Many people don’t know that the Beverly Wilshire, made so famous as the hotel in Pretty Woman where Richard Gere wooed bubbly prostitute Julia Roberts, is part of the Four Seasons portfolio. The company has managed the legendary property, which has housed everyone from Elvis Presley to Warren Beatty to John Lennon to Barack Obama, since 1992.
We arrived at the hotel from the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, and immediately noticed a difference in tone. While the former has a hip and trendy LA vibe, the Beverly Wilshire is elegant and luxurious. Think of it as Michelle Williams vs. Meryl Streep, to use an Oscar comparison.
Both hotels, of course, have the requisite Four Seasons attentive service. The valets and bellhops sprang into action, handing us bottles of Fiji water in case the 10 minute ride across Beverly Hills had left us parched.
Built in 1923, the hotel began as a luxury apartment building, which accounts for the wider-than-average hallways and suites that you could easily live in. The staircases have iron railings and the privacy buttons outside the rooms are original.
Yet for all that history, the hotel is social media savvy. The PR staff has a social media manager and the hotel’s GM, Ben Trodd, also tweets regularly (@BenTrodd). I loved the Twitter-themed display of red velvet cupcakes that greeted us in our room.
Our one-bedroom suite, in the Beverly wing, overlooked Rodeo Drive. Unlike the other Four Seasons property in Beverly Hills, the Beverly Wilshire is in a walkable neighborhood close to lots of boutiques and restaurants, so you can easily leave your car to do some sightseeing.
Don walked around Rodeo Drive, checking out the boutiques where we’d never buy anything. One thing we both noticed: Now that designers such as Versace and Armani have stores in upscale malls around the country, visiting Rodeo Drive is no longer special. There’s no real reason to go, although plenty of Japanese tourists were loading up shopping bags.
While Don debunked Rodeo Drive, I went over to the Beverly Wilshire’s other wing for a massage. Now I’ve been to some outstanding spas in my time. But the facilities at the Beverly Wilshire were a step above what I’ve seen in other hotels; with uber-luxe touches, you could tell it was designed to accommodate serious VIPs.
Take the Aromatherapy Crystal Steam Room. The smell of eucalyptus wafted from the mosaic-tiled room when I entered, and I succumbed to the mystical atmosphere of the twinkling lights.
My massage had some nice touches that other high-end spas COULD do….but most don’t. For example, the linens and massage table were warmed before you undressed, so you slipped into a cozy bed instead of shivering under sheets. My robe came back to me heated. The table tilted up to seated position so you didn’t strain yourself getting up.
Other highlights of the spa included a Tranquility Lounge, where you relax on comfy chaise lounges with magazines, snacks and cucumber-infused water, and the Experience showers, which had varying shower heads. I could have stayed in these rooms all afternoon.
You aren’t going to find a bargain at any LA luxury hotels during awards season, which roughly spans early January to the Oscars (with the Golden Globes, the SAG awards and the Grammys in between). But if you still want a taste of star service, book a spa treatment, which often give you some pool and sauna privileges. Who knows who you’ll see in the locker room?
That night, we met a friend for dinner outside the hotel, but returned for cocktails at The Blvd, the Beverly Wilshire’s bar/restaurant. A small band was playing that night, and while the songs didn’t always fit the clubby paneled room (Sweet Home Alabama, really?), it provided a romantic spot for a nightcap.
Drink cautiously: Our Oscar themed cocktails, while extremely tasty, were $19 each. This is the Bridesmaid, made with vodka, raspberry, lemon and agave.
We capped off our stay with brunch at The Blvd, which looks right out onto Rodeo Drive. I fell more in love with the coffee tumblers than the food itself, but I enjoyed watching Beverly Hills come alive in the morning. I was sure that celebs would be staying at the hotel because the SAG Awards were that night. Alas, we didn’t see any (although a couple of flashy Brazilian families satisfied our need to people watch.
I would have loved to have spent more time at the hotel, exploring the pool (modeled after Sophia Loren’s) or taking more photos of its Art Deco details. But unlike Julia Roberts, my Cinderella lifestyle is usually valid for one night only. Still, for those 24 hours – and particularly that time I spent in the spa – I felt Pretty indeed.
Previously: Four Seasons LA at Beverly Hills
Coming next: Four Seasons Westlake
My lodging during my Los Angeles trip was provided by Four Seasons, but my opinions remain my own.
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