An hour south by air to the tiny, ease in, ease out Burbank Airport and you are almost always guaranteed sunshine when its grey and gloomy in the bay area.
My recent stay at the landmark Beverly Hills Hotel provided sunshine, several meals at the famed Polo Lounge and a supremely gratifying mini escape. I am honestly oblivious to the stars and deal makers tucked away in the posh bungalows or nibbling at the Polo Lounge, seated discretely in the secret alcoves – as some always sit at their table. I’ve always wanted to see the Pink Phone delivered to a table.
One of the most luxurious, if not the most iconic 5-star luxury hotel in Los Angeles – the home of royalty past and present is royally perched on Sunset Boulevard. Years of narrative legends are stored in the vaults, most will tell you a side street is the main entrance – no bungalow visitor of importance ever strolls the iconic red-carpet hotel entrance. Power lunches or al fresco poolside dining on a pink lounger, 80 year old palm trees swaying gracefully in the background. Massive pots of oranges and lemons dot the landscape – thus at the spa, do try the Citrus Quench massage. This sensory citrus experience polishes the skin with highly effective and natural exfoliating agents. Vitamin C, green tea and rosehip oil help eliminate dead cells and provide the skin with a soft, luminous appearance. Full service spa, including nail salon – if you arrive disheveled, make your way downstairs past the enticing gift shop to the chic spa!
Suites with patios, enjoy a mini sunbath outdoors. The rooms are flooded with sunshine and plush furnishings. Bathrooms are old school, i.e. huge stylish spaces with enough room to practice your Oscar speech in front of the wall of mirrors. Comfort comes in the form of huge fluffy towels, a beautifully deep soaking tub and separate shower. Your suite is surrounded by twelve acres of tropical gardens and exotic flowers.
Room service extra treat – a small book entitled: Perfection Just Happens. If you have a beloved feast at one of your other favorite Dorchester Hotels for instance Le Meurice or Plaza Athenee, the Perfection Just Happens menus offer the regional favorites! The Croque Plaza as prepared at the glamorous Plaza Athenee in Paris or the scrumptious Fish & Chips from the sweet countryside Coworth Park property, just outside of London; or one of my favorites the Lobster Club from my petite Parisian home, Le Meurice.
The famed bungalows, If these walls could talk! Originally added to the gardens for families who wanted to bring their own staff, the bungalows now celebrate a legendary heritage. These are rooms of Hollywood royalty and colorful anecdotes. Staying in a bungalow at The Beverly Hills Hotel is a wonderfully private and luxurious experience, steeped in ultimate glamour.
At the Polo Lounge, one can be certain of apprehensive glances if you photograph meals – diners appear discernibly skittish. Respectful of their anxiety, I usually avoid using my camera during dining. VIP’s are accommodated at private tables secreted in the deep nooks of the garden grotto, casually dining in the ubiquitous Beverly Hills sunshine. Had I not asked, who is here? I wouldn’t have recognized one of the TV BH Housewives or the heavyset, pockmarked gentleman wearing the look at me orange straw chapeau – apparently, he is a regular thug character in filmdom. I stayed a day following the Grammy’s, the Polo Lounge was packed with hip hop types, not looking as if they had never gone to bed!
The Polo Lounge, never ages, the timeless piano player tinkles the ivories, the LWL are always at the center round table, bearing smartly wrapped gift bags, in a perpetual celebration of life. The lobby bar hosts small tables with phones, it’s timeless, as are many of the diners. Honestly, my afternoon visits revealed a particular lifestyle – it’s almost like a private club for locals – relaxed sipping and an afternoon of gathering for gossip. I love the slice of life, the intrigue of the unknown, dining service is old-school classy, lunch and dinner menus are scrumptious. Highly recommend the filet and frites for a late-night supper. Breakfast frittata is the dealmaker standard order or nibble on the Huevos Rancheros, you know we are too far north for a traditional spicy breakfast dish! There is a certain casual elegance, a je ne sais quoi, never knowing whom you might see hiding behind the palm fronds. Excellent cuisine in a distinctive setting, get thee to the Polo Lounge. Nothing like it to the north. Say yes to the Chocolate Souffle!
The service is impeccable and if you need a change of pace, take the hotel car to the Dorchester sister property, the Hotel Bel-Air. Highly recommend and can’t wait to return. Relax, unwind, dine, rest and refresh!