- Detailed Review
- Facts & Amenities
A standard dinner party or first date question to a travel expert usually runs along the lines of: “So, where’s your favourite hotel in the world?” Since I first set foot in the door back in 2014, my answer to the question has emphatically been: “The Beverly Hills Hotel.”
Cards on the table – LA has long possessed my heart. The perma-blue sky overhead, the symmetries of palm trees and the ever-perfect climate are constant reminders that I was born on the wrong continent. And this hotel, in my mind, rounded up the “American me” dream. However, I’m a pragmatic, unaccommodating critic when it comes to world-class hotels living up to their hype. Returning to the hotel now four years older, wiser and decidedly more discerning, I was hoping that I wouldn’t have to come up with a new answer on my next first date.
Set in twelve acres of lush ‘manicured to be unmanicured’ gardens, there are 208 rooms and suites here – including 23 of the world-famous, notorious (see below) bungalows which have provided the backdrop for some of Hollywood’s biggest romances, scandals and legends over the last 100 years; ‘Iconic’ simply doesn’t cover it.
Home of the famed Polo Lounge, a Hockneyesque pool with its signature cabanas, and the trademark italic signage on Sunset Boulevard letting you know you’ve arrived, many of Hollywood’s pivotal moments belong to the ‘Pink Palace’. The moment you alight at the red-carpet entrance and step into the buzzing lobby, you’ll know you’re somewhere special. This hotel achieves that rarity of totally embodying its location. It effortlessly provides an experience, rather than just a stay, and delivers on the practicalities, service and quality of a top five-star hotel.
The hotel’s latest refurbishment was completed a few years ago, perfectly described as ‘better than glossy but not glitzy’ – although I was delighted the unique ‘Martinique’ banana leaf wallpaper remains – one of the signature touches of this hotel.
Embodying the Dorchester Collection’s trademark service: world-class, warmly delivered professionalism; personality; and a genuine passion to surpass expectations, I noted that every guest was treated equally – not just the rich and famous (although they love it too).
Finally, many people don’t realise that the hotel was featured on the iconic cover of the Eagles’ ‘Hotel California’ album: ‘You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave’. Sounds good to me.
Swinging in from Sunset Boulevard, you’re immediately in another world. The pastel pink buildings, green striped awning, red carpet and immaculately preppy valets in their polo shirts and chinos – this is pure LA. The immediate atmosphere is buzzing, yet incredibly organised. It’s a never-ending stream of Ubers and supercars, and the kind of efficiency that suggests many guests here are simply not used to waiting!
This is THE only hotel in the world that justifies such a genuine red-carpet entrance – there is even a Beverly Hills Hotel branded ‘step and repeat’ banner on the carpet to provide a premier-style backdrop for your own selfie as a moviestar. Only in Hollywood!
Even if the hotel’s signature style isn’t your personal choice, it somehow works perfectly here. It’s a combination of 40’s glam and Art Deco in the signature greens, golds and pinks that are throughout the hotel. The entrance lobby, where reception and concierge are located, features groups of comfy sofas, armchairs and a 24/7 open fire, and provides an arena for world-class people watching as well as a comfortable and sociable place to gather. Stay long enough (or not very long at all), and you will see the great and good of Hollywood pass through on their way to a breakfast meeting in the Polo Lounge, a ‘see and be seen’ brunch at the Cabana Café by the pool, or an incognito pancake stack in the Fountain Coffee Room.
I was efficiently and quickly welcomed as I arrived by car, with luggage labelled and taken away before I even made it to reception. Check in was slick, fast and very personable and warm, and from then on every time I had cause to go talk to the concierge or reception during my stay, I was unhesitatingly welcomed by name. Impressive.
A particularly knowledgeable bellhop showed me to my room, pointing out the key parts of the hotel along the way. He comprehensively introduced me to the features and functions of my room. An efficient, welcoming and useful arrival experience.
Rooms and suites
Rooms here are typically ‘Dorchester Collection’: solid, comfortable, practical and user-friendly, with plenty of natural light and wood. Understated, yet elegantly glamourous, they mirror the pink, gold and green theme throughout.
My room was very spacious at 49 sq m (525 sq ft) with a well-thought-out ‘flow’. A very comfortable king-size bed, a large chaise lounge at the foot of the bed (perfectly positioned for the B&O TV), a large desk underneath the window, and a comfortable seating area with a reading lamp and a separate mini-bar all help make this room your very own haven.
The walk-in wardrobe was large and well-equipped – even several designer ball gowns would feel at home in this closet – and the room had a comfortable residential feel. Very much a home-from-home for the three nights of my stay, it felt functional and would have accommodated me and all my stuff for a more extended visit – if only…
I was lucky enough to have a balcony, and my view faced North Crescent Drive – a peaceful, palm-lined residential side street which gave me a sense of being in Beverly Hills, even if it was not especially picturesque. The large balcony was well-equipped with super-comfy loungers, but it’s worth noting that there is very little privacy between balconies, and you have plain view of the ground floor terraces below. So, whilst the outside space is lovely, it’s not ideal for those seeking privacy. The opposite is, of course, the case of the Bungalows which are nestled into the jungle-like gardens. So if privacy is a concern, it’s worth paying a premium for the garden setting.
Quality sleep is paramount here, and rooms are intentionally old school in terms of lighting controls and switches; there are very few annoying ‘control lights’ visible in a dark room (a particular bugbear of mine). The bedding and pillows are especially good.
That said, the rooms do provide all mod cons, and the easy-to-use TV had an excellent selection of channels, and the complimentary WiFi was especially fast and reliable, even with several device being used concurrently. Mobile phone signal was excellent throughout.
The standards of housekeeping are exceptional – I could not find a single fault with the maintenance and cleanliness anywhere. The team were friendly, always smiling, and I loved the turndown treats – different every night. (The shamrock biscuits on St Patrick’s Day with sparkly green icing were fabulous, as was the ‘welcome amenity’ in my room – a chocolate recreation of a movie premiere red carpet scene – now that’s attention to detail!).
Although lower category rooms are smaller and you compromise on space, you do not miss out on facilities or quality. These would suit a couple who weren’t planning on spending much time in their room or a single business traveller.
Larger suites are impressive in terms of both size and quality of living space, with some featuring large dining areas, larger terraces (especially those located on the ground floor) and increasingly impressive detailing throughout. Despite an emphasis on grandeur in the larger and signature suites, the décor and layout reflect the residential, homely feel of the hotel – there is a calmness and warmth to the rooms that balances beautifully with the ‘special’ feel here.
Special mention should go to the Bungalows. I could write an entire review based on the shenanigans of the Great and Good over the years, as the Bungalows are at the heart of Hollywood’s heritage. (Elizabeth Taylor spent six of her total of eight first wedding nights in Bungalow 5, for example!). Suffice to say, they are the epitome of luxury, privacy and discretion, situated in the lush gardens in the heart of the hotel. Each is unique, but they all share a similar style to the rooms and suites in the main hotel building, with additional facilities such as a giant safe in one Bungalow (particularly appealing to the jewellery companies who ‘dress’ stars for the awards ceremonies), full yoga equipment (I especially love the Martinique yoga mats) and beautifully appointed private outdoor terraces and gardens.
Elegant, spacious, with plenty of thick monogrammed towels, a copious use of marble, fantastic showers, deep baths and excellent amenities, these bathrooms are as suitable for family use as they are for primping for a night at the Oscars.
My bathroom had a huge vanity unit with two sinks and plenty of storage space for my things, a large, deep tub with a hand-held shower attachment and a substantial separate shower, with the WC tucked around a corner. The lighting was especially good with no harsh overhead lights and very practically lit mirrors for hair and makeup. There was a good hairdryer, and everything was positioned very well from a user-friendly point of view.
Special mention should be given to the housekeeping – my bathroom was absolutely spotless – the marble gleamed, and the bathroom was a joy to use.
Bathroom amenities are the hotel’s own – full size and in bespoke bottles that feature the signature ‘Martinique’ palm design. Despite not being a ‘branded’ product, they are lovely to use, and the large size is a treat. I especially liked the bath crystals, which really made me want to make use of the huge tub – although the bottles make such great souvenirs, I doubt many people use the products in situ!
I have sometimes found that in ‘iconic’ hotels – where the building, location or reputation is most prominent – dining, in terms of options and quality, can often be overlooked. However, as the three meal-time options here are each destinations in their own right, have rich histories and realms of anecdotes, they are as much of a draw as the hotel itself.
I enjoyed a delicious al fresco lunch at the poolside Cabana Café – the menu and ambience everything you would expect of a California poolside setting. From eggs Benedict to a great selection of salads, wood-fired pizzas, burgers and more – especially tempting were the wafts of truffle parmesan fries from the next table. I ordered off-menu, and the staff were helpful, friendly and proactive in making suggestions – more fantastic service.
This is the perfect outdoor/ indoor dining experience. Also bedecked in pinks and greens with ivy-clad walls and immaculately turned-out waiting staff – this is somewhere to while away hours, sipping wine in the sunshine and people-watching behind sunglasses.
My prawns were beautifully cooked, and although the service was efficient and slick, the whole affair felt relaxed and unhurried. The prices are correspondingly high-end, but the experience was worth it. I would also recommend the weekend brunch here – I once visited on a Sunday, and the atmosphere was fantastic. The restaurant is literally poolside, so in true Californian style, some diners are dressed to the nines, shoulder to shoulder with families in swimwear on their sunbeds – all part of the vibe.
I ate Sunday breakfast this time in the Polo Lounge, where the daily morning meal is served (although it’s more famous for lunch and dinner). You can eat inside at the large tables and banquettes, all of which have their own place in Hollywood history, or on the terrace, the perfect place to enjoy the Californian morning sunshine. The Polo Lounge is still THE place for Hollywood power dining (I found myself eating in silence, purely to catch snippets of conversations going on around me).
Again, prices are at the higher end and can add up quickly when paying per item, but the quality and attention to detail of every aspect somehow does not leave you feeling short-changed. I enjoyed the delicious Polo Lounge granola one morning, and the avocado toast for brunch on another occasion. The presentation of even the most simple-sounding dishes was beautifully executed, and the service excellent too.
I should also mention an early-hours nightcap at the Bar Nineteen 12 (named after the year the hotel opened) – bourbon has never looked or tasted so good!
Other restaurant options
There is also the Fountain Coffee Room that’s situated on the lower ground floor. Despite several visits to the hotel, I’ve never eaten here, partly because it’s fairly cosy and the 19-seat counter is always busy, but mostly because the hotel has such wonderful outdoor options, that the lure of the sunshine has always been too strong.
That said, this is a gorgeous room, lined with the ubiquitous ‘Martinique’ palms, and with an incredible 50s curved diner counter. The tucked-away nature is appealing for those looking for somewhere more low key. The all-day menu has something for everyone, and the price level is more accessible and generally less formal.
It’s easy to forget within the hotel’s ‘Beverly Hills Bubble’ that you are minutes away from Beverly Hills itself, and only slightly further to West Hollywood or Santa Monica, where excellent dining options are endless. Being the city where no one ever walks, the hotel’s town car will take you to any local destination within three miles, but the 10-minute walk into the centre of Beverly Hills is a lovely stroll in the sunshine.
Spa and wellness
Although there is a spa and a relatively small gym at the hotel, I don’t feel that they are a centrepiece of the hotel, more functional than being a key offering, although should you require a massage, facial, manicure, or pedicure, they are brilliantly done here; it’s just more of a ‘hotel with spa facilities’ than a comprehensive wellness offering.
There are six treatment rooms at the spa (two of which can be used by couples), and the gym is equipped with the essentials: weight machines, cardio equipment and stretching facilities. Yoga is offered once a week, and there are also separate sauna and steam facilities for male and female spa users in addition to the well-equipped changing facilities.
The Joseph Martin hair salon is separate and surprisingly large – but also representative of the needs of hotel guests and the LA approach to being ‘effortlessly’ turned out at all times!
Treatments can also be administered in the privacy of your room or Bungalow or even by the pool – a real treat if you have hired a Cabana.
Pool and beach
The pool at the hotel is very much a feature of the hotel – it opened in 1938 as the Sand and Pool Club, complete with real sand to make it feel like the real deal. It, too, has as many stories as the hotel: in the 60s, The Beatles sneaked in wearing disguises of wigs, false beards and top hats; Katharine Hepburn once threw herself in fully clothed after a tennis match; and Raquel Welch was ‘discovered’ on a pool lounger here.
These days, the pool is designed for serious relaxing and sunbathing, as well as being part of ‘the scene’ – and is equally as ideal for families as it is for laying back with a cocktail. Sun loungers are relatively close together, but this is part of the lively poolside vibe – and they’re super comfortable, with plentiful plush towels and pool boys running after your every request. The underwater music, surrounding palm trees and luxurious tented cabanas (complete with TVs and sofas), complete the look – and you totally forget that you’re effectively in the middle of town, only separately by a tall fence from Sunset Boulevard.
It’s large enough for a ‘proper’ swim (I had a lovely pre-breakfast workout in the sunshine with the pool to myself – bliss), and there are bathroom facilities poolside. You can order food and drink from the Cabana Café to your lounger or cabana and, in general, the whole pool area is like being part of a movie set.
As the hotel is in the middle of town, and not near to the beach, this poolside experience allows anyone on a holiday to feel that they can make the most of the sunshine at any time. The only problem is that any future hotel poolside experience might feel a little dull in comparison!
Although, on first impression, this is a glamorous, adult-centric hotel, I’d very much recommend this hotel for families. The staff are so welcoming and proactive and as the hotel is generally quite lively, parents with small children wouldn’t feel too noise-conscious. The pool area is great for families, and although there is no kids’ club, LA is a great family destination, and this is the perfect location from which to explore, especially if you want to be more central than Santa Monica or the PCH areas.
Teens especially will love the buzz of this hotel – as well as the potential for celeb-spotting.
Many room/ suite categories can be interconnected or can accommodate extra beds or sofa beds and, of course, the Bungalows are great for families with plenty of space and privacy.
The hotel runs a V-VIP programme for children, and amenities include children’s menus, babysitting services, teddy bears and chocolate chip cookies in rooms. Children under 12 receive a credit card for free sodas in the Fountain Coffee Room and Cabana Café.
The concierge team here are exceptional and are well-versed in providing ideas and booking activities for younger children, teens and families, and they would help ensure a stay works well for children as well as adults.
Furry members of the family are also very much welcome here – the Bungalows especially are well suited to dogs. For a nominal daily fee, the hotel provides dog beds and bowls and biscuits with the dog’s name handwritten on them….only in LA!
Staff and service
The incredible staff are a large part of what makes a stay at The Beverly Hills Hotel so special. The team seem to understand that working in such an iconic environment (often with the kind of guests who are used to the best of the best) demands every member of staff to be on top of their game.
I was especially impressed with the concierge team, who I put to the test several times – from creatively navigating me a way through the LA Marathon road closures, to finding me a local store that stocked a particular brand of wine; they were exceptional, knowledgeable and professional. They were equally fun and friendly, as well as being interested in feedback on everything they had arranged for me.
Without exception, every member of housekeeping, poolside and restaurant staff were all a credit to the management and ethos of the hotel. I also loved all of the hotel drivers – professional, efficient and so fun – a source of great local knowledge!
Despite its iconic reputation, the 90210 location and the undeniable ‘profile’ of the A-Listers that pass through the hotel, it would be wrong to assume that you are only allowed to enter if you’re one of the world’s beautiful people. Yes, there is a magical touch of glamour to this hotel, but it’s remarkably accessible, welcoming and ‘normal’ in many ways.
The hotel has a very international appeal, yet there is also a huge, often multi-generational domestic market, and I observed as many American guests as international ones. Families and business travellers alike use the hotel – and I noticed many local families enjoying themselves over the weekend.
LA is somewhere that you find an immaculately Chanel-suited ‘lady that lunches’ comfortably rubbing shoulders with someone in jeans, Nikes and a baseball cap – and this hotel is no exception. Many guests dining in the Polo Lounge or by the pool were Angelinos enjoying a weekend brunch or high-powered lunch – so there is a great mix.
I had a late flight, and my bags were safely and efficiently stored while I went out for lunch; they were efficiently dealt with when I returned to the hotel to leave for the airport. The only regrettable part of the departure experience was actually having to leave.
How to get here
35 minutes by road from Los Angeles International Airport
208 rooms & suites