Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Part shopping mall, part hotel, all big. This 1,354-room hotel's five cylindrical towers, made of reflective glass, shoot 35 stories into the sky, rivaling the nearby skyscrapers that bear names like UnionBank, Wells Fargo, and Citigroup. External glass elevators rocket guests up to their rooms at ear-popping speed. On the top floors, LA Prime serves expensive steaks, and customers sip drinks in the rotating BonaVista Lounge as they take in 360-degree views of the Los Angeles skyline.
Given its location in L.A.'s downtown financial center and its 110,000 square feet of convention space, the hotel caters primarily to business travelers. But for a business-oriented place, the Westin Bonaventure packs a load of additional leisure-style amenities: a heated, outdoor pool, a huge spa, a host of dining options, and extensive workout facilities. And then there are the shops. A giant, six-story atrium contains an entire mall's worth of goods and services -- everything from a dentist's office to a Panda Hut Chinese restaurant and an FTD florist.
Although there's plenty to do in the building, the common areas are far from beautiful. The hotel was built in 1977, and the architectural style emphasizes artificial materials: steel, glass, and lots of cement. The interior design doesn't help; plastic plants on the lobby level and chlorinated fountains are as good as it gets. Luckily, things improve a bit in the rooms (renovated in 2011), where floor-to-ceiling windows offer great views of the city below.
The only other mega-hotel in the area that offers similar amenities (but no spa) is the enormous Wilshire Grand, which also underwent a renovation at the same time. Travelers should consider whichever option is cheaper. For a downtown location with better decor and classier public spaces, you can pay more and stay at the Omni, although its rooms are underwhelming.
Extensive services and efficient execution, though nothing special
The service here is pretty standard for what you pay; the staff does a lot for guests, but only if they ask. Several doormen stand ready at the entrance to hail cabs when guests approach, but they don't run out to cars to grab bags from new arrivals. At check-in, the clerk hands over a key, points out which elevator the guest should take, and that's about it. Although the staff isn't proactive initially, they follow up on requests with a phone call to the room.
In downtown Los Angeles, within walking distance of several major institutions
The Westin Bonaventure sits right in the middle of downtown Los Angeles, the city's central business district and the hub of its developing rapid transit system. It's within strolling distance of the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and a few blocks from the 7th Street Metro center, a key hub of the city's woefully underappreciated subway system. The Westin has a slight edge over some other downtown hotels because it's only a block away from the Harbor Freeway, which connects to both the Hollywood Freeway and the Santa Monica Freeway for quick access to other parts of L.A.
All rooms were renovated in 2011 and offer great views
The Westin Bonaventure underwent renovations to all its rooms in 2011, replacing tube TVs with flat-screens, changing the carpets, and replacing beat-up furnishings with new pieces. Now, all the rooms feature solid amenities for the price and great views of the Los Angeles skyline from floor-to-ceiling windows.
All the features one expects at a high-end hotel, although some are below average
The Westin Bonaventure has all the requisite amenities of any large downtown hotel chain, plus a few more -- a good number for the price range. However, some, such as the pool, are lackluster and others, like the business center, are expensive.
Decent for families, but there are better options in the neighborhood
The hotel's downtown location is a mixed bag for families. It's not near any of the major tourist destinations or the beach, but it takes less than 45 minutes to get to the majority of them. The small rooms and business vibe aren't ideal for families, but the on-site pool is a plus. If you're going to be downtown, however, the Wilshire Grand -- with many of the same amenities -- has an edge because it's nearer to a Metro station for service to Universal Studios.
Huge variety of restaurants on-site, from fast-food to fancy steaks
Guests have plenty of restaurants to choose from at the Westin Bonaventure. Options include a Subway, several Chinese restaurants of varying price, and several hotel-sponsored restaurants. Many are scattered throughout the first six floors in the lobby atrium; LA Prime and the BonaVista Lounge are on the hotel's top floors, providing great views of the city.
Like downtown neighbor Wilshire Grand, this towering hotel offers many perks for the price: pool, shops, large fitness center -- only with better views. Plus, the hotel completed a much-needed room renovation in 2011. Just don't expect elegance outside the rooms -- the dated, cement lobby looks like a cross between a parking garage and a shopping-mall food court.
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