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Century Plaza Hotel saved and, with it, a '60s vision of the L.A. dream

February 11, 2010 |  9:31 am

Times staff writer Martha Groves reports this morning:

The Century Plaza, the elegantly curved luxury hotel that has welcomed presidents, princes and pop stars since its 1966 opening, will be spared from the wrecking ball under a historic agreement between the owner and preservationists.

The top floors will go condo, but should we be surprised? You also can read L.A. at Home columnist Sam Watters' column from April, when the movement to preserve the landmark was peaking. Watters wrote about the hotel's special place in residential design:

Shulman66 Long before Southern California was a land of houses, it was an eden of hotels. The Raymond, the Green, the Mission Inn, the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Ambassador were designed as homes away from home. . . . Donald A. Robbins, senior designer for manager Western International Hotels, decorated the [Century Plaza's] 800 guest rooms. Each had cutting-edge luxuries: wide sliders that opened onto balconies with an ocean or a mountain view, soundproofed walls, central air and heating, electric blankets, built-in vanities, ice machines, radios in the nightstands, and color television a decade before it reached most American homes.

-- Craig Nakano

Photos: At top, the exterior of the Century Plaza. Credit: Yamasaki Associates. Second photo, the 1966 rooms with wide sliders that opened to views. Credit:  Julius Shulman /  courtesy of the Julius Shulman Photography Archive, Getty Research Institute