California Dreaming: Beverly Wilshire

by Chris on February 23, 2012

My tour of Four Seasons hotels in LA continues with a night a the Beverly Wilshire, otherwise known as the “Pretty Woman hotel.”
The exterior of the Beverly Wilshire, Los Angeles, California

Photo courtesy of the Beverly Wilshire, Los Angeles, California

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.

The front hallway at the Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills, California

The front hallway. Photo courtesy of the Beverly Wilshire, in Beverly Hills, California

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.

Hallway inside the Beverly Wilshire

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.

Beverly Wilshire

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.

View of Rodeo Drive from the Beverly Wilshire

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.

Rodeo Drive

 

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.

Spa at the Beverly Wilshire

Spa interior. Photo courtesy of the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, California

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.

Beverly Wilshire steam room

Steam room. Photo courtesy of the Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills, California

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.

Spa decor at the Beverly Wilshire

Spa decor. Photo courtesy of the Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills, California

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.

Cocktail at The Blvd, Beverly Wilshire

Drink cautiously: Our Oscar themed cocktails, while extremely tasty, were $19 each. This is the Bridesmaid, made with vodka, raspberry, lemon and agave.

Coffee cup at The Blvd, Beverly Wilshire

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.

Beverly Wilshire, pool and cabana area

Pool and cabana area. Photo courtesy of Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills, California

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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| Chris Gray Faust is a veteran journalist, travel expert, social media butterfly - and editrix of this site. Like what you read? Check out her writing, editing and social media services.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

D.J. - The World of Deej February 23, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Great review of this legendary hotel. This hotel junkie is jealous…

Reply

Chris February 25, 2012 at 1:08 pm

DJ – I am a hotel junkie too! While I normally focus on how to get luxe for less, sometimes I really want a splurge – and a hotel like the Beverly Wilshire is a great place to indulge!

Reply

Alexa Meisler February 24, 2012 at 10:12 am

Wow, those Oscar-themed cocktails sure are pricey but I’m sure they’re delicious. I am a fan of Pretty Woman so I would love to visit this hotel some time. Thank you for sharing!

Reply

Camels & Chocolate March 12, 2012 at 8:17 am

I’ve been to several of the other iconic LA hotels like the Beverly Hilton and the Roosevelt, but this looks the best of them all!

Reply

Chris March 15, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Kristin – It was a dream. Especially that spa. Heaven.

Reply

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