Hotel Per La, Autograph Collection, review

A stylish urban escape in downtown Los Angeles, Hotel Per La features 241 signature rooms and suites, a ground-floor restaurant, a daytime café, and a rooftop bar offering poolside drinks and dramatic views of the LA skyline.

Traveller: Cathy Wagstaff 
Room: City View Salon
Address: 649 South Olive St, Los Angeles
Date: December 2023
Price range: From $392
Best for: Business or leisure travellers looking for a trendy hotel in the heart of downtown LA

Location

Located on the corner of 7th and Olive Street in Los Angeles, Hotel Per La is housed in the former Giannini Building, originally the headquarters of the Bank of Italy. The 7th Street/Metro Centre is only two blocks from the hotel, taking you to Union Station, Korea Town, Hollywood, Universal Studios, Santa Monica and Long Beach.

Hotel Per La was first built in 1922 as the Bank of Italy © The Ingalls

Claim to fame

First built in 1922 with an ornate Neoclassical style, Hotel Per La was refurbed a hundred years later, in 2022, by hotel founder Amadeo Pietro Giannini. The 12-story hotel retains its signature architectural features across its grand public spaces, including 10,000 square feet of event space.

Within a short walk you can find

With a prime location in the heart of the city, you can easily explore the art, entertainment, and shopping Los Angeles has to offer. The Downtown Historic District, Fashion District, LA Live, plus dozens of restaurants, bars, and shops, are all just a short stroll away.

LA’s Design District is a short car ride away

The room

Each room at Hotel Per La mixes antiques and custom furniture laid out by designer Jacques Garcia. With a colour palette inspired by the lobby’s fully restored gold-and-blue Italianate ceiling, rooms feature beds with embossed leather headboards by Moore & Giles, Bellino linens, curated original artwork and Persian rugs on white oakwood floors. European-style bathrooms feature Terrazzo floored walk-in showers – many boasting freestanding pedestal bathtubs – and custom-made Argan bath amenities; a marble writing desk with settee, large flat screen LED TV with content streaming, and a Tivoli radio and nightstands with a USB and charging outlet.

Amenity game

A fully stocked in-room bar comes with Drnxmyth ready-to-shake cocktails. Snacks include Root Foods Co. potato chips, Bear Claw Kitchen granola bars, CACA Gummy Bears, Valerie Confections toffee almond chocolate bars, Calivolve CBD-infused chocolate truffles, and Rose Delights CBD-infused Turkish delight boxes. Nightly turndown, laundry and shoeshine service are available upon request.

The showstopper

Much of the building’s style, such as its Doric columns, ornate golden ceiling and marble floors have been preserved in the bank’s original main hall that now acts as now the hotel lobby. Yet it’s the toilets in the former bank vault basement that wow’s with the original door spiked wheel and hundreds of old safety deposit boxes are still on display.

The toilets in the former bank vault are a showstopper © Cathy Wagstaff

Beyond the rooms

Over 4,000 art pieces — from commissioned works to vintage prints sourced between Italy and California — can be seen throughout the hotel’s public spaces. They include a hand-painted tapestry behind the reception desk from LA muralist Jessalyn Brooks.

The heated rooftop pool with daybeds and cabanas is aligned with Bar Clara for poolside cocktails and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine. Italian fare continues at Ristorante Per L’Ora. Just off the lobby, Café Ora, serves coffee and snacks throughout the morning with wine and gelato in the afternoons. In-room dining is available daily from 7am until 10pm.

Dish to dine for

The revamped restaurant, Ristorante Per L’Ora, with its elegantly restored blue and gold Italianate 20-foot ceiling serves elevated coastal Italian dishes. My favourites were the squid ink and black garlic Caesar salad followed by Rigatoni with poached Maine lobster spiced with Calabrian chilli. The entree of Roman artichokes with Parmesan cheese and charred lemon are a must. 

Squid Ink Caesar Salad © Sierra Prescott
Squid Ink Caesar Salad © Sierra Prescott
Maine Lobster Rigatoni © Sierra Prescott

Spa life

There isn’t a spa, however, Hotel Per La’s Fitness Centre in the basement offers treadmills, spin bikes, a rowing machine, an elliptical cross trainer, a cable crossover machine, free weights and yoga mats.

Staying in

Hotel Per La’s rooftop pool and bar with its fierce-looking gargoyle fireplace and views of the Los Angeles skyline are a drawcard. It’s the perfect spot to unwind after a day exploring the city or to simply soak up the California sun while sipping a handcrafted cocktail from Bar Clara. Aperitivo Hour is from 5 to 6 pm every night at Ristorante Per L’Ora for a classic Negroni – or opt for the mezcal versions – alongside chef-prepared bar bites.

Hotel Per La Bank lobby
Hotel Per La Bank lobby © The Ingalls

Stepping out

A visit to the Academy Museum is a must. The LA Live complex with its sports arena is nearby, as is the Grammy Museum for music lovers. The Grand Central Market (a historic food hall), The Original Farmers Market, The Broad Museum, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and some of downtown’s best restaurants are also within walking distance of Hotel Per La. 

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures Saban Building

The family factor

Studio Suite Double sleeps four with two queen beds with custom Bellino linens and a lounge area with a settee. Patio rooms feature doors that open to a small, private courtyard and are excellent options for groups or families staying together.

Before booking

Check out the hotel’s offers and enjoy up to 25% off their best rate. For couples, the Love and Luxury package includes a welcome bottle of sparkling wine, chocolate-covered strawberries, a $150 dinner credit to Ristorante Per L’Ora and late check-out. Hotel Per La also welcomes dogs (under 20 kilograms) with pet beds and bowls on request. Treats and toys are also included.

Insiders’ tips

The Destination Amenity is a worthy add-on. The $35 plus tax per day fee includes a welcome drink upon arrival, high-speed internet access, daily $35 food and drink credit, a glass of house wine at Per L’Ora Aperitivo Hour and dessert in Per L’Ora restaurant. Plus, PATH aluminium refillable water bottle, two tickets to the Grammy Museum and seasonal rooftop weekday activities.

V&T expert rating

Whether you’re travelling for business or pleasure, Hotel Per La offers a blend of Italian style with modern flair for a chic stay in downtown Los Angeles.

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