Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A downtown business hotel with understated nods to its Japanese heritage
Unfortunately set against the downtown backdrop of high-rise office towers, bail-bond storefronts, and a visible homeless presence, the former New Otani hotel, a well-known, Japanese-owned property that catered to Japanese travelers for decades, is breaking from tradition. In October 2007, new owners (an American real estate development company) took over the vast, 21-story skyscraper with hopes of diversifying its already solid client base. And in 2009, they plunged into a massive makeover that finished in early 2010 . Then, again, in 2012 the hotel came under DoubleTree by Hilton Hotels and underwent a second series of renovations to public spaces and guestrooms.
Everything changed: the furniture, light fixtures, murals, and floor coverings in the immense lobby; the 434 guest rooms; the circuitous hallways; the public spaces; the mezzanine-level fitness center; the front desk.
The 2012 renovations introduced new business and fitness centers to the hotel, as well as improvements to public spaces and corridors, indoor and outdoor meeting spaces, its rooftop Japanese gardens, and 434 guest rooms. Guest rooms have retained some of the furniture from the 2010 overhaul, but as they were only two years old and in good condition, this is unsurprising. The biggest changes were definitely to the business and fitness centers, which feature new equipment in larger, brigther areas.
The property lacks a pool, spa, and other bells and whistles, and the renovation didn't change that. Even with refurbished furniture and decor, it still would take the addition of a pool and a spa for the hotel to give nearby properties like the Omni or the Westin Bonaventure a real run for their money.
Generally capable, but lacking the personal touch
Service is efficient at best and adequate at worst; the staff certainly doesn't deliver any personal touches -- it's easy to feel anonymous in a property this big.
Downtown location isn't a selling point.
Spanning almost an entire city block in a somewhat bleak part of downtown -- bustling with office workers by day, eerily desolate at night, less than a mile from skid row -- the Kyoto Grand doesn't occupy a particularly enviable part of the neighborhood; and the energy inside the hotel can feel a bit lackluster. Those who prefer more ambient noise and nighttime action should check out the Standard Downtown or the Westin Bonaventure.
Appealing and inviting rooms with Asian-inspired furnishings
Updates in 2009, 2010 and 2012 brought Asian-inspired furnishings, red chenille throws, and drawer pulls reminiscent of Japanese pergolas. But while the rooms are comfortable, they don't quite achieve luxuriousness.
A large hotel with a surprising lack of features
Though a hotel of this scale should be almost entirely self-sufficient, there's a lot on the wish list -- a pool, for starters. The lobby ATM comes in handy, especially at night, when walking around the neighborhood isn't the smartest idea. A full-service spa used to occupy the 4th floor, but it's gone and wasn't replaced in the renovation. The fitness center, on the other hand, was revamped. For more amenities, plus a livelier environment, head to the nearby Westin Bonaventure, a sprawling complex with a large spa and an outdoor pool.
Not likely a family's first choice, but the enclosed garden could contain -- and entertain -- kids for a spell
The DoubleTree Los Angeles Downtown hosts a fair number of families, which is unexpected for a downtown hotel without a pool, kids' program, or child-friendly restaurant.
Neat and tidy, with fresh decor after a major face-lift in 2010 and further upgrades in 2012
Hotel rooms received new beds, furniture, and decor in the major 2009/2010 renovation. With the 2012 renovation updating rooms (again), public spaces and corridors, indoor and outdoor meeting and event spaces, business and fitness centers, and its half-acre rooftop and Japanese gardens, the hotel is in tip-top shape. It is especially well-kept for a downtown hotel of its size.
Just one restaurant on site.
Only one restaurant survived the 2012 renovations: Azalea. Serving contemporary California cuisine with some Asian inspirations, the fare is basic and healthy with a good amount of options. It is not a destination restaurant by any means, and guests looking for a bit of excitement should seek out some of L.A.'s more notable restaurants.
In summer 2012, this 434-room behemoth with a starchy personality and a somewhat undesirable downtown location officially became a DoubleTree property, completing a series of multi-million dollar renovations to upgrade the hotel (including renovating the fitness and business centers). This came on the heels of a 2010 renovation of all guestrooms, meaning the hotel is in tip-top condition. It's distinguished by its spacious rooms and tranquil, half-acre garden (a popular happy hour spot and wedding locale). But unlike some of its nearby competitors, it doesn't have a spa or a pool.