Los Angeles' Fairmont Century Plaza reopens after five years

Hotels don't come much more storied than LA's just-opened Fairmont Century Plaza.

Cash-strapped in 1961 after a string of expensive movie flops, 20th Century Fox sold off 73 hectares of its Los Angeles studio lot, from which developers created a whole new suburb, Century City, 16 kilometres west of Downtown. The jewel in the crown was the striking arc-shaped hotel, the Century Plaza, designed by famed American architect Minoru Yamasaki, whose body of work included the original World Trade Centre in New York.

Glamorous from the get-go when it opened in 1966, the Century Plaza hosted the Oscars, astronauts and actors, harboured rock stars and royalty, and provided a home for US presidents – Ronald Reagan's frequent visits saw it dubbed "the Western Whitehouse".

Closed in 2016 after a $US2.5 billion development of the surrounding precinct as a mixed-use zone, and a significant renovation of its own, the hotel has reopened as the Fairmont Century Plaza.

Now with 400 rooms (a reduction from the 700-plus of the original), all with balconies, the hotel offers lavish suites and 63 privately-owned Fairmont residential apartments.

The mid-century beauty of the piece remains but architects Yabu Pushelberg (credentials include many high-end hotel and retail projects) pared back, opened up and brought green in.

The lobby now has floor-to-ceiling windows that retract into the floor, making the space open-air, while banks of plants, water features and extensive use of stone and timber create serenity.

There's still plenty of glamour, with a French brasserie on site, a seductive bar with a long counter made of zinc and a nine-treatment room spa as well as a requisite-for-Hollywood rooftop pool.

As to its star power, the hotel's massive ballroom has already hosted several award-season events and its celebrity guests can sneak in unseen via a private driveway.

Advertisement

From $978 a night. See fairmontcenturyplaza.com

IN OTHER NEWS

Cunard is set to have four ships at sea for the first time this century. The recently christened Queen Anne will be Cunard's 249th ship and is due to launch in 2024, making up the first quartet of Cunard ships afloat since 1999, alongside Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth. Queen Anne's maiden season will go on sale in May. See cunard.com

Travelling to the Red Centre can be a big commitment but for this year's Parrtjima – A Festival in Light in the MacDonnell Ranges, NT Now by Holidays of Australia, in conjunction with Tourism Central Australia, is offering weekends away flying direct from Sydney or Melbourne to Alice Springs including accommodation, some meals and time at Parrtjima. The spectacular Indigenous festival runs from April 8-17. The Sydney departure is on April 8 and Melbourne April 15. Packages from $2599 a person. See ntnow.com.au

London's new Crossrail, or Elizabeth line, is set to open mid-2022 – albeit four years late and $7.5 billion over budget. Tests are now running successfully on the historically problem-plagued $36 billion train route. For travellers, the line directly links Heathrow Airport with Essex, Berkshire, Shenfield, the city and more.

In March, after two years of extensive restoration, the Kingdom of Bhutan will reopen the historic Trans Bhutan Trail for the first time in 60 years. From April 2022, international tourists will be able to walk the trail and G Adventures, has been selected by the Bhutan Canada Foundation, the non-profit that led the restoration of the trail, as the first group adventure operator on it. There are two itineraries available. See gadventures.com

Comments