My Life as an A-Lister: A Review of The Beverly Hills Hotel
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To The Point
How do you introduce the hotel that needs no introduction? Briefly, I guess. This hotel is so well-known for a reason, and it’s not just because of its notoriety or celebrity sightings. Pros: The BHH is insanely luxurious and beautiful with near impeccable service. Cons: Those prices are not for the faint of heart.
I’ll be totally honest with you: It still feels surreal that I stayed here. I mean, it’s The Beverly Hills Hotel, for crying out loud! You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t heard of the infamous Pink Palace.
[Update 4/2/2019: The Beverly Hills Hotel is part of the Dorchester Collection of Hotels, owned by the Brunei Investment Agency, controlled by the government of the Sultanate of Brunei. The Sultanate has passed a law introducing the death penalty for people convicted of having gay sex or committing adultery. The law will go into effect on April 3. While we can’t change laws, as consumers we can speak with our wallets. For more information on helping persecuted LGBT people globally, follow @rainbowrailroad, a nonprofit organization supported by TPG.]
And if you haven’t, well, hi. Welcome to the world. You can pick up your visitor pass at the front door.
In true TPG fashion, we needed to see if one of the most famous hotels in the world lived up to all that hype. Forget what you’ve heard about all of the famous (and infamous) people who have walked down that pretty red carpet — this is what it’s really like to stay at The Beverly Hills Hotel.
The hotel is a member of the nine-property, Brunei-owned Dorchester Collection.
I paid using my Amex Platinum and I booked through the Fine Hotels & Resorts program. Although I would have received more points using my Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x on travel), I wanted to get the perks (looking at you, spa credit) from the Amex FHR program.
Fine Hotels & Resorts is open to Amex Platinum and Centurion cardholders and gives you bonuses such as a room upgrade (when available), daily breakfast for two, late check-out and noon check-in. Yep, I’ll take it.
I originally booked a superior room, which came to $745 a night.
This may come as a surprise, but The Beverly Hills Hotel is in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles. Groundbreaking, I know.
It was nestled up on a hill and only about a half-hour drive from the airport. The drive there — in the 75-degree and sunny weather, surrounded by all of these gorgeous mansions — was almost enough to make me pack up and leave New York. Almost.
The location wasn’t exactly central, but seeing as how LA is actually made up of 88 municipalities (yeah, I don’t get it either), “central” all depends on where you want to be. It was relatively easy to get around to all of the places my mom and I wanted to go from there, and the hotel offered complimentary car service for up to three miles away. It was about half an hour to Venice Beach, and only 15 minutes from popular tourist destinations such as the Getty Center and Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
Before we walked into the lobby of the hotel, we were greeted by that famous red carpet and striped ceiling. Not a bad sight after a six-hour flight from NYC, especially knowing that celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, John Lennon and Yoko Ono had also walked through those doors. I’m not worthy, I’m not worthy!
As we got out of the car, the bellhops warmly welcomed us and took our bags inside.
Once we were inside the lobby, we headed to the check-in desk on the right, but 11/10 had to stop to take this picture first.
Upon arrival, we were told that we were upgraded to Presidential Bungalow 23.
Just kidding, we were upgraded to a junior suite. Thanks, Amex FHR! Since we got there very early, the room wasn’t ready yet, so we ended up having to wait for about an hour.
I know, I know, rough life. My heart bleeds for me too, having an hour to kill at The Beverly Hills Hotel. Thankfully, Louis, who was helping us with check-in, gave us a tour. (Note: The above person is not Louis.)
My mom and I ended up exploring the gardens and bungalows for a bit afterward, and I swear I was walking through a magical fairytale wonderland. Also, they really, and I mean really, like their banana leaves here. You’ll see.
Afterward, we sat in the lobby for a bit while we planned out our day — which, for those of you wondering, involved me getting us lost on the way from Santa Monica to Venice — and Louis came to get us when the room was ready.
Our room was, in a word, stunning. Since the hotel isn’t part of a major chain (it’s part of the Dorchester Collection), the room didn’t feel like a cookie-cutter version of another 700 or so rooms. Instead, it felt special — all without being showy and over-the-top. Immediately upon walking in, I thought, “OK, I want to live here.” I mean, do you blame me?
Is it just me, or does the couch look like something straight out of the “Paint me like one of your French girls” scene in Titanic?
There was also a desk if you wanted to get work done. I said “work,” not “Botox.”
Turndown service even brought us cookies every night. Note: This is the key to my heart.
That said, the view was definitely not what Drake had in mind when he wrote his 2016 album. It was what seemed to be a rooftop HVAC unit of some sort (shot here through a screen).
The bathroom was literally the size of my room in New York (which, admittedly, isn’t saying much) — but it was definitely big for a bathroom. And yes: The shower would 100% pass the TPG shower test (Brian’s 6 feet, 7 inches).
Shout-out to the pretty pink bathtub that I didn’t get to use because I was too busy trying to spot Brad Pitt the whole time I was in LA.
The shower did this weird thing where water sprinkled all over the place, so I had to squint my eyes to get my shampoo from where it was behind the spout. I guess seeing is overrated?
Now, in today’s episode of “What Does This Button Do?” the room had a universal remote, which controlled all of the lighting throughout the room … and bathroom. My mother decided it was a good idea to play around with it while I was in the shower, and promptly turned out all the lights in the bathroom. I thought I was dying. Oops.
Some weird things of note: There was no coffeemaker, clock or iron in the room, which I thought was a little odd. While they did ask if we needed anything ironed after we got to the room, I felt like it would’ve been easier to just do it myself before heading out. Now, if only I had the same mentality when it comes to cooking.
Things I did on this trip: eat some of the best meals of my life at Jon and Vinny’s, Sugarfish and Fritzi Coop — and even though Shake Shack is better (don’t @ me), we still didn’t make it to In-N-Out. Sore subject.
Things I did not do: work out.
I did, though, go to the gym to take some pictures for you lovely people. Plot twist: There were more banana leaves.
Each of the machines had a meticulously placed towel on it. Three snaps for organization.
When you book with Amex FHR, you’ll get a $100 spa credit. Livin’ large!
But not so fast! This was The Beverly Hills Hotel, where a manicure would set me back $50 — so you can imagine what their prices for massages were. Hint: more than the price of a one-way domestic basic economy ticket.
I opted to splurge a little bit and get the Jetsetter facial ($125), considering my skin had been all over the place since New York decided it was the new cool thing to stop having temperatures in the double digits. Added bonus: The name of the facial was really on-brand. I do it for the content, guys.
The spa was downstairs near the fitness center and smelled like lavender, cookies and happiness. After I checked in, I was brought into a dimly lit waiting room with a couch and snacks, and the receptionist brought me green tea.
In the locker room, I put on the robe they gave me and, you guys, I would have gotten rid of half the stuff in my carry-on to be able to take it home with me. It was so fluffy and comfortable, and I can say with 100% certainty that if I owned it, I would never leave my apartment. If you know me, you know I’m not lying.
Now, where were we? Oh, right. The facial. I talk a lot, sorry. My facial therapist, Michelle, worked wonders — but first she double-checked that she could take my makeup off, since apparently tons of her clients want to keep it on. Beverly Hills, man.
About halfway through it, she put a gel on my face, which she described as feeling like “warm champagne.” What is this, freshman year of college?
In all seriousness, my facial was great. My skin felt rejuvenated and soft, and it had a nice glow to it. But with the gratuity it ended up costing $150. Would I recommend it? Yes. But for $150? Probably not. I’ve have had my fair share of facials before, and this one wasn’t significantly better than the ones that cost half the price. Even with the “warm champagne” rubbed on my face.
Food and Beverage
Another perk of the FHR program was getting a $75 breakfast credit every day at one of the restaurants at the hotel, including the Polo Lounge and the Fountain Coffee Room. Seventy five dollars?! Your girl could do some damage there … or so I thought.
I personally was really looking forward to the Polo Lounge, the place to see and be seen in LA, but mostly in an ironic way, because I can’t stand those kind of scene-y places and because it recently earned a whopping 0.5 stars out of 10 on The Infatuation. Dun dun dun!
The Polo Lounge looked just like you think it would, beautiful and classic in the sense that it could have been the backdrop of a Ralph Lauren ad. Our table overlooked yet another magical garden, so I’d had worse views. Definitely not the table reserved for celebrities and power lunches, but we’d survive.
Now this is where the fun started. Here’s the menu, so you can get a sense of where this is going.
Your eyes do not deceive you: It actually did say $20 for oatmeal. You would think that for that much money the oatmeal would have tasted like Sir Quaker did a mashup with Daniel Boulud himself, right?
Verdict: Well, let’s just say I make better oatmeal for breakfast at the TPG office every weekday, and my credentials include burning toast on multiple occasions. I’ll let you be the judge of that one. (Mom liked her yogurt, though.)
Final total: $71. For oatmeal, yogurt and granola and two coffees. Don’t get me wrong, I know this is a hotel — in Beverly Hills, at that — and I’m all for spending money on good food, but this was so not worth it. If we didn’t have the $75 credit, I probably would’ve sued for intentional infliction of emotional distress. (I kid, I kid, but still.)
Meanwhile, the Fountain Coffee Room was like the cool, laid-back aunt who sneaks you alcohol at family events. The restaurant looked like a retro ’50s diner with — you guessed it — more banana leaves, and reminded me of Camellia Grill in New Orleans. Which, for those of you that are new here, is my favorite place in the entire world. But I digress.
I decided to go for the yogurt, granola and banana this time around but get this: The banana itself was $4! Yes, $4. For a banana. Like, maybe it was literally blessed by Pope Francis and shipped directly to the restaurant to grace us mere humans with its presence, but even then, wow. This makes Whole Foods look reasonable.
The total price on this breakfast between my mom and me was still about half the price of the Polo Lounge, $4 banana included, and honestly, so much better. Moral of the story: Just don’t go to the Polo Lounge. The hole in your wallet and stomach will not be worth the potential celebrity sighting. (We didn’t see any celebrities during our visit, but there was a rumor Sean Combs was staying at the hotel.)
So here’s the deal with the pool: You’re technically not allowed to take pictures of it. Everybody does it, it’s just that nobody talks about it — kind of like stalking people on social media.
It was like the perfect combination of retro, modern and California cool — a combination that I realize makes absolutely no sense, but I’m going to go with it. The pool was surrounded by cabanas, but they were more exclusive than one of Akin’s SoulCycle classes. (And you already had to use a key to get into the pool area.)
Once my mom and I found lounge chairs that weren’t being used, we laid out for about two hours or so while I enjoyed what it was like to actually see the sun.
I’ll be serious for a second here (and try not to hurt myself in the process), but I absolutely loved my stay at The Beverly Hills Hotel. The staff at the hotel went the extra mile to help us and get to know us — asking us how the specific restaurant we went to was and making sure all our needs were met. While there were plenty of things I made fun of (it’s all part of my charm), the hotel looks like something out of your wildest dreams; there are so many reasons why it’s so iconic.
That said, it’s going to cost you a pretty penny. This hotel is expensive, and you’re going to walk away with a pretty large bill. But if you’ve got a burning desire to spend money, there’s no more beautiful bonfire to toss it in. But, uh, invite me next time, would ya? I already can’t wait to go back.
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