California Dreaming month continues with a look at some Los Angeles luxe, appropriate for Oscar Week. When I was in southern California last month for the LA Times Travel Show, I partnered with the three Four Seasons properties in the Los Angeles area, spending a night at each one so I could compare and contrast their facilities.
It’s not a secret that I’m partial to the Four Seasons. As I said in my 2011 best hotel wrap-up post, I like how the chain allows each hotel has its own character and reflect the city that it’s in. Even though the company has three hotels in LA – the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, the Beverly Wilshire and the Four Seasons Westlake – I knew that each of them would be different. And I was right.
Of the three, the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills has the hippest vibe, yet remains classic with a hint of Hollywood cheekiness. A statue of Marilyn Monroe, her skirt aflutter, greets you when you pull in, along with a phalanx of valets (Tip: Bring your best sunglasses). I’m not a bellhop kind of girl, but I don’t mind it at FS; outstanding service is the company’s hallmark, and it’s a pleasure to watch a well-run hotel go through its paces.
Make sure you look up when you walk in at the gorgeous glass chandeliers, created and installed by Robert Kaindl.
My corner suite on the 12th floor had two rooms and a wraparound balcony. From here, I could look down upon the pool area, and also had a great vantage point for a Beverly Hills sunset.
The hotel was the first Four Seasons to put iPads in the room for guests’ use, and you could use it to call up the restaurant menu, the spa’s services and anything else you might need. I also appreciated the stack of glossy magazines that reflected the LA vibe: Angeleno, People were among the titles. Bath products were L’Occitane.
After checking in, I meandered downstairs to check out the pool, with its spacious lime green cabanas. I arrived on the Thursday before the SAG awards, so I was on the lookout for celebs. I may have been close – I noticed a woman who looked suspiciously like Paris Hilton ensconced in a cabana with an entourage – but I couldn’t get close enough to tell. I had to be careful with my camera; with its clientele, the hotel frowns upon would-be paparazzi getting too close to the pool or quasi-outdoor gym.
There’s no getting around it: Room rates at the Four Seasons and comparable hotels are pricey, but the on-site amenities can be amazing. Save a stay at a property like this for a time when you aren’t running around sightseeing and have time to really enjoy the pool, the sauna, the gym and hanging out in the hotel bar.
The hotel’s lobby bar is supposedly also good for star-spotting, and I craned my neck around as I waited for my dining companion, LA blogger Jen Miner to join me at the hotel’s Italian restaurant, Culina (Her husband is in the TV business so she’s much cooler about it all than I am).
What I love about LA restaurants is that you always know they will accommodate whatever wacky food preference you have (after all, they’ve seen it all). I’ve been eating low-carb these days, and the waiter subbed extra vegetables at my request. Looming deadlines kept me from a nightcap at the bar, but it looked packed with people dressed in that studied casual LA look.
Plus when your bed look like this, somehow staying out doesn’t seem as appealing.
My husband arrived the next day and the hotel allowed him to work in their library while I attended the Travel Show. I noticed thick glossy envelopes at the concierge desk, along with gift bags for the celebs coming into town for the SAG awards. I asked Don to keep his eyes peeled for famous folk, but he had too much work to spy for me. So we left without a single sighting.
Coming up next: The Beverly Wilshire
My lodging during my Los Angeles trip was provided by Four Seasons, but my opinions remain my own.
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