Upon arrival, a sea of vertical hats greeted me in the lobby’s center along with plush grandiose curtains and dramatic enlarged floral walls. One red chapeau stood out from the lines of suspended vintage hats, a décor choice I later learn tells a story of Downtown LA’s past with a playful nod to the Golden Age of Hollywood. Hotel Indigo, once called Red Hat, honors Chinese American actress Anna Wong, who use to live nearby in the 1920s. She recounted seeing waves of hats on her dad’s shoulders during that time period. Find her eyes imprinted in the fabric of the restaurant Metropole’s dining chairs, just off the lobby and dine in a glam circular booth reminiscent of the underground tunnels from Prohibition-era. The bold floral accent design reflects the area as the former Flower District and is in response to La Fiesta de las Flores, an event that has showcased the city’s Hispanic culture since 1894.
Besides the location to Downtown LA’s burgeoning restaurants and vibrant cultural scene jam-packed with galleries, sports arenas, activities, and nightlife, Hotel Indigo’s modern Hollywood glam guest rooms and suites come with sweeping nighttime views of the dazzling city of lights – even from the spa-style bathroom!
Here are Ten Reasons Hotel Indigo should be your Downtown LA launchpad
1. Sleep in a glam hotel room with dazzling LA city evening views
Our King Junior Suite, one of 350 guest rooms and suites, reflects the surrounding area with a bed backdrop wall portraying the colorful and lively scenes of the city of Los Angeles. A vintage building on the wall looks real rising in all its 1920s glory. A décor spotlight from the old movie days is in the corner while the inviting plush bed is surrounded by a glamorous mirror and lounge couch. The bathroom view is also remarkable as the shower and toilet with Jonathan Adler bath products look out over the dazzling city lights. In the morning skyscrapers and natural light stream in our dramatic floor to ceiling window scape when we pull back the curtains. No need for the 43-inch HDTV.
2. Learn about LA history - take the underground tunnel tour with Cartwheel Arts
Associated with the hotel, ask about the Underground Tunnel tour hosted by Cartwheel Art where a historical journalist leads a small group on a 2.5-hour walk around the city and underground to learn about what was really going on during Prohibition era. The tour comes with sordid tales of murder and mayhem in former hotels, speakeasies, and forlorn bars you might just walk on by. Many places are off-limits to the public but the owner has established relationships with many local businesses to allow peeping below the city streets. Ask the Mayfair Hotel to share how the design of the hotel is also a tribute to LA’s past.
3. Dine in a circular “tunnel” booth for brunch or dinner
At Metropole Kitchen in the back of the lobby, the restaurant’s goal is to transport guests with its design inspired by the 1920s era. Notice the backdrop wall of jazz greats. Book a table in a circular tunnel-inspired booth that mimics the days where underground tunnels transported spirits, money, and flappers to the city’s unmarked watering holes.
Chef Caesar (who once worked at Yankee Stadium) tantalized us with an unusual popcorn shrimp appetizer with creamy sriracha and caviar, lobster bisque with roasted corn, ribeye chimichurri with heirloom carrots and sunchoke puree. The honey-baked miso bass artfully rests on fingerling potatoes and green beans and a smear of vanilla saffron cream. For brunch, make your morning marvelous by ordering the hefty brioche breakfast sandwich with tater tots or the pulled pork Cubano with citrus achiote pulled pork, swiss, cured ham, dill pickle, and mustard.
4. Sip cocktails in the penthouse cocktail lounge with twinkling city views
Atop the city with sweeping views of the Staples Center and the twinkly Los Angeles landscape, neon lights don the ceilings at 18 Social. Come for after-work happy hour drinks or a nightcap with illuminated LA. Indulge in a prohibition-inspired cocktail, a selection from the extensive wine menu, or a locally-brewed draft beer. Small plates are available that are inspired by the larger Metropole restaurant menu.
5. Order a Pineapple Mule at the Lobby Bar outfitted in hats
Pop in for a drink - a local draft beer, California wine, the cocktail of the month with muddled organic fruit, or the FDR Martini, a recipe created by the famous ex-president to celebrate the end of Prohibition. We suggest Hotel Indigo’s twist on the Moscow Mule, their signature Pineapple Mule. Daily “social hour” from 4:30-6:30 features select drink and food specials.
6. Retreat to the 4th floor heated pool deck
Open til 11 pm, dip in the heated pool with the city of lights in view or keep warm by the fire pits.
7. Play games, workout, or laze away a Sunday at a pool cabana
Drink and eat from your private cabana poolside with a seasonal pool bar or play one of the outdoor deck games like pool, jumbo jenga, cornhole, foosball, and ping pong. A 24-hour fitness center is available with city views for those who don’t plan to take a day off.
8. Explore the surrounding area
Located one block from LA Live and the Staples Center, the options for dining, shopping, arts and culture, and nightlife are endless. Visit MOCA, the Grammy Museum or the Broad nearby. Try the famous Milk Punch at Faith and Flower. Dine on an assortment of sushi hand rolls at Kazunori. Book a dinner reservation atop of the building at WP24 by Wolfgang Puck. Scout out historical landmarks like Clifton’s Cafeteria with its secret tiki bar. Guests can zip away on a cool electric URB-E bike by renting one from the lobby.
9. Reward your pup with their own dog menu
Spoil your best friend with a special menu just for dogs, the Doggie Bites Happy Hour menu, featuring delicious treats like house-made jerky, grilled chicken over brown rice, and a savory beef soup bone. Hotel Indigo is pet-friendly and welcomes dogs of any size. While there is no green space on the property, the LA Live dog park is only two blocks away.
10. Hold your creative work meetings here
Creatives abound in LA, so why not meet in the heart of the entertainment district. Choose from 12 meeting rooms with 9 that offer floor to ceiling windows. The outdoor terrace can hold up to 500 people. Meet or eat with up to 200 people in classroom with 8 breakout areas for indoor-outdoor entertainment suites with fire pits.
Written by Melissa Curtin
Read more posts by Melissa Curtin