First things first. Yes, this is the hotel featured prominently in the 1990 film Pretty Woman. And yes, you can borrow the DVD from the concierge's extensive DVD library (they have multiple copies) without embarrassment. "That's a great film," one of the smartly suited concierges will say, as if you're one of the first guests to want to watch the film in the hotel. Of course, you're not, you're the 10,000th, but no matter. At the Beverly Wilshire, every guest, no matter who they are, is treated like someone special. Upgrades are common, and the concierges enthusiastically assist guests with any request.
Built in 1928, the iconic, 395-room Beverly Wilshire is as Beverly Hills as Rodeo Drive. Indeed, it's just across the street from the famed stretch of luxury shopping, and just a couple blocks down Wilshire Boulevard from upscale department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Barneys New York. Formerly the Regent Beverly Wilshire, the hotel changed its name to the "Beverly Wilshire Beverly Hills, A Four Seasons Hotel" in 2006, more than a decade after the Four Seasons began managing the property. The doting service you'd expect from that luxury chain is present from check-in to checkout, though help can be a bit slow around the pool. A massive, $40-million renovation in 2006-2007 included the addition of the spa and Wolfgang Puck's steakhouse, CUT, which attracts a hip, young clientele (or younger women with older men), as well as an overhaul of the pool and all guest rooms. In 2010, the presidential and penthouse suites received even more dramatic makeovers as well.
While the hotel is a Beverly Hills classic, it feels surprisingly lively and unpretentious. Classic rock tunes by the likes of Sting and Billy Joel play throughout the lobby and spill from the trendy Sidebar in the evening.
Just as the fictional hotel staff in Pretty Woman treated Julia Robert's prostitute character like a princess, you get a sense at the real-life hotel that for a magical moment every guest is someone special. It's a far different feeling than at the hushed, stuffy confines of the Beverly Hills Hotel or the slightly less exclusive, more modern Beverly Hilton. Guest rooms may not be quite as large or as opulent as the Beverly Hills Hotel, but they're still luxurious and lovely. For those looking for a quintessential Beverly Hills Hotel without the snobbery, this is a top pick.
The warm, professional service you'd expect from a Four Seasons property, but poolside service is inconsistent
Dressed in well-cut suits, the staff delivers the professional, accommodating service the Four Seasons is known for. Service is also warmer and more personable than at the more formal, slightly stuffy Beverly Hills Hotel. The front desk staff is generous with upgrades, and chatty and good-humored concierges are comfortable assisting with a diverse range of requests, not just booking expensive restaurants. The bell staff even suggested a place in the area to buy inexpensive liquor. However, with 395 rooms spread across two towers, the hotel is large, leading to occasional waits.
House car available to take guests within a three-mile radius of the hotel throughout the day. (The Beverly Hills Hotel and Beverly Hilton also have a house car, though their hours and coverage areas are slightly less generous)
Concierge on duty daily. They don't just make reservations at the sushi hot spot. They send a written confirmation and driving directions to your room. What else would you expect at the Four Seasons?
Twice-daily housekeeping, with evening turndown service
24-hour room service
Food and drink service around the pool, but it can be slow
In the middle of the Beverly Hills shopping and dining district
The hotel is in Beverly Hills, an enclave of wealthy living and luxury shopping in the middle of L.A.'s west side. It sits on a pedestrian-friendly (for L.A.) stretch of Wilshire Boulevard, at the intersection of Rodeo Drive, the famed stretch of designer shops with everything from La Perla to Louis Vuitton. Step out of the main entrance on Wilshire Boulevard, and you're in the middle of Beverly Hill's shopping and dining district.
Guests can easily walk to shops on Rodeo Drive, just across the street, or major department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Barneys New York, both just a few blocks down Wilshire Boulevard.
With Italian marble bathrooms, iPod docks, and sublimely comfortable beds -- 400-threadcount (800 in suites) sheets, pillow-top mattresses, thick down comforters and pillows -- rooms pack in the luxury you'd expect. Guest rooms are spread across two wings, the original 10-story Wilshire Wing, the main building with the restaurants, and the 14-story Beverly Wing, which was added in 1971 and houses the spa, fitness center, and pool. Navigating between the two wings, which are connected both on the ground floor and across a 2nd floor "sky walk," is easy -- this is a fairly compact property in the middle of the city.
Rooms in both wings were completely renovated in 2006-2007. The entry-level Moderate rooms are 385 square feet, slightly larger than those at the Beverly Hilton (350 square feet), but smaller than those at the Peninsula (480 square feet). However, the hotel has only five Moderate rooms, and they book up fast. Guests are more likely to get a Superior room, which costs a bit more and is larger (400 square feet). Most of the extra square footage is in the bathroom, which has a separate shower and tub, not the Moderate Room's shower/tub combo. For even a bit more, guests can book a Deluxe room, which is a Superior room on a higher floor. And if guests want to go above and beyond, the presidential and penthouse suites cost a pretty penny, but were gorgeously renovated in 2010.
Superior and Deluxe rooms with balconies are available at no additional cost. Guests can request a balcony when booking, but it can't be guaranteed.
Rooms in the Wilshire Wing feature classic European decor, while those in the Beverly Wing are slightly more modern. The difference isn't huge. It's simply a matter of taste.
To be in the main wing, book a Wilshire room; slightly quieter Beverly Wing has direct access to the pool, spa, and gym.
Beds are some of the most luxuriously comfortable around, with 400-threadcount (800 in suites) sheets, pillow-top mattresses, thick down comforters, and pillows.
Great entertainment options: 42-inch LG flat-screenTVs and Zenith DVD players in all rooms. The concierge has hundreds of DVDs available for borrowing. Forty-some television channels, including HBO, are available, but not HD.
Large, beautiful bathrooms feature Italian marble, Dana Decker toiletries, and deep soaking tubs (part of shower/tub combo in Moderate rooms, separate tub in others)
Electronic "do not disturb" sign by the beds that guests can use to request service or privacy without getting up.
Both wired and wireless Internet are available for an additional fee.
As is typical for a Four Seasons, upgrades are common when available.
With a huge, two-story fitness center, a beautiful Mediterranean-style pool, and a spa with free day spa facilities for guests, the hotel's features place it above much of its competition. Its huge fitness center easily surpasses the Beverly Hills Hotel's tiny excuse for a gym and even the Beverly Hilton's lovely Fitness Center by Precor. The Spa at Beverly Wilshire has lovely day spa facilities, including a steam room and "experience showers" that mimic the feel and sound of different rainstorms at the push of a button, which hotel guests can use for free, something the Beverly Hilton and Beverly Hills Hotel don't offer. (The Peninsula, however, also has free day spa facilities for guests.)
The huge fitness center has one floor devoted to cardio, with over a dozen TechnoGym machines with individual TVs, a 2nd story for strength training, with a vast array of weight machines, and a large, tranquil room set aside for yoga. The only thing that's missing is 24-hour access, but water, Gatorade, and fruit are free.
The gorgeous Mediterranean-style pool is wonderfully tranquil with fountains and day beds. Because it's set back from Wilshire Boulevard, you can't hear the nearby traffic.
Poolside cabanas with flat-screen televisions can be rented per day and, for a bit more, can come with a bottle of champagne, mineral water, and a deluxe fruit plate.
The beautiful spa, new to the hotel in 2006, offers a full range of massages, facials, body treatments, and waxing. Product lines used include Kate Somerville and ESPA. Exclusive services -- like the HydraFacial and the Diamond Life Infusion Facial -- are offered.
A salon run by celebrity hairdresser Lea Journo is located in the hotel.
The cozy business center has four computer terminals and 24-hour access. The first half hour of use, including small printing jobs, is free.
Guests can bring one pet (under 15 pounds) per room at no extra charge. Pet beds are available, but the hotel doesn't offer over-the-top animal amenities like the extravagant pet room-service menu at the L'Ermitage Beverly Hills. Guests checking in with their pet must sign a waiver saying they will not leave the animal alone in the room.
With DVD players in all guest rooms and an extensive DVD library of children's titles, a pool, standard rooms with two double beds, and children's menus divided by age ranges, this is a top luxury pick for families.
Moderate, Deluxe, or Superior rooms with two doubles beds can sleep two adults and two children age 10 and under.
Adjoining rooms are available.
Rollaways are offered at no additional cost, but only suites can accommodate them.
Welcome amenities like star-shaped "Hollywood Walk of Fame" cookies with children's names on them.
Room service has three children's menus: an "Infant Menu" with organic baby food and teething biscuits (both $7); a "Kid's Menu" (designed for children up to eight) with options like chicken fingers with french fries ($9); and an "I'm Not a Kid Any More Menu" (ages nine to 12) with young gourmand dishes like beef medallions with sauteed vegetables and mashed potatoes ($15).
Pool deck has an adorable area with small furniture for kids that sometimes serves as an area for kiddie spa treatments.
With a branch of celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck's steak house CUT, poolside dining, and indoor and sidewalk seating at The Blvd., plus two bars and 24-hour room service, the Beverly Wilshire gives guests (and locals) plenty of food and drink to enjoy. The convenient location right in the middle of Beverly Hill's means it's easy to walk to other area restaurants, from iconic delis to fine dining outlets. With so much on site or close by, the hotel easily bests the dining scene at the Beverly Hilton, which has a less convenient location, no celebrity chefs, and only one restaurant on site.
Wolfgang Puck's CUT attracts a fashionable crowd and the occasional celebrity (Justin Timberlake has visited) to its steakhouse menu -- waiters even bring by the cuts of beef -- and modern space, designed by starchitect Richard Meier.
Entrees at CUT range from a rotisserie chicken to a six-ounce filet of Japanese wagyu beef. It's expensive but delicious.
CUT is open only for dinner and fills up fast. Make a reservation in advance or eat at an off hour. Wolfgang Puck himself even stops by when he's in town.
The full CUT menu and gourmet bar snacks are also served in the lively Sidebar lounge.
The Blvd serves traditional American fare for breakfast, lunch, brunch, and dinner in an classically elegant indoor setting or on its lovely sidewalk patio; menus change seasonally; Live music is played Wednesday through Sunday.
Prices aren't listed next to cocktails like the "berry" good mojito, because darling, if you have to ask how much that drink costs, you probably can't afford it. (Prices aren't that bad, going by typic L.A. and NYC rates).
Like most hotels in the area, the Beverly Wilshire offers 24-hour room service.
Extensive room service menu has typical breakfast, lunch, and dinner options plus a "movie snack menu" with fried mozzarella and a bucket of beer. Retro sweets include popsicle twinkies and caramel popcorn.
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