Built in 1976, the 35-story Bonaventure is a futuristic structure, and the city's largest hotel. Made up of five cylindrical, mirrored-glass towers; it looks like something straight out of a science fiction movie, with glass elevators shooting up through the roof of the lobby and racing up the sides of the glistening high-rise. Visible from the Harbor Freeway, it is one of the most recognizable buildings on the downtown horizon, along with City Hall and the Music Center. In fact, it is one of the ten most-photographed buildings in the world.
The most memorable recent production shot at the hotel was Clint Eastwood's 1993 thriller, "In The Line of Fire." We got to see Clint pursue a would-be presidential assassin (John Malkovich) through the hotel's lobby, and up in the hotel's glass elevators.
Speaking of those glass elevators... Remember the
scene in 1994's "True Lies"
where Arnold Schwarzenegger rides
a horse into an elevator? Well, that was shot at the Bonaventure. And yes,
they actually took a live horse into one of the elevators for one shot.
(Other angles were shot using a mechanical horse, and an elevator set.)
The hotel has a rooftop lounge which actually revolves. It's called the Bona Vista Lounge, and is located on the hotel's top (35th) floor. This restaurant was the setting for the 1980's TV sitcom, "It's a Living" (which starred Ann Jillian and Crystal Bernard as waitresses), and the revolving lounge was also seen in "In the Line of Fire." As you might expect, the lounge offers a great view of the city below, as does the hotel's other restaurant, the "LA Prime."
Unfortunately, the hotel's interior can't quite match its dramatic exterior.
Not for any lack of trying, mind you. Inside this huge 1470-room hotel, you'll find a expansive, circular, six-level lobby; a towering 5-acre indoor atrium containing a shopping complex, restaurants, bars, an indoor "lake" and fountains (not to mention those space-age elevators). On Sundays, they throw a wonderful brunch in this hotel lobby, complete with strolling musicians.
Yet, there is a sterile feel to the Bonaventure Hotel's vast lobby. The color scheme alone is alienating (a drab concrete-gray stone with brown leather seating areas), the decor lacks warmth, and the narrow pedestrian walkways weave a confusing course around the edges of the circular lobby, making casual strolling difficult.
Rooms go for $157 to $195.
The hotel is definitely worth
visiting once while you're in downtown, but keep your expectations low.
Its primary attraction is its glimmering, high-tech exterior. If you're
looking for an equally gorgeous interior, you'd do better to check
out the nearby Biltmore Hotel (at 5th & Grand) with its spectacular
Getting there: The Bonaventure Hotel takes up an entire block of downtown Los Angeles, just east of the Harbor (110) Freeway. It's bounded by 4th Street on the north, 5th Street on the south, Flower Street on the east and Figueroa Street on the west. The hotel's main entrance is on the west side of the hotel, facing Figueroa Street (near 5th Street). With its mirrored-glass cylinders, it's hard to miss. / From the Harbor (110) Freeway, take the 6th Street exit. Turn left (north) from 6th Street onto Figueroa, and go two blocks north to the hotel.
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