Let’s face it, hotel gyms can often be afterthoughts - a few sad treadmills and ancient weight machines shoved into the darkest, least inspiring room on the property. For someone like you, who takes fitness very, very seriously—we’re talking possible Olympic aspirations—that won’t fly.
That’s why you’re at the Los Angeles Athletic Club, a hotel-fitness-social club hybrid housed in a historic 12-story Beaux Arts style structure in Downtown L.A. since 1912. The LAAC was founded in September 1880 - legendary members like Charlie Chaplin (who lived and trained at the LAAC), Mary Pickford and Rudolph Valentino once swam laps in the historic Art Deco pool, the first indoor pool in Southern California to be located on an upper floor.
Today, Los Angeles Athletic Club Hotel guests who wish to use the private club facilities are enrolled in the Olive Club membership program. Good for the duration of their stay, the Olive Club membership gives hotel guests access to nine floors of fitness facilities—we’re talking an indoor track, weights, steam room, racquetball, basketball, billiards, saunas, not to mention some of the largest locker rooms you’ve ever seen.
With nearly 100 Olympic medals to their names, LAAC members take their sports as seriously as you do. You wake up in your hotel room, recently renovated by designer Tracy Beckmann, and contemplate the 80,000 square feet of athletic possibilities that await you.
There’s yoga, pilates, kickboxing, handball, aquatics, tai chi, aerobics, water polo — you really wish you could play squash but you don’t have anyone to play with, so you throw on your running shoes and head straight for the banked running track, where you knock out a quick 70 laps (about seven miles) to get your day started. A few hundred laps in the heated Olympic sized pool to practice your butterfly—ten feet deep and boasting gorgeous Art Deco accents, they just don’t make pools like this like this anymore.
You breakfast at Famous Players, the hotel’s upscale bistro, where crepes with blueberry sauce, waffles, scrambled eggs, applewood smoked bacon, and hash browns (not to mention their signature farmers market bowls) more than satiate your ravenous desire for extreme caloric intake, fuel for your sporting fantasies.
As much as you’d love to pump iron all day, there’s simply too much to see in this part of Downtown L.A., so you step outside for the afternoon and take in some of the sights. Within a mile you'll find the decadent Last Bookstore, a tapestry of culinary delights at Grand Central Market, world-class art at The Broad and MOCA, and the breathtaking post modern design of Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall.
You get back to the hotel just in time for sunset, which is best enjoyed from the rooftop that boasts expansive views of the city. Then it's a pre-dinner whiskey cocktail in the Blue Room, with its handcrafted crystal chandeliers, vintage sporting equipment, historic LAAC athletic photos, and antique lockers that evoke the storied heritage of the LAAC.
Then it's a spot of dinner at Invention, the LAAC's jewel of a restaurant where you can enjoy a great steak, beautiful piece of fish or the freshest farm vegetables to the sound of the in-house Jazz Quartet, amid 180-degree views of Downtown L.A. and clubby, upscale surroundings. As the band winds down, you grab one last drink at the bar, whose offerings include cocktails based on pre-prohibition recipes from the LAAC archives.
A fellow athlete strikes up a conversation, and before the night is through, you’ve found a squash partner for the following day. It’s nearly last call, but you make sure to order your new friend another one of those irresistible cocktails nonetheless—that hangover will work to your advantage tomorrow.
Los Angeles Athletic Club Hotel
431 W 7th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90014