The news two years ago that developers Sydell Group (of Palm Springs's Saguaro) were going to be completely overhauling the former Wilshire Plaza hotel and turning it into a boutique, Korean/Korean-American-inspired hotel called The Line was one of the first signs that Koreatown was heating up to somewhere around blazing, and since then we've seen the renovated Hotel Normandie open up and a classy new extended-stay hotel proposed (plus so many restaurants and other draws). Now that things are nearing completion at The Line (which soft-opened in January and is due to be fully finished sometime this spring), we stopped by the 12-story, 388-room hotel at Normandie and Wilshire to take a look at what's done and what's to come for this hip new spot to lay your head.
The building was originally designed in 1964 by DMJM; Sean Knibb designed all the new hotel rooms and public spaces. Today the first floor bar and lobby are all muted blues and purples, with geometric, faceted wood booths. (Those are t-shirts stuck to the wall above the check-in desk, creating a textured ombre installation.) Guests or locals can post up on the plush velveteen seating and soak up the free WiFi both inside and on the Wilshire-fronting patio. (There will also be a Poketo newsstand/shop, lobby cafe, and the POT restaurant by Kogi founder Roy Choi, but they're not fully open yet, so no photos.) When it's complete, the second floor (still in the works) will have the second restaurant by Choi, called Commissary, and a pool, which will be for hotel guests only. But there will be a workaround: reservation-holders at Commissary will also get pool access.
The Line's rooms are not expansive, but they use the space very efficiently and have a spacious feel, perhaps due to the floor-to-ceiling windows in every room. Rooms face either Wilshire or the Hollywood Hills; the Hills-facing rooms are a bit more expensive but worth it for the incredible vistas. The units' concrete walls (actually wallpaper that looks like concrete, apparently) and streamlined seating and coffee table are minimal and stylish. Every room has a bunch of amenities: a large custom desk outfitted with HDMI, USB, and audio hookups built into the desk; LCD flat-screens equipped to stream your content; plush beds. There are also hyper-local touches slipped into every room—each unit has its own, unique watercolor painting by LA artist Claire Oswalt, knick-knacks by Arts District-based shop Poketo, and crystal calling card for the Saguaro.
The Line, hip and comfortable though it is, really does focus on getting guests to explore and appreciate this corner of the city and all its singularities. It offers a magazine called Here that points out interesting Koreatown locales, and provides guests with fancy, Line-branded Linus bikes (free for four hours) and bike route maps. The Line's taking advantage of Ktown's ascendance, and will surely be pushing it a little farther along.
· The Line [Official Site]