Little Tokyo is always a treat, and the subtly cosmopolitan Miyako places you front and center in the action. A ground-floor Japanese restaurant adds to the appeal, while rooms, though restrained, have more flair than you’d expect from the budget rates.
With 20 properties spread across Japan, mini-chain Miyako is an established brand across the Pacific. This 173-room hotel, plugged right into the center of Little Tokyo, demonstrates the company’s reputation for steady comfort and reliable service. Though unassuming from the outside, Miyako proves it’s a budget option worth committing to. Each of the rooms is a quiet, well-equipped sanctuary to escape the bustle of downtown. Unlike other hotels where all of the rooms fit the same blueprint, at Miyako, the design and decor evolve as you upgrade through each room category (hence: plain furnishings in the standard rooms, and rainfall showers with Bulgari toiletries in the Executive Rooms)—so you get what you pay for, quite literally. The beige and earth tones reinforce a sense of serenity, and there are Asian accents, like paper lantern-style reading lamps and floral cushions, in some of the rooms. Stick around for breakfast at the ground-floor restaurant, Tamon, a traditional Japanese restaurant with a sushi counter and red lacquer bamboo poles—in the morning, it caters to both western and Japanese diets with a full-on breakfast buffet containing staples you would find in any ryokan.
Location: At the eastern edge of Downtown L.A., the Miyako is rooted in Little Tokyo—which offers myriad gift shops, bakeries, and Japanese restaurants ripe for exploring—while also providing an easy connection to major downtown landmarks like Union Station and Grand Central Market.
Union Station: One of the last great American rail stations to be built, this 1939 landmark and important commuter hub is a 15-minute walk from the hotel; with its Mission-style exterior, marble floors and high ceilings, it’s a handsome place to explore, even if you don’t have an actual train to catch.
Walt Disney Concert Hall: Just under a mile from the hotel, Disney Hall opened in 2003 to rave reviews. The novelty hasn’t yet worn off: both inside and out, it’s a terrific venue designed by Frank Gehry that’s home to the LA Philharmonic as well as the L.A. Master Chorale, though the schedule is worth a peek, as it’s surprisingly varied throughout the year.
City Hall: Three blocks from the hotel, an observation deck sits atop this white tower, with unusually mesmerizing views of the L.A. cityscape. Whether you’re begrudgingly stopping at a government building or just rolling by on a clear day and looking for things to do—public hours are weekdays 8am-5pm—you owe yourself a visit.
Japanese American National Museum: This museum, across the street from the hotel, tells the story of Japanese immigration to the US in a lucid, engaging fashion. Aside from the permanent exhibition, the museum stages an engaging roster of documentary and art exhibitions, and there’s a lovely gift shop.
Good for: Business travelers or folks who are only in town for a few days will get the most from this functional yet charming downtown hotel, thanks to close proximity to Union Station and a solid list of amenities. If you want to squeeze the most out of your budget, the attentive staff, reputable restaurant (not to mention cocktail lounge), and business center will sweeten the deal.
Amenities: free Wi-Fi, restaurant, bar, shop, gym, concierge
Time Out tip: If you’re looking to kill an hour or two, right across the street from the hotel is the fabulous Weller Court, a fundamental piece of Little Tokyo that everyone should experience at least once. Inside the multi-level shopping and entertainment center, there’s a jazz club, several quirky gift shops, and a Japanese grocery market which alone could merit a trip to this delightful neighborhood.