- The pool has closed
- Smallish standard rooms (about 300 square feet)
- Most expensive valet parking downtown
- Insufficient electric outlets in the standard room
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 rooftop pool has closed down, but the open-air deck is still 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.
Small but extremely comfortable, with big city views
According to hotel managment, 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.
A downtown boutique hotel with a rooftop deck (but no pool)
This hotel is mostly all business; families are welcome but are not a priority.
Superb and spotless
Gourmet magazine once rated Checkers the seventh-best restaurant in L.A. It serves a Continental breakfast, a prix fixe lunch, and a prix fixe dinner. The menu is heavy on the meat and fish.
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