It may be 2019, but you’ve always had a curious feeling - that perhaps you were born in the wrong generation. Of course, you enjoy the convenience and the accessibility that the 21st-century digital world offers. But it seems like the world was glitzier, or perhaps more mysterious before everything became available just by typing a few keys. It sounds silly when you try to explain to others that you feel nostalgic for an age you never lived through, but there is something about a bygone era that fascinates and comforts you. Thus, when planning your trip to Los Angeles, there was only one place you wanted to stay: the Hilton Checkers in Downtown Los Angeles.
Since 1927, the Hilton Checkers has stood tall in what would ultimately become the heart of the business and the financial district in Los Angeles. Opened as the Mayflower Hotel and designed by acclaimed architect Charles F. Whittlesey, the Hilton Checkers recently completed a multi-million-dollar renovation that honors the landmark’s historic past, introduces a new restaurant and bar, and also provides every modern convenience you could ask for.
Arriving at the Hilton Checkers, you see that the Spanish-style façade remains firmly intact, even if the original sculptures of the Mayflower and Santa Maria ships are no longer there. However, the stalwart gargoyles remain above and around the golden signage that welcomes you.
Inside the lobby, it’s clear that the furnishings have been updated, but the building retains its 1920s integrity and charm. With plenty of deep blues, grays and rich gold tones, a swooping grand staircase, and wall sconces and chandeliers everywhere you look, the ambiance is at once welcoming, yet glamorous.
The friendly concierge welcomes you to your home for the next few days and reminds you that the views from the rooftop deck and the custom cocktails at the new 1927 Bar +Kitchen should not be missed. Breakfast is served at the hotel's Checkers Downtown restaurant, with 1927 Bar +Kitchen offering lunch and dinner - perfect for a pre-theatre bite.
Your King Junior Suite is charming and cozy, but unequivocally chic. After all, it’s not very often that you have an indoor patio with a skylight beaming beautiful sunlight into your hotel room. Your California King Bed is perfectly dreamy and there are plantation shutters for privacy. Every modern convenience is there for your comfort, including the 55” television and ample workspace complete with ergonomic chair. The balance of past and present is perfectly weighted, and you feel immediately at ease.
Your bathroom has also been renovated with incredible attention to detail, ambiance and luxury. There’s marble galore, along with upscale toiletries and a terry cotton bathrobe. You can’t help but think that whoever helmed this renovation must share your wistful longing for yesteryear.
Before you fall too far down the rabbit hole of nostalgia, you decide the perfect antidote to potential melancholy is to appreciate all that your era on earth does have to offer. Up on the rooftop deck of the Hilton Checkers suffice it to say, your cup runneth over with gratitude. The stunning views of skyscrapers, and the bustling city below remind you that it’s quite a time to be alive, so you take a seat in one of the comfortable loveseats and admire the thriving metropolis around you. You make a note to come back after the sun sets, to take in the city at night.
Since you’ve got time to kill before your evening show at the Mark Taper Forum, you get familiar with your surroundings with a walkabout to absorb some of LA’s history. You head to Angels Flight Railway, which is just a seven-minute walk from the Hilton Checkers. The delightfully short funicular ride stands in juxtaposition to the historic landmark’s long history, which dates back to 1901.
From there, you follow your nose to the wonderful aromas coming from Grand Central Market across the street. Since 1917, Grand Central Market has been a hub of diverse dining and shopping options, celebrating the cuisines and cultures of Los Angeles.
After picking up some snacks for later, you walk over to admire the Bradbury Building, LA’s oldest commercial building remaining in the central city. An architectural masterpiece since 1893, you stroll through the building soaking up the intricate iron railings, open cage elevators, and marble stairs.
Satisfied with your self-guided historical tour, you arrive back at the Hilton Checkers and decide there’s time to hit the gym before heading out for the evening. The fitness area boasts the most modern equipment, and by the time you’ve finished, its high time for a libation.
After changing upstairs and getting seated in the hotel's new 1927 Bar + Kitchen, you learn the speakeasy-style design and classic cocktail menu pay homage to the 1920s. You promptly order an Old Fashioned and it’s perfectly traditional and refreshing - you close your eyes and you can imagine the place teeming with women outfitted in low waisted dresses and boas, and men in pinstripe suits.
You break out of your reverie to order a Caesar Salad (invented in 1924, of course) and a classic Steak Frites. Your meal is delicious and the service is impeccable - you almost hate to leave. But you remind yourself that you’re heading to the theatre, something you would have done in the time before moving motion pictures.
After the show, you stroll along Grand Avenue, note the lights of Grand Park, and smile, happily contented that the past is still alive and well in Los Angeles, particularly at the Hilton Checkers.
Hilton Checkers Los Angeles
535 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles 90071