The red-carpet treatment: The Beverly Hills Hotel review

The Dorchester Collection hotel’s allure is matched only by that of its famous guests


Walking up the red carpet that leads to The Beverly Hills Hotel’s chandeliered lobby, Andy Warhol’s prediction that one day everyone will enjoy 15 minutes of fame comes to mind. Check in to this Los Angeles institution and you’ll certainly be treated like a celebrity.

Over its long history, the hotel - also known as the “Pink Palace” - has attracted a starry cast of guests ranging from Warhol and other arts and showbusiness legends to world leaders and royalty.

But it’s the way that every visitor, celebs and civilians alike, is made to feel like an A-lister that truly sets it apart. Whether you roll up in a limo or an Uber, everyone gets the full Hollywood experience at The Beverly Hills Hotel - with the added fun of spotting the real-deal stars milling around.

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Where is it?

Touting that famous 90210 zip code, the hotel is set amid 12 acres of tropical gardens on Sunset Boulevard, minutes from Rodeo Drive, in central Beverly Hills. Indeed, it arguably is the centre of Beverly Hills - the hotel opened in 1912, two years before the city itself was incorporated and built around it. A mile to the west sits sister Dorchester Collection establishment, the Hotel Bel-Air.

The hotel

From the moment you arrive, it’s clear that The Beverly Hills Hotel is the place to see and be seen. Everyone from JFK, Marilyn Monroe and Howard Hughes to Britney Spears and Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge has stayed, many of them long term. One current resident, a billionaire property developer, has lived at the hotel since 1986, having booked in at the start of a six-month world tour and then simply never checked out. After my own short stay, that seems like a reasonable decision to me.

The ambiance is relaxed resort, with lush, fragrant grounds, a palm-lined poolside, and luxurious public areas that combine art deco design and 1940s-esque Hollywood glamour.

The exterior is equally eye-catching - as chart-toppers The Eagles clearly agree. The cover of the band’s 1976 album Hotel California features a sunset shot of the hotel’s roofline and Italian Renaissance-style tower, the candy pink paintwork bathed in the evening light. That trademark colour scheme, which earned the hotel its Pink Palace nickname, was introduced by architect Paul Revere Williams in the 1940s, along with many other signature design features including the red carpet entrance.

The whole place got an overhaul in 1992, when the hotel closed for a three-year $100m restoration, followed by another three-year refresh led by interior designer Adam Tihany that began in 2012, its centenary year. Taking on such a legendary building can’t have been an easy feat, but the sensitive restorations introduced 21st century styling while retaining original features including the hotel’s signature banana leaf motif wallpaper and green, white and pink colour scheme.

Three of the bungalows have their own private pools

More muted tones of cream and taupe dominate in the hotel’s 208 guestrooms and suites, with furnishings in luxurious materials such as leather, ebonised oak and mohair, plus Bang and Olufsen TVs, high-speed Wi-Fi and massive marble bathrooms with power showers that leave your back tingling.

For guests looking for a little privacy, there are also 23 bungalows dotted around the hotel’s tropical garden, with their own separate entrance from the side street. Three have private pools, and a handful take their design inspiration from former guests Monroe, Hughes, Frank Sinatra and Charlie Chaplin, while the Liz Taylor bungalow was the film star’s favourite spot at the hotel, where she spent six of her eight honeymoons.

Fine dining

Mr Chaplin was a big fan of the Pink Palace’s Polo Lounge, where the Little Tramp had a standing lunch reservation at table No. 1 for years. These days you’re more likely to see studio moguls and heavy-hitting financiers completing deals over chef Kaleo Adam’s American fare, which is rather a shame - this food deserves your full attention.

Dishes range from the speciality tortilla soup to a superbly tender filet mignon - or for a treat, 1oz of Russian ossetra caviar at $205 (£151) a pop. And I can testify that there is no better way to round off the week than the Sunday brunch out on the terrace, with a soundtrack of live jazz.

Polo Lounge terrace

When the famous want to eat their scrambled eggs out of the public eye, they head downstairs to the Fountain Coffee Room, where breakfasts are served all day at the 19-seat vintage soda fountain counter. There’s also an array of classic comfort foods, from burgers and grilled sandwiches to pastries and pies, along with pressed juices and salads (this is LA, after all).

The salad for which the hotel is famed is the McCarthy, a kind of pimped-up finely chopped Cobb named after a polo-playing millionaire who frequented the Polo Lounge - hence that name too. The salad accounts for 40% of all food orders at the hotel, with $1m worth sold annually. Looking around at the many locals and guests tucking into the McCarthy at the casual-chic poolside Cabana Cafe, that’s easy to believe; although it was the tuna poke bowl that had me and my companions coming back for more. That and the cocktails from the poolside bar.

Cabana Cafe

For the ultimate A-list cocktail menu, totter across the hotel lobby to Bar Nineteen12 and grab a spot on the terrace overlooking the pool to enjoy lethal concoctions such as blueberry lavender fizz and Think Pink: a refreshing strawberry, vodka and lemon juice blend that quickly became a personal favourite. A few of those and you’ll be seeing stars in every sense.

What to do

Aside from playing spot the celebrity, and fellow guests’ surgical enhancements, The Beverly Hills Hotel is the perfect place for relaxation and retail therapy.

Most of the (in)action takes place down at the pool, where you can do lazy laps while enjoying an eclectic range of underwater music, or just chill out in the California sun. There are also 11 private poolside cabanas - available for $450 a day - though, sadly, sand is no longer shipped in to create a true beach club feel, as it was back in the 1930s.

Pool and cabanas

The hotel also has an in-house yoga team, with a free weekly morning class for guests out on the lawn. For a more hardcore workout, head out of the hotel and down the road to the SoulCycle Studio, a spin class with a nightclub atmosphere and a cult following. You may want to book the hotel’s free car service - which covers a three-mile radius - for your return journey rather than dragging your weary limbs back.

If you prefer to let your credit card take the strain, the hotel is a short stroll from Rodeo Drive, where you can indulge in a Pretty Woman-style splurge. Or at the very least, fantasise about it.

Price and booking

Guestrooms cost from $565 (£416) in low season, and $725 (£534) in high season.

The Beverly Hills Hotel, 9641 Sunset Boulevard, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, +1 310 276 2251,

How to get to LA

Air New Zealand operates a daily service between Heathrow and LA’s LAX airport, from £430 return. The airline - which flies to 31 international destinations in 19 countries worldwide - has just completely refurbished its fleet of Boeing 777-300s, installing new ergonomically designed seats with in-built touchscreen TVs where you can stretch out and relax with a glass of fine wine and even finer Kiwi-inspired cuisine.

For the full A-list experience, including a free pass into Air New Zealand’s luxurious LAX lounge, upgrade to Business Premium. Installed in little pods of comfort on soft leather seats that fold out into beds, you can can get all the Zzzs you need during the 11-hour flight - leaving you primed and ready for that red carpet.

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Kari Wilkin is The Week Digital’s global managing editor. She joined the UK site as production editor in 2017, after moving across from The Week magazine. Her career as a journalist began as a sub-editor at newspapers including The Sun, Metro, the Daily Star and News of the World, followed by stints at Elle and Asda Magazine. She also helped to launch the UK edition of Women’s Health magazine, as chief sub-editor with a sideline in writing; has penned travel and lifestyle articles for titles including The Telegraph and The Sun; and is a contributor on “The Week Unwrapped” podcast.