USA: The Standard, Downtown LA, Los Angeles

Anisha Patel
05 December 2016

This minimalist, ultra-mod boutique hotel is still as hip and happening as it was when it opened in Downtown LA nearly 15 years ago. Don’t miss an early morning dip in its rooftop pool, says Anisha Patel

The once-gritty Downtown neighbourhood was, at one time, the joke of Los Angeles – an empty wasteland of buildings, rundown shops and abandoned streets, there was little reason to head there after leaving the office at 5pm on a Friday – except for the rooftop bar of The Standard, Downtown LA.

The brainchild Andre Balazs (the dynamic hotelier behind the city’s infamous Chateau Marmont, and London’s celeb-magnet Chiltern Firehouse), the hotel was a frontrunner in the resurgence of what is now one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the city. And it’s still attracting the city’s hip and happening crowds.

You’ll find hints of the building’s former guise as a 1950s Standard Oil Building throughout, from the chrome escalator in the two-storey marble wall lobby to the office-style “directory” floorplan of the hotel. The décor is fun and funky in all the right ways: futuristically minimal with groovy 1960s pops of colour – think Blade Runner meets Austin Powers.

The Standard’s 207 rooms are cheekily named by size and grade – from ‘Medium’ to ‘Humongous’ to outright ‘Wow’ suites – the latter, which is the category we check into, is a 710-square-foot loft-like space with an enormous platform bed that could have easily slept four adults, huge windows, an extra-long desk, a lounge area and a cavernous bathroom (and I mean truly cavernous… you could host a party for 20 people in there).

But it’s the dizzyingly hip Astroturf-covered Standard Rooftop Restaurant and Bar where you’ll want to spend most of your days (and nights). The 1960s-chic bright-red waterbed cabanas by the heated pool are Instagram ready – as is the boutique German beer garden. No wonder media moguls and the city’s movers and shakers flock here at the weekend.

With that rooftop beer garden, DJ-fuelled pool parties, a buzzing ping-pong lounge and all-night restaurant serving dishes such as New York strip steak and chicken and waffles, this isn’t a place where you’re likely to utter the words “I’m bored”.

The rooftop pool is virtually abandoned in the mornings – so make the most of the the jet lag-induce early rise and take a pre-breakfast dip.

As a new generation of chefs, bartenders and artists continue to move into the neighbourhood, you’re never far away from cool restaurants, craft cocktails or concepts stores.

Some might find the very minimalist room aesthetics a bit cold.

This is not the place for people who like early, quiet nights.

A high-rise urban retreat with plenty of pop culture touches and an undeniable party vibe.

Double rooms from $200 (£157) a night. 550 South Flower Street, Los Angeles (+1 213 892 8080;