The Peninsula Beverly Hills earns a five-pearl rating, but as one of the best hotels in Beverly Hills, and perhaps in all of Los Angeles, that may be an understatement. Thanks to its attentive staff that discreetly caters to the rich and famous, its status as a luxury Hollywood destination has been steady since its opening in the early '90s. The dining is top-notch, the rooftop pool is an A-list playground, and the spa uses massage oils infused with diamonds. The 194 guest rooms have a floral decor that isn't for everyone, and the management may think it's too pedestrian to have in-room coffeemakers, but at these rates the lack of an Italian espresso machine seems like an oversight. On the plus side, a chauffeur and a Rolls-Royce come included with the rates. For a trendier look, the luxury Mr. C Beverly Hills provides a good alternative, but despite its name that property is located in West LA.
Ivy-covered walls secure the hotel's tree-lined paths and fountain patios from prying eyes and the traffic on Santa Monica Boulevard. Little winding walkways adorned with lemon trees, pansies, and palms gives the grounds the feeling of a secret garden. Inside the lobby, the modestly-sized reception desk is cut from an immodest block of marble, with doors leading to salons and a tea lounge decorated like a French palace. Check in and check out is at whatever time the guest requests, and celebrities and well-heeled guests are all given the A-list treatment.
The Peninsula is located in Beverly Hills on a rather unattractive four-lane stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard, near the busy intersection at Wilshire Boulevard. Salons and beauty parlors dominate the immediate vicinity. There aren't many tourist attractions or nightlife spots nearby, but if high-end shopping is the goal, this is a good zip code to be in. It's a 14-minute walk to the Westfield Century City shopping center. And the infamous Rodeo Drive is a 5-minute drive or a 25-minute stroll away. Hollywood sites like the Walk of Fame, the Hollywood Bowl, and Grauman's Chinese Theatre are all about a 20- to 25-minute drive away. Downtown LA is about a 40-minute drive away. LAX Airport is a 40- to 60-minute drive, depending on traffic.
Wide array of luxurious rooms with iPod docks and marble bathrooms
The hotel has 194 rooms, including 38 suites and 16 private villas, all with a variety of amenities and price ranges. At 480 square feet, standard rooms are larger than the competition, though the Renaissance-inspired decor may be too much for some. Floral canopies hang over the beds, and the rich wood dressers have 40-inch flat-screen TVs sitting on marble tops. French doors open to garden or city views, though most don't have a balcony or patio to step out onto. A bedside electronic control panel commands the room temperature, lights, and the privacy preferences. Fresh fruit, minibars, and iPod docks come standard, but there are no coffeemakers. Italian pink and white marble bathrooms have glass walk-in showers and separate soaking tubs along with bathrobes, scales, and Oscar de la Renta toiletries. Pricier rooms add everything from living rooms with fireplaces to full kitchens, and each of the villas has its own private entrance, making them favorites for those looking to be discreet.
Rooftop pool, full spa, The Belvedere restaurant, afternoon tea lounge, posh excursions, and free luxury car service
The rooftop pool and whirlpool has serviced private cabanas along its panoramic sundeck. The cabanas can be turned into meeting spaces or outdoor offices with Wi-Fi, iPhone docks, phones, and faxes. There are also a few more dedicated meeting and event spaces, including a ballroom for up to 300 people. Adjacent to the pool area, The Peninsula Spa doesn't just have the usual massages, facials, and nail treatments -- here the therapists use oils containing rubies, sapphires, emeralds, and/or diamonds, depending on the type of ailment being addressed. The attached fitness center is equipped with state-of-the-art treadmills and cardio machines.
For dining, The Belvedere's New American cuisine has been lauded for decades, with elevated comforts like a mac and cheese with truffles and hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, to more refined European leanings like a branzino with dungeness crab in a sabayon. Hollywood power lunches are a common occurrence on its outdoor patio, and on Sundays it throws a live jazz brunch with unlimited champagne. The Living Room serves food all day, including Royal Tea in the
afternoon (complete with harpist performance and the ambiance of two fireplaces), morning coffee, and Champagne and strawberries for dessert. There's also The Club Bar for imbibing fine spirits or the hotel's own Sonoma Pinot Noir in wood-paneled grandeur. Among the top-notch services provided, are a variety of luxury cars (and drivers), including a Rolls-Royce for the most upscale shopping trips, and there are also a pair of Mini Cooper S Clubmans for jaunts around town -- all free for guests. The hotel also offers several pricey activities like a helicopter Wine Country tour geared for adults, but most are all-ages (such as a personal guided shopping day, or private tour of a film studio). Others are created for the child who has everything, such as the "Princess for a Day" gown-fitting and pampering excursion.
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