HOTEL BUZZ: Putting on the Ritz

Six months after the celebrated opening of LA’s new Downtown landmark, the Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles, we return to see how life is at the top of LA’s skyline.

Ritz Carlton Los Angeles Pool Deck

Ritz-Carlton Los Angeles 26th-floor pool deck. Photo courtesy Ritz-Carlton

You may have missed the opening of the Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles last April, but if you have been anywhere near its Downtown location at the LA Live entertainment complex, you’ve certainly noticed the building’s vaulting shape. Perched on the upper floors of a 54-story tower it shares with the JW Marriott and private Ritz-Carlton Residences luxury condominiums, the sleek modernist structure sheathed in variegated blue and gray glass commands attention.

Positioned as Downtown’s first true five-star hotel, I first checked out the Ritz-Carlton months before the hotel’s opening on a hardhat tour. Then, the cavernous lobby of the adjoining J.W. Marriott was filled with scaffolding and buzzing with workman, and on the Ritz-Carlton’s windswept 26th floor pool deck level — still very much a construction site at the time — I had to imagine what it would be like soaking in the oversized Jacuzzi, staring out into the LA skyline.

Fast-forward to the hottest weekend on record in Los Angeles, and I was fortunate enough to find myself enjoying that very same pool deck view, this time floating blissfully in the water, enjoying the afternoon with friends as we snacked on delish nibbles from BLUE, the pool level’s restaurant/bar, and considering how indeed, timing is everything.

Ritz Carlton Los Angeles suite

Ritz-Carlton Los Angeles suite. Photo courtesty Ritz-Carlton

I had been so intent on returning to the now-finished pool deck on this 100-plus degree day that I hadn’t taken the time to explore the hotel’s interior. After catching the sunset from the deck, I wandered the hotel and found myself impressed by the sedate, rich textures in public areas that included dark wood paneling and hand-blown glass sculptures. The fitness area with its stellar views almost inspired a workout, but after several hours in the sun, it was time to retreat to the room. Ultra-modern with details like a glossy white armoire and sci-fi Italian bathroom fixtures complemented by a TV integrated into the bathroom mirror, the room still conveyed warmth. A daybed offered spectacular views south to Palos Verdes, and warm blonde-wood furnishings and rich fabrics had me giving a nod to the design firm responsible, Barry Designs. And there wouldn’t be time on this visit to experience a spa treatment, but the 8,000 square-foot Ritz-Carlton Spa here has been lauded for its inventive menu and white-on-white, high gloss ambiance.

The two hotels combined offer six different dining experiences ranging from the haute Asian cuisine served up at Wolfgang Puck’s WP24, to the inventive cocktails and small plates served at the main lobby’s gLAnce Wine Bar. Running late, my girlfriend and I missed a seating at WP24, but we were definitely pleased with small plates like a California artisan cheese plate and Toscano salami and American prosciutto at gLAnce.

We saved the best for last, however, and for dessert, made our way to the pool deck to enjoy the Jacuzzi and world-class views of a glittering LA under the night sky.

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