WHAT’S IT LIKE? A 17-storey high-rise hotel aimed squarely at the business traveler, with AAA four diamond status. The hotel is part of the Omni group, which has 40 hotels across the US, Canada and Mexico.
WHERE IS IT? California Plaza, on the northwest side of downtown LA. Around 18 miles from LAX airport, the hotel is adjacent to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), and the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The Omni provides a complimentary town car for all guests within a three-mile radius of the hotel.
HOW MANY ROOMS? 453 rooms plus 11 business rooms and four suites.
ROOM FACILITIES: My corner King Room was on the 15th floor, looking out onto busy Olive Street. The room was bright and airy with two large windows in the lounge area, although blackout curtains easily kept out the early Californian sun. Facilities included a king-size bed, two-seat sofa, armchair with foot rest, glass coffee table and two desks (one with a printer/fax machine and complimentary office stationery).
A large wooden cabinet housed the TV and minibar and there were ample drawers for an extended stay. The main wardrobe was located near the door and included a full-length mirror. The bathroom had a separate bath and shower, and the overall decor of the room was smart if a little soulless. All rooms have complimentary broadband and Wi-Fi access. RESTAURANTS AND BARS: The Grand Café, where breakfast is also served, and the more formal Noé, a American-Japanese fusion restaurant run by English chef Robert Gadsby, which is popular with pre-show visitors to the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The menu has a definite seafood feel to it. I had seared sea scallops to start (US$17), followed by mushroom crusted black cod with Indian spiced vegetable ragout and sweet onion soubise (US$26), accompanied by a Fess Parker Pinot Noir 2001/2 (US$14 per glass).
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES: There is a small self-service business centre in the lobby area (open 24 hours) with internet and photocopying /fax facilities. The Bunker Hill Ballroom, seats up to 900 people theatre-style.
LEISURE FACILITIES: As well as an outdoor heated swimming pool, there is a fitness centre with treadmills, exercise bikes, rowing machines and free weights. A spa has also been built which at the time of going to press had an opening date of April 1, 2006.
VERDICT: Ideal for anyone visiting downtown LA on business and the complimentary town car is a bonus for early morning meetings.
PRICE: An early week rate from the internet last month for a Deluxe Room netted US$229. CONTACT: 251 South Olive Street, Los Angeles, tel 1 213 617 3300, www.omnihotels.com.