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Los Angeles has welcomed its newest luxury property, the striking InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown. The property, which celebrated its soft opening gala in late June and officially opened July 2, is located at the intersection of 7th and Figueroa streets in the Wilshire Grand building.
For travelers familiar with the downtown Los Angeles of yesteryear, the term Wilshire Grand may conjure up images of a cavernous, never-quite-at-capacity hotel, with somewhat bland architecture. While that may once have been true, that building is nothing more than a distant memory. Instead, meet the taller, sexier, grander Wilshire Grand.
Since its re-opening, the Wilshire Grand has acquired a number of firsts. It became the tallest building west of Chicago, slightly beating out the U.S. Bank Tower in nearby Bunker Hill, which has held the title since 1989. It is also the first high-rise to open in downtown Los Angeles without a flat, helicopter-friendly roof since Los Angeles City Hall opened in 1928. Finally, it is home to the largest InterContinental hotel in the Americas.
The hotel is not the only tenant at the Wilshire Grand, but it takes up a large percentage of the building. Its 889 rooms, which are spread over the 31st to 68th floors, all feature floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the city of angels. If you are located in a western-facing room you might catch a view of the Hollywood Sign, Griffith Observatory or Beverly Hills. While seeing forever might be a stretch, on a clear day the Pacific Ocean is most certainly within reach.
The hotel is owned by Korea's Hanjin Group-parent of Korean Air-which also owns the Wilshire Grand, past and present. The group, which spent $1.35 billion to develop the property, owns four other hotels: three in Korea and the Waikiki Resort Hotel in Honolulu, Hawaii.
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While Hanjin's hotels all have a certain public appeal, the InterContinental is the sexiest by far.
Take, for example, the before-mentioned non-flat roof. People have already started comparing the curving architecture to that of a ship's sail. In fact, say the architects at AC Martin, who designed the property, the building is intended to pay homage to Yosemite's Half Dome.
If you're not familiar with AC Martin, the family-owned business has been designing some of L.A.'s most beloved landmarks for more than 100 years, including L.A.'s City Hall in 1936-also, once, the tallest building in Los Angeles.
Other aspects of the building also pay homage to California, including the curved glass ceiling of the atrium inspired by the Merced River and a carpet pattern that reflects the architectural grid of the San Joaquin Valley, according to KCRW.
Upon arrival, guests head to the 70th floor to check in at the sky lobby. From there, plenty of culinary options await on-property, including a lobby bar with a view, a steakhouse on the 71st floor and a conveyer-belt-style sushi restaurant on the 69th floor. Taking a page from the Asian hospitality industry, the hotel also features what is being billed as the "tallest open-air bar" in the West.
I'm 1 week old today! And I still look good! My spines and mohawk haven't been lit since then because of some City permit we need to clear. pic.twitter.com/6Pyt5NmrYq- WilshireGrandCenter (@AltWilshirGrand) June 30, 2017
I'm 1 week old today! And I still look good! My spines and mohawk haven't been lit since then because of some City permit we need to clear. pic.twitter.com/6Pyt5NmrYq
Watch the @Wilshire_Grand's spectacular opening night light show, plus a 5-year retrospective on the project https://t.co/bN18taHPwz#DTLApic.twitter.com/r0yw2bLC94- Urbanize.LA (@UrbanizeLA) June 27, 2017
Watch the @Wilshire_Grand's spectacular opening night light show, plus a 5-year retrospective on the project https://t.co/bN18taHPwz#DTLApic.twitter.com/r0yw2bLC94
Tell me how good I look! #wilshireGrand#dtlapic.twitter.com/QtoKeYqOW9- WilshireGrandCenter (@AltWilshirGrand) June 26, 2017
Tell me how good I look! #wilshireGrand#dtlapic.twitter.com/QtoKeYqOW9
With the recent-and massive-transformation of downtown Los Angeles, there are plenty of treats to experience near the hotel. It is located just a few blocks from the downtown entertainment core, comprised of L.A. Live and the Staples Center and slightly farther south, the Los Angeles Convention Center. All are within easy walking distance.
That accessibility said Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board CEO Ernest Wooden, Jr. is also "critically important to our ability to attract larger conventions."
Hotel rooms at the newly opened InterContinental Hotel Downtown Los Angeles start at $379 per night.
Monica Poling, the evening and weekend editor at TravelPulse.com, has been writing about travel for more than 20 years....
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