Los Angeles is a city of storied hotels. Some figure prominently in films, while others are beloved as long-time haunts of the film industry’s day-to-day realities.
The Beverly Hilton is just such a haunt. During the city’s awards season, which runs from the beginning of each year and culminates with the Academy Awards, the hotel’s ballroom is packed with the glitterati of film. On most evenings in the first two months of the year, arriving hotel guests share space with red carpet guests for an atmosphere not often matched at any other area hotel.
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Wedged into the chevron-shaped confluence of Santa Monica and Wilshire in Beverly Hills, the hotel was opened by Conrad Hilton in 1955, and quickly became a hot spot. The Golden Globes have been held in the hotel’s International Ballroom since 1961, in addition to a bevy of other awards galas, benefits, and celebrations.
Guest rooms and public spaces were refurbished in 2020 during a multimillion-dollar overhaul. Rooms have champagne, teal, and glossy white palettes that recall the hotel’s midcentury roots, guest rooms were wired with numerous outlets to accommodate device-laden guests, and baths were refitted with modern customizable lighting, including lighted mirror frames.
A notable branding choice is that The Beverly Hilton maintains its own logo instead of the standard Hilton branding. A throwback font, rich burgundy background and pink lettering scream vintage and suggest traces of what a Hilton experience might have been like 70 years ago, compared with today. A prominent emblem is the Rosenthal Star, a rendering of an art installation hung over the hotel’s staircase in its early days—now found on printed materials and even in the shape of the drawer and closet knobs in the updated baths.
Corridors have new botanical-themed wallpaper that also feels straight out of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Altogether it’s a rather triumphant refresh in celebration of a period with a design ethos that offers some ideas to treasure, but many more to safely relegate to history.
It’s difficult to not feel like someone of great import, pulling up next to the fountain in the circular drive at the hotel’s entrance, strolling into the lush gold-and-blush lobby and past the aquarium in the Wilshire Tower elevator lobby. Tucked away into quiet corridors between function and dining spaces are photographs of the hotel’s famous guests of yesteryear, from a Presidential visit by Dwight D. Eisenhower soon after opening to photo shoots by starlets ranging from Marilyn Monroe to Sophia Loren.
Meals can be taken poolside at Mercato, offering fresh (and reasonably priced, for an upscale hotel in one of the country’s most exclusive zip codes) California fare throughout the day. In the evenings, the pool and palms are lit with blue and pink neon for an unmistakably Hollywood experience.
For a special treat, guests can head to the 8th floor for the Israeli-inspired pop-in Sant’olina. Situated in a lovely indoor-outdoor space with views of the surrounding city and mountains (I could see the Hollywood sign from my brunch table), the menu is thoroughly Mediterranean, but with a distinctively Californian influence. I dined on roasted eggplant with olives and fresh za’atar laffa bread and mealy falafel while watching hummingbirds flit between the fragrant rows of potted citrus trees.
For parties desiring A-List caliber privacy, the hotel’s secure-entry 8th floor is home to the Penthouse Collection, a series of penthouse suites with luxe touches and sweeping views of the surrounding areas (even some of the bathtubs have views). Guests wanting that A-List feel in rather more down-to-earth surroundings can reserve one of the popular Pool Cabana rooms that have direct access to the pool deck from the patio.
The famed Aqua Star pool was opened by Esther Williams and students of her swim school; decades later Angelina Jolie christened the pool herself—in her ballgown—after winning a Golden Globe in the upstairs ballroom.
Newly refreshed but still dripping with Hollywood lore, the Beverly Hilton is a hotel quite unlike any other in this town that thrives on newness and trend.
I’ve seen rates from $289 per night.
Dive into the storied pool, take a selfie in front of the gold fresco in the lobby, capture the view from Santo’lina, or be lucky enough to stumble onto the red carpet—this hotel is made to be photographed.
Good To Know
The hotel also offers grab-and-go meals from Mercato.
Don’t miss the collection of Hollywood memorabilia at the base of the staircase down to the pool level, with curios from stars ranging from Mary Pickford to The Beatles.
Valet parking is currently available for Santo’lina, but overnight guests will need to self-park in the hotel’s garage.
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