Hotel Review: The InterContinental Century City proves a comfortable hideaway amongst the glitz and glamour of Hollywood

It’s the weekend of the Oscars. There’s a buzz in the air as I check into the InterContinental Century City with ease – and just a slight delay as they finish preparing my room, which was unexpected considering my early morning arrival (common for Australian travellers).

The hotel has a definite sense of glamour as you walk in to its well presented lobby, with its on site restaurant and bar in front of you, a ballroom to the right (which would be hosting an Oscars party of its own) and a comfortable atmosphere that the InterContinental brand is known for. And extra touches like fire out the front at night, and a sizeable chandelier to greet you, that feels very much the Southern Californian aesthetic.

Century City may not be a part of Los Angeles well known to those unfamiliar with the area, but it really is as central a destination as you can get in the area; and a comparatively quieter one. On my Saturday morning arrival, it took about 35 minutes to get to the hotel from the airport. And if you want some perspective on its location, it will take you about 15 minutes to drive to Santa Monica, or 25 minutes to get Downtown or to Hollywood, depending on traffic. Beverly Hills, meanwhile, is just a few minutes up the road.

Situated right next to Fox Studios (with my hotel room looking over its illustrious stages), and a 15 minute walk from the Westfield Century City (a spacious, well designed shopping mall filled with a great variety of dining options), the hotel is currently celebrating its 30th anniversary. My hotel room, however, felt fresh both in its design and levels of comfort. My room was a One Bedroom Executive Balcony Suite, with a King Bed, a comfortable living area, and a spacious bathroom.

With a mattress as comfortable as they come (and don’t get me started on the pillows), the bedroom had everything you could need, with plenty of lighting, storage and plugs (both USB and AC) to charge your devices – including some on the side tables, which is a must for any hotel. The design was refined, with a blend of hotel luxury and the comforts of home. A large smart flat screen TV with no less than 70 live channels – including HBO and the ability to cast from your phone – sat at the end of the bed, as did a second one in the living area. On demand movies were also available for a fee.

The large living area had comfortable couches and a round, glass table that looked onto a large wall-mounted television. The bedroom’s massive bathroom en-suite, meanwhile, could be accessed from the living room or the bedroom, and came complete with a bath and shower.

In the bathroom you’d find comfortable robes to enjoy within your space, or to take to the hotel’s impressive pool, as well as Agaria toiletries and boxes that were full of just about everything you could possibly need. Forget a toothbrush? Shaving kit? Nail file? Comb? If you need it, it’s probably sitting there waiting for you – all provided with compliments. This, combined with extra touches like the tissues coming out of the tissue box made into a flower, were the sorts of details that give the room its charm, and make InterContinental the world class hotel it’s known as.

As you approach the balcony, accessible from the living area, you’ll find a work desk, with more USB and AC charges, and opposite this are drawers and a mini bar filled with the usual treats, and a self service coffee station. The balcony, meanwhile, had a couple of chairs and a table, and I was lucky enough to be in a room that overlooked Fox Studios and onto Santa Monica and Westwood. I highly recommend sitting on the balcony for sunset – it’s a beautiful sight.

And what about dining? The on site Mari Restaurant does a breakfast buffet for $30 until 11am and also serves an al a carte menu. You’ll find omelettes from $19, avocado toast for $14, eggs Benedict from $19 and all the usual trimmings; cereals, waffles, fruit… you name it. There’s even a Japanese Breakfast option (which mirrors their dinner menu) with grilled salmon and miso soup for $28. I tried the Prosciutto Benedict while I waited for my room to be ready – which came on English muffin with a side of hash browns. The meal was phenomenal – so I’d definitely recommend enjoying Mari as often as you can during your stay.

Their a la carte menu also doubles as the Breakfast Room Service menu you can leave on your door to enjoy as you wake up, and the menu can also be enjoyed in the Copper Lounge, which is the bar you’ll see as you enter the hotel.

At dinner time (5.30pm to 10pm), meanwhile, Mari blends together Californian and Japanese flavours for a unique menu that sees the restaurant fill up with more than just hotel guests – it seemed a popular spot for locals, too, with a variety of regulars in the room when I dined, sparking up conversation with the wonderful staff as though they’ve known them for a lifetime. Given the hotel has been here for 30 years, it’s possible that they have – though Mari only emerged in 2016.

Here’s a look at some of the highlights of the menu:

Of the starters, the Brussels Sprouts ($12) with Yuzu Vinaigrette and Pistachios is the unbeatable highlight – both in price and quality. It’s hard to stop eating them – but make sure you save enough room for your mains!
The Short Rib Pinkabet ($29) is the highlight of the menu, with Short Rib that literally melts in your mouth. It’s served with Kabocha Squash, Bitter Melon, Eggplant, Haricot Vert, Okra and Coconut Cream Sauce, delivering a unique and unbeatable blend of flavours.
And finally, the White Chocolate Namelaka ($10) – which is a sort of pannacotta with a breaded base (the word means “creamy texture” in Japanese) – served with Raspberry, Rose, Pistachio and Lychee. It’s a beautiful and light way to end a magnificent meal.

The service was fantastic, and they served warm, tasty bread rolls to your table as soon as you sat down, a common element of US restaurants I love. They also present a spectacular cocktail menu, and an extensive wine list. Of the cocktails you might want to consider the “Australian Daisy”, with Don Juilo Tequila, Cointreau and fresh Yuzu Juice shaken and served on the rocks with lime zested foam. The menu says that the cocktail was inspired by the InterContinental in Sydney. You’ll also find cocktails like the “Argentine Libra” inspired by the InterContinental Buenos Aires (this one is Rum based), and the “British Bellringer” (Gin based), inspired by… you guessed it, the InterContinental London Park Lane.

At the time I dined, the restaurant also offered an impressively affordable “Prix Fixe Dinner” for $39 a person. It’s three courses, and considering this includes the Short Rib, the Namelaka and other great options like the Chicken Katsu or the Lobster and Shrimp Ravioli, it’s amazing value.

With all that great food (it truly is wonderful to have dining this strong on site), and a comfortable stay (did I mention how painfully comfortable the pillows were!?), this is a hard hotel to leave. Thankfully, a friendly Noon check out ensures that you won’t have to rush out too quickly. And suffice it to say, if you stay here once, you will be sure to come back again.

The InterContinental Hotel Century City is located 2151 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles, California 90067. For more details on the hotel, head HERE, and for more details on Mari Restaurant, head HERE. You can also book a night at the hotel at booking.com.

The author dined as a guest of Mari for dinner, and stayed as a guest of the hotel for two nights in March 2018.