Review: Intercontinental Los Angeles Downtown

When the 73-story Wilshire Grand Center opened in June 2017 it became the tallest building west of Chicago, and the new Intercontinental Los Angeles Downtown, which occupies most of the building, became the West Coast’s highest hotel. This is without question the new reigning skyscraper of L.A.’s rapidly expanding downtown skyline.

The mirrored glass tower is actually owned by Korean Air, and you’ll notice the airline’s circular logo towering above the hotel’s rooftop bar, a symbol many people mistake for the Pepsi logo. (They are very similar.)

At 889 rooms, this now ranks as the largest hotel in Intercontinental’s domestic portfolio. The rooms (floors 31 – 68) are beautifully designed with dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows and spectacular views no matter which direction you face. Bathrooms come stocked with bathrobes and slippers. Built-in wooden closets are more than ample. And you’ll find enough USB/electrical outlets for at least a half-dozen devices — and with IHG Rewards, wifi is free. The TV is gigantic but we never turned it on. The mattress is plush, with half the pillows ultra-soft down, half synthetic and firm.

It’s important to note that category descriptions on the hotel’s website are misleading, or else the front desk tried to pull a fast one. We purchased a King Deluxe, which the website describes as 460 square feet with a seating area in front of the window. But when we got to our tiny room, it measured merely 350 square feet (including bathroom and closet), which is smaller than the smallest listed category, King Superior. It had no sitting area — just a desk. Feeling cramped, we pointed this out, and to the hotel’s credit they upgraded us to a King Executive, which still doesn’t live up to the promised square footage for this category, but is a wonderful corner room nonetheless.

Lightening-fast elevators hoist you to the lobby on the 70th floor in miraculous speed, opening to a spectacular view of the city. You can see the Hollywood sign in the distance. Sunset from up here is mesmerizing.

Spire 73 (on the 73rd floor) is still one of the hottest — and sometimes the windiest — rooftop bars in town. For a more relaxed bar scene I actually prefer the lobby lounge on the 70th floor.

The truly massive gym is easily one of the best-stocked hotel gyms in the country, although the disco lighting is weird. The pool, also located on the 7th floor, is a wonderland of cabanas and outdoor living with a fun little bar.

The hotel runs several restaurants, the only one of which we sampled (other than the sprawling breakfast buffet) is La Boucherie, a steakhouse on the 71st floor. This is probably the most expensive steakhouse in Los Angeles, and while the views alone might be worth the splurge, the steaks honestly don’t compare with other ultra-luxe steakhouses like Nick & Stef’s just around the corner or, even better, Cut in Beverly Hills. That said, they do impress with a few stellar flourishes, like an unparalleled selection of finishing salts (so important for steak) and a fun choice of knives.

Bottom line: It’s hard to argue with the skyscraper experience of a sleeping so high above the city. And for the price of rooms here, this might be the best luxury bargain in downtown Los Angeles.

Rates from about $250. Address: 900 Wilshire Blvd. (valet entry on 7th St.), L.A., 213-688-7777, dtla.intercontinental.com

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