Address: 506 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles / CA 90071-2602 „
Another work trip recently meant I was jetting off to California and to say I was excited was an understatement! Faced with a hectic and packed but, fun itinerary I was scheduled to be staying in many hotels during my time in California and the first one was this hotel, the Millennium Biltmore located in downtown LA. I had no idea what to expect as it is not a hotel I deal with in my job so I had a completely open mind and after a long journey from the UK, I was pleased to say that on first impression I was pleasantly surprised by the hotel and couldn't wait to do some relaxing although I didn't have much time straight away to completely get settled as we were straight out after dumping our bags!
The hotel is officially 4* and has a staggering 683 rooms. Located on Grand Avenue in Downtown LA and within reasonable distance from the hotel are numerous attractions, such as LA live and the Grammy Museum and also the Staples centre and Walt Disney concert hall. Also one block away is the subway where you can easily access Hollywood and Universal.
You can enter the hotel from all 4 sides it seems - three pedestrian entrances and also a drop off entrance for cars. We came by the car entrance coming straight from the airport and it was easy to see even at local time of nearly 9pm it was still busy with guests coming and going. There were many bell boys floating around but, most of us declined luggage help as we had only 25 minutes to freshen up and meet back downstairs.
The hotel itself looks plush and you can tell it is a high standard of 4* - I would describe it as a classically elegant hotel with high ceilings covered in ornate designs and with marble floors that gleam. Overall first impressions was in a nutshell 'Oooooooh!'
I had a room on the 8th floor and I liked that all the communal areas and more importantly the corridors to the rooms were brightly lit and also nice and wide. There was a set of two lifts located in the lobby across from reception. These were the only lifts I saw during my stay so I am not sure if there are any more around the hotel. However they never seemed busy that it took ages to get up or down so I cannot complain about only seeing two lifts!
The doors to the rooms are quite big and are opened using the usual key card - entering the room I had a small corridor with a decent sized marble bathroom to my left and then a large square shaped room where the huge king bed took up residence. There was a long chest of drawers opposite the bed which had a flat screen TV located on top and a coffee maker. Next to this was a rather nice cushioned chair and on either side of the bed a bedside table. To one side of the bed there was then also a desk with chair and all the usual amenities like pad, pen and hotel guide. A rather plush looking mirror was hung on the wall too making the room probably feel even bigger than it already was. A feature I particularly liked was that the windows not only had the usual curtains which were tied back but, also white wooden shutter blinds. I felt this gave an extra cover of darkness, blocked out more noise and also added a nice overall touch to the room.
The bathroom did come equipped with a tub and shower over it and also the usual toiletries of shampoo, conditioner and body lotion. Again there was a nice and rather large mirror in here across one wall which also made the bathroom feel bigger than it actually was. Just opposite the bathroom door was a closet with wooden shutter doors - in here was the ironing board and iron and a clothes rail and also the safe.
I was quite pleased with this room as I saw a couple of my colleagues and some were shaped differently so therefore, didn't seem as big. Overall the room got a big thumbs up from me!
The hotel, as you would expect from such a large hotel of this standard had plenty of extra facilities on site. The main one was the huge function room. I really am doing it no justice calling it this though as it really is more of a grand ballroom! Many years back the first ever Oscar ceremonies were held here and there are old black and white pictures showing off the ballroom packed with celebrities. Now this room can be used for weddings and other private parties. If guests require a smaller function rooms then the hotel also has a smaller boardroom that can be hired and also an exhibit hall. There is also a business centre which is open 24hrs and has printers, fax machines and copiers as well as a few comfortable areas to relax with colleagues.
Food and drink:
We stayed on a bed and breakfast basis and breakfast was served in the Smeraldi's restaurant which is located on the lower level of the hotel. The breakfast room is elegant looking and is bright and spacious. When we arrived down for breakfast we were asked for our room number and then seated by a waitress who then brought us a menu. We all however opted to have the buffet so were advised we could just make our way up when we wished to help ourselves. There was the usual cereals and pastries and also muffins and toast and then there was also the hot food which included sausage, bacon and eggs of which could be cooked by the chef to your liking. Overall I thought breakfast was delicious and the setting was nice as it wasn't really crowded so it was a calm environment to enjoy breakfast in! However we had breakfast already included and if you weren't to already have it included in your room rates it will set you back a hefty $25per person so, due to the cost, most guests would probably skip the hotels breakfast unless it was already included in the cost of the room! As nice as it was, I wouldn't pay that much for breakfast!
During the day Smeraldi's also serves a lunch menu which includes a buffet which changes depending on the days of the week. If this doesn't float your boat then the hotel also has two other restaurants including 'Sai Sai' an Asian restaurant and 'La Bistecca' which is an Italian restaurant. The hotel also serves afternoon tea in the Rendezvous Court and if you like to have a drink of the evening in the hotel then there is a gallery bar and Cognac room where they usually have live entertainment on both Friday and Saturday nights. Expect prices to be of a higher price tag with cocktails for example starting at around $16 each.
I thankfully had this room paid for by my hosts for the trip but, room rates start at around $200 per night. If you are driving you can get specials including parking and breakfast which work out cheaper than paying for both separately and a room with parking and breakfast included for two adults would only be around $40 dollars more which means you have saved on the cost of paying for breakfast once you there straight away and then also got parking included.
I thought the hotel was lovely and very elegant and if I was told I was to be staying there again (already paid for of course!) then I would be happy to and would not be disappointed - however if I was picking my own hotel it probably wouldn't be this one as it is, in my opinion, more suited to a business client who needs to either be within the business district which surrounds the immediate area of the hotel or wants the corporate facilities of the hotel. Rooms are nice and big, beds comfortable, facilities brilliant and staff very good - there is nothing I can really fault and if you do love elegant and classy hotels then this would be right up your street! For conferences or very large private events it would be a dream for clients fitting over 950 people in their largest room and with the amount of rooms the hotel has it would be also easy to accommodate everybody on site so again it gets top marks for this too. So overall I really cannot give the hotel any less than 5 stars in my opinion.