The ice might not be real at the W Los Angeles-Westwood, but the skating is. The hotel pool area has been converted into a swanky skating lounge with synthetic ice skating rink until Jan. 1.
The “ice” is really made of plastic, but it mimics the experience of skating on real ice and doesn’t require special skates. According to Michelle Ravelo of the W, the blades of the skates move across the ice similarly to how a knife cuts a cutting board.
“There is a bit more friction, so it takes a little more effort than real ice – it’s about 10 percent slower” Ravelo said. “The good thing about it is it’s more eco-friendly. It doesn’t require any chillers, Zambonis or generators.”
The idea is to appeal to people’s nostalgia for ice-skating and make the pool area more inviting for the holiday season.
The pool lounge has been spruced up with trees, lights and cabanas decorated with accessories from Z Gallerie. The atmosphere is festive and the venue draws crowds of all ages.
On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, the scene is populated by people in their 20’s and 30’s who can mingle with signature TK cocktails when they aren’t on the ice, Ravelo said. However on Sunday mornings, Ravelo said the rink draws mainly families and kids.
Eight-year-old skater Lucrezia Pignate said the ice skating rink is a lot of fun even though it isn’t real.
“I skated on real ice once and I got a butt-sicle, so I came to fake ice,” she said. On the rink at the W, she fell twice, but managed to stay warm.
Raisa Resuma and Ethan Isidro came to the rink on a “holi-date.”
“I was a little nervous going on to the floor because I’ve only skated on real ice,” Resuma said. “This was my first time on this kind of floor, but I actually feel like I did better here.”
She attributes this to the slower speed the fact that it was less slippery.
Isidro had never ice skated before and thought the synthetic surface was a great place for other beginners to practice.
“You can do this first, see how you like it – get the feel for it,” he said.
The synthetic ice also allows the surface to be used for more than just skating.
On Saturday mornings, Kit Rich of FITest, a company that promotes fitness through muscle confusion, teaches a free Pilates-fusion workout class. The class includes Pilates, yoga and ballet bar moves, but also takes advantage of the slippery service of the rink to provide a cardio workout.
After the class, participants can take advantage of a 20 percent discount on brunch and a free mimosa at the W. From 11 am to 1 pm on weekends there is a kids’ station with gingerbread for building, and at 6 pm on Saturdays, there is a professional skater performance.
An hour of skating costs $10. It is open Monday through Friday 3 pm- 10 pm and Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 10 pm.