The double Marriott at LA Live—a Courtyard Marriott and Residence Inn combined in a single 23-story building—officially opened for business this morning. But last night, Curbed was given a free room for a sneak preview, which we gave to writer/comedian Jeff Wattenhofer, because he's funny and it seemed like he needed something to do. Here is his story:
4:59 pm: On a Metro bus, about to transfer to another bus, then walk 10 minutes to a $400-a-night hotel. I can't speak for the others attending this VIP soft opening of the Marriott Courtyard/Residence Inn, but I have a hunch I'm the only one arriving via this mode of transportation. I briefly entertain the idea of renting a BMW from Zipcar in order to better fit the part of a well-off hotel guest, but the contract I have entered into clearly states "Do not valet your Zipcar."
As the rent is due tomorrow and it's not entirely clear what is being comped as part of this hotel stay, I must tread lightly on the potential expenses.
5:05 pm: Passing through eastern Echo Park and down Hill Street, I'm reminded of the grit that still lies parallel to the gentrification and developments that are springing up like weeds from Hollywood to Pasadena. Sleep well, unkempt vacant lots. In 20 years time my children will be reviewing the new Ace Hotel at Sunset and Boylston for la.curbed.hologram.
5:30 pm: After grabbing a coffee (the hotel "proudly" serves Starbucks, concierge Patty tells me), I check in. They ask for my credit card and ID for "incidentals," and all hopes of trashing the place in the name of gonzo journalism are shattered by the threat of damage to my already precarious credit score. As they swipe the card, my pride keeps me from verbally confirming "the room is free, right?" But I am most certainly thinking it.
5:45 pm: I only know one thing about the Marriott Residence Inn and Courtyard double-branded hotel. The Residence Inn is a high-end suite-style hotel for those in town for extended stays, and the Courtyard is for any mouth-breathing piece of human garbage who can scrape together the nightly rate.
I hope so hard that the elevator will deposit me on a Residence Inn floor. If the door opens and I don't find such amenities as a full kitchen and living room area, I will throw my screaming body out onto Francisco Street.
5:50 pm: It's a Residence Inn!!!!!!!! With a toaster! And a dishwasher!
Tonight I am the one percent!
6:00 pm: There's a lone bag of Pirate's Booty, unmarked, alone on the kitchen counter. Please tell me I'm not going to have to call the front desk to ask if this is comped.
6:10 pm: In my Residence Inn euphoria, a phenomenon I'm sure is felt by all their guests, I momentarily entertain the idea of marching over to the Courtyard side brandishing one of the sharpened kitchen gadgets that I've found in the fully stocked kitchen drawers and starting some shit with those yokels, but I decide against it. They've had it bad enough. Let them enjoy running water for once. I don't need to rub it in that my room features non-traditionally shaped plates.
6:15 pm: I've officially opened every drawer and jumped on every piece of contemporary furniture in the room. It's been less than half an hour, and I'm already kind of bored.
The view, seemingly Instagrammable, is actually a massive Red Bull ad in the middle of nondescript office high-rises and a carwash. The fridge is empty, and the official Marriott stationary leaves a little to be desired.
It's beginning to feel like I'm in just another hotel.
Fuck it. I'm opening the Pirate's Booty.
6:20 pm: At least it's a Residence Inn.
6:30 pm: I'm fed up with this room. I need to explore a bit.
The lobby is hip, lit in every conceivable nook and cranny, and features no shortage of screens, some TVs, some ambient art. There are several clusters of chairs, all different styles, but within the same basic color palette. I half expect to see pricetags with the specific aisle in the Ikea warehouse where I can find my own Marriott furniture.
If feels alternately like a model home and a Real World house.
6:40 pm: Business Center.
There's a business center. Not much else to say about it.
Courtyard suxxxxx, Residence Eye rulz!!!!
6:45 pm: Being Downtown, and within close proximity to crazies, sports fans, and no-good teenagers, security is literally key at the Marriott. You need your keycard to enter just about every room and amenity in the place. More than once an elevator door opened to reveal confused guests (Courtyard, probably) trying to press their floor's button, but remaining stationary, having not performed the Pentagon-like key card security procedures.
I attempt to use my keycard to open a door marked "Associates Only." Access denied.
6:45 pm: I scan my retinas and provide the necessary documents to enter the pool and fitness area. It occurs to me that any cretin Courtyard "guest" with a keycard and a towel is allowed to use the same ab station workout machine as me, and I nearly throw up in a cabana.
7:00 pm: There are three types of music played at the Marriott:
In the lobby: Soft trance
In the pool: Pseudo ethnic jazz—I shazamed the song that was playing while I was out there. It was something called Opah Genesis (Kadregah Project Mix)
In the gym: Music that comedian Jerrod Carmichael refers to as "Triumphant White People Music" (Coldplay)
7:10 pm: Really hoping the Granny Smith I swiped from a fruit bowl in the gym isn't rigged to some minibar sensor set to automatically charge my room.
7:25 pm: I stare down everyone in the elevator and common areas to sniff out the Courtyarders. Thankfully they're all in their rooms, no doubt perplexed by the iron or telephone.
7:30 pm: Back in the room. Finally try the TV. Surprisingly, there's some great death metal options on the TV's internet radio.
7:40 pm: Get fed up. Leave the room again.
7:50 pm: There's a big ass screen on the side of the hotel. It'll probably show ads someday, but right now it's the world largest screensaver.
Some idiots take their picture in front of it.
8:00 pm: LA LIVE, BABY!!!!!!!!
This is presumably the reason you're staying at this particular Marriott location. Perhaps you are attending this years SummerSlam or have tickets to some kind of New Year's Eve show featuring old doughy white comedians singing Blues music.
Or maybe you LOVE Las Vegas, but hate gambling and lax open container laws. Well you're in the right place. Be there 30,000 people at LA Live or 30, you can expect the same kind of bewildering energy consumption and LED screen saturation that has made this the HOTTEST designation for people specifically going to and coming from an event at the Staples Center.
You WILL have 500 beers to choose from. You WILL eat a cheese quesadilla.
8:15 pm: I have a beer at the Yard House with my girlfriend and confess the hotel's sterile, soulless atmosphere may be driving me crazy. She assures me the Marriott will get some character and soul soon enough. "No one's even died there yet."
8:30 pm: Everything I've seen today is "new" and "nice" and sometimes even "neat," but the idea that this is the Los Angeles that an out of towner is going to experience is profoundly bumming me out.
8:50 pm: The amount of ESPNs surrounding me has nearly shut down my ability to think or communicate. I've reached LA Live critical mass. Need culture, fast.
9:00 pm: At the Pantry Cafe now, breathing much easier.
This is where Downtown LA begins. Sitting down at the counter, I wolf down a staggering mound of complimentary cole slaw (now THAT'S an amenity!), so much so I don't mind that the guy next to me has stolen my complimentary half loaf of bread.
I order a French dip, the sandwich created less than a mile away, at either Cole's or Philippe's, depending on which website's "about us" page you prefer. Either way, the French dip is an LA sandwich. It wasn't created by committee or cloned from another franchise. It's simple and for everyone. It was just a meat sandwich that some dude dropped in broth and thought, "we got something here." This is exactly what I need to bring me back to my humble reality.
Here, sitting in the Pantry, a restaurant so old that the floor is worn down by an inch in front of the cash register from foot traffic, I'd gladly sit and share a French dip sandwich with anyone, even an inbred, shitstain Courtyard Marriott guest.
Postscript: It's come to my attention that most hotel write-ups do not regularly attempt to incite a class war between the highest-paying guests and the slightly less high-paying. Please disregard all disparaging comments directed at Marriott Courtyard patrons. —Jeff Wattenhofer
· Inside South Park's Brand New Double Marriott Hotels [Curbed LA]