The Westin Bonaventure Hotel has just donned a more practical and happier face.
As part of a $3.5-million renovation begun last fall, its principal entrance has been changed from traffic-oriented Figueroa Street to "pedestrian-friendly" Flower Street.
Stanley P. Steinberg, general partner of the Los Angeles Bonaventure Co. Inc., believes the new entry significantly strengthens the aesthetic and functional relationship between the hotel and the downtown community.
One of First Projects
The hotel opened in December of 1976 and was one of the first projects to be built within the Bunker Hill Redevelopment Area. Steinberg is also associated with John Portman & Associates, Atlanta, the architect and developer of the hotel and its new entry.
The decision to focus on Flower Street as the primary entry, Steinberg said, represents an "about face" in terms of the city's past Community Redevelopment Administration policies and the hotel's operating reality.
The Bonaventure Hotel was designed during an era when the prevailing opinion among Los Angeles urban planners was that streets should be devoted primarily to vehicular traffic, and that pedestrian traffic should be accommodated through a network of elevated walkways between buildings.
A major phase of improvements, still to come, includes construction of a large lobby-level bar adjacent to the new entrance, upgrading the 9,000-square-foot Catalina Ballroom, all the lobby meeting rooms and the corridor.
Renovation so far has improved curb-side check-in and includes a new check-in and check-out facility for corporate guests, in addition to the new retail space which makes the Flower Street corridor more open and accessible to the public.
New canopies and marquees accent the grand entry and retail shops. Of special architectural interest at the entrance is a glass skylight supported by a lighted bronze grid system.
Direct access is now provided from street level to patrons of the Sidewalk Cafe and Beaudry's restaurant on the lobby level and the newly refurbished Top of Five restaurant and BonaVista Lounge.
Brass planters filled with fresh flowering plants, polished brass railings and extensive use of glass contrast the Portuguese mauve-toned marble flooring and wall treatments.
The Westin Bonaventure is managed by Westin Hotels, Seattle. Dinwiddie Construction Co. is the general contractor for the renovation project.