misto, served in a newspaper, includes squid, asparagus, sweet onion and pig ear. I was fascinated by the pig ear, which I found crunchy and surprisingly tasty. If you are at all squeamish, don’t ask how it’s prepared. Main courses include a variety of meats and seafood as well as pasta dishes. My favorite was the barramundi with Himalayan red rice, long beans and tangerine gastrique. The scallops with fava beans were also tasty. On my next visit, I hope to try the gnocchi with main lobster, black garlic and lemon. While I am a seafood lover and seafood is prominently featured on the menu, guests can also choose from a variety of dishes that include lamb and steak.
There is a spa on the property that features two treatment rooms and a variety of therapies. Options include a rhythmic Thai massage, an exfoliating body polish and a clarifying facial. Guests can also opt to have their treatments in-room.
In honor of the property’s grand opening, the Luxe City Center is offering guests the 213 Package (in honor of the city’s first telephone area code) with an exclusive $213 introductory room rate that also includes continental breakfast for two each day and complimentary valet parking. Guests will also enjoy 20 percent off at FigOly. Rates are offered for travel booked by Oct. 31.