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August 4, 2005
From all outward appearances, this Ramada Limited seems to be an average hotel with free continental breakfasts. The standard hotel room seems right for about $85 per night. As a visitor that knows nothing about L.A., the listed features, such as proximity to the L.A. Convention Center), etc., are the usual things to be expected from the average hotel. Upon arrival, my first impression was that this certainly isn’t anything special, but it’s just like any older Holiday Inn that I’ve stayed at elsewhere.
I got dressed in my bathing suit and cover-up clothes and starting walking towards the Mexican festival I’d seen going on around the block. Not 5 minutes out of the hotel, a passing truck driven by a Mexican male shouted something at me to the effect of "Hey there, sexxxxy laaaady!" The incident seemed sooooo stereotypical Californian.
The next morning at the hotel, I discovered that the Mexican hotel staff picks out the continental breakfast items. In addition to the usual bagels, bread, cereal, waffles, juice, etc., the main features were huevos and carne (translation: eggs and meat), or more specifically, hard-boiled eggs and breakfast sausage links. Seeing a bunch of hard-boiled eggs sitting in a metal warming pan with the label huevos did not make me salivate. I soon discovered that the exact same foods were served every day. The "fresh" fruit had obviously been sitting out for at least a week before I arrived, and the same fruit continued to deteriorate through the six days of my stay. Thankfully, a street vendor around the corner was selling fresh Bing cherries.
Ramada Downtown LA is a huge misnomer. The hotel is no where near walking distance of the downtown skyscrapers, and the drive to the L.A. Convention Center is not as close as you might infer from the 1.4-mile advertised distance. I think they measured the distance as a straight line. I visited much closer and nicer hotels in the actual downtown area.
The most disturbing aspect about this Ramada was revealed after I'd been there a few nights. If taxi drivers know everything, then you'd be wise to mark this one's words. As he rounded the corner towards the hotel, he realized where we were going and said, "They (SIGGRAPH) put four young girls in this place?! I have seen dead bodies on the sidewalk here! You should not be staying here, please be careful."
As a volunteer for the SIGGRAPH Conference, this was a pre-assigned, free hotel stay for me, but "free" isn’t worth a stay at the Ramada Limited Downtown Los Angeles.
From journal SIGGRAPH 2004: Los Angeles