Liv­ing Large in LA

The City of An­gels has plenty of star qual­ity and wel­comes vis­i­torsv to share the spot­light

Business Traveler (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Lark Gould Op­po­site page: City of LA; This page from top: Bev­erly Hills Ho­tel, The Bev­erly Hil­ton, Bev­erly Wil­shire, The Penin­sula, Mon­tage Bev­erly Hills

The City of An­gels has star power

Touch­ing down at LAX in the dark­en­ing night sky is al­most like an ex­tra-ter­res­trial event. Lights fan out in all di­rec­tions, grid-like white lu­mi­nes­cence against red streams, puls­ing, beck­on­ing as the land pulls west­ward to­ward the ocean.

Los An­ge­les, at times de­scribed as a great big free­way, is, oh, so much more. Look be­yond the tail lights of the traf­fic buzzing from the beaches to the bou­tiques and bistros and find the spot­lights that have made the city shine since the be­gin­ning of the last cen­tury.

Los An­ge­les has al­ways been the city of dreams – and dream­ers, be­gin­ning with the likes of D.W. Grif­fith, C.B. DeMille and the broth­ers Warner shoot­ing on prim­i­tive back­lots in the Hol­ly­wood hills. Since then it has been all about the sil­ver screen and the ca­reers made and shat­tered upon it in earth­shak­ing celebrity rum­bles that to this day con­tinue to shape the city.

Los An­ge­les was built on far more than movies, it’s true. But for trav­el­ers who land in LA for a day or a week or longer, liv­ing like a celebrity is part and par­cel of the fan­tasy. Visi­tors can have their time in the spot­light as well, lux­u­ri­at­ing in phe­nom­e­nal ho­tel suites like no place else on the planet, and tak­ing in restau­rants, at­trac­tions and shop­ping ven­tures that pos­i­tively ooze the celebrity life­style.

Suite Sen­sa­tions

It is not sur­pris­ing that Bev­erly Hills would of­fer the top picks for trav­el­ers in search of a lux­ury ex­pe­ri­ence. Its ho­tels are the kind of places where guests care less about high-tech gad­gets and more about de­sign taste­fully re­turn­ing Hol­ly­wood to its Golden Age.The Bev­erly Hills Ho­tel &

Bun­ga­lows: “The Pink Palace,” now part of the Dorch­ester Col­lec­tion and owned by the Sul­tan of Brunei, might be con­sid­ered the Grand Dame of this rar­efied list if only for its ten­ure as the home of Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe. Al­though in its 103 years it has housed the very top of the A-List – Frank Si­na­tra, Humphrey Bog­art and Mar­lene Di­et­rich among them (even John Len­non and Yoko hid out here for a week) – it was Mar­i­lyn and her amour of the mo­ment, Yves Mon­tand, who kept the ho­tel’s Polo Lounge abuzz when they lived here dur­ing the film­ing of “Let’s Make Love.”

To­day, the Bev­erly Hills Ho­tel re­mains as grand as it ever was, no worse for wear and still keep­ing its gloss within the buffed up pink and green interiors, palm shaded groves and star­let-stud­ded swim­ming pools. A Cos­mopoli­tan is still the cock­tail to or­der at the Polo Lounge.

The 23 bun­ga­lows here un­fold like in­di­vid­ual homes, each with sep­a­rate en­trances, liv­ing room, din­ing room, wood-burn­ing fire­place, and a dis­tinct con­fig­u­ra­tion and dé­cor. Bun­ga­low 5, the four-bed­room Pres­i­den­tial Bun­ga­low, of­fers a pri­vate lap pool built in 1991 for fre­quent guest Wal­ter An­nen­berg.

The Bev­erly Hil­ton: While the Bev­erly Hills Ho­tel may be known for its celebrity guests, the Bev­erly Hil­ton has al­ways been the ho­tel of Pres­i­dents. Con­rad Hil­ton opened the property in 1955, and ev­ery Com­man­der-in-Chief since has stayed in The Bev­erly Hil­ton Pres­i­den­tial Suite, oft-tagged “White House West.” Robert Downey Jr.’s fa­vorite room is 815 – Gov­er­nor’s Suite.

Bev­erly Wil­shire, a Four Sea­sons Ho­tel: This property, at the se­duc­tive edge of Rodeo Drive and Wil­shire Boule­vard, is known as the Pretty Woman ho­tel – re­fer­ring to the clever ro­man­tic com­edy that lit sparks be­tween Richard Gere and Ju­lia Roberts in 1990.

The suite where the fic­tional fi­nan­cial ty­coon and sim­ple street­walker fell in love is still avail­able with few changes – known as Los An­ge­les, Pretty Woman Suite. Find it on the pri­vate, key-ac­cessed 14th floor of the Bev­erly Wing. Of­fi­cially the Pent­house Suite, this three-bed­room space on the top floor is among the largest in Bev­erly Hills at 5,000 square feet. It and Pres­i­den­tial Suites have beau­ti­ful wrap­around ter­races with spec­tac­u­lar views ws (you can see the Hol­ly­wood ywood sign on a clear day).

Mon­tage Bev­erly Hills: Thisis mag­nif­i­cent prop­er­tyt on CanonC Drive of­fers three Pres­i­den­tial Suites, each pre­sent­ing its own lay­out and de­sign that can be com­bined to­ward a to­tal of 5,000 square feet of stay­ing power. At­trac­tions are the cozy fire­place set­tings, ter­races, views of the Hol­ly­wood hills, kitch­enettes with valet en­trances and large din­ing rooms, high tech elec­tron­ics and baby grand pi­ano. Pets are in­vited into th­ese spreads with lav­ish pet ameni­ties

Los An­ge­les has al­ways been the city of dreams – and dream­ers

in­clud­ing dog­gie beds, bowls, treats and added ser­vices such as dog walk­ing and babysit­ting.

The Penin­sula: Tucked into a cor­ner of Bev­erly Hills, the Penin­sula is as fa­mous for its Belvedere Room, where movie deal making and break­fast go hand-in-hand, as it is for its fives­tar hos­pi­tal­ity hos­pi­tal­ity. The bou­tique lay­out (only 1 193 rooms, suites and vil­las) hides un­der shad­ings of pal palm, fi­cus and oak that sh shroud suites with that extr ex­tra sliver of pri­vacy.

Four “S Four “Spe­cialty Suites” are on h hand for those spe­cial guests. Three of the four grand­est suites were de­signed by Forchielli Glynn (Ex­clu­sive Re­sorts, Four Sea­sons Prague and Van­cou­ver). The fourth was de­signed by Amer­i­can in­te­rior de­sign icon Nancy Corzine, who is known for her con­tem­po­rary luxe style and sig­na­ture line of fur­nish­ings, tex­tiles and light­ing de­signs.

All four of th­ese spa­cious spots (1,500 to 2,250 sq. ft.) fea­ture fire­places,

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