At a Glance
The latest gem to join the stylish Proper Hospitality portfolio (which also hosts locations in Santa Monica, Austin and San Francisco), the Downtown L.A. Proper opened in October 2021 in a 1920s California Renaissance Revival landmark building reimagined by AD100 designer darling Kelly Wearstler. The address on South Broadway—which provides access to an up-and-coming area of downtown adjacent to the Fashion District—was formerly a swanky members-only club, and then a YWCA; today, Wearstler's vision for the next chapter pays homage to the past while celebrating the contemporary and the international to create a compellingly eclectic, cozy-meets-chic enclave for local creatives.
The Standout: The 1,430-square-foot Proper Basketball Court Suite (located in a former basketball court, from when the building was a YWCA in the 1960s—and featuring the original court floors) and the 2,777-square-foot Proper Pool Suite, a sprawling one-bedroom with an open kitchen and its own full-sized indoor pool (lined with a custom ceramic mural by local artist Ben Medansky)—the ideal spot for a private event, special occasion or ultra-secluded dip.
Don't Miss: A citrusy cocktail or fresh salad at Cara Cara, the rooftop pool, bar and restaurant that has 360-degree city views and a buzzy atmosphere that draws lots of locals.
- The Mexican-, Surrealist-inspired lobby mural (and accompanying sentry-like cacti) by local artist Abel Macias that greets guests with a pop of color upon arrival
- The abundance of texture throughout the guest rooms and public spaces—from vintage rugs and fabrics to over 100 different types of tiles, and stained glass by Judson Studios
- The warm and welcoming lobby lounge and restaurant Caldo Verde, which serves a Portuguese- and Spanish-inspired menu (and well-curated wine list) that manages to stay light and fresh—á la SoCal sensibility—and is wonderful for both a solo bite or festive group dinner
With just 147 unique rooms and suites, the Downtown L.A. Proper is a must-visit for repeat Los Angeles visitors and travelers looking to go off the beaten path—as well as lovers of boutique, design-forward hotels. Here, the Queen of California Cool Kelly Wearstler has brought her sun-kissed golden touch to a landmark Renaissance Revival tower, whose original brick exterior and stately arched entrance belie the casually gorgeous and delightfully residential aesthetic that lies within. Guest rooms and public spaces abound in layers and texture (Wearstler's calling card), with hand-detailed plaster walls, vintage furniture and textiles, a palette of jewel and warm earth tones (think rust, mustard, eggplant, turquoise, peach, emerald, sage) and a varied collection of artworks and installations by local talents. Throughout, there is a strong influence of Spanish, Portuguese, Mexican and Moroccan design (in particular, ceramic and tile aficionados will be obsessed by the details). The 11 different categories of rooms and suites all evoke the sensation of staying in a boho-chic friend's luxe pied-à-terre and glow with natural light that filters in through original windows (that also offer historic city views). All rooms are also outfitted with Fili D’oro linens and Kelly Wearstler x Parachute Home robes, Aesop bath products, walk-in tiled showers and contemporary touches like Vifa speakers and Apple TVs—along with robust mini bars.
The on-property dining program is just as much of a highlight and draws travelers and locals in equal measure, with two concepts from James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef Suzanne Goin and restaurateur Caroline Styne (Larder Baking Company, a.o.c., Tavern). The ground-floor signature restaurant, Caldo Verde, celebrates Portuguese and Spanish culinary traditions—with menu standouts including a fabulous blood orange, avocado, arugula and honey vinegar salad; grilled prawns topped with arbol chile and salsa verde; piri piri chicken; fried sunchokes; and the signature Caldo Verde seafood stew—while the rooftop restaurant and lounge Cara Cara offers an all-day menu that celebrates coastal cuisine from around the world, with an emphasis on market produce, wood-fired flavors, vegetable-forward small plates and unique wines. A sexy, speakeasy-style cocktail lounge, Dalia, is also in the works for later this year. Other on-property amenities include a small but well-equipped gym (open 24/7, with the option to book personal training sessions), as well as bikes that are available to borrow to explore the surrounding neighborhood, which has a growing arts and culture scene and is adjacent to the Fashion District, as well as sites like the Museum of Contemporary Art, The Broad Museum and the recently renovated Herald-Examiner building (formerly of the Hearst empire).
Who Should Stay
Couples, creatives and digital nomads who are looking for a central home-away-from home with great restaurants. Travelers seeking privacy without sacrificing style—or desiring a "wow" for a special occasion—will also be well catered-to in the suites, which can also be set up for private dining and events. Plus: The hotel is pet-friendly!
Written by Elizabeth Harvey