With its tucked-away location at the foot of the Hollywood Hills, in one of the nation’s most well-known zip codes, the Beverly Hills Hotel is a bucket list item for Hollywood elite and starry-eyed travelers. More than a century since opening, the hotel still manages to keep up an aura of glamour, with its discreet pink bungalows and timeless Polo Lounge café.
In the category of old-school celebrity haunts, no hotel holds a candle to the Beverly Hills Hotel. It has a long and varied history, spanning from 1912 (the year it opened) through the 1940s (when a former owner decided to paint the hotel cotton candy pink), to the iconic celebrity-magnet it is today. The hotel spreads across 12 acres, containing infinite pathways and shady verandas ensconced in lush foliage and exotic flowers—in short, a joy to get lost in. The building’s heart is the pool area, a tiered space that’s framed by swaying palms and those eccentric pink-washed walls (free frozen peanut butter cups and mojito pops for all guests!). Next to it is the tropical-themed Cabana Cafe, though by far the most quintessential eatery on the premises is the Polo Lounge. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, it opens onto a delightful brick patio where you’re likely to spot more than a few celebs picking at salads alongside the weathered Beverly Hills gentry. The 208 rooms and coveted bungalows are all undergoing major renovation work to add a more modern California aesthetic, though design was never really the point. The magic here is how, when you enter your suite, you can still envision Frank Sinatra, hunched over the piano late at night, scotch in hand, humming some forgotten tune. It’s 1950s throwback Hollywood fantasy at its finest.
Location: Set at the northern fringe of Beverly Hills, along Sunset Boulevard, the hotel is safely removed from the commercial sections of both its namesake ‘hood as well as West Hollywood. But neither are far: it’s a 10-minute drive to Rodeo Drive, and if you’re looking to see some city lights, the bustling Sunset Strip is a little over 2 miles to the east.
Beverly Gardens Park: Drive a mile from the hotel to reach this 1.9-mile haven of glimmering green lawns and an illuminated Electric Fountain. Go ahead and take a selfie at the famous Beverly Hills Sign, you know you want to.
Rodeo Drive: You won’t find much in the way of budget souvenirs along this mythical stretch of retail nirvana: Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Dior.. .they’re all here. There’s even a shopping mall designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
Spago: Everyone, at some point, when they’re in Beverly Hills, ends up at Spago, which is a 10-minute drive from the hotel. Chef Lee Hefter looks after the internationally-inspired bistro, and the patio is a charming spot for dishes like pan-seared cod and handmade agnolotti.
Pacific Design Center: A must for those interested in design and architecture, this complex is a 11-minute drive from the hotel, and offers compelling art exhibits, lectures, and other events.
Good for: A favorite of high-powered Hollywood producers and long-time visitors to Beverly Hills, the hotel’s unique charm makes it approachable for all kinds of travelers, particularly ones who appreciate a nice pool scene, old-Hollywood style eateries and live jazz ringing out through the gardens.
Amenities: Pool, room service, free Wi-Fi, minibar, restaurant, bar, shop, gym, concierge, spa, laundry service
Time Out tip: For a fun outing, ask the hotel’s complimentary car to drive you over to the Hotel Bel-Air. It’s the Beverly Hills Hotel’s sister property, and the close relationship between the two iconic hotels allows guests to play exchange student and explore another side of town. (Not to mention, the hand-cut tagliatelle bolognese at Hotel Bel-Air’s Wolfgang Puck restaurant is worth the trip alone.) Think of it like two hotels for the price of one.