S TAY I NG power
The iconic Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles continues to attract the glitterati, especially to its newly revamped bungalows.
If these walls could talk they would spill secrets of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Of affairs and actors, hedonism and handshake deals, movie stars and magnates, riches and romance. Lining its hallowed halls, the iconic 1940s Don Loper-designed banana leaf ‘Martinique’ wallpaper is as recognisable as its famous courtyard, where the entertainment elite come, as they have for decades, to wine and dine. It’s the stuff of legend and lore.
In a city where pop stars can turn a regular venue into a hotspot with a single paparazzi shot, not many have had staying power quite like the Beverly Hills Hotel. Built in 1912, the sprawling Mission Revival hotel and lush estate preceded even the city itself, and by the 1920s it was considered prime real estate. In the late 40s the property was painted in its famous flamingo colour whereupon it became affectionately known as The Pink Palace.
There have been updates over the years, most recently by Adam Tihany who refreshed the lobby, palm-tree-lined pool cabanas and sacred Polo Lounge, the original establishment for socialites and Rat Pack debauchery. It’s been called the ‘epicentre of power dining in Los Angeles’ and because time-honoured guests were sensitive to any major changes, the curved quilted booths, dark green walls and round tables remained.
The mild weather is perfect for dining alfresco, and the patio blooms with azaleas, bougainvillea, camellias and star jasmine. Executive chef and Hawaiian native Kaleo Adams uses produce from farmers markets and the onsite herb garden to ensure healthy
options are available, but it’s all about jazz and Sunday brunch. It might be Old Hollywood, but today’s ‘It’ kids still flock.
Introduced in the early days to accommodate guests wanting more space and privacy, the hotel’s original secluded bungalows are being reimagined by New York-based designer Alexandra Champalimaud of Champalimaud Design. Tailored 40s French and Hollywood Regency designs complement decorative wallpapers, intricate f loor inlays, hand-stencilled patterns and customembroidered panels that are luxurious without being stuffy. It’s a nod to the past with an effortless, Californian modernity.
The refit is inspired by some of the hotel’s legendary regulars, including Marilyn Monroe who stayed with Joe Dimaggio in number seven, Marlene Dietrich who regarded number 11 as her own, Yoko Ono and John Lennon who holed up for a week, and reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes who lived in number four intermittently for more than three decades. With four bedrooms and a private pool, number five was designed with Elizabeth Taylor in mind and incorporates glamour reflective of her most celebrated movie roles. Just as in her own home, blue reigns, and jewel-coloured Arnold Scaasi-esque draperies are paired with romantic floral mosaics, Egyptian-patterned cabinetry and plush European furniture.
Earlier this year Parisian artist Marc Ange exhibited his limitededition ‘Le Refuge’ daybed with its canopied perforated steel eaves in the citrus garden. The most instagrammed piece at Milan Design Week, his follow-up will be unveiled at Art Basel Miami in December. A more permanent sanctuary, the hotel’s pool is relaxed and chic, its signature green and white chaises shaded by parasols.
Safely hidden from view, the bungalows are the perfect hideout. “Every memory I have of the hotel that I want to share,” said former Paramount Pictures film producer and resort regular Robert Evans, “I wouldn’t want to see in print.” dorchestercollection.com