As a long-time Los Angeles resident I’ve had the opportunity to visit The Beverly Hills Hotel many times for meals, drinks, parties, functions and meetings, but never for an overnight stay. Finally, I recently had the opportunity to spend a weekend at the iconic hotel on a father-son getaway with my dad. It was not my dad’s first visit to the hotel, he was a guest back in 1954 and still remembers his wonderful experience sixty years later.
Living luxurious history
Any hotel that has been the preeminent luxury address in a city for over a 100 years is doing something right. From the moment The Beverly Hills Hotel opened its doors in 1912, two years before the city of Beverly Hills itself was even incorporated, it provided a home-away-from-home for both the city’s wealthy elite, movie stars and rich East Coast visitors alike.
The hotel’s service, attentive and all-encompassing, yet casual, is amazing and it continues to this day. This is a hotel for guests who know, expect and want the best in everything and are prepared to pay appropriately for that level of service and luxury. I find the hotel delivers in all areas and justifies the prices they charge with a great product.
The public spaces
The public spaces of the hotel are both spectacular and inviting, what a hip, young monarch might have in his palace. The long, iconic entry overhang, along with the red carpet-like arrival area (including a “step and repeat” background for pictures like at a movie premiere) add to the atmosphere of Hollywood glamor. The recently-redesigned lobby is beautiful, a space that works on a Saturday afternoon welcoming families home from Disneyland as well as it does welcoming guests to a black tie evening event. The hallways bring the tone back to California cool with their iconic (there are a lot of iconic things here) banana leaf wall paper. The wallpaper, now an official style called Martinique, was added in the 1940s and remains timelessly stylish and appropriate today.
Outside space is equally spectacular, as The Beverly Hills Hotel sits on 12 acres of lush gardens, right in the heart of Los Angeles. Lush may be an over-used term, but these gardens and outdoor public spaces really are lush, filled with all kinds of tropical trees, plants, flowers and other vegetation. In the most positive way, it surrounds you, it envelopes you, offering a wonderful feeling of isolation. There are paths where you can just wander and enjoy the plants and flowers, really escape from the world, which is what a true luxury hotel is all about.
We had what the hotel calls a Premier Guestroom with Patio in the hotel’s main, original building. The room was large, luxurious yet comfortable, with a couch and coffee table in front of a large wall unit and media center. The spacious bathroom was truly something out of a palace, with gold fixtures, a separate glassed-in shower, separate toilet room and a huge soaking tub. One bathroom item I must mention was the inclusion of both bath beads and bubble bath gel. Too many times I get to a luxury hotel, with a great bathroom and huge tub, yet no bath accessories to enjoy it with. The main part of the room had nice, high ceilings with two large, comfortable beds. Perhaps the best feature of the room was the patio, about the size of the room itself, with two chaise lounges, and a large glass table and chairs. It created the perfect private sunbathing area and a great place for room service meals.
For those seeking a serious private luxury experience, I recommend one of the hotel’s 23 private bungalows. These are individual cottages on the hotel property, offering the ultimate in privacy. With some bungalows including features like grand pianos and private plunge pools, these are each five-star luxury accommodations with the full service and support of the hotel’s staff and restaurants only a phone call away. Bungalows start around $3,600 per night, with the 2,000 square foot Presidential Bungalow going for just north of $13,000 per night.
Dinner at The Polo Lounge
On a trip filled with highlights, dinner at the hotel’s legendary Polo Lounge restaurant was certainly one. This beautiful room, with some gentle live music, provided an elegant, fine dining experience. We had Scottish salmon and linguine with meatballs and both were amazing. Service was attentive and personal, yet not overwhelming. The dessert was spectacular. A blueberry souffle, served with creme fraiche, vanilla custard and topped with a large Beverly Hills Hotel logo white chocolate wafer. The space is where some of Hollywood’s biggest deals are made and is open for breakfast from 7 a.m. serving lunch, then dinner to 1:30 a.m. The daily transformation the Polo Lounge experiences always amazes me, from dealmaking hotspot in the early morning, to fine dining restaurant at night, to cool place for drinks and music late at night, then back to a Hollywood power breakfast hotspot.
Breakfast on the patio
I just love luxury hotel room service breakfasts. There’s just something about enjoying a hot breakfast, usually while wrapped in a fluffy bathrobe in a really nice hotel room. My usual breakfast order is rather standard: bagel with cream cheese, bacon or ham, french toast, pancakes or waffles, fresh orange juice and hot chocolate. It’s how hotels do those basic items that really makes the difference. My room service breakfast at The Beverly Hills Hotel did not disappoint, ours arrived fast, delicious and hot, on a large table, which the waiter deftly rolled out to the patio. Within minutes, he had our large patio table covered with a tablecloth and prepared with a full formal set-up of plates, glasses and silverware. He served the meal and left us to enjoy it in the early morning sun. I had a nice, big toasted bagel with a big chunk of fresh cream cheese. I also had a large, thick, juicy piece of ham so good I ordered another one later for lunch. Instead of waffles, I had some fruit and croissants, both of which were wonderfully fresh, as I expected.
Drinks and lunch poolside
After breakfast, we headed down to the hotel’s also iconic pool to spend the day in the sun, enjoying lunch from the Cabana Cafe. I had a delicious margherita pizza with a blackberry – raspberry – blueberry smoothie. My guest had house-made naan bread with hummus and tzatziki, along with some fresh juice from Pressed Juicery. The poolside cafe is also a great spot for lunch, even if you’re not a guest at the hotel. During holidays and weekends, the pool area becomes quite the social scene and here too, many deals are made. The pool is surrounded by luxurious cabanas which can rented for the day. The pool is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and now features some delicious, complimentary, pop-up refreshment bites and services during the day. They range from mini soft-serve ice cream cones to frozen peanut butter cups, with services like Evian misting and sunglass cleaning. All poolside and complimentary and only in Beverly Hills.
There are some great vintage photos and memorabilia (created for the hotel’s 100th anniversary) exhibited on the lower level near the coffee shop. Rooms also feature a great book about the hotel’s history. I also highly recommend a meal at the 19-seat Fountain Coffee Room, a true vintage soda fountain, now a coffee shop serving breakfast and great meals from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the lower level. Bar Nineteen12 is more than just a hotel bar, it’s a Los Angeles hotspot and features live music on some nights. Spa aficionados will not be disappointed as the hotel’s Spa by La Prairie is one of the best in the city.
The Beverly Hills Hotel
The Beverly HIlls Hotel (9641 Sunset Blvd. Beverly Hills, CA) is part of the Dorchester Collection of luxury properties. Rates start around $360 per night with specials and packages available on the hotel’s website. Our Premiere Guestroom with Patio was $780 per night. The hotel’s location, on Sunset Blvd. in the heart of Beverly HIlls, is also ideal for exploring other part of Los Angeles.
Freddy Sherman is a world traveler and editor of the travel blog luxuryfred.com. In the past year, he has visited Turkey twice, done a foodie week in Hong Kong with the city’s top chefs, cruised the Mekong river in Vietnam & Cambodia, stayed in an Ice Hotel in Canada, and toured Peru. You can follow him on Twitter -@luxuryfred and check out his travel photos on Instagram – @luxuryfred.
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