Beverly Hills Travel Guide
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Prepare to feel old – really old. Pretty Woman came out 25 years ago. 25 years! A whole quarter of a century! Yup, we feel old too.
How much does it cost to feel pretty? Why, a minimum of $15,000.
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Forget Christmas and New Year's. Right now is the most wonderful time of the year for the Beverly Hilton.
If you're hoping to catch a glimpse of hosts Amy Poehler and Tina Fey or your favorite TV and movie stars, alas, rooms at the hotel are sold-out. Being able to watch the red carpet arrivals is also a lost cause this late in the game.
But should you want to know what the celebs are eating inside while you're stalking them outside, InStyle has the scoop on the menu and not surprisingly, it includes a "modern Waldorf salad." Wonder if it will be accompanied by advertisements for the upcoming Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills that's being built next to the Hilton?
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The sign of anti-views to come? On a recent stroll down Sunset Boulevard we couldn't help but notice some work going on across the street from The Beverly Hills Hotel. Sitting on one of the most in-your-face positions on Sunset and a major commuter route between LA and the Valley, is this less than lovely, walled mini-mansion that may become a permanent view from many of the hotel's guest rooms.
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It’s astonishing to us we have to go as far back as early 2010 for the news that Raffles L’Ermitage would become Viceroy Beverly Hills, with a “significant refurbishment” to follow in the months after.
That relaunch date soon became “early 2011”, but three and a half years later, the hotel still carries its L’Ermitage badge, rooms shows essentially the same décor, and the group’s directory has it listed as a “future Viceroy”.
But! It looks like half a decade is a lucky window for L’Ermitage, because the latest we hear is that renovation is meant to start in January. While we hate thinking about it too much as the year passes us by, that’s only three months away. Details and visuals of what the interiors will look like are still to come, and while we expect a more Californian vibe, taking a cue from Viceroy New York’s stylish rooms we’d have no issue with. We'll keep you posted as we find out more.
As for the official name change to Viceroy Beverly Hills, we haven't received official confirmation but a new name to go with a new look could be nice.
In the meantime, a Deluxe King with balcony at L’Ermitage starts about $430 a night in November.
[Photo: Viceroy Hotels]
The Dorchester Collection Boycott came in like a lion in the spring, with high-profile celebrities vowing to never step foot again in the hotels so long as the homophobic (to say the least!) Sultan of Brunei owned them. Given that most celebrities frequented The Beverly Hills Hotel, the Pink Palace became the prime target of the hotel boycott.
But now a few months on, we hardly hear much about the boycott. Could it be that it has quietly died down? Or perhaps, the celebrities have just considered the boycott a part of their every day normal (ok, not-so-normal) life. Thus, this editor decided to stop in at the hotel and see for herself.
When I pulled up to the hotel at around 12:30 on a sunshiney Monday, the entrance was just as busy as I've always known it to be, with folks hopping out of their expensive cars to walk the red carpet into the hotel while town cars were picking up departing guests and their many pieces of luggage. Dignified doormen were, as always, accompanied by studly valet boys in light pink polo shirts, as they directed the light traffic in the narrow porte cochere.
Self-parking, already quite limited, was not available so I drove my car around to the other side of the property and parked on the street. As I walked along a winding walkway along the hidden pink bungalows and amongst lush greenery (vividly green even though Californias is in a severe drought), I passed by two people. A good sign, perhaps?
Are your vacation getaways guided by the criteria of “excellent Instagram potential”? Are you a Brooklyn-based fashion blogger seeking temporary solitude to crank out your “first novel on the liberating potential of wanderlust”? Are you into road trips, but not cramped cars that smell like Interstate lunches? AKA has something amazing for you.
Well, for all of us, really – if only to behold from afar. The luxury brand of long stay accommodations just announced its first ever AKA Mobile Suite, a spacious Airsteam that has been decked out to the upscale expectations of an AKA resident: think plush bedding, a flat-panel TV and iPod docks, Bulgari bath amenities, and splashes of colorful accouterment from fashion designer Trina Turk, who will also offer “VIP discounts” on a road trip-ready wardrobe purchased from her LA showroom. (Most important: A full bathroom with shower. No sneaking into boondock YMCAs to rinse off.)
While the boycott of the Dorchester Collection Hotels is still in effect (kept alive by big names like Richard Branson, Jay Leno, Sharon Osbourne and several top fashion designers), employees of the hard-hit Beverly Hills Hotel have
been instructed by a crisis PR team taken it upon themselves to create their own Twitter feed-- @WeAreTheBHH.
The profile pic on the account is a simple "Stand With Us" message while the header photo is a portrait of all the men and women who work at the hotel, from housekeepers to groundskeepers to chefs and clerks.
Recent tweets on the account have included a shout-out to Russell Crowe and Rose McGowan, who have stood up for the hotel's employees (McGowan actually hosted a "gay-in" party at the hotel); a retweet of HotelChatter's last article on the boycott; and a link to this interesting blog post from a server at the Beverly Hill Hote's legendary Polo Lounge.
We don't want to quit you!
It looks like The Dorchester Collection has a very serious problem on their hands.
Last week, when the fashion world told people to boycott the hotel group because of their association with the government of Brunei, which will now stone people to death for being homosexual, Ellen DeGeneres also publicly tweeted that she too, will be boycotting both the Hotel Bel-Air and The Beverly Hills Hotel.
We've actually seen Ellen at the Beverly Hills Hotel, aka The Pink Palace, where her and wife Portia dined downstairs in the Fountain Coffee Shop, a popular spot for not just celebs but locals too. The hotel collection is clearly caught between a rock and hard place (no pun intended) as they continue to be open to all guests and have indeed said as much in a public statement last week:
Dorchester Collection’s Code, endorsed by the company’s ownership, emphasizes equality, respect and integrity in all areas of our operation, and strongly values people and cultural diversity amongst our guests and employees.”
Yet it doesn't sound like there's much more they can do without biting the hand that feeds them. It's sad because we pretty much love all the Dorchester Collection Hotels. At least to visit for lunch or drinks as we couldn't regularly afford the pricey hotel rooms anyways. So our problem is solved. But rich people with a conscious may have to wait a while.
What do you think--should guests boycott a hotel based on what the hotel owner says or does (see also: Donald Sterling or should guests put that aside and enjoy the hotel experience for what it is? Sound off in comments below!
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Last night, Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts threw a glam poolside soiree at The Beverly Hilton to celebrate the long-awaited announcement of the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills. While we were momentarily distracted by the offerings at the chocolate bar and the drinks bar, not to mention the appearance of the ethereal and normal-sized Christina Hendricks, we did manage to study a scale model of the planned 12-story, 170-room hotel. Like many things in Beverly Hills, it's an expensive beauty, worth about $200 million.
The hotel has been a long-time dream for developer Beny Alagem who also owns The Beverly Hilton. Plans to bring the luxury brand to the city back in 2008 didn't quite work out thanks to concerned residents and the ensuing economic crash but now, the dream is finally becoming a reality. And in case you didn't already understand, having a Waldorf Astoria in Beverly Hills is a huge deal in the luxury hotel world.
"We are steps away from Rodeo Drive. This is "Ground Zero" for luxury," said John T.A. Vanderslice, Waldorf Astoria’s Global Brand Head. "And the fact that we are opening a Waldorf Astoria in here is out of this world."
But just how will this five-star hotel set itself apart from the other five-star hotels in town, some within walking distance like the Peninsula, The Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire and The Montage?
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What a difference six years can make. Back in 2008, plans for The Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills to open next to the Beverly Hilton were firmly squashed by Beverly Hills residents and to some extent, the recession. Today, we learn the project is back on again. And it's really, really, really happening this time. But there will be some changes to the Beverly Hilton.
The hotel's Oasis Court, Lanai guest room buildings and its south parking structure along with the building that once housed the Trader Vic's restaurant, will be torn down to make way for the 170-room Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills Hotel and its accompanying residences. Here's a bit more info from the LA Times on what to expect:
The new hotel will be clad in curving white stone inspired by Streamline Moderne style with bronze accents. Guest rooms will have floor-to-ceiling windows that open onto landscaped private balconies. The rooftop swimming pool deck will include greenery, cabanas and a bar and grill exclusive to hotel guests. There will be an upscale restaurant open to the public, stores including jeweler Graff Diamonds and a Waldorf Astoria Spa. The hotel will also include meeting space and a ballroom that will hold as many as 200 people.
When the AKA Beverly Hills opened back in 2012 in the heart of the exclusive 90210 zip code, we were loving the hotel's apartment-style accommodations along with their thoughtful amenities and services like free WiFi, bike rentals, and room service by Spago. Yet in order to enjoy all this, you had to be an extended-stay guest, spending 30 days or more at the hotel. Until now.
Starting on March 21, the AKA Beverly Hills will be accepting stays of 7 days or longer. Woot! Seven days is far more doable than 30. Not to mention, more affordable. Rates starting on March 21 begin at $389 a night for a one-bedroom deluxe suite which have about 1,000-sq.ft. of space and include full kitchens, a king-sized bed, dining table, private patio, washer and dryer, and Bulgari amenities.
Compare all this to smaller rooms at other luxe hotels in Beverly Hills, that start well over $400 a night without kitchens and washer and dryers, AKA is the best deal in town yet.
[Photo: AKA Hotels]
Just hours before the Golden Globes red carpet walk was to start at the Beverly Hilton, a sprinkler malfunctioned raining down not just water, but according to witnesses, some smelly black sewage as well. Billy Bush tweeted this about the incident:
Sewage pipe break on red carpet at #GoldenGlobes so it’s not hot as sh*t but it could smell like it today. Good times.— Billy Bush (@billybush) January 12, 2014
The hotel was quick to call the fire department and clean up the mess. They also released an official statement about the leak on Facebook which stated that it was a sprinkler malfunction. There was no mention of sewage and the carpet received "one last wash before it opened" for all the celebs. Cue new tweet from Billy Bush:
I’m hearing fire sprinkler broke. Better now than in the middle of the action. #GoldenGlobes. In a few hours it’ll smell like champagne so— Billy Bush (@billybush) January 12, 2014
Indeed, nothing seemed amassed when the red carpet walk started: