FOR 110 YEARS, CELEBRITIES HAVE FLOCKED TO THE BEVERLY HILLS HOTEL (DORCHESTERCOLLECTION.COM), WHICH WAS FOUNDED EVEN PRIOR TO BEVERLY HILLS ITSELF. HERE, GENERAL MANAGER JOHN SCANLON REFLECTS ON THE HOTEL’S FAMOUS FOLLOWING AND THE OFFERINGS PLANNED IN HONOR OF ITS BIG BIRTHDAY.
The iconic Beverly Hills Hotel celebrates 110 years PHOTO COURTESY OF THE BEVERLY HILLS HOTEL
What do you think makes The Beverly Hills Hotel so special and unique? The Beverly Hills Hotel is an institution that has become part of the fabric of the community. Hollywood was built around the hotel and so was the city of Beverly Hills—the city was actually named after The Beverly Hills Hotel in 1914, two years after we opened our doors. Our guests enjoy knowing that when they walk through the halls of our hotel, they are walking the same steps as virtually every movie star that has ever lived. … And we are fortunate to have very loyal employees, many who have worked with us for decades. In fact, we have 64 employees who have been at the hotel for over 25 years. Our employees are legendary, and some are the most recognizable faces in the city!
new general manager John Scanlon.
What are some of your favorite tidbits about the hotel’s origins and history? One of my favorite facts about The Beverly Hills Hotel is that it was opened by a woman in 1912! Margaret Anderson owned and operated the hotel for many years, and her motto was, ‘Guests are entitled to the best of everything regardless of cost!’ Another tidbit I love is that Paul Revere Williams, one of the world’s greatest architects, was responsible for a remodel of The Beverly Hills Hotel in the 1940s where he designed the hotel’s Crescent Wing with its iconic script, as well as reimagined the Polo Lounge, Fountain Coffee Room and lobby in their still-stylish pink-and-green motif. A remarkable trailblazer, he was the first African American member of the AIA, in 1923. And the celebrity anecdotes are endless: Marilyn Monroe lived on and off in the bungalows, Elizabeth Taylor spent several of her honeymoons at the hotel, Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack used to hang out in the Polo Lounge and Suite 117, Sidney Poitier danced barefoot here in 1964 after winning an Oscar for Lilies of the Field, in the ’60s the Beatles used to sneak into the pool in disguise. The stories go on and on.
Bert Stern’s famous photos of Elizabeth Taylor, pictured here lounging on a boat in 1962, will be exhibited at The Beverly Hills Hotel this summer PHOTO: BY BERT STERN TRUST
What were some of the biggest milestones over the years? Our biggest milestone was in 2012, when the hotel celebrated its 100-year anniversary and was designated the first historic landmark in Beverly Hills. … We have celebrated so many other important moments—from the renovation in the ’40s that would introduce our iconic design we are known for around the world to celebrating 75 years in the Polo Lounge, to replacing our iconic sign to honor healthcare workers. There really are so many great moments throughout our history that have defined the hotel’s legacy.
the legendary hotel in the 1950s COURTESY OF THE BEVERLY HILLS HOTEL AND BUNGALOWS - THE FIRST 100 YEARS BY ROBERT S. ANDERSON, THEBEVERLYHILLSCOLLECTION.COM
How did you try to honor the hotel’s history with your anniversary programming? We really tried to share as much of our history as possible. Our $1912 McCarthy Salad pays homage to the year we opened but also highlights an elevated version of the hotel’s most popular dish that has really become a brand in itself. Our summer movie series will highlight movies that have been filmed at the hotel throughout our history, and our Beverly Hills Manicure package celebrates the hotel’s iconic design. But it was also important for us to find a way for our guests and community to celebrate with us, so we are asking them to pen their ‘love letter’ to The Beverly Hills Hotel on a specially designed pink letterhead. The letters will be on display at the hotel in May and then will be archived to become part of the hotel’s legacy.
What can we expect at the hotel this summer and moving forward? We have partnered with the Elizabeth Taylor Estate to pay tribute to the Oscar-winning icon’s incredible legacy and history with the hotel, and will be renaming the iconic Bungalow , Elizabeth Taylor Bungalow 5. In addition, we will be introducing an art program at the hotel, which will start in August with an exhibition featuring iconic images of Elizabeth Taylor photographed by Bert Stern. We look forward to highlighting other incredible artists and local talent moving forward.
Polo Lounge is a favorite for see-and-be-seen dining. COURTESY OF THE BEVERLY HILLS HOTEL