Since it opened 20 years ago, in August 1991, The Peninsula Beverly Hills has been a posh but discreet playground for business travelers, international movers and shakers and royalty of the Middle Eastern and Hollywood kind. The word “hotel” does not appear in its name for a reason: This resort oasis tucked away in one of the world’s most glamorous cities offers guests the dream of Southern California living at its best in a setting evocative of a luxurious Beverly Hills estate. Since that includes monogrammed pillowcases, Rodeo Drive shopping by chauffeured Rolls Royce and white-uniformed pages to walk your dog around the clock, it is no wonder that more than 65% of The Peninsula Beverly Hills’ guests are repeat customers—and that it has been the only AAA Five-Diamond and Forbes Five-Star hotel in Southern California for 18 consecutive years.
Accommodations and Service
Part of The Peninsula Hotels group, whose flagship hotel is The Peninsula Hong Kong, the Peninsula Beverly Hills is set behind ivy-covered walls and features 193 spacious, elegantly appointed rooms. Among them, 36 are luxury suites and 16 are private villas nestled among the hotel’s lush tropical gardens. In 2011, all of the rooms and suites are being refreshed in honor of the hotel’s 20th anniversary, with new custom-made furnishings and fabrics that reflect the hotel’s original interior design concept of “quiet elegance.”
Guests entering the marble-floored lobby of The Peninsula Beverly Hills are welcomed with the sight and perfume of a larger-than-life floral arrangement—and often with the warm handshake of Managing Director Offer Nissenbaum, who has trained his staff to treat all guests as if they are VIPs. Thanks to the hotel’s unique check-in policy, guests can arrive at any hour of day or night and keep their rooms until 24 hours later. Furthermore, thanks to the hotel’s pre check-in services, they will find all their favorite amenities, from water, duvet and pillow type to personalized in-room scent, awaiting them. Mr. Nissenbaum likes to tell the story of a European businessman who wept when he opened his mini-fridge and discovered it was stocked with his favorite Greek yogurt. “Our reservations manager had asked his secretary about his preferences, so with the help of Fed Ex we were able to surprise him!” says Nissenbaum.
To the left of The Peninsula’s lobby is The Club Bar, a dark wood-paneled lounge reminiscent of a British gentleman’s club, right down to the brass bar trim, mirrored bar back and flickering fireplace. The bar scene here continues until midnight and beyond, especially during that period of the year between early January and the end of February known in Hollywood as “Awards Season.” That’s when back-to-back televised entertainment-award shows—including the Grammys, the Golden Globes and the Oscars—fill The Peninsula Beverly Hills with bold-faced-name presenters and nominees and the Champagne flows 24/7.
Beyond the lobby is The Living Room, a sumptuous salon with overstuffed sofas and armchairs, two fireplaces and glittering crystal chandeliers. During the afternoon The Living Room is home to The Peninsula’s renowned Afternoon Tea, an homage to the hotel’s Hong Kong heritage, when homemade scones, tea sandwiches, sweets and premium tea in hand-painted china are served and a harpist plays. In the evening, resident pianist Antonio Castillo de la Gala entertains guests with the best of Broadway and popular music from his repertoire of more than 2000 memorized tunes. On the fifth floor is The Peninsula Spa, known for exclusive beauty treatments such as the Shiffa Gem Oil massage, which uses aromatic oils imbued with the essence of the sapphire, ruby, emerald or diamond that resides in the bottle.
The Belvedere, the hotel’s signature fine-dining restaurant, serves the contemporary market-driven cuisine of Executive Chef James Overbaugh in its serene interior or outside on its sun-dappled patio. The Belvedere is where the term “Power Breakfast” was invented back in the 1990s, when the mega-talent agency CAA was just across the street from the hotel. CAA has since moved several blocks away, but breakfast here is still full of entertainment-industry power brokers wheeling and dealing over Banana-stuffed Brioche French Toast, or, for the figure-conscious, Egg White Frittata with Arugula, Grilled Vegetables and Fire Roasted Tomato Salsa. During lunch and dinner, the menu offers the delectable likes of Sauteéd New Zealand Langoustines with Golden Chanterelles and Spinach; Grilled Foie Gras over layered Peach Brioche; and Grilled Dr-aged Kansas City Strip Steak with Sweet Potato, Red Pepper Compote and Burgundy-Mustard Sauce. At both meals, the most popular side dish is the hotel’s beloved rendition of Mac ‘n Cheese, which Overbaugh dresses up with truffles, truffle oil and wild mushrooms.
Up on the Roof
The 6,270 square-foot Roof Garden at The Peninsula Beverly Hills features al fresco cocktails and dining in a setting that boasts heated limestone floor tiles, lush tropical gardens and views that extend all the way to downtown Los Angeles. A few steps up from the restaurant and bar is the guests-only 60 foot-long swimming pool flanked by 12 posh cabanas outfitted with flat screen TVs, ceiling fans, chic gray and coral patio furniture and privacy curtains. At sunset, guests often move from their cabanas to the Jacuzzi, where they sip Jalapeño Mojitoes as they watch the windows of the nearby Century City high rises turn a Technicolor orange. It’s a glamorously fitting end to a day at The Peninsula Beverly Hills.
For more information on the Peninsula Beverly Hills or to make a reservation, please visit www.peninsula.com/beverlyhills
or call (310) 551-2888.