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JW Marriott L.A. Live time spent living like a blog star

Upfront: I was invited to a Marriott Rewards Loyalty Forum with about 15 bloggers and social media people working in the travel loyalty programs space. I stayed one night in a junior suite at J.W. Marriott Los Angeles L.A. Live on February 24. Marriott Rewards covered cost for round trip economy ticket Alaska Airlines Monterey to Los Angeles, LAX airport transportation and meals. They even got me into the Grammy Museum for free.  I had a whirlwind 40-hour trip to downtown Los Angeles from Monterey in time spent living like a blog star.

J.W. Marriott Los Angeles L.A. Live and Ritz-Carlton Los Angeles

J.W. Marriott Los Angeles L.A. Live and Ritz-Carlton Los Angeles were one of the cornerstone projects of the L.A. Live entertainment complex built to revitalize historic downtown Los Angeles.

L.A. Live opened in 2007 across from the Staples Center sports arena (1999). Staples Center is home to the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers NBA basketball teams and LA Kings NHL hockey team and WNBA Los Angeles Sparks. Staples Center was built adjacent to the Los Angeles Convention Center (1971) and L.A. Live was built adjacent to Staples Center as an entertainment district with concert theaters, movie theaters, restaurants, The Grammy Museum and two luxury hotels with JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. Live and Ritz-Carlton Los Angeles and Residences.

JW Marriott

Something so L.A. for me seeing a multi-story Michelob beer ad on the side of a luxury hotel. Ritz-Carlton is the taller building.

JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. Live is a hotel I was inside several times in the space of 15 months when I attended three big travel and hotel industry conferences in 2011 to 2013. I was familiar with the lobby and meeting space, but never actually had been inside a guest room before on any of those hotel visits.

I arrived at the hotel 8:30am. The room was not ready. The receptionist told me the wait should be short and I would get a text when the room was ready. I’ll share the hotel information first and finish this post on the reality I have seen in my visits as a tourist to downtown Los Angeles.

JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. Live Junior Suite 13th Floor

JWM LA room-1

The room was insanely large for a solo traveler staying one night. JW Marriott is normally a pricey hotel to gain entry and this room would be around $500 per night much of the time. The location is great if you attending a game at Staples Center or seeing a concert at one of the L.A. Live theater venues.

JMW LA room-2

Even before I could finish taking photos of the room I had to check out the 13th floor views.

LA skyscrapers

US Bank Tower (1,018 ft. skyscraper in downtown LA) has been the tallest building in California and the west coast since 1989. The Wilshire Grand Tower is building under construction in the background of my photo will be 1,099 ft. with 73 floors when completed in early 2017. InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown will operate on floors 38 to 70. The hotel already has a functioning website with computer images of the hotel tower. Lower floors will be business offices. Wilshire Grand Tower will have a slanted sail shape roof and be the first non-flat roof among the downtown L.A. skyscrapers. Fire ordinances require flat roofs for helipad, but advance fire safety sprinklers allowed the Wilshore Grand exception. [White skyscraper in my photo is 777 Tower (Pelli Tower) at 52 floors at 725 ft. The original version of this post misidentified the 777 Tower as U.S. Bank Tower.]

JWM Hollywood

Welcome to Hollywood (telephoto lens so objects appear closer than they really are to downtown L.A.).

JW Marriott bed

That bed was dreamy by the time I hit the mattress at 11pm, after having been up since 4am.

JWM living room

Desk was comfortable space to work. I confess that I don’t recall if I ever sat on any other space in room except desk chair. Biggest surprise of all is what I found under the TV cabinet.

JWM refrigerator

I expected to find a refrigerator in cabinet. My surprise was seeing an empty refrigerator in a luxury hotel; my favorite kind of mini-frig in a hotel room.

JWM chairs

Entry room chairs with the Hollywood view.

JWM chest

Coffee and tea in the room.

JWM bath-2

JWM bathroom-1   Walk-in shower and double sinks.

JWM rainshower  Rainshower, hey, it is not like L.A. is part of California drought country.

For me the views were one of the room’s best features.

JWM skyscrapers view sunset

Downtown Los Angeles sunset on skyscrapers.

JWM freeway view

Marriott Los Angeles hotel block: directly across the street from JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. Live is a 23-floor new build hotel opened May 2014 with 174 Courtyard rooms and 219 Residence Inn suites.

JW Marriott Lobby

JW Marriott lobby

JWM lobby-2

The hotel is set up with the conference rooms on an elevated level above the open space lobby.

Meetings Floors

Color lighting changes in the room.

Pool Deck at JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. Live

Floor 4 in JW Marriott LA Live holds the Marriott Executive Lounge and outdoor pool with large deck.

JWM LA logo

JWM pool

JW Marriott-2

JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. Live

JW Marriott has 879 rooms on Floors 3-21 and Ritz-Carlton has 123 rooms on Floors 22-26. Floors 27-52 of the tower are Ritz-Carlton Residences.

Ritz-Carlton LA

J.W. Marriott Los Angeles in personal context

Part of my home towns, after being born near Monterey, California and living here a couple of years was moving to a different town or army base on average once every school year until we returned to the Monterey area when I was in 10th grade. Several of those interspersed years were homes around Covina, California, 25 miles west of Downtown Los Angeles in the San Gabriel Valley of Los Angeles County. Downtown LA was about as familiar a place to this ‘valley boy’ as any other place in the world I had only seen on TV and in films. I was surprised to learn a decade ago the tallest building on the west coast of North America is in Los Angeles, a fact I became aware of when President Bush told America in 2006 they staved off a terrorist attack on the U.S. Bank Building.

2011 was the first time I really experienced downtown Los Angeles as an adult. L.A. Live and more downtown development has gentrified more of the area over the past five years. I was surprised on this Feb 2016 trip at the number of white children in strollers I saw on the sidewalks during my two day stay in downtown LA with a few hours spent walking the streets. Five years ago I ventured east of the Los Angeles Convention Center into the largest homeless camp on the streets of any place in the USA. Google Maps labels the area Skid Row. There are around 10,000 people living across 50 city blocks with half of them homeless on the streets. Skid Row is a world away from JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. Live, but only a 30 minute walk from the hotel.

Loyalty Traveler – J.W. Marriott L.A. Live exemplifies Colbert Advertunities (Nov 8, 2011).

This February 2016 trip I was able to shop at the recently opened Whole Foods Market at 8th and Grand.

Whole Foods

Downtown Los Angeles is gentrifying.

Related Post:

Loyalty Traveler – Marriott Rewards New Music Fridays 10 free downloads


  • Jonathon March 12, 2016

    Wow that’s sweet. I used to live in LA and just like you, I have been in the lobby many times as I’ve often done some pre/post-game drinking inside the hotel lobby. Always wanted to go into one of the rooms, so thanks for taking us inside!

  • McMunch March 13, 2016

    Nice article. As a former Angelino I’ve always had a big problem with LA Live and feel that it is pretty hideous architecturally. The value in my mind lies in the core of downtown where there are spectacular displays of historic buildings and some wonderful new ones as well. I have one correction for you though. You seem to reference the US Bank Building in one of your photos (the one that also shows the Wilshire Grand.). If this is the case, the white building shown is not the US Bank Building but the 777 Tower designed by Cesar Pelli. See more at

    The US Bank Building, also sometimes known as the Library Tower is a spectacular building with a great story. Anyone interested in Los Angeles architecture would do well to visit and perhaps join the Los Angeles Conservancy. They have terrific inexpensive walking tours downtown that really give a wonderful sense of the architecture fabric of this often overlooked city. Visit for more.

    In any case,thanks for your continued excellent work!

  • Ric Garrido March 13, 2016

    @McMunch – thanks for the building identification correction. I’ll change this article to identify the correct building (once I get back to work later today)..

    No excuse for me. I photographed the US Bank Tower in 2011 from ground level. Never saw Downtown LA from the L.A. Live angle before.

Comments are closed.