The Standard Downtown LA

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 February, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 February, 2004, 12:00am

Where? In Los Angeles business district, 24km from the beach.

Suits suits, then? It's also hugely popular with LA's pretty people, who throng the lobby come nightfall in the hope of getting into the rooftop bar. (Of course, if you're staying at the hotel, you can zip straight past the wannabes in a private lift.)

What's all the fuss about? With an infinity pool, chilli-red Astroturf, hip DJs and movies projected onto nearby buildings, this place is seriously slinky. And if the height doesn't make you dizzy, the scene will.

Tell us more ... Vibrating water beds, kinky canoodling pods, massage tables and waitresses dressed as cheerleaders ensure total enjoyment at the weekly pool party. Austin Powers would be in his element.

Certainly sounds groovy? Originally the headquarters of Superior Oil, this 1950s office block was redesigned by hip hotelier Andre Balzas (LA's Chateau Marmont, The Standard in Hollywood, The Mercer in New York) and combines 1960s motel chic with oodles of irony.

Examples, please? Verner Panton chairs, photomurals, the odd topiary dog and an eye-popping palette decorate the public spaces, while the 207 guests rooms are categorised into 'Cheap', 'Humungous' and 'Wow'.

Are the rooms similarly psychedelic? Although some have stripy walls, the decor in the guest quarters is much more subdued, with 2.4-metre beds on grey carpeted platforms, tubs big enough for two and floor-to-ceiling windows framing Blade Runner vistas.

Who goes there? Moby, Donovan Leitch, Ione Skye, Thora Birch, Mena Suvari, China Chow, Kirsten Dunst and Claire Danes.

Talk us through the tucker ... International 'comfort food' (salads, pork loin with mashed potatoes, banana splits) is served at the totally retro diner, complete with daffodil-yellow seating booths and 70s wallpaper.

Anything else we should know? The mini-bars are stocked with breath mints, bubble bath and prophylactics: perfect for punters on the pull.

Cheap room US$99; Medium room US$135; Large room US$165, 'Wow' US$325; 'Humungous' US$275 per night. South Flower Street, Los Angeles, California 90071, tel: [1] 213 892 8080;