One of Our Favorite New Hotels Just Opened in Los Angeles

One of Our Favorite New Hotels Just Opened in Los Angeles 1

Stepping into the entrance hall of the just-opened Downtown L.A. Proper, it feels as if you’re stepping into the culmination of a multi-decade struggle to return downtown Los Angeles to its status a century ago.

The original 1920s era pink-and-white marble tiles and wood wainscoting have been restored, but their glamor has been outstripped by a new magnificent frescoed ceiling by Abel Macias of birds and plants that will make it hard to resist whipping out your phone for a photo mere seconds after arriving. A cookie-cutter globalist high-end hotel this is not.

William O’Connor

The property is the latest from the creative mind of Kelly Wearstler and adds to popular properties in the Proper group in Austin, Santa Monica, and San Francisco. It is also the latest selection for our series on exciting new hotels, the New Room with a View.

Every year that I’ve come out to L.A., it seems as if downtown has lurched further away from its former reputation. Whereas at one point you might have felt uncomfortable walking from dinner to your hotel, there are now so many people out and so many restaurants, clubs, and new hotels that the streets are, for L.A., full.

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The Ingalls

The Downtown Proper is across the street from the Herald Examiner building which was designed by William Randolph Hearst’s personal favorite, Julia Morgan. The Proper is housed in what was once a private club and then the YWCA—in fact, two of its signature suites are converted from the indoor pool and basketball court on the lower levels. (The pool suite, with a ceramic mural by Ben Medansky, is particularly epic.)

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The Ingalls

The property has 148 rooms all designed in that “looser luxury” style that Proper is known for. A casually dressed tech millionaire won’t be turned away or made to feel uncomfortable. While an aesthetic feast, it’s more toned down than some of Wearstler’s other projects. The profusion of types of ceramic tiles (more than 100), lighting fixtures (from Morgan Peck), and one of a kind furnishings almost competes with this historic building, but there’s an American West lightness to it that fits naturally into the old tower.

The rooms have large windows that look out over a view in Los Angeles many might be unfamiliar with—that of a canyon-like boulevard with towering buildings.

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Caldo Verde, the ground floor restaurant.

The Ingalls

Staying at a new hotel can sometimes mean minor annoyances as the kinks with staff and offerings get ironed out. But one side effect of the pandemic labor situation has been that almost every new hotel from the ultra-luxury to the side of the highway chain has just outright struggled with the service aspect. You’ve just got to roll with it and be patient. And yet, under the guidance of Stephane Lacroix, the service here was already on point—helpful but unobtrusive, and so friendly that even a jaded traveler might do a double take.

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The Ingalls

There are currently two dining options—Caldo Verde is the ground floor restaurant created by James Beard Award-winners Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne and features western Mediterranean fare. The rooftop restaurant is Cara Cara with more SoCal food, but its main draw is the photogenic pool framed by black and white tile that looks out over the city and, on a clear day, to the distant mountains.