by Alex Palmer | May 10, 2018

Tourism business is booming in Los Angeles. L.A. County recently set a tourism record, with 48.5 million tourists arriving in 2017, bringing $22.7 billion into the local economy, according to the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board. But visitor numbers aren't the only records L.A. is breaking. From new builds to the newly completed tallest building in the city, this destination is fast expanding while laying the groundwork for more long-term growth.

Los Angeles Mayor Gil Garcetti laid out a "28 by '28" plan - to have 28 transit projects completed by 2028, when the city will stand in the international spotlight as host of the Summer Olympics. These include the Crenshaw Light Rail Line connecting to the Los Angeles International Airport, as well as a Purple Line extension to Westwood and the UCLA campus, where the Olympic Village will be based. The city also passed Measure M, which lays out plans to raise $120 billion over the next 40 years to build a first-class public transportation system. A $5.5 billion people mover that was supposed to debut in 2028 and will now be completed by 2024. 

Earlier this year, the Banc of California Stadium, home to the Major League Soccer team the Los Angeles Football Club, opened. It's the first open-air stadium in the city since 1962 and offers a number of meetings spaces, including the Sunset Deck (with views of downtown and the Hollywood Sign), the exclusive Field Level Club, and expansive Founders Club. 

The city currently has 66 hotel projects in the pipeline and will add another 9,500 rooms to the inventory by 2020. New hotels have opened their doors throughout the city, from the boutique Native Hotel in Malibu to 152-room CAMBRiA LAX in El Segundo. Hollywood has recently seen the opening of both the chic Dream Hollywood Hotel and Kimpton Everly Hotel. Paying tribute to its Beachwood Canyon neighborhood, this 216-room property exudes a laidback California vibe, from its 2,200-square-foot Beachwood Ballroom to the healthy-but-delicious eats at the sunlit Jane Q coffee bar and restaurant.

Downtown Draws

But the biggest action is happening in the city's Downtown, with last summer's opening of the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown. It's set in the Wilshire Grand building in the center of Downtown, which rises 73 stories and 1,100 feet above street level, making it the tallest building in the city (beating out the U.S. Bank Tower that has held that record since 1989). The property fully showcases its position at the top of the world: Guests check in on the 70th floor at the Sky Lobby, and are greeted by what might be the best view in the city, looking out far into the distance and down on the helicopter pads of the many rooftops below.

The view is a key feature of the property's 889 guest rooms, all of which feature floor-to-ceiling windows (even the lobby bathroom is worth a visit for the impressive view). When not looking out the windows, guests can take in the Southern California design touches in their rooms and try out the impressive in-room amenities. For higher-end experiences, the InterContinental offers 109 suites, with Le Labo toiletries and even-more spacious design. It also offers Club rooms and suites, giving guests exclusive check-in privileges, complimentary internet, and access to Club InterContinental. 

The property boasts 100,000 square feet of meeting space (28,437 square feet of it outdoors), with a number of unique meeting spaces including the more than 20,000-square-foot Wilshire Ballroom -- with an almost 19,000-square-foot pre-function area -- and 33 meeting rooms ranging in size. One particularly attractive meeting choice for visiting groups is the 2,300-square-foot Sky Deck private area on the property's 73rd floor, adjacent to the hip rooftop bar, Spire 73 -- the tallest open-air bar in the Western Hemisphere. 

While Spire 73 serves up plenty of elevated bar snacks, those looking for a more substantial meal can pay a visit to one of the InterContinental's restaurants, including French steakhouse La Boucherie (home to a "wine tunnel" with capacity for 1,200 bottles and which includes a number of private dining rooms ideal for smaller gatherings). There is also the eye-popping buffet as well as a la carte offering for three meals a day at Dekkadance or fresh sushi delivered via conveyor belt at Sora. 

This being Los Angeles, a great pool is a must, and the InterContinental has this covered on its seventh floor (conveniently close to the property's meeting rooms). The open-air deck offers cabanas, a hot tub, fire pits, and a full-service bar and restaurant, along with -- you guessed it -- terrific views of the city.

If heights are what your group craves, they should also set aside time to check out OUE Skyspace LA, that rises 1,000 feet above the city (making it the tallest open-air deck in the state), with a 360-degree, all-glass observation deck. Visitors can learn a bit about the landmarks they can spot from that vantage point through a new interactive exhibit featuring comedian and Los Angeles native George Lopez. If they're feeling brave, attendees can also slide down the all-glass Skyslide that gives them the chance to look down 69 stories as they go, with nothing but clear glass below.

A bit closer to ground level is the Hotel Indigo Los Angeles Downtown, which brings a glamorous, classic Hollywood feel and cutting-edge amenities and A/V offerings to its 350 rooms. Visitors can take advantage of its offering more than 22,000 square feet of customizable meeting space over 12 meeting rooms, outdoor terraces, as well as a roof top lounge, and pool deck. Its Orpheum Ballroom can hold up to 425 attendees, theater-style, while its Metropolitan room holds up to 220.