Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Places To Stay In Los Angeles: The Line Hotel, Koreatown

For my final few days in Los Angeles before I returned to the madness of life back home I checked into The Line Hotel in Koreatown. While I'd really enjoyed my Airbnb apartment (I can really recommend the apartment I rented which you can find here, and you can get £16 off your first stay if you sign up to Airbnb using this link) I wanted to relax a bit to finish off my trip, and after lots of scoping out different hotels and neighbourhoods online I went for The Line, which seemed to offer a stylish setting and a choice of on site eateries for a very reasonable price, bang in the middle of a foodie neighbourhood I'm always resolving to find out more about. 
King Room at The Line Hotel, Los Angeles
View from King Room at The Line Hotel, Los Angeles Wilthsire Boulevard from The Line Hotel, Los Angeles
The first thing you notice when you let yourself into your room after check in are the wall length windows, that you simply have to just drop your bags and run over to look out of. I booked into a King room with a view over Wiltshire Boulevard, but if you pay a bit more you can have a room with a Hollywood Hills suite, something that if you can afford the upgrade I'd recommend, just based off of their Instagram feed
Room Seating at The Line Hotel, Los Angeles King Room at The Line Hotel, Koreatown Standard Room at The Line Hotel, Los Angeles
I fell slightly in love with the concrete and glass, finished with a few whimsical touches decor of my room once I actually set back to take it all in. Each room has its own artwork, and for a basic room at the hotel there was plenty of space for everything I wanted to use the room for; as well as a generous king size bed the seating area was a nice touch to sit and read for a bit, and the massive desk was great for me when I wanted some quiet and did not feel like going down to the lobby to blog (in my room I was away from the temptation of the simply sinful chocolate chip cookies from the lobby cafe!) 
Room Art at The Line Hotel, Los Angeles
In Room Magazines at The Line Hotel, Los Angeles
I enjoyed the selection of house magazines that were available in the room, they made for really interesting poolside reading to get to know a bit more about the neighbourhood, and for recommendations for where to explore over different time frames people could be staying at the hotel for. I got a great dumpling recommendation from the magazine (to follow in another post about food in Koreatown), though they could do with updating as one of the recommendations I wanted to follow turned out to be closed - lucky I Googled it using the hotels free Wifi (to everyone, not just paying guests) before setting off!
Bathroom at The Line Hotel, Los Angeles Toiletries at The Line Hotel, Los Angeles
For some reason, the thing I usually judge the most about (and seem to remember the most too) in a hotel is its bathroom. For example, I can't seem to remember any of the bathrooms in either of the hotels I stayed in when I went to Spain last September as being particularly memorable, and I was disappointed with the bathroom compared to the quality of the room at Jesmond Dene House in Newcastle earlier in the Spring. On the up side, I'm still thinking about the amazing glass sides bathroom in my room at The Farmers Daughter Hotel in West Hollywood, and the rain showers and house shower gels are reason enough alone to stay in any citizenM hotel

So what about my bathroom at The Line? I loved the massive mirror and gold details, though the lighting was a bit of a nightmare to put makeup on. I loved their little toiletries and the shampoo and conditioner both smelt great and were not terrible for my hair (not as good as regular shampoo, though), and the shower was lovely to stand under to wash the day (or the pool) off. Nice and functional, it did not let the room down at all. 
L.A Son at The Line Hotel, Los Angeles Mini Bar at The Line Hotel, Los Angeles Mini Bar Snacks at The Line Hotel, Los Angeles
There were lots of details in the room that rooted it in Koreatown, which I really appreciated. I'd been meaning to read L.A. chef Roy Choi's book L.A. Son for a while now (he's the guy behind Kogi Truck and Sunny Spot which I also reviewed on that trip) so I was really happy to find a copy in the room to read cover to cover; I'd really recommend it both for the personal story, and to learn more about the history of both food in Koreatown, and in Los Angeles in general. While I don't usually have things from the mini bar because of the massive mark ups, as well as some American favourites I was happy to see Asian biscuits and Korean beer taking pride of place, just to shake things up a bit. 
Room Key at The Line Hotel, Los Angeles
View from The Line Hotel, Los Angeles The Comissary at The Line Hotel, Koreatown
After settling into the room and sorting out my bags (they'd kindly let me check into my room early as it was ready, and my apartment had an early check out time that morning) it was time to head off to explore the rest of the hotel, and obviously in search of food. However, you'll have to wait until my next post to read more about The Commissary, the greenhouse restaurant where I breakfasted and brunched every morning I was at the hotel, as I've put together a proper 'Places To Eat In Los Angeles' post for you all. 
Terrace Pool at The Line Hotel, Los Angeles
Poolside at The Line Hotel, Los Angeles Gin & Watermelon Juice Poolside at The Line Hotel, Los Angeles
After brunch it was time to head back to my room to slip into something to swim in (every time I've been in the water this Summer so far I've been wearing this wonderfully tropical swim skirt I picked up on the first day of my trip at The Grove) and slather myself in Hawaiian Tropic before heading out to sit by the pool for the rest of the afternoon. The Line's terrace pool has a fantastic poolside atmosphere and very comfy sun loungers. I happily spent several hours there stretched out reading, and in and out of the water where they've already got a towel ready for you before you get out. They also have a brilliant food and bar service from the next door Commissary, and I can really recommend their Watermelon Juice and Gin. It usually came with basil leaves in it (I'm not sure why the one in my picture did not), and I have recreated it in a recipe post here; it really is the ultimate Summer drink. 

While it seemed that that Sunday and the following Monday were to be my last properly sunny days in L.A., I can happily report that the pool is also pretty awesome for an early morning swim in in the rain, even if everyone does look at the mad non-Angeleno venturing outside in even the mildest precipitation without an umbrella and wellies! You can keep your clothes dry in the Commissary greenhouse. 
Pot Bar at The Line Hotel, Los Angeles Dynamite Rice at Pot Bar, Los Angeles
As well as the lobby cafe and The Commissary, The Line Hotel has two more Roy Choi driven eateries (as well as a basement bar I did not venture into); Eat At Pot, a full on Korean restaurant not really suited to solo travellers, and the Pot Bar, where I found myself sitting up at the counter at for a few bar dishes and a can of cold Korean beer when I found myself famished from sitting in the sun all afternoon. The stand out dish from my selection was this: Dynamite Rice heavy with uni, which was both rich, satisfying and with some lovely crunchy bits. I think it wins some of the most satisfying bar food I've ever had, and is a must order. 
Dumplings at Pot Bar, Los Angeles
Alternatively, the dumplings I opted for next were more than a bit of a let down. The dipping sauce was lovely and had a well balanced flavour, but as far as flavour interest goes the dumplings themselves were a bit flat, and more greasy than you'd expect from something that had been drained properly after frying. 
View from The Line Hotel, Koreatown
Nighttime at The Line Hotel, Koreatown Game of Thrones at The Line Hotel, Los Angeles
After heading back to my room it was time to change into pyjamas and snuggle down in the comfy bed (I've slept in even more pillowy number, but this was still up there as a solid hotel bed) to watch day turn to night over Wiltshire Boulevard, and do what any self respecting person in a hotel room that has HBO HD on a Sunday night would do; watch Game of Thrones. 

So, while all the little details are really important for a hotel stay, what you're really after is somewhere to lay your head for the night: so how did I sleep? Well, I slept okay. On the first night I had a few moments of regret booking my room, because overlooking the main road the room was very noisy at night. The blackout blinds did their job, but as a girl from the countryside I honestly could not see how I was going to get to sleep over the sounds of the city. It turned out I did mange to fall asleep pretty easily each evening, but once I was awake in the mornings I was awake; there was no lazily falling back to sleep as I was supposed to be having a few days of relaxation, after all. 

When I was checking my room when I was about to check out and I was looking around my room to see if I'd left anything I discovered that at the side one of my windows was actually a little bent and warped at the side; it had an opening to let the noise in all along, and while the hotel should maintain their rooms a bit better, I don't think the noise would be as much as a problem or people in other rooms as it was for me. Though, if you're not as used to staying in cities and you're more of a country bumpkin like me, I'd still recommend staying at The Line, but shelling out a little bit more for one of the Hollywood Hills view rooms, as they don't overlook the road. 

As for value, King Rooms like mine at The Line start at $189 per night (approximately £120) and the same room, away from the road and with a Hollywood Hills view starts from $239 per night (approximately £155). For a Sunday, Monday and Tuesday night in June, with all the relevant California state taxes (they charge a tourism and occupancy tax on top of the cost of the room) my stay came to approximately $840 (which is about £540) which works out at around $280/ £180 a night. If you compare that to other hotels of this calibre, it is pretty reasonable.


So, what was my overall opinion of my few nights at the hotel? In spite of the few issues I encountered, I had a really great stay at the hotel, and with the caveats I'e already mentioned, I would be happy to stay there again and recommend it to anyone looking for a different neighbourhood than the usual West L.A. favourite, but still being really well connected to all of the neighbourhoods a visitor to the city could possibly want. The staff were all really helpful and friendly, and I really felt I'd got what I'd paid for. 

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