Dual-personality design: Moxy & AC arrive in Downtown Los Angeles

Two very different hotels, designed at the same time by leading interior design studio Yabu Pushelberg, are about to open in Los Angeles. Editor Hamish Kilburn, who explored the personalities of each hotel on the Marriott Bonvoy Travel By Design podcast, writes…

Moxy Hotel lobby with snake skin features and low-level furniture

Soaring 37 storeys above Downtown Los Angeles, 727 guestrooms and suites, designed by Yabu Pushelberg, are divided up into two hotels. Like twins, one, AC Hotel Downtown Los Angeles, is a refined, paired-back and tailored design experience, while the other, Moxy Downtown Los Angeles, is the playful, loose and rule-breaking sibling.

On Travel By Design, a podcast by Marriott Bonvoy, I was lucky enough to experience both hotels through the eyes of their designers, George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg (listen bel0w).

“One will never sit down to eat at the proper time, and will throw his [or her] dinner across the room,” joked Yabu. “While the other wants to have a great time but will listen to mummy and daddy.” Pushelberg added: “One responds to the introvert, while the other responds to the extravert.”

Designed to draw in travellers and locals alike, the dual-branded hotel is positioned on the corner of South Figueroa and Pico streets. Connecting two powerful and distinct brands under one roof broadens the property’s appeal to a much wider audience of visitors, including business travellers in town for a conference and young nomads eager to explore an up-and-coming part of the city. Making the destination even more captivating is Level 8, the multi-dimensional concept by Los Angeles’ Houston Hospitality, opening later this spring.

Lightstone, developer of six acclaimed Moxy hotels in New York City and South Beach, was tasked to bring the first Moxy Hotels property to Los Angeles. Moxy’s vibrant energy is perfectly complemented by the elevated, residential aesthetic of the AC Hotels by Marriott brand, which was founded in Madrid.

Both hotels are designed to appeal to independent explorers who are conscious of value, travel on their own terms, and prioritise thoughtful and intriguing design. The 380-key Moxy is for those who want a spirited stay with a broad range of options for socialising and dining, and a cosy but smartly designed room. AC Hotel’s 347 guest rooms caters to a modern, design-conscious traveller who wants the essential elements of an elevated hotel experience at an accessible rate, with its signature AC lounge and AC kitchen and other upscale dining and drinking options at their fingertips, including the sophisticated tapas bar La Lo La Rooftop that is situated on the 34th floor with views stretching across the Hollywood Hills.

Exterior image of Moxy and AC in Downtown LA , overlooking LA skyline

Image credit: Marriott International

The two hotels will share Level 8, the brainchild of hospitality veterans Mark and Jonnie Houston, known for their immersive and wildly successful restaurants and bars across Los Angeles. Comprising eight distinct dining, drinking, and entertainment venues filling the property’s eighth floor and with its own dedicated entrance, Level 8 channels Downtown Los Angeles’ creative energy, paying homage to its diverse cuisines and cultures while providing a stage for some of Los Angeles’ top culinary talent — and dishing it all up with Houston Hospitality’s signature spectacle.

“For today’s traveller, memorable hospitality means great design combined with the ability to choose from an abundance of experiences,” says Mitchell Hochberg, president of real estate developer Lightstone. “By integrating the two hotels, plus Level 8, into a single building, we’re creating a myriad of experiences never before offered in Los Angeles — and keeping it all affordable. It’s a multilayered, endlessly fascinating destination for both locals and visitors.”

In contrast to its retro and lively lobby space, Moxy Downtown LA’s  380 cosy bedrooms are designed to be sanctuaries, welcoming modern nomads with a thoughtful balance of utility and panache. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow the SoCal sunshine to pour in. Distressed leather headboards evoke a well-worn motorcycle jacket, and cryptic markings on the wall reference the ‘hobo hieroglyphics’ used by history’s vagabonds. Adaptable, space-saving furniture and storage solutions allow guests to stake their own claim to the space. Industrial-chic bathrooms, lined in iridescent copper tile, feature a rain shower and an elongated sink carved from lava stone. Hanging on one wall is a sculpture that consists of chrome motorcycle handlebars mounted on a taxidermy-style plaque — a clever amalgamation of the twin desert themes of bikers and wildlife.

Moxy Hotel DTLA corner bedroom

Image credit: Marriott International

AC Hotel’s 347 guestrooms, meanwhile, serve as residence-like respites from the energy of the city, with an open-plan design providing a seamless flow. Platform beds are dressed in crisp linens with a rich leather headboard. An integrated bench, closet, and oversize desk along one wall encourages productivity, while a tufted, geometric rug ensures plushness underfoot. Artwork above each bed depicts swimming pools and iconic Los Angeles buildings radically edited to present a new perspective with a splash of colour. Dividing the living area from the bathroom is a full-height mirror and integrated stone sink and vanity that seems to float over the shelves below.

Wooden sculptures in high level lobby AC Hotels Downtown LA

Image credit: Marriott International

“Bringing together Moxy and AC Hotels allows guests to make the most of their stay while experiencing two very distinct personalities,” said Matthew Boettcher, Vice President and Global Brand Leader of Distinctive Select Brands at Marriott International. “Guests can take advantage of extra amenities, such as the AC Lounge for co-working during the day, while having more whimsical social options with Moxy in the evening.”

With two unique hotels under one roof, guests at Moxy Downtown LA and AC Hotel Downtown LA have access to an astounding 12 dining and drinking options, each celebrating the city’s creative energy and culinary heritage.

Independently, the hotels – like brother and sister – travel in their own lanes. Working together, and sharing the same design approach – or DNA, if you like – they confidently answer to the demands of tomorrow’s modern travellers.

Main image credit: Marriott International