If owners are going to bring retail into their luxury hotels it must be the best – there should be no place for shabby and tacky souvenir shops such as those inside some top hotels in India, which are a blot on the industry landscape. By contrast, Beny Alagem has cleverly chosen gentlemen’s emporium Bijam for his beautiful and opulent new Waldorf Astoria Beverly Wilshire hotel. The gal passed it every time going to or from elevators and, were it relevant, purchases would have been inevitable. Beny Alagem also had a hand in choosing the stunning art and sculpture that is dotted throughout the 170-room hotel (the painting above is by Liz Markus). Restaurant art includes panels by local Londubh Studio, run by Lisa Donohoe and Brynn Gelbard.
Beny Alagem and the Waldorf Astoria team also recognise the importance of elevator lobbies. It is not so much that I expect to spend a long time in them, waiting for an elevator to arrive – although sadly this is sometimes the case, particularly in highrises in China. It is more that even in the moments before the elevator arrives there is time for appreciation of yet another item of beauty. Here, lobbies have works by such artists as a collective called TYGH: I had three of their pieces in suite 411, all memorable shapes, about a metre high, twisting as if dancers, memorable to guests but a challenge for housekeeping maids who have to dust them without breaking.
But then designers rarely think of cleaners. When it comes to books, Philippe Starck wins the booby prize for his 12-foot-high shelves in the lobby of Raffles Royal Monceau in Paris (the books are too high for anyone to read and yet the recessed spines are absolute dust traps). Cleverly, here at beautiful Waldorf Astoria Beverly Wilshire, books become decorative art works. Owner Beny Alagem had a prominent hand in choosing a collection that is entirely black and white, thus adding a colour palette to the overall collection – which does, by the way, have books that you actually want to read. But then everything in this hotel works, with style, from the Sayer Collection Sealy Posturepedic beds to the Diptyque toiletries.
Is it a coincidence that the toiletries are, like the GM of this luxury hotel, Luc Delafosse, French? Well, we all know the French have style. When it comes to sartorial appearance, France’s President Emmanuel Macron only has competition from Canada’s Justin Trudeau, or, now that he won the Austrian election on October 15th, 2017, Sebastian Kurz, 32. Style is everywhere, here in this luxury Beverly Hills hotel. Head up to the rooftop, where a flourishing herb garden enlivens the walkway from Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s terrace restaurant to the hotel guest-only infinity pool, with five sought-after cabanas, yours for $600 a day, and take two connecting if you have the family with you. Head to the spa, where celebrity colourist Tracey Cunningham has brought all her Golden Globes and Oscar’s clients with her. Come to think of it, this is the actual hotel that will, as of the 2018 season, be hosting many of the top pre- and post-event parties. SEE THE ROOFTOP VIDEO, BELOW