Design Destination | Downtown L.A. Proper by Kelly Wearstler

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    The Downtown L.A. Proper hotel by multidisciplinary creative Kelly Wearstler sees the soulful rendition of a 13-story Renaissance Revival-style building in the heart of Los Angeles.

    Designed in 1926 by architects Curlett and Beelman, this unique Californian landmark had lived many lives before the Proper Hospitality’s intervention; first, a private members club for the elite in the 1920s, followed by a women’s housing company in the 1960s and finally a 147-room destination hotel in 2021.

    Kelly Wearstler has translated this storied past into a spirited and eclectic hospitality offering, lifting design cues from Mexican modernism with layers of Spanish, Portuguese and Moroccan influences. After recently visiting the brand’s Santa Monica outpost, we’re venturing south to LA’s city centre to experience the boutique hotel and uncover how the vibrant city was a muse throughout the design process.

    The Location

    Set against a backdrop of city lights and stars, the Downtown L.A. Proper is nestled conveniently in Los Angeles’ creative hub, adjacent to both the Fashion and South Park Districts. Art Deco buildings, palace theatres, shopping strips and more than enough bars and restaurants surround the hotel. Be it by complimentary bicycle or on foot, you’re also a hop, skip and jump away from the city’s museums, sports complexes and concert halls, letting you soak up all that LA has to offer.

    The Interior

    Drawing inspiration from Downtown L.A.’s Hispanic community and Spanish mission-style architectural influences, Kelly Wearstler cultivated an interior palette with colour, texture and pattern. Like the Santa Monica Proper, Kelly sourced vintage furniture, lighting and rugs from across the globe and paired them with new pieces upholstered in her signature printed fabrics. Large-scale artworks commissioned by local artists are around every corner; stained glass doorways by Judson Studios, the Mexican folklore scene by Abel Macias in the entrance and a ceramic mural by Ben Medansky in the indoor pool, to name a few.

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    A Mexican folklore scene by Abel Macias adorns the curved archway.

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    The Amenities

    The hotel’s in-house restaurant, Caldo Verde, serves Portuguese-inspired dishes fused with contemporary Southern Californian flavours on the ground floor. Upstairs at Cara Cara, the rooftop lounge, guests can sit by the fire pit and enjoy the sweeping views of the iconic CBD skyline. As with all Proper hotels, each suite is complete with a full kit of Aesop skincare, Kelly Wearstler-designed throws and bathrobes and Fili D’oro linen, sourced from Northern Italy.

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    Ben Medansky’s ceramic mural

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THE LOOK