Yes, it is possible to have sibling hotels close to each other – in Chicago, Four Seasons for years ran a pair that are geographically only a block apart. Hotel Bel-Air is a mere 15 minutes’ drive from Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows, but here there is a noticeable difference. Hotel Bel-Air is in Los Angeles while Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows is in Beverly Hills, as the selfie bacground board, above, proclaims. This, too, is a hotel with a history (Elizabeth Taylor had six of her honeymoons here). It dates back to founding in 1912 by Burton Green, President of Rodeo Land & Water Company, but by 1920 ownership passed to Margaret Anderson, who put her son Stanley in as GM – her grandson Robbie Anderson is still, today, the hotel’s archive consultant.
Menus in those days, as displayed outside the Polo Lounge, ran from consommé to sole, beef illet, broiled squab, savoury salad, fruit salad, dessert, cake, cheese and fiinally coffee. Today’s menus are backed by historical photos. I saw with the hotel’s Hanseatic Manager, Christoph Moje, and it was tempting to have the McCarthy salad, invented by a 1940s polo captain Neil McCarthy, but no, I went for two other specials, ahi tuna tartare with avocado and duqqa, a mix of Egyptian spices, and Snake River Farms New York strip. Around us the full-capacity restaurant was mostly filled with locals, who eat here three times a day as if it their canteen – there are no staff name labels as the locals know them all, especially Pepe who has clocked up over four decades.
There is, indeed, a Quarter Century club for team members – there must be informal networks, too, for those who stay here, again and again. Howard Hughes once lived here, as did Walter Annenberg. Marilyn Monroe always had banquette table three when dining, and, lucky me, that was where I sat for dinner. The powers that be campaigning to get the 2024 Olympics to return to this lovely city are apparently here a lot, as are the red carpet crowd (and yes WHY are the Grammy’s defecting, or rather going back, to Manhattan in 2018? This is a question that comes up again and again, here in town).
This is a luxury hotel for opulence, say gold sealing wax-closed notes, rather than bling. It is also where you instantly turn a spacious, retro-but-latest technology room, into your home, especially when the sun shines on your terrace garden – see how the flower exactly matches the egg yolks, and old-fashioned butter balls, on my outdoor breakfast. And colour pervades the stay continuously. Corridors have outrageously-unique lifesize palm leaf wall paper, Martinique A, which also adorns the 24/7 Technogym: it was first introduced by the Crescent Wing’s 1949 architect, Paul Revere Williams, who designed some of Beverly Hills’ other most renowned buildings. More colour abounds. The hotel’s charming room maids wear pale pink, the pool, with 11 private cabanas and a strict no-photo policy, is a giant blue rectangle, with palest pink surround. I had at least 20 different hues in my room, 121, and you know what, the result was just perfect. NOW SEE THE VIDEO OF SUITE 121, BELOW