Hollywood glamour -- Golden Globes held here every year
Luxurious rooms for the price
Free Wi-Fi in lobby and at pool
Well-equipped fitness center
Spa with a variety of treatments available
Well-known Polynesian-themed bar and lounge
Relatively small standard rooms
10- to 15-minute walk (or quick drive) to main Beverly Hills shopping area
Fee for in-room Wi-Fi (free for Hilton Honors members)
Pricey valet and self-parking (typical for L.A.)
This 569-room Beverly Hills hotel, the site of the Golden Globes, excels at affordable luxury. Two business centers and fast Internet in the elegant rooms make it a top pick for business travelers. Its huge pool and name-brand fitness center ably compete with the leisure facilities at more expensive hotels, but its restaurant and bars don't.
Forget your preconceptions about the Hilton name, be it the image of a sexy socialite or a midlevel hotel chain. You're more likely to see Paris Hilton at the Beverly Hills Hotel, and this Hilton isn't just another generic business-friendly hotel. Built by Conrad Hilton in 1955 at the busy Beverly Hills intersection of Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards, the stately white building emblazoned with a classic red Beverly Hilton logo -- not the chain's ubiquitous blue "H" -- is a Los Angeles icon.
The Golden Globe Awards are held in the hotel's International Ballroom, and nearly 175 red carpet events bring in the stars all year. The hallways are filled with black-and-white photographs of stars from Marilyn Monroe to Esther Williams, who presided over the opening of the pool. And the hotel's famous faces aren't limited to the Hollywood crowd. Every president from John F. Kennedy to Bill Clinton stayed in the hotel's Presidential Suite.
From 1987 to 2003, the hotel was owned by entertainer Merv Griffin. In 2003, the new owners embarked on a $80 million renovation that wrapped up in 2006. Today, with its lovely midcentury architecture and signature starburst decorating everything from lounge chairs to windows, the hotel feels like an elegant vintage suit that's never been worn. The lobby, with a contemporary abstract painting stretching across an entire wall, feels bright and fresh, while modern, midcentury style furniture echos the hotel's past.
Service is luxury level (a house car, full food and drink service at the pool). But with turndown only by request, the hotel can't quite match service at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire. Still, the Hilton is typically quite a bit more affordable than the Beverly Wilshire. While standard rooms, which start at just under 350 square feet, are small compared to the 425-square-foot standard rooms at the InterContinental Century City, that hotel lacks the Hilton's historic charm. What's more, the Hilton's rooms feel larger and airier than the square footage suggests, and are more modern than similarly sized standard rooms at the Beverly Wilshire.
For those looking to be right in the middle of Beverly Hills shopping, however, the Beverly Wilshire is superior. Guests there just walk out the door to reach the main shopping and dining district, while at the Beverly Hilton, it's about a 10- or 15-minute walk to Rodeo Drive. Still, for leisure travelers, the hotel's affordable glamour is a great deal, and, with two business centers and blazingly fast Internet in rooms, the hotel is a top pick for business travelers wanting a bit of history along with conference rooms.
With nightly turndown an option, not automatic, service falls just short of utter luxury, but guests will still find some lovely touches here, and the professional, unpretentious staff makes every guest feel at home. That's not something you can say for every Beverly Hills hotel. One nice perk that we encountered at no other hotel in the area, even the tony Beverly Hills Hotel and Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire: Parking valets stock car cup holders with fresh bottles of water every time they retrieve a car.
Turndown service is optional, but guests are asked at check-in if they would like it; they needn't call down to request it.
Free newspaper delivered each morning. At check-in, guests are asked which paper they prefer, something that doesn't happen at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire.
Concierge on duty throughout the day
Both valet and self-parking available
24-hour room service
A free house car takes guests around Beverly Hills and Century City. Don't forget to tip the driver.
Guests seat themselves at lounge chairs around the pool, but attendants are quick to bring over free bottled water and menus for food and drink.
On a busy intersection in Beverly Hills, a few minutes from the shopping
The hotel is in Beverly Hills, an enclave of wealthy living and luxury shopping in the middle of L.A.'s westside, at the busy intersection of Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards. Though the hotel has a Wilshire Boulevard address, this stretch of Wilshire Boulevard is far less pedestrian friendly than the section in front of the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire, which is less than a mile away. Traffic moves quickly across four lanes, and upscale department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Barneys New York are about a half mile down the road, whereas they're nearly next door neighbors to the Beverly Wilshire.
The hotel's main entrance sits back from Wilshire on Merv Griffin Drive, named for the onetime owner. Luxury shopping on Rodeo Drive is a 10- to 15-minute walk from the hotel, but since getting there involves crossing busy streets, guests might prefer to have the house car drive them. This is Los Angeles after all; people drive, not walk.
Little dining right outside the door, but around Rodeo Drive (10- to 15-minute walk away), eating option abound, including fancy dinner hot spots like Wolfgang Puck's Spago and CUTbv.
Next to no nightlife in Beverly Hills. The Sunset Strip, with its bars and clubs, is two miles away (about 10 minutes by car).
Centrally located for business; Century City is about a 10-minute drive (and within the house car's zone).
Santa Monica Beach is 20 to 30 minutes away.
Hollywood tourist spots like Grauman's Chinese Theatre and Hollywood Boulevard are a 15- to 20-minute drive.
Universal Studios theme park is 20 to 30 minutes away.
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is a 20- to 30-minute drive.
With thick white molding, a pleasing neutral color palette, and ergonomic desk chairs, rooms are soothing but stylish.The majority of the rooms are in the main Wilshire Tower, but the cheapest standard rooms are in the small, four-story Oasis Building. Entry-level rooms in the Wilshire Tower are called Deluxe Rooms and cost a bit more than similar size standard rooms in the Oasis Building. (Standard rooms are 348 square feet, while Deluxe Rooms are 344.) Some, but not all, Deluxe Rooms have small balconies. Many guests prefer the larger Wilshire Tower.
Standard rooms have separate bathtubs and showers, while Deluxe Rooms typically have only showers or tub-shower combos.
Beds are extremely comfortable with pillow-top mattresses, fluffy down pillows, and down-alternative duvets.
47-inch LG flat-screen televisions in the bedroom, and 13-inch LCD TVs in the bathroom
About 30 cable channels, including two HBOs. A handful of channels are broadcast in HD.
Deluxe Rooms with balconies do not cost extra. Request when making reservation.
Bathrooms have luxurious features like black marble counters, upscale toiletries, and bathrobes.
Both wired and wireless Internet available for a fee. The wired connection is some of the fastest hotel Internet we've encountered, ideal for business travelers.
Bose CD players, not iPod docks, but guests can borrow iPod docks from the front desk.
Two business centers, a huge pool, a lovely fitness center by Precor, and a decent spa
With two business centers, a large pool, a great fitness center, and a nice (but not great) spa, the hotel's features ably compete with what the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire offer. Inaugurated by star Esther Williams in 1955, the Olympic-size, 92-foot long Aqua Star Pool is the largest heated pool in Beverly Hills. Landscaped with towering palms and surrounded by cabanas, the pool feels just as glamorous today.
Guests seat themselves around the pool, but attendants quickly bring bottled water and menus for food and drink.
Poolside cabanas can be rented for a fee for the day, or for a half-day. Prices includes fresh fruit, a liter of sparkling water, and the choice of a fruit smoothie or sorbets.
The Aqua Star Spa, added in 2006, offers a full range of facials, massages, spray tanning, and waxing. Poolside services are available.
Hotel guests can pay a fee per day to use spa facilties, but they're skimpy -- just a Eucalyptus-scented steam shower and a relaxation room, no sauna. Day spa facilities at the Sofitel and the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire are better -- and free for hotel guests.
Full-service Belezza Salon
Well-equipped fitness center by Precor includes plenty of cardio machines, weight machines, a nice selection of free weights and medicine balls, and a large stretching area. Water, towels, headphones, and fruit are available. Personal training and private yoga sessions can also be arranged.
The Events Technology Center, run by an outside company, specializes in both event planning and business needs, with shipping, collating, file transfer, and data-entry services in addition to two computer kiosks; fees apply.
A traditional, self-service business center with three computers, a printer, fax machine, and copy machine is available 24 hours a day; fees apply.
Midway rental car company in-house rents both standard and luxury vehicles.
Several boutique shops on the lobby level, selling watches, teas, and gifts.
Dogs have been allowed at the hotel since it opened, making it one of the first pet-friendly hotels in the country. Today, the Hilton allows pets under 75 pounds but does little else for four-legged guests.
No doggy welcome treats or room service menu for kitty (like the Sofitel has).
Non-refundable deposit required.
Owners must also be present if they want their room serviced while the animal is in it.
Not a hotel that caters to families, but it can accommodate them
With a warm, unpretentious atmosphere and a large pool, the hotel isn't a bad pick for families, but it's not an ideal one. Beverly Hills itself is more geared towards business travelers and serious shoppers; it's about a half-hour's drive from Universal Studios, one of the top family attractions in the area. And the Hilton doesn't offer welcome amenities for children or have a special area by the pool for them, as the more expensive Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire does. However, it does have some accommodations for families.
Both Circa 55 and room service have a children's menu, with options like pancakes, grilled cheese and french fries, and spaghetti with vine ripened tomato sauce.
Connecting rooms available
Standard rooms with two double beds available
Rollaway beds are available for a fee per night. They can fit in standard rooms with one king bed but not those with two double beds.
A restaurant and two bars, but no celebrity chefs and little culinary excitement
Compared to the nearby Beverly Hills Hotel and its Polo Lounge or the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire and its Wolfgang Puck-helmed hotspot CUT, the Beverly Hilton's dining options are ho-hum. Until 2007, the hotel hosted the original Los Angeles outpost of the tiki institution Trader Vic's. Sadly, Trader Vic's has now moved poolside, where it connects to the restaurant, Circa 55, but it utterly lacks the personality of the original. The hotel restaurant, Circa 55, is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but its Californian cuisine primarily attracts hotel guests; it's not a dining destination.
Tiki drinks are available at Trader Vic's, including the famed mai tai.
Pupus (Hawaiian appetizers) range from edamame to Alaskan king crab legs. There are also a few Asian entrees -- curry, noodles, and fried rice.
Circa 55 has a lovely breakfast buffet (continental buffet, or hot buffet), and a la carte items. Dinner entrees range from smoked chicken linguine to a veal chop.
The Lobby Bar serves wine by the bottle and glass, spirits, premium martinis, and "timeless cocktails" (a somewhat reasonable price). Savory snacks, like bruschetta, and sandwiches, like a prosciutto panini, are available for lunch.
In the morning, the Lobby Bar serves coffee and espresso drinks and breakfast pastries.
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