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A new high in Los Angeles at the InterContinental

A view of Los Angeles from Spire, the rooftop bar at the InterContinental Downtown in Los Angeles.handout


Is there any way that Los Angeles traffic can be considered beautiful or relaxing?

It’s certainly not lovely when you’re in the thick of it on a Friday afternoon, unless you’re living in a scene from “La La Land” (and if you are, please send Ryan Gosling my best). But there’s something therapeutic about watching bumper-to-bumper humanity from 70 stories up in a gorgeous and glamorous hotel lobby.

It’s an oddly hypnotic sight. As dusk creeps into the Sky Lobby at the InterContinental Downtown , those distant cars are captivating to behold and best enjoyed with a glass of wine. The traffic even inspired a piece of grand artwork that hangs in the lobby.


The InterContinental and its views are noteworthy because the hotel is housed in the tallest building west of the Mississippi River. The open-air rooftop bar, called Spire, is located on the 73rd floor and at 1,100 feet above street level currently holds the distinction of being the tallest rooftop bar in the Northern Hemisphere. Even if you’re not staying at the hotel, these are attractions worth seeking out, particularly the buzzy Spire and its views and cocktails. Those with a weak constitution and a fear of heights are probably better off at one of the nearby ground-level bars or restaurants.

The InterContinental, which opened last year, still has that delicious new hotel smell and its rooms are tasteful and sleek with all the necessary technological doodads, which you’ll notice once you’ve peeled your eyes away from the floor-to-ceiling windows and views of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, the San Gabriel Mountains, and Hollywood.

A guest room at the InterContinental Downtown.Intercontinental

The 889 guest rooms and restaurants are located between the 31st to the 73rd floors. The better the view, the higher the room price, with floors 59 to 66 allowing access to the Club Lounge, which offers free snacks and drinks much of the day.


First the basics: My room was comfortable and quiet. The bathroom was large with a rain shower, double vanity, and a separate deep bathtub. I was won over because the hotel stocks Le Labo, one of my favorite toiletry brands. There is an outdoor pool with chairs and cabanas for sunning. The InterContinental’s gym is mammoth by hotel gym standards.

There are four restaurants. The most upscale of the bunch is an American steakhouse with a French twist called La Boucherie, which includes important Los Angeles amenities such as VIP booths with privacy screens. There’s also a charcuterie cave (!) and 1,200 kinds of wine. As if choosing a bottle of wine from a list of 1,200 wasn’t challenging enough, there’s even a knife menu, allowing you to pick the perfect blade for slicing into your pricey steak.

The Sky Lobby on the 70th floor.handout

Two floors below is Dekkadance, a marketplace and restaurant for grabbing a snack or a meal. There’s also a Japanese restaurant called Sora. The Lobby Bar serves snacks, sandwiches, and an impressive selection of vodka.

Based on its proximity to the Staples Center, I thought the hotel’s clientele would primarily consist of conventioneers and business types, but it was a diverse mix of tourists and suits. It seems as though every demographic can appreciate a good view.

900 Wilshire Blvd., 1-213-688-777, Rooms start at $379 a night.

Christopher Muther can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Chris_Mutherand on Instagram @Chris_Muther.