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the luxury hotels of Beverly Hills

the luxury hotels of Beverly Hills

Old Jun 14, 13, 11:12 pm
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the luxury hotels of Beverly Hills

I have wanted to do site inspections in Beverly Hills for quite awhile and finally took the opportunity this week before I attended the west coast rollout of Dorchester Collection’s Diamond Club amenity program. In addition to the two Dorchester Collection hotels in LA (Hotel Bel-Air and the Beverly Hills Hotel), I was able to visit five other luxury hotels in Beverly Hills — the two Four Seasons (FS Los Angeles and the Beverly Wilshire), Montage Beverly Hills, L’Ermitage, and the Peninsula Beverly Hills. Each is unique and will appeal to a different clientele.

What follows are are my own personal reflections. They are admittedly very subjective and based purely on my own sense of aesthetics. My views may differ from yours, and readers can and should disagree with the opinions expressed here!



The Beverly Hills Hotel & Bungalows

The best surprise of my trip, I spent my final night at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Built in 1912 before there was even a town called Beverly Hills, the hotel celebrated its centennial last year. Interesting fact: the hotel was named after Beverly Farms, the midwestern farm of the first owner’s wife, and the city took its name from the hotel. Located on 12 acres of tropical gardens “halfway between Los Angeles and the sea,” the Beverly Hills Hotel (aka “The Pink Palace”) is a self-contained urban oasis with the largest hotel pool in LA.

On arrival, guests experience the red carpet entrance leading to the front doors, with iconic green and white striped awnings and lush banana leaves. With just 185 rooms in a large three-story main hotel, and 23 unique bungalows spread throughout the grounds, the property is both grand and intimate.

The Dorchester Collection offers iconic traditional hotels that do not feel dated or fuddy-duddy, and this is the case with both of their LA properties. I stayed in an extremely spacious Premier room. A wall of windows provided lots of natural light. Styling was traditional yet tasteful — the color spectrum including shades of green, brown and gold — with a sitting area, desk, and walk-in closet. The large pink marble bathroom had a large double vanity with a lot of usable space for two guests, soaking tub, step-in shower, and a WC.


traditional Premier room

We were shown a model of one of the new Deluxe rooms. Though trimmed with updated furnishings and colors, the room nonetheless preserved a sense of the hotel’s historical past. A large wall-mounted flat screen TV was mounted on the wall opposite the bed (as opposed to a smaller flat screen on a pedestal in the armoire in my pre-renovated room). The new room’s desk provided convenient desktop access to power receptacles, computer connections, and other modern necessities. The remodeled bathroom preserved the hotel’s beautiful pink marble, essentially updating the wall treatments.


model of a new Deluxe Room

Lead-in Superior rooms average 400 sq ft, Deluxe rooms about 525 sq ft, and Premier rooms about 615 sq ft. First floor rooms in each category provide a higher “outdoor patio” category which you should bear in mind when figuring out the Diamond Club’s guaranteed “upgrade at booking.”

Standalone bungalows are situated on winding paths throughout the 12 acre property, perfect for guests who desire more seclusion and privacy. Each bungalow has a story, with many famous Hollywood figures having made their homes here at various times over the years.


Hotel Bel-Air

Located in the exclusive Bel-Air neighborhood of Los Angeles, just 15 minutes from the shopping and restaurants of Rodeo Drive, Hotel Bel-Air is a beautiful, bucolic retreat from city life. Just as couples in London will go to FS Hampshire or Coworth Park for a romantic weekend getaway - or simply to get away from it all, LA couples can find the same sense of escape in the green canyons of Bel-Air.

Located on a secluded 12 acre estate, guests enter over a bridge that overlooks Bel-Air’s iconic swan lake. The grounds feature babbling fountains, colorful bougainvillea vines, and paths lined with flowering impatiens, all set among traditional Spanish Colonial buildings in which just 103 guest rooms and suites are located. Hotel Bel-Air has a large, oval outdoor pool and an extensive spa.

The resort is 66 years old and has recently reopened after an extensive renovation. I was a guest at this hotel 20 years ago and can report that the external appearance of the buildings remain virtually exchanged — with the exception of six Canyon Rooms and six Canyon Suites that have been added on the hillside overlooking the canyon. Guestrooms have been updated with an elegant style that is both casual and understated. I spent one evening in a Bel Air Suite with patio — lots of whites and off-whites, white marble floors covered with tasteful area rugs, and hardwood ceilings. The front door leads into a large living room with flat screen B&O TV and seating area (including a sofa bed). A door closes between the living room and the large bedroom, beyond which is an office set within a greenhouse. The outdoor patio has a small dining area where you can enjoy in-room dining al fresco. The fully featured bathroom has a Toto toilet that raises its lid when you enter and automatically flushes when you leave.

We were shown one of a new Canyon Suites set on the fourth floor. Its outdoor patio (with jacuzzi pool and gas fireplace) has a commanding view of the canyon. The interiors of these new rooms are a bit more contemporary than the resort's original renovated rooms. We were also able to see the Grace Kelly Suite (WOW) as well as the impressive Presidential Suite (super WOW).

It should be noted that guests at the Beverly Hills Hotel and Hotel Bel-Air have reciprocal charge privileges.



There are two Four Seasons properties in Los Angeles. FS Los Angeles (FSLA) was built as a Four Seasons hotel 25 years ago. The Beverly Wilshire was completed in 1928, at the height of the roaring 20’s, and became a Four Seasons when FS acquired the Regent hotel chain in 1992.


Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills

Occupying a lushly landscaped city block on the L.A. side of South Doheny Drive (which is the boundary between Los Angeles and Beverly Hills), the formal name of this hotel is the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. It occupies an entire city block and is set between Beverly Hills and West Hollywood.

The hotel has 285 rooms — including 96 suites — presents a Hollywood vibe. Its bar is sometimes referred to as "Hollywood's living room," a place you might be able to see some famous faces in the afternoon and evening.

Each guestroom has French doors leading onto a step-out balcony. Superior and Deluxe Balcony Rooms are 380 sq ft. Premier Balcony rooms are larger at 430 sq ft. and situated on the corners of the building with wraparound balconies. Guestroom bathrooms give an indication of the hotel’s vintage, providing only shower/tub combinations with a single vanity. Styling is traditional in shades of tan and gold.

Executive Suites and above have French doors that close between the bedroom and living room, with a sofabed in the LR, and their bathrooms provide a separate step-in shower and soaking tub. Executive Suites are ideal for light sleepers (there are no outside windows in the bedroom), while the bedrooms in Deluxe Executive Suites do have outside windows that admit natural light in the sleeping areas. 1 BR Suites have two bathrooms.

The hotel has a rooftop pool and jacuzzi on the fourth floor which also features an indoor/outdoor exercise room and the casual dining restaurant. FSLA is a good choice for families or business travelers looking for luxury options at a lower price point; it is one of the best values in Beverly Hills.


Beverly Wilshire (a Four Seasons Hotel)

While FSLA is set in a quieter residential neighborhood, the Beverly Wilshire is right in the middle of things. Located at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Rodeo Drive, guests literally step outside the hotel’s front door and cross the street to begin their Beverly Hills shopping adventure (or walk to numerous neighborhood restaurants).

A midsize (395 room) traditional hotel, the main doors on Wilshire Boulevard lead to the grand two-story lobby — impressive indeed with a massive three-tiered crystal chandelier positioned over a round table with ever-changing original floral arrangements.


Beverly Wilshire lobby

That hotel has two wings. The original 1928 Wilshire Wing has a traditional feel, while the 1971 Beverly Wing is more contemporary. Lead-in Signature Rooms (found mostly in the Beverly Wing) feature tall ceilings and windows that stretch from ceiling-to-floor and wall-to-wall. Rooms are spacious with a lot of natural light. Signature Balcony Rooms have the same interior dimensions with French doors leading to a private balcony. Decorated in creams and golds, these rooms provide traditional Four Seasons bathrooms — separate step-in showers, soaking tubs, a single vanity, and WC. The third room tier, BW Studio, is 600 sq ft with a full-size sofabed.

The second floor of the Beverly Wing features a rooftop pool and gym.


Montage Beverly Hills

An impressive new hotel, the Montage Beverly Hills is just five years old, part of a larger building project that created a new public park between the hotel and Bouchon. The park is quite a pleasant addition to the city with green lawns and attractive landscaping — a place where people can take their lunch breaks and enjoy evening concerts.

Montage is a new build that nonetheless maintains a sense of the 1920's through the use of Art Deco motifs..While many older hotels must deal with the constraints of decades-old architectural decisions (made when luxury standards were different), Montage’s 201 guestooms and suites do not suffer from any such limitations. Dimensions are spacious. Bathrooms provide all the features that luxury hotel guests would expect: dual vanities, step-in showers with both rain and regular shower heads, separate soaking tubs, and WCs. Desks provide working spaces with desktop access to power plugs, Ethernet, and outlets for AV output. Color schemes are restful and calming. The room I saw was decorated in shades of off-white and cream, while other rooms employ a pale sage color palette. .

Montage’s large Rooftop pool and jacuzzi have city views, and the hotel also offers a supervised kids program with a weekly schedule of activities for children between the ages of 5 and 12 — a good choice for parents who have plans during the day that may not include their kids.


L'Ermitage

A small, boutique hotel with just 117 rooms and suites, L'Ermitage prides itself on providing intimate and personalized service. There is a strong emphasis on guest recognition, creating a sense that guests are "returning home" when they come for repeat stays. Once a guest has visited for the second or third time, arriving guests can be taken straight to their rooms for check-in.

The hotel has a somewhat minimalist aesthetic. The antithesis of the grand entrance to the Beverly Wilshire, the lobby at L’Ermitage is casual and understated — low ceilings but light and comfortable. There was an art display of Warhol prints when I visited. Rooms are extremely spacious with lead-in Superior rooms starting at 650 sq ft. Deluxe and Premier rooms are a bit larger, the difference being that these categories are on higher floors and command better views. White marble bathrooms are full featured. Most provide dual vanities, but single vanity can be requested for guests traveling alone. Interiors are simple, uncomplicated, and clean with white walls, blond maple paneling, and lots of natural light, especially in south-facing rooms. I think the guest rooms would benefit from a soft goods renovation to create a softer appearance, introducing different textures and some splashes of color.

Suites are twice as large as guestrooms (1300 sq ft), and the sofabeds can be set up with double mattresses on request.

The 8th floor rooftop features a square pool, fitness center, a rooftop ballroom, and a small spa (with just two treatment rooms). L’Ermitage is a good luxury option for guests wanting a lot of living space at a lower price point.


Peninsula Beverly Hills

The Peninsula Beverly Hills is a small hotel (193 rooms, including 37 suites, 8 guest bungalows, and 8 villa suites). My first impression came from the lobby area which resembled not so much a traditional hotel lobby but a comfortable and light-filled living room with comfortable sofas in conversational groupings. A series of five large windows provides views of the gardens outside. There are two daily sittings for Afternoon Tea (in a nod to the tradition of the Peninsula Hong Kong) with a harpist providing music, and cocktails are served every evening with piano music.


Peninsula Beverly Hills lobby area

The hotel’s guestrooms are spacious; lead-in Superior rooms are a generous 480 square feet. Though the hotel was fully booked when I came, I was able to see a Grand Deluxe whose occupants had not yet checked in. The room was decorated in an elegant traditional style. It’s creme and white color scheme had accents of fuchsia and greens, crown mouldings, and a few contemporary touches. Rooms have lots of natural light. South-facing rooms are quieter with a residential view, while north-facing rooms offer views of Beverly Hills and the Hollywood Hills beyond. Beautiful pink marble bathrooms (with marble from the owner’s own quarry in Italy) have single vanities, separate shower and tub, and a WC. Suites provide double vanities. .

The hotel has a 5th floor rooftop pool and jacuzzi with a casual dining restaurant and spa. Two features on which The Peninsula prides itself: (1) flexible check-in and checkout hours (let your travel consultant know when you expect to arrive and depart to arrange this) and (2) guest pillows monogrammed with your initials.
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Old Jun 15, 13, 11:08 pm
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An excellent review.

Many thanks for posting this. I'll definitely refer back to this next time I'm pondering a hotel in this area.


Adey
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Old Jun 16, 13, 9:22 am
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Originally Posted by mradey View Post
An excellent review.

Many thanks for posting this. I'll definitely refer back to this next time I'm pondering a hotel in this area.


Adey
Note that David does not typically review service, which is difficult to evaluate on an inspection tour. Based on my single experience, the service at the Hotel Bel-Air (and presumably at the Beverly Hills hotel which has the same ownership) is almost certainly not up to the standard it was 20 years ago even if the hotel appears the same.

Also the Bel-Air hotel has only one restaurant which they rent out in its entirety on occasion, giving guests virtually no dining options other than room service or bar snacks as there are no other places to eat within walking or even short driving distance.
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Old Jul 5, 13, 1:34 pm
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the luxury hotels of Beverly Hills

We just completed a four night stay at beverly Wilshire in a two bedroom suite in Beverly Wing. Charming pool area with kid service. The room was nice, but not up to typical four seasons standards. I believe this is most a reflection of hotel age. Single sink, worn furniture, nice carpet. They were very accommodating and friendly to our kids.

The valet area is the big issue at this hotel. Too busy and it takes forever to get your car.

Next time we will check out the montage, although I would have no problem returning to Beverly Wilshire.
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Old Jul 5, 13, 3:51 pm
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We will try Beverly Hills hotel beginning of September. We booked a Premier King bedroom with Patio through FHR program. So far the Concierge answered quickly and very precisely to all our requests. I will post a short review when we are back.
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Old Jul 30, 13, 12:26 pm
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I got an email from the Beverly Hills hotel offering a free pizza in the newly re-opened Cabana cafe if you buy two drinks, only valid Monday through Thursday in August.

I guess it's a response to competitive pressure from the Domino's Pizza Monday - Thursday discount deal.
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Old Jul 31, 13, 1:06 pm
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Originally Posted by Pierre&Cédric View Post
We will try Beverly Hills hotel beginning of September. We booked a Premier King bedroom with Patio through FHR program. So far the Concierge answered quickly and very precisely to all our requests. I will post a short review when we are back.
The newly done pool looks good - same as before, but nicely enhanced.
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Old Aug 3, 13, 3:16 pm
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Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
Note that David does not typically review service, which is difficult to evaluate on an inspection tour. Based on my single experience, the service at the Hotel Bel-Air (and presumably at the Beverly Hills hotel which has the same ownership) is almost certainly not up to the standard it was 20 years ago even if the hotel appears the same.

Also the Bel-Air hotel has only one restaurant which they rent out in its entirety on occasion, giving guests virtually no dining options other than room service or bar snacks as there are no other places to eat within walking or even short driving distance.
I can't speak for the Hotel Bel-Air (never stayed there). But our service at the Beverly Hills Hotel (in 2011 IIRC) was exceptional. I mean the concierge desk called up the head of Hertz at a nearby hotel (on his cell phone when he was home on a Saturday night) and arranged for us to pick up a new rental car (ours had issues) at the nearby hotel the next morning (Hertz had told us in no uncertain terms that we'd have to go back to LAX to get a new car).

FWIW - we stayed in the type of Premier Room that David had - on the ground floor (it had a huge patio). Loved it. Also enjoyed the included breakfast (we had it daily outside on the hotel restaurant patio).

I've written up our stay there (think it was 6 nights) in another thread. Robyn
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Old Aug 3, 13, 5:28 pm
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We have stayed numerous times at the Peninsula BH. The service has always been outstanding. They remember which rooms we like, always have our monogrammed pillow cases in place, are great about the flexible check-in, out, and have always been able to get us hard to get restaurant reservations at the last minute. Because we are a repeat guest they often do double upgrades or have a bottle of bubbly waiting for us- nice touches for frequent guests. This is my favorite hotel in the area. I would like to however see the redone BH Hotel as have not been for years and they have the best pool!
Thanks David for the write-ups!
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Old Aug 3, 13, 6:09 pm
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Originally Posted by Larkin View Post
We have stayed numerous times at the Peninsula BH. The service has always been outstanding. They remember which rooms we like, always have our monogrammed pillow cases in place, are great about the flexible check-in, out, and have always been able to get us hard to get restaurant reservations at the last minute. Because we are a repeat guest they often do double upgrades or have a bottle of bubbly waiting for us- nice touches for frequent guests. This is my favorite hotel in the area. I would like to however see the redone BH Hotel as have not been for years and they have the best pool!
Thanks David for the write-ups!
+1 The Pen is in a class of its own..
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Old Aug 18, 13, 9:34 pm
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Beverly Hills Hotel

I am at the Beverly Hills Hotel currently. I am in an non-renovated Deluxe room on the 2nd floor; the hotel is sold out largely due to a very large wedding being held here tonight.

I would add that the Fountain Coffee room downstairs is a gem -- excellent, and for BH, reasonably priced, classic and simple food. Lots of regulars and only 14 or so seats at the counter. The freshly squeezed to order orange juice, and the Orange Freeze (said orange juiced blended with orange sherbet) are outstanding. For those wondering, the BHH does serve gluten free bread in all outlets so it was nice to be able to have a sandwich for once.
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Old Aug 18, 13, 9:41 pm
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L'Hermitage

I site toured the L'Hermitage earlier this afternoon and can add the following:

The hotel does have a House car on a first come first served basis with a 3 mile radius of the hotel. Note, the House car does NOT operate on Sundays.

The hotel restaurant is Italian and is CLOSED Sundays and Mondays though they do serve breakfast/brunch there. Thus, for guests, In-room dining or the Lounge menu are the only at-property dining options on Sundays and Mondays. This seems a little nonsensical....

The Warhol prints are in conjunction with a local gallery and are for sale. Most were priced at $30,000 and go up from there.....
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Old Aug 19, 13, 2:00 am
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Originally Posted by luxury View Post
The hotel restaurant is Italian and is CLOSED Sundays and Mondays though they do serve breakfast/brunch there. Thus, for guests, In-room dining or the Lounge menu are the only at-property dining options on Sundays and Mondays. This seems a little nonsensical....
Sounds not too good for a luxury-hotel
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Old Aug 19, 13, 7:20 am
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Originally Posted by luxury View Post
I am at the Beverly Hills Hotel currently. I am in an non-renovated Deluxe room on the 2nd floor; the hotel is sold out largely due to a very large wedding being held here tonight.

I would add that the Fountain Coffee room downstairs is a gem -- excellent, and for BH, reasonably priced, classic and simple food. Lots of regulars and only 14 or so seats at the counter. The freshly squeezed to order orange juice, and the Orange Freeze (said orange juiced blended with orange sherbet) are outstanding. For those wondering, the BHH does serve gluten free bread in all outlets so it was nice to be able to have a sandwich for once.
I'll also note that breakfast at the Fountain Coffee Room is a third option for breakfast (there are also the indoor and outdoor spaces at the Polo Lounge). You can use any of these three options as a place to have a Virtuoso "included breakfast". My husband shared your opinion of the Fountain for breakfast (he dined there alone near the end of our week long stay - by that time I was over my jet lag - and wasn't eating breakfast). I really liked having breakfast outside at the Polo Lounge (the weather was great when we were there).

BTW - there are indeed regulars at the Fountain. My husband chatted with one who had been living in the hotel - for over a year! - while his house was being renovated. Robyn
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Old Aug 20, 13, 4:13 pm
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I recently stayed at L'Ermitage and the service was simply excellent from everyone we encountered. Lovely large , well appointed room and a special mention must go to the excellent concierge Dale. We would stay here again in a heartbeat.
We loved the Beverley Hills hotel when we stayed there a few years ago, again the service was wonderful. We did go for dinner at the Polo Lounge this time and as ever had a great experience.
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