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I am a New York-based writer, travel lover, and author of The Drive North and Destination Paranormal. I have several other books in the works, including fiction.

A Weekend At The JW Marriott At L.A. Live

Recently, I spent a weekend at the JW Marriott at L.A. Live. I was there to attend the annual Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conference. This is their second year at that location, and my second of staying with them. The previous conferences I attended were at different locations but had to move because of some changes that the hotels underwent.

Before I get going with anything further, I want to give a shout to check out the conference blog. There’s a ton of great content there. And as a five-year member of the organization, as well as attendee of the conference, I give a huge tip of the cap to the team that put it all on there, to everyone who spent so much time organizing the weekend, as well as to all of my fellow attendees who are dreaming big with the thought of making a difference in a child’s life through books.

Now, back to that part about location…

Location

This is always the most important thing, for me, when it comes to choosing a hotel. So, what makes the JW Marriott L.A. Live better than the others? First and foremost, it’s the conference headquarters. As such, it’s the most convenient. There are a couple of other locations nearby, as well as one attached to this hotel, but I wouldn’t want to stay at any other spot.

Why’s that?

The simple point of camaraderie, really. It’s great seeing fellow attendees in the elevator, the restaurants, or even in the hallway as I’m going to and from my room. It makes it easy to start up a conversation. And it’s highly likely that I’ll get that chance by staying at the host hotel as opposed to another one nearby, which may not have near as many conference attendees.

As far as nearby sites go, though, the hotel isn’t exactly near the beach, nor is it in the middle of Hollywood or by one of the big amusement parks. But it is located in a great part of downtown, not too far from USC, as well as right across the street from Staples Center and a slew of awesome restaurants.

It’s also a short distance from a handful of grocery stores, which proved useful in buying breakfast to have in my room each morning.

The Hotel

The building is beautiful both inside and out. I love the spacious interior of the lobby. I love the decor. There’s a great pool location with poolside bar, too, although I can’t speak to it since I’ve not yet been. I intended to my first year there, as well as this year, but never made it happen either time as I kept getting distracted by all of the other great restaurants and such in the area. Looking at it from my room, though, it was always non-stop busy, and appeared to be a great option to hang out at for next year.

The Rooms

What’s the importance of a room when you’re at a hotel for a conference? Well, a number of things, especially when it comes to a meeting with a bunch of introverts who need some good, solid alone time in their rooms. I know I did. I also needed some serious space so I could do some morning yoga. The conference actually has this as an option for attendees, which is great, but I prefer to do it in my room. And unfortunately, unlike previous hotels where the conference was held, there’s not all that much space in the room to spread out.

Still, I made it work.

Other down points were the lack of vacuuming – which I noted while on my mat doing yoga – and other cleaning issues. For instance, how are there scuff marks on the ceiling and how have they not been cleaned? Some of the furniture is obviously worn, too, and should be replaced soon.

Honestly, though, these things are all extremely minor. Like the rest of the hotel, I loved the room. The bed is insanely comfortable, the shower spacious and with a faucet that accommodates tall people like myself. The only thing that truly bugged me was that the desk faced a mirror instead of the window, which I like to look out while writing, so I had to do a bit of rearranging. The staff was nice enough to leave it that way during my stay, so I made sure to put it back before I checked out.

The Food

With so many dining options within a block, I didn’t eat at the hotel last year. This year I made it a point to do so, though, and wow. The food was fantastic. Well, at least the burger and fries, and the pizza I had on another day, were great. My friends said their menu selections were also delightful, which, I suppose, explains why a lot of concert goers had stopped in one night to dine there as opposed to somewhere else in the area.

The Service

Truly, I didn’t have a lot of interaction with staff, which is what I like. After checking in with a friendly and speedy lady at the desk, I only interacted with the wait staff after that beyond a quick hello or good morning to the cleaning staff. Everyone always appeared genuinely happy to see me and make my stay better, which I appreciate.

End Result

I’m excited to stay at the JW Marriott L.A. Live for the conference again next year. It’s not my favorite place the conference has been held, but that’s only because the rooms are slightly smaller than the original place – which I hear are now condos – and there are no balconies overlooking the pool. Sure, I could still see it, which I appreciate the staff giving me that requested view, but it doesn’t have the same feel as lounging outside in the morning with a great view while eating my breakfast.

Still, after two years here, I can’t quite picture the conference being held anywhere else again. I don’t want it to be, either. I want to head back to the familiar of both the JW Marriott L.A. Live and the surrounding area full of restaurants I know and love and shops I can find without navigation.

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