sAs you enter the entrance hall of the recently opened Downtown LA Proper Hotel, it’s as if you’re stepping into the culmination of a multi-decade struggle to restore downtown Los Angeles to its century-old condition.
The original 1920s pink-and-white marble tiles and woodcarving have been restored, but their luster is overtaken by a gorgeous new ceiling of Abel Macías-designed frescoes of birds and plants that’ll make it hard to resist hitting your phone for the photo seconds after it arrives. This is a world class high end cookie cutter business.
The property is the latest from the creative mind of Kelly Wearstler and adds to the popular properties at The Proper Collection in Austin, Santa Monica and San Francisco. It is also the latest selection of our series of new and exciting hotels, the New Room with a View.
Every year I come to Los Angeles, downtown seems to have moved further from its former reputation. While at one time you may have felt uncomfortable walking from dinner to your hotel, now there are so many people and so many new restaurants, clubs, and hotels that the streets of Los Angeles are filling up.
Downtown Proper is across the street from the Herald Examiner Building designed by Julia Morgan, William Randolph Hearst’s personal favorite. The Proper is located in what was once a private club and then the YWCA – in fact, two of its signature suites have been converted from the indoor pool and basketball court on the lower levels. (The pool pavilion, which has a ceramic mural by Ben Medansky, is especially epic.)
The property has 148 rooms all designed in the “luxury extra” style for which Proper is famous. A tech millionaire who wears casual clothes won’t be turned away or made to feel uncomfortable. Although it’s an aesthetic feast, it’s a lot softer than some of Wearstler’s other projects. An abundance of ceramic tile types (over 100), lighting fixtures (from Morgan Peck), and one-of-a-kind furnishings approx It rivals this historic building, but there’s a lightness of the American West that naturally fits in with the old tower.
Rooms have large windows overlooking a view of Los Angeles that many may not be familiar with – like a valley-like street with tall buildings.
Staying in a new hotel can sometimes mean minor inconveniences as disagreements with staff and offers are settled. But one side effect of the pandemic labor situation is that almost every new luxury hotel along with the highway chain has just struggled with the service side. You just have to deal with it and be patient. However, under the guidance of Stephane Lacroix, the service here was already ready – helpful but unobtrusive and so friendly that even a stuttering traveler might do double duty.
There are currently two dining options — Caldo Verde is a ground-floor restaurant created by James Beard award-winning Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne and features Western Mediterranean food. The rooftop restaurant is Cara Cara with more SoCal food, but the main draw is the photogenic pool surrounded by black and white tiles that overlooks the city and on a clear day, to the distant mountains.