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Downtown L.A. Proper Hotel

Where the Creative Jetset Stay and Locals Hangout in Downtown Los Angeles

December, 2022

Housed in a 1926 landmark building, a mosaic of colour and material stuns at the Downtown L.A. Proper hotel. Designed by Kelly Wearstler, the hotel’s eclectic interiors are its signature drawcard, as they attract the best of Downtown L.A.’s creative scene to its premises. 

With 147 rooms, two destination restaurants (by acclaimed chefs), a library-lounge and a rooftop pool and bar with views of the Los Angeles skyline that can wow any city dweller, the hotel offers it all under the one roof. On its doorstep is where all the action is: Broadway in Downtown L.A.

Champ team member and correspondent Alexander Lotersztain was drawn to the creative tapestry of the local area as soon as he arrived, reporting on his stay as he explored the modern, design-led hotel. 

The hotel’s eclectic interiors are its signature drawcard, as they attract the best of Downtown L.A.’s creative scene to its premises | Image Proper DTLA©
Hand-painted frescoes are a homage to California's affinity for Spanish and Moroccan design during the 1920s | Image Proper DTLA©

THE DESIGN

Designer Kelly Wearstler’s identifiable design DNA is evident throughout the hotel, where clever contrasting materials and patterns sit side by side to elevate a space.

Within the walls of the heritage building a brilliant opportunity for a vibrant new business awaited, with Proper taking on the challenge with gusto. Kelly’s been able to blend the past and present in a refreshingly new way, the whole hotel feels completely original and showcases the power of collaboration. From commissioning L.A.-based artists for artworks throughout the hotel, to custom ceramics and lighting (by Morgan Peck), the interiors do the historical building more than justice. A pair of Judson Studios stained glassworks are found on the ground floor next to the lobby, highlighted by the natural light flooding into the hotel. 

A pair of Judson Studios stained glassworks are found on the ground floor next to the lobby | Image Proper DTLA©
Designer Kelly Wearstler’s identifiable design DNA is evident throughout the hotel | Image Alexander Lotersztain for Champ Magazine©

Constructed in the 1920s, this building was originally a women’s athletics club and Kelly’s design has given nods to its historic roots (especially in the one-of-a-kind suites available to book in the hotel). The interiors also reflect California’s history: on the ground floor hand-painted frescoes are a homage to the state’s affinity for Spanish and Moroccan design during the same era.

There are four Proper hotels in the USA (Austin, Santa Monica, San Francisco and DTLA) and Kelly has designed them all. Her signature touch is a winning formula, where she can work as easily with a landmarked building (San Francisco) or new build (Santa Monica). Her creative vision is strong, able to replicated with ease for the Proper brand. She’s particularly great at bringing local artists and designers on board, making the hotels feel even more authentic to their context.

Image Alexander Lotersztain for Champ Magazine©

THE ROOMS 

There are 147 rooms and suites, all varied in style and size, there is something for everyone. There are even two singular, one-of-kind suites repurposing the basketball court and indoor pool of the building’s athletics club past.

Beds are extremely comfortable, even down to the multiple pillow options (our main takeaway from our stay, they were probably the best pillows we’ve ever encountered).

Tiled bathrooms reflect memories of Morocco, fitted with Aesop amenities and custom robes for guests.

Champ team Alexander stayed in the Premier King Suite, perfect for a week-long stay | Image Alexander Lotersztain for Champ Magazine©
There are 147 rooms and suites, all varied in style and size, there is something for everyone | Image Proper DTLA©
Our main takeaway from our stay were the extremely comfortable pillows | Image Proper DTLA©
Spacious and light-filled | Image Proper DTLA©
Tiled bathrooms reflect memories of Morocco | Image Proper DTLA©
Bathrooms are of a generous size, all fitted with Aesop amenities | Image Proper DTLA©
Image Alexander Lotersztain for Champ Magazine©
Image Alexander Lotersztain for Champ Magazine©
One of two one-of-kind suites in the hotel reflect the hotel's athletics centre past | Image Proper DTLA©

EAT & DRINK

James Beard award-winning restaurateurs Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne have overseen both of Downtown L.A. Proper’s restaurants: Caldo Verde and Cara Cara.

Known for their Los Angeles must-visit joints (a.o.c., Hollywood Bowl Food + Wine, Larder Baking company), Going and Styne were tapped for their ‘casual elegance’. Their influence in the L.A. food and beverage scene is widely celebrated.

Restaurant Caldo Verde on the ground floor | Image Proper DTLA©
Image Proper DTLA©

Located on the hotel’s ground floor, Caldo Verde is modern dining with Portuguese flavours and old California sensibilities. Finely selected local Californian wines are on the drinks list, as are inventive cocktails (along with the classics… we can never resist a negroni).

In the morning, there’s a joy in watching passers-by on Broadway while you sit your morning coffee at Caldo Verde (there’s also outdoor seating). At night, it’s a great place to meet friends for dinner, or opt for room service from their menu for a quiet night in.

Two things to note: 1) the coffee at Caldo Verde was really brilliant, supplied by local roasters Counter Culture Coffee and 2) the hotel’s new brunch menu was a standout, even if you’re not checking in to the hotel make a reservation.

Champ Travel team member Alexander Lotersztain reporting poolside | Image Champ Magazine©

ROOFTOP POOL & GYM

The rooftop pool is the perfect location for sunset drinks, especially in the evening when the downtown L.A. skyline is highlighted by the setting sun. The landscaping frames the space, creating a sanctuary not only for people but also for bees and hummingbirds. 

All-day dining is available at Cara Cara restaurant on the rooftop, where the house margarita is the current drink of choice.

A 24-hour fitness centre is on the top of our must-have list in any hotel, especially with our unpredictable travel schedules. It’s well equipped, with Woodway treadmills, Peloton bikes, Smith machine, medicine balls, rower and more. 

All-day dining is available at Cara Cara restaurant on the rooftop, where the house margarita is the current drink of choice | Image Proper DTLA©
Never gets old: the Downtown L.A. skyline | Image Proper DTLA©

THE VERDICT

This is the best hotel to stay at when exploring Downtown L.A.

The lobby is an ideal place to work from, the light-filled and strikingly-designed spaces make it hard to leave. All the better when the best of Downtown L.A. comes to you: at sunset on the rooftop or mornings in the lobby spaces, there’s always an interesting crowd about showcasing the diversity of the city.

L.A. is well known for its iconic sunsets, best seen from the Proper DTLA rooftop | Image Proper DTLA©

Downtown L.A. Proper Hotel
1100 S Broadway,
Los Angeles, California

For more design and travel destinations in Los Angeles, click here.
 #champ_losangeles 

Text: Visited and reviewed by Champ team member Alexander Lotersztain
Images: As credited, Proper DTLA and Champ Magazine©

December, 2022