Beverly Hills: Celebrating 100 Years in Style
Meryle Evans - March 25th, 2014
Lights! Camera! And plenty of action in Beverly Hills this year as California's star-struck city celebrates its centennial with a myriad of festivities.
In one unprecedented mutual effort, five of the city’s luxury hotels have joined together for a unique hospitality promotion, each creating a “Suite 100” that evokes memories of decades past.
At the venerable Beverly Hills Hotel, founded in 1912 when the area was changing from farmland to real estate development, designer Adam Tihany has re-created the golden age of Marilyn Monroe with a quintessentially Hollywood suite—curved ceilings and walls, black lacquer finishes, tropical prints, and a sycamore wood bar. The price? A whopping $3,795 per night. For an additional $1,914, guests can indulge in the ultimate “Norma Jean Experience” that includes Dom Pérignon, spa treatments, a variety of gifts, and Marilyn’s Menu for Two, featuring some of her favorite foods. Not exactly haute cuisine, the menu offers a choice of prawn cocktail or heirloom carrot salad, DiMaggio’s spaghetti and meatballs or grilled New York steak, and an ice cream sundae. Among the Monroe memorabilia on display, a magazine article with the star’s byline titled “How I Stay in Shape” explains her self-described bizarre eating habits: A glass of milk whipped up with two raw eggs and heated on a hot plate in her room; steak, chops, or liver that she buys at a nearby market and broils in an electric oven in the room, and four or five raw carrots. But Monroe does admit to one indulgence, stopping after drama classes at Wil Wright’s ice cream parlor for a hot fudge sundae.
To capture the sultry, sophisticated film noir atmosphere of the 1940s, designer Nina Petronzio created the Montage Beverly Hills’ Suite 100 with art deco furniture and accessories like a noiseless typewriter used during that period. Guests can toast their favorite authors with cocktails, among them the Ernest Hemingway, made with rum, lime, white sugar, fresh mint leaves, and club soda; and the Eugene O'Neill Martini of gin, dry vermouth, and cocktail onions. Or just push a button marked "Press for Champagne," and a bellman will appear with a glass of bubbly in hand.
Prefer the rebellious 1960s, the era of the Beatles, and Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds? At The Beverly Hilton’s Suite 100, Tom Ford Design drew inspiration from style icons of the time with bold colors, a mix of modern and antique furnishings, and a range of amenities, including a working TV of the period, and memorabilia selected from the hotel's archives. A room service menu of 1964 features breakfast specialties such as “Scrambled Archiduc,” with chopped ham, mushrooms, and asparagus tips, offered at the original price, $2.75.
Fast-forward a decade to the 70s at L’Ermitage, in the era of Studio 54, Andy Warhol, and fashion icon Halston. Interior designer Ken Fulk’s Suite 100 reimages a pied-à-terre for Halston with high-gloss lacquer, mirror finishes, orchids, and a closet, complete with vintage-inspired Halston outfits. The Studio 54 Fizz, one of a selection of cocktails, is made with Effen Black Cherry Vodka, lemon, simple syrup, Veuve Clicquot Champagne, and raspberries.
The theme at the Peninsula Beverly Hills, which opened in 1991, is the birth of modern luxury. Inspired by the excitement of award season, when celebrities flock to the hotel for the Golden Globes, Grammys, and Oscars, the design firm of Forchielli Glynn created a Suite 100 with photographic murals of a red carpet Hollywood gala. The $1,914 tab includes a private pool cabana, lunch for two, and a spa treatment; for double that price, guests can experience a Hollywood-style photo shoot on the Peninsula's red carpet. And if hunger sets in during the shoot, just dial the personal cell phone number of executive chef David Codney for custom requests like truffle mac and cheese.