Insufficient electric outlets in the standard room
A clean, comfortable, and historic downtown L.A. boutique that caters primarily to business travelers. It has luxurious rooms and a rooftop deck with killer views. The tasteful, private atmosphere and modern appointments compensate for smallish rooms.
At the turn of the century downtown Los Angeles was filled with impressive hotels. But as the neighborhood declined, most of these classic buildings were turned into "single-room occupancy" properties for the homeless. The 188-room Hilton Checkers and its neighbor, the Biltmore, survived downtown's leanest years and have been fully renovated. The Checkers is a scaled-down version of the grandiose Biltmore, but both are majestic -- twin classics that preserve a sense of the long history of the neighborhood.
The lobby is small by modern luxury standards, but the dark hardwood detailing gives it warm and inviting feel. The adjacent bar is dark, plush, and sexy like an exclusive lounge -- a great place to take a date for a couple of martinis. Standard rooms are also on the small side, about 300 square feet on average, but the furnishings are solid and tasteful and the bedding is extremely comfortable.
The open-air rooftop deck with hot tub is a highlight, offering dizzying city views.
The Checkers feels as luxurious as a more modern downtown hotel like the Omni, which is just a few blocks away and also caters to a lot of business travelers. What makes the Checkers unique, however, is its discreet, hideway-like atmosphere. For many, that will more than compensate for the relatively small rooms.
A secluded, low-rise corner of L.A.'s skyscraper-heavy Downtown financial district
Located at the bottom of Bunker Hill in Los Angeles' downtown financial district, in a low-rise stretch next to the restored, historic Central Library, the Hilton Checkers feels fairly private and secluded. It's a great location for travelers who want to check out L.A.'s art scene, the Lakers and the Dodgers, and see rock concerts. The ride to LAX airport is a straight shot down the 110 freeway and can take 20 minutes with no traffic. If you want to visit Los Angeles for sunshine, beaches, celebrity sightings, basically to catch the glitzy movie star experience, you're probably better off staying in Hollywood and Beverly Hills.
Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion are about 8 blocks away.
Little Tokyo, about 15 blocks away, is one of L.A.'s best kept secrets, especially for foodies who love fresh sushi and sashimi in an authentic setting.
Staples Center (where the Lakers play) is about 10 blocks away.
Dodger's Stadium is three miles north on the 110 freeway, or about a 15 minute drive.
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is a 20- to 30-minute drive in low to moderate traffic.
Small but extremely comfortable, with big city views
According to hotel management, standard rooms, called "Deluxe Rooms," are on average 300 square feet, but some seem much smaller -- cramped even. That issue aside, the rooms are freshly renovated as of 2009, luxurious, and well-equipped, with huge marble desks; wonderfully comfortable ergonomic leather desk chairs; and supremely comfortable beds with 300-thread-count sheets, down comforters, and down pillows.
The bathrooms feel rich and opulent despite being tiny. The views are also great. My one complaint was the scarcity of electric outlets in the room, none of them near the desk.
42-inch flat-screen TV
Peter Thomas Roth bath products
Fresh flowers in bathroom every day
No refrigerator or minibar
No water glasses in room
No fan in bath, which gets foggy after a hot shower