The Los Angeles Athletic Club offers an elegant alternative to the conventional hotel experience for travelers who plan to nest downtown. The neighborhood is no place you'd want to go strolling after dark, but since I was attending a conference at the nearby Union Station, the location was ideal. Staying at the club is an extraordinary opportunity.As a guest, you enjoy access to all of the club's facilities -- pool, spa, running track, gymnasium, squash courts, you name it. And not just the athletic facilities. There is a beautiful bar, grill room, library, and fancy restaurant, all ideally suited for a business meeting in the sumptuous and heretofore exclusive setting that one would expect of a club designed for the elite of Los Angeles' business and legal communities. The hotel rooms are very handsomely decorated and well appointed although the style is definitely masculine running to slate grays with burgundy highlights. And for a room rate that is quite reasonable for downtown Los Angeles, the unexpected extras make this a great bargain -- a plate of fresh fruit and cheese waiting in the room, discount parking, a free, full breakfast in the morning. This is probably not the place to bring the kids, but for couples and business travelers, this would be my first choice in the downtown area.
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