The Grand Canyon. Mount Everest. The Marianas Trench. So long as it’s the widest, the tallest, the deepest—you’re there. Superlatives are your favorite kind of word, which is why you’re at the spectacular new InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown at the Wilshire Grand Center, a dazzling $1.35-billion skyscraper whose 73 stories make it the tallest building west of the Mississippi.
You enter through the tasteful porte-cochère on the main entrance on 7th Street, a few blocks from L.A. LIVE. You take an elevator up to the 70th floor lobby, and are greeted by the most spectacular view of Los Angeles you have ever seen. You knew you wanted a room with a view, and boy, did you get one—this has to be the most epic urban panorama in the entire Western seaboard.
Looking out across the city from this height, you’re titillated by the grandeur, the vast city and all the possibility it promises. Never before have you felt so big, and yet so small—you’re going to need a drink to parse these dizzying thoughts. So you visit the hotel’s rooftop bar, Spire 73, the tallest open-air bar in the Western Hemisphere, where a crowd of business types relax, talking bitcoin and tech, high among the clouds of Downtown Los Angeles.
Protected from the wind by tall glass panels, you settle into one of the cabanas and order a Seoul Margarita (the hotel was built by Korean Air’s parent company). The air is fresh and cool at this altitude; beneath you, the helipads of Downtown L.A, and you’re eye-to-eye with the Aon building, once the tallest on the West Coast. A helicopter buzzes by and you wave at the pilot—is that Oprah? She waves back.
The sky begins to fill with shades of copper and fuchsia—you’ve seen some pretty spectacular L.A. sunsets before, but this may be the most epic sundown light show you’ve ever seen. As sky darkens and the stars emerge, you realize that you’ve forgotten to eat.
Two floors down there’s the French steakhouse, La Boucherie on 71, with its charcuterie and cheese vault.
Connected to it by a spiral staircase is Dekkadance, the Vegas-style buffet where dinner is $55 per person, and Sora, where sushi and raindrop cake travel on revolving conveyor belts.
After some mile-high dining, there’s one more thing on your mind. Something you’ve never tried before, not at this altitude. So you head for the glass wall urinal in the men’s bathroom—there’s something incredibly satisfying about relieving yourself while watching a 747 cruise by on its approach to LAX. It makes you think of the pyramids of Giza, a wonder of the world and how maybe, hundreds of years from now, someone just like you will be standing at this urinal, in a wonder of the world, looking at the stars, smiling.
InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown
900 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90017