Hilton Checkers Los Angeles Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Downtown, Los Angeles, California

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

Cons

  • The pool has closed
  • Smallish standard rooms (about 300 square feet)
  • Most expensive valet parking downtown
  • Insufficient electric outlets in the standard room

Bottom Line

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.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

A sophisticated downtown Los Angeles boutique with small but luxurious rooms

The view from the pool deck
The view from the pool deck

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.

 Service

Thoroughly professional

  • Two doormen out front at all times
  • 24-hour concierge is very helpful; I arrived several hours before check-in and an available room was found immediately.
  • Turndown service by request for VIP and Hilton loyalty members only
  • 24-hour room service
  • Free shoe shine
  • Same day laundry and valet services

 Location

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.
  • Pershing Square Metro station is two blocks away.

 Rooms

Small but extremely comfortable, with big city views

A standard room
A standard room

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.

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.

 Features

A downtown boutique hotel with a rooftop deck (but no pool)

  • The rooftop deck has great views
  • The small but clean fitness room on the roof (with windows overlooking the city) has four aerobic machines and a small rack of dumbells. Open 24-hours.
  • The spa, located next the gym on the roof, has a steam room and sauna and offers a full-range of treatments.
  • The lobby lounge is lively.
  • The business center is small -- just a single terminal and a fax machine in an alcove.
  • Free shoe shine.
  • Same day laundry and valet services.
  • 24-hour room service.

 Family

This hotel is mostly all business; families are welcome but are not a priority.

  • 48 rooms contain two beds, but are still pretty small for a family.
  • The rooftop deck may cause some parents to worry.
  • Free cribs and rollaways
  • Free mini-fridges available on request

 Cleanliness

Superb and spotless

The 2009 overhaul of the rooms and the restaurant makes the Hilton Checkers look and feel new.

 Food

The Checkers restaurant is for formal dining only; the lounge has a bar menu.

Checkers restaurant
Checkers restaurant

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.

  • 24-hour room service available.
  • Other options within walking distance include foodie mecca Bottega Louie

 Bottom Line

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.

Things You Should Know About Hilton Checkers Los Angeles

Address

  • 535 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, US

Hotel is Also (or Was Formerly) Known As

  • Hilton Hotel Los Angeles
  • Hilton Los Angeles
  • Los Angeles Hilton

Room Types

  • Deluxe Room
  • Junior Suite
  • Penthouse Suite

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 188
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Internet: Yes
Pets Allowed: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Jacuzzi: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: Downtown, Los Angeles
Address: 535 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, US
(See Map)
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