The sole survivor of Hollywood’s golden age? The Beverly Hills Hotel has seen it all

cJames Caan’s death was announced last month, and the movie legend’s favorite table was flanked at the Polo Lounge, the iconic bar and restaurant of the Beverly Hills Hotel. In the hidden Table One, which was also Charlie Chaplin’s favorite place, a candle and a picture of the star were placed, as well as Kahn’s favorite food; The house special, McCarthy’s Chopped Salad with Chicken, Bacon, Beets, Avocados and a very soiled martini with extra olive brine. “When one of our greatest known regulars dies, we pull out their always-favorite table and leave it all day and night,” says Stephen Boggs, the hotel’s director of global guest relations and a true source on Hollywood history. . We call it putting an end.

Carrie Fisher, James Garner, and Burt Reynolds are just a few of the other deceased regulars who have received this same honor. As you may have noticed, the regular staff at Beverly Hills Hotel are not like other regular people. They are Rita Hayworth, Katharine Hepburn and Paul McCartney, and according to last week’s posts from celebrity Instagram account Deux Moi, Kim Kardashian, Megan Fox and rapper Machine Gun Kelly. While other places aren’t quite as popular with the celebrity lineup, no other place in Los Angeles has the same consistent level of star power as the Beverly Hills Hotel.

“We also sit where Al Pacino likes to sit,” notes Boggs, who encircles the Kahn and Chaplin table for our conversation, a comfortable corner stool with green velvet seating. “I can show you where Frank Sinatra sat, where Marilyn Monroe sat, where Elizabeth Taylor sat, etc.,” he adds, pointing to the table where Sinatra celebrated Dean Martin’s 49th birthday, with the ensuing pub fight, which ended with a skull fractured. A well-known art collector.

“But I can also show you the table that Steven Spielberg loves to write, and the table that Leonardo DiCaprio loves. Dinner is fun too. Jimmy Fallon comes in and sits at the piano and plays some tunes. People still come here, deals are made all the time. Still the center nervous.”

Los Angeles is a city that loves to play without thinking much about its history. Although it was the world famous center of the film industry for just over a century, many of its architectural treasures and buildings steeped in popular cultural folklore have been destroyed. Despite its legendary status, the Garden of Allah (adored by Greta Garbo, Clara Bow, and Errol Flynn), the majestic Ambassador Hotel, along with the Coconut Grove nightclub where the Rat Pack met, and the rock ‘n’ roll motel paradise Tropicana They all fell victim to wrecking ball. Recently, Netflix purchased the majestic Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Boulevard, causing many to worry about the future of the 100-year-old movie palace, which was built during the Egypt era.

However, the Beverly Hills Hotel is still standing. Built in 1912 on 12 acres in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains west of Los Angeles, the hotel was originally intended to encourage others to purchase nearby land. Once it opened, it attracted the first wave of Hollywood, with stars such as Chaplin, Gloria Swanson, WC Fields, and Harold Lloyd. The golden couple of silent screen, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, followed in their heels and bought a cottage next door, which they renovated in Vaux Tudor and converted into the luxurious “Pick Fair”, one of the most famous private residences from the United States.

Marilyn Monroe was a regular customer of the hotel

(Beverly Hills Hotel)

In the 1930s, with the birth of sound films, a new wave of actors made the hotel their playground. Among these was Marlene Dietrich, who defied the Polo Lounge bar rules (no women alone or women in pants) by appearing alone in an elegant pair of pants. An addition in the 1940s by famed black architect Paul Revere Williams made the hotel even more attractive to Hollywood’s growing celebrity community. The exterior is painted a signature pink (check out the peach-colored constellations featured on the cover of The Eagles’ seminal 1976 album, California hotelThe property’s famous bright pink and green color scheme was adopted.

However, it is not the main building of the hotel that has the most famous strength: this claim belongs to the cottages located directly behind it. These 23 free-standing shelters, the first five of which were built in 1915, have direct street access and were ideal for residents who wanted more privacy. One of these guests was Elizabeth Taylor, who stayed in different cottages after six of her eight weddings. The British-born icon’s favorite bungalow was No. 5, and after her death in 2011, her family hosted a private party indoors.

The bungalows also hosted one of the long-stays of John Lennon and Yoko Ono (in a Diwan commissioned by Dietrich for the suite), while Paul McCartney and Linda Eastman spent a week in isolation, shortly after they met. Marilyn Monroe was also a huge fan of bungalows, often staying at #1 and 7, spending Christmas with her second husband, baseball star Joe Dimaggio, and having an affair with her co-star. by Let’s Make Love, Yves Montand, In Adjacent Rooms, 20 and 21. Filmmaker and reclusive businessman Howard Hughes often stayed at No. 4, booking several rooms at once so that no one knew exactly where he lived. “The only person in the hotel who knew exactly where he was was the executive chef,” Boggs explains. “Because Howard Hughes loved roast beef sandwiches.” Until then, the chef had not delivered the food directly to Hughes, but rather left it in a hollow tree outside his house for the insomniac principal to take in the middle of the night.

Then there is Bungalow 1, where socialistGore Vidal’s mother, Nina, had an affair with Clark Gable. “It got to the point where I wouldn’t say anything is definitely true unless I saw it with my own eyes, or if someone saw that he was drunk enough to tell me,” Boggs assures me. I asked him who told you about the adventure. “Jor Vidal!” laughs. The American writer and thinker has been a longtime fan of hotels, spending his last days in 2012 in the fireplace-by-lounge, singing to himself after martini-filled lunches. “Gore, may God bless him, at the end of his life spent every day in the Polo Gym,” Boggs explains. “He would bring his own sheet music and play the piano. He had an enormous ear for music but his voice was terrible. People who didn’t know who were so upset!”

Marlene Dietrich in 1940: defied the Polo Lounge Bar rule not to allow unaccompanied women

(Beverly Hills Hotel)

It is not only the tradition of entertainment that lies deep in the huts, but also the political history. Bungalow 3 is where Robert Kennedy’s children tragically find out that their father had been assassinated after seeing him on the news.

The pool at the Beverly Hills Hotel, which was surrounded by golden sand specially shipped from Arizona, also saw its fair share of exciting activity. British actor Rex Harrison was fond of sunbathing nude, with nothing but a scarf covering ‘Doctor Doolittle’, in private cabins, which is where the idea for composer Leonard Bernstein came up. West side story. When the Beatles stayed at the hotel, they had to sneak through the pool exit to avoid the hordes of excited fans. Their manager, Brian Epstein, even met with Colonel Tom Parker at the Polo Lounge to arrange a meeting between the band and Elvis, which unfortunately failed on that occasion.

The pool is also the site of one of the most iconic Oscar photos of all time: a photo of Faye Dunaway lying down profusely in the morning after winning the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1977. Newspapers are scattered around the pool. Posthumous Best Actor Award for the same film. Finch has also been indelibly linked to the hotel, having died of a heart attack in the hotel lobby just two months ago.

Celebrating its 110th anniversary, Beverly Hills is still as popular as ever, and at Oscar and Grammy weekends, it’s packed with the world’s biggest celebrities. “It’s still relevant,” Boggs says proudly. “We are literally the last of its kind.”

Photographs of Elizabeth Taylor taken by Burt Stern in the lobby of the Beverly Hills Hotel from August 1 to September 30 are rarely shown.

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