You’d expect plenty of urban, modern hotels in Downtown L.A. What comes as a surprise is the (for what it is) reasonably priced and fantastically fun Custom Hotel (8639 Lincoln Blvd., 877/287-8601, www.customhotel.com, $175–300). From the herd of sheep in the lobby to the dog-print bedspreads, a sense of whimsy pervades this otherwise ultra-stylish hotel.
Your room might not be the biggest in town, but it will be clean and pristine, with snowy-white linens, comfortable beds, and an attractively appointed bathroom. On the counter you’ll find a basket full of fun favors (for a price, of course); we’ll leave it to you to figure out why you’d want to purchase a packet of radish seeds from a high-end hotel. The in-room Wi-Fi is free, as are the views of Los Angeles. You’ll find the staff incredibly friendly and helpful, ready to help with anything from valet parking to dinner reservations.
If you prefer to eat in the hotel, the hip if preciously named Bistrotek can feed you either in the restaurant or in your room. Or if you’re in a more casual mood, hit the Hopscotch Pool Bar & Grill, which sits adjacent to the sparkling swimming pool. For a drink in the evening, take the elevators with the slightly scary giant faces down to the Lobby Lounge to enjoy a cocktail and possibly even a local DJ spinning into the evening.
The Orchid Hotel (819 S. Flower St., 213/623-9904, www.ohotelgroup.com, $180) is better known as The O to its friends and devoted returning guests. This upscale property takes the modern urban chic hotel concept and does it L.A. style. True to its name, orchids are a major theme of this hotel, and you’ll find plants both in the common areas and inside your room.
Guest rooms are done in a modern style, with platform beds, sparkling white linens, and black-and-white bathrooms. A boutique establishment, The O has only 68 rooms. You’ll find tapas and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine at the on-site restaurant, plus a full bar.
The health spa offers both fitness facilities and massage and other spa services. Perhaps best of all for those travelers who come to L.A. for its retail possibilities, you won’t need the services of the 24-hour concierge desk to find the Macy’s Plaza center just across the street from the hotel.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition