The Beverly Hills Hotel- Staycation

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.

Banana Trees and 80 year old palm trees set the stage at The Beverly Hills Hotel

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!

Did I mention the underwater music? Synchronize your laps! The Beverly Hills Hotel

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.

Patio Suite The Beverly Hills Hotel
Bungalow Bath The Beverly Hills Hotel

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!

If you need to leave, and why would you? The Beverly Hills Hotel driver can mosey you down to the uber chic Rodeo drive shops.

Travel Tribe – Follow Me!

The continent calls with a bevy of reimagined historic estates, buzzy city hotels in London and further afield to Marbella. All in the name of seeking the most luxurious pillow menus, fine dining, and museum offerings. Clients demand it, and I decamp!

Inspired Estate. Heckfield Place is the very latest in countryside lodgings, albeit fairly close to London, but far enough removed, resting amidst 400 acres of secluded Hampshire grounds. A parkland setting of formal garden terraces and provocatively described pleasure grounds. The epitome of Georgian excellence, gently evolving for over 250 years, the property consists of walled landscaped gardens, an organic farm and extensive woods. Dig out your wardrobe for country pursuits: wellies and tweeds, and your herringbone woolen flat cap. Great British countryside at is best, activities include farm and orchard tours, fly fishing, ribbon wrapped posey bouquet class, horseback riding nearby, clay pigeon shooting. Discover the gardens and the hidden historic follies with one of the residential experts.

Heckfield Place, Hampshire heartlands.

Every month a selection of courses is offered in the ancient crafts and pursuits of happiness: create connect to craft this month its rush weaving and papermaking. Upcoming essential oils with too scent creators; master class in wooden spoon carving; oenophiles offered a tutorial tasting with senior sommelier; speaker events, circuit training; for kids: mud and guts outdoor activities. A plush screening room offers a curated program of films.

Heckfield Place soaking tub
Heckfield Place The Long Room offers complete seclusion, unrivaled views across the lakes and grounds, and luxurious spaces for entertaining under a Georgian vaulted ceiling.

Each signature room tells its own story, offering a connection to Heckfield history, a late Georgian Mansion. The rooms are split between the main house and the Corridors, reflecting the flawless design of Ben Thompson, who trained under Ilse Crawford, illustrating the brilliance of British interior design.

The emphasis on self-sustainability has been essential to the reimagining of the estate. From the website description: here it begins with the soil. The kitchen garden, greenhouses, and over 700 apple and plum trees in the ancient orchard on the five-acre farm will supply vegetables, milk, cheese, fruit, honey, and flowers to two on-site restaurants, Hearth and Marle. The restaurants are at the helm of celebrated chef and culinary director Skye Gyngell. Menus will rotate according to the season’s bounty. At the main restaurant, Marle, Gyngell devises a menu of just five daily-changing main dishes. 

The Little Bothy spa offers three spaces for personal training, yoga, and Pilates classes. Offering all-natural products from the Wildsmith Skin range. A perfect place to unwind and invigorate after a day of exploring the arboretum, the lakes and the walled gardens in the Hampshire heartlands.

Heckfield Place Screening Room

When the sun sets, follow me to the Moon Bar. Nestled in the center of the mansion, inspired by the lunar phases, Moon Bar Cocktails are unique to Heckfield in concept, presentation and most importantly in flavor. A unique list of handcrafted cocktails uses liquors, tinctures and infusions created with fresh ingredients from the Home Farm and gardens. The spirits range from exceptional classics to incredibly rare small batch discoveries.

Best sipped after sunset!

Moon Bar, Heckfield Place.

Journey Dispatch in April! Locations on my itinerary, sleeping over at: Heckfield Place, the newly opened Belmond Cadogan, The Dorchester, Cliveden House, and of course, at my little home at The Beaumont. Visiting the Four Seasons at Trinity Place and Firmdale’s Ham Yard. Marbella will include some site inspections, including a splendid Villa, but mostly meetings – but who complains about gatherings in the Costa del Sol? Oh, also winging through New York and slumming it at The Lowell, hopefully the fire will be crackling on my arrival. Yes, it’s work!