24-hour room service: The Beverly Hills Hotel, Los Angeles

Sugar-pink and oh, so Hollywood

During my stay at the Beverly Hills Hotel I expected to see at least one A-list celebrity, some extreme plastic surgery and a sugar-daddy studio executive inappropriately paired with a young aspiring starlet. I wasn't disappointed.

I spotted Warren Beatty in the Polo Lounge restaurant within 24 hours, and had lunch opposite four women dressed in velour tracksuits who resembled Joan Rivers's less natural-looking sisters. Then there was the man who made Harvey Weinstein look like Brad Pitt, with an MTV blonde draped all over him. The Beverly Hills Hotel is pure theatre, and it's where Hollywood legends and, since it opened in 1912, power players from Charlie Chaplin to Elizabeth Taylor have stayed there.

Dubbed the Pink Palace, and located appropriately on Sunset Boulevard, the hotel looks a bit like a Disney princess's castle. It is set in 12 acres of lush tropical gardens filled with palms, hibiscus and bougainvillea, and the centrepiece is a large swimming pool complete with music piped under the water. At one end is a Jacuzzi, while the sides are lined with sun-loungers, potted lemon trees and private cabañas. Inside the main areas of the hotel, the décor is like a box of macaroons – sugary pale pink, green and apricot – with gold fittings, velvet chairs, potted palms, chandeliers and swagged curtains. Modern or minimalist this hotel is not.

If the Chateau Marmont has a reputation for wild nights and excess, as seen in the recent Sofia Coppola film Somewhere, the Beverly Hills Hotel has a more grand, genteel atmosphere; it's pure Hollywood establishment. Anyone nostalgic for an era when leading men had dimples in their chin and women actually swooned will love the kind of retro glamour where people dress for dinner; during my stay, one woman turned up in a black sequinned ballgown with a train.

The regulars love it so much that they are fiercely opposed to change. When the restaurant tried to stop chopping the ingredients in the famous McCarthy salad by hand to save time, and changed the bowls it was served in, there were outcries. Named after entertainment lawyer Neil McCarthy, this salad is a legend in its own lunchtime, and contains a chopped mix of chicken, lettuce, tomato, bacon, egg, beetroot and cheese. The Polo Lounge has indoor seating with velvet chairs and an outside patio, and is a popular spot for power breakfasts and lunches. One of the hotel's staff told me that some hotshots conduct two lunch meetings simultaneously, flitting between the two by pretending to take calls on their BlackBerrys.

It would be a shame to have to focus on business here, rather than the pleasure of eating, because the upmarket American food is excellent: crab cakes, lobster salads, lots of steak. One night I had prime New York steak with corn and bacon bread pudding ($49/£33), and the best soufflé I've ever had ($19/£13) – probably not the kind of food to eat before squeezing into an Oscars gown, but delicious, nonetheless.

Other places to eat and drink include the Fountain Coffee Room, where you sit on restored bar stools around a classic curved soda fountain counter, and have an egg-white omelette or a stack of pancakes, the Cabana Café by the pool and Bar Nineteen12, which is full of the jeunesse dorée of Beverly Hills.



Location

If you like gawping at multimillion-dollar homes and guessing the identity of their inhabitants, then the location is perfect. It's a short walk from the luxury shopping strip Rodeo Drive and the world's most well-known zip code: 90210. Not that anyone seems to walk in LA; apart from gardeners and staff tending to the properties, the streets are almost empty. Fittingly, the hotel has a complimentary courtesy car service within Beverly Hills. It's 20 minutes' drive from Los Angeles International airport, but allow more time to get anywhere here because the traffic is often terrible.



Comfort

There are 204 rooms and suites, including 21 bungalows that have separate entrances, living and dining rooms and features such as pianos or Jacuzzis. Later this month, two ultra-luxurious "presidential bungalows" will be unveiled. No 23 features an outdoor circular fireplace and No 24 an outdoor garden shower, while both have "butler's pantries" in the kitchens. These will cost upwards of $10,370 (£6,912) a night, room only.

I stayed in a slightly more modest deluxe guestroom which, with its balcony, opulent bathroom, wooden writing desk, armchair and sofa, and soft tones of pale yellow and peach throughout evoked the 1940s via the 1980s; the design is plush and cosy rather than innovative. One let-down was the cost of the Wi-Fi: $10 (£6.70) a day, which although not uncommon in the States, still stings. However, a highlight was returning from cocktails on Sunset Boulevard to find a chocolate sculpture resembling something by Joan Miró waiting in my room. The service is brilliant.

The Beverly Hills Hotel, 9641 Sunset Boulevard, Beverly Hills, California (001 310 276 2251; beverlyhillshotel.com)

Rooms 4 stars
Value 4 stars
Service 5 stars

Double rooms start at $628 (£419), room only.

News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Sport
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
i100
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Management Accountant

    28,000 to 32,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our client, a hospitality busi...

    Food and Beverage Cost Controller

    18,000 to 20,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our fantastic leisure client i...

    Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive

    £20 - 24k: Guru Careers: A Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive is needed t...

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    Day In a Page

    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
    The magic of roundabouts

    Lords of the rings

    Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
    Why do we like making lists?

    Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

    Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
    Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

    A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

    As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
    Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

    Paris Fashion Week

    Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
    Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

    Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

    One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
    10 best children's nightwear

    10 best children's nightwear

    Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
    Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

    Manchester City vs Roma

    Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
    Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

    Trouble on the Tyne

    Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?