Downtown at LA Live, the J.W. Marriott and the Ritz-Carlton share space in the distinctive blue-glass mosaic 54-story tower. The call themselves “sister” hotels, and they each have their own pools.

I was downtown at LA Live last week with some time to kill, so I figured I would do some sneaking around, I mean, investigating the two properties.

The J.W. pool is on the fourth floor, on the roof of the lower of the adjacent buildings. Word is this place is trying to give the Downtown Standard pool party a run for it’s money. They host AQUA Sundays from 1pm to 7pm, at their Ion Rooftop and & Pool Lounge and occasional weekend night parties as well. Parties are free and the vibe is supposed to be a bit more mellow and upscale than the Standard, though not by much.

On a recent Friday afternoon without a party the entire pool area was very relaxed and vacationy Guests in chaises with plenty of extra to spare, a few people enjoying the ample pool. The breezes were gentle and the views nice. I’m guessing the bar gets active a little later in the evening, but I could tell it wasn’t going to be anything like the Standard. And the pool area is actually only accessible to hotel guests. ION overlooks the pool but doesn’t quite encompass it. So I’m guessing those parties are more like poolside parties than actual pool parties.

There is a rather large hot tub and a smattering of umbrellas. The vibe is pretty much “taking a break from my event at the convention center,” though when the party heats up I’m sure that changes.

The Ritz-Carlton pool is on the 26th floor and has even better views of downtown Los Angeles. It’s a larger pool area, with cabanas and more dramatic views of the city.  There are more seating areas and varied chaise options. It is however is very tightly managed and only guests of the hotel can get up there to see it. I tried, but photos from the Ritz-Carlton website are going to have to suffice. I was up there for an event at the Wolfgang Puck WP40 a while back and loved the swanky urban vista, the fresh, clean atmosphere. It’s contemporary and comfortable, and not over done at all.

Hipsters would probably enjoy the J.W. a bit more. Families and quieter types might like the serenity of the Ritz-Carlton. Foodies are going to want to try WP40 so the Ritz-Carlton might be a better option. Both are located right near the Staples center and all the action at L.A. Live.

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