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Inside the $33 million makeover of the Four Seasons Los Angeles, Beverly Hills
Los Angeles is no stranger to facelifts, nip-tucks and makeovers, but when a luxury hotel decides to go under the knife the finished product is worthy of a red carpet debut. The Four Seasons Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, finished its $33 million makeover this year and on a recent visit to Los Angeles, I got an inside look at the renovations, and learned why this hotel is so special to Hollywood's elite.
The renovations spanned two and half years and in the end, all 285 guestrooms and suites, the ballroom, lounge, restaurants and pool and cabana areas were renovated. I met with General Manager Mehdi Eftekari to learn how the hotel managed the makeover while still operating at full capacity, and hosting celeb-studded parties, including some Academy Awards parties, with ease.
Walking into the foyer of the Four Seasons Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, is like walking into a zen garden. Fresh floral bouquets greet guests and you're suddenly overwhelmed by varying scents of freesia, lilies, roses and more as you make your way to the check-in desk. The lobby is draped in soothing yellow, golds and deep brown tones, and the same hues extend through the entire hotel, providing an inviting entrance no matter what floor you're on.
The new design of the guest rooms pays homage to old Hollywood glamour. King-sized beds are positioned against white-gold headboards and each bedroom features a modern floral motif on the wall. New tan carpet infuses a splash of coral, plum or aqua into the mix and according to hotel staff, the carpets were custom designed to play off the owners' love of flowers and gardens.
My favorite part of the rooms were the French doors that open to private balconies overlooking Beverly Hills, downtown Los Angeles or the Hollywood Hills, depending on which side you face. One-bedroom suites come complete with a living room area, pull-out sofa and desk space. Internet access comes at a fee, the only downside to staying at the hotel.
If you're so inclined to stay in one of the hotel's suites, you won't be disappointed. Cashmere throws, grand pianos and Swarovski crystal are just a few of the perks that come with the suites. The rooms can be transformed from upbeat and inspiring to romantic and indulgent with the turn of a light switch. Walk-in closets in the suites are the size of some small apartments, so prepare to be envious (and start planning the renovations of your own closet back home).
Each guest room's bathroom has a stand-up shower and a bathtub, and comes furnished with all the proper amenities including robes and slippers, which I highly recommend you lounge around in. Truth be told, I spent a lot of time in the plush slippers and the best part is, you can take the slippers home for free (the robe will cost you $100). I'll admit, the Four Seasons slippers are one of the best additions to my shoe closet.
Windows Lounge on the ground floor is the see-and-be-seen gathering spot for Los Angeles guests and Hollywood figures. At any given time you might see agents working deals, aspiring models looking for their next break, or you might catch a glimpse of your favorite celeb walking by. It's important to point out the lounge isn't a gawking spot for tourists. If you want to break out the camera, head down the street to Wilshire Boulevard and get your flashes ready. At Windows Lounge, order a glass of wine or relax with your favorite martini and you'll feel like you're part of the A-list crowd.
The lounge is a great spot to start before having dinner at the hotel's new restaurant, Culina, Modern Italian. A blend of traditional Italian dishes with eclectic flavors make this restaurant worth the wait.
THE SPA, POOL & FITNESS CENTER
Ever wonder what it feels like to walk on a cloud? Step into the new pool and walk across the cushioned bottom, and you might get the sense of weightlessness you've been yearning for. Relax in one of the cabanas, which can be fitted with TVs, Internet access and food and beverages for the day for a fee. The restaurant on the third level offers poolside service amid gardens and orange trees, providing necessary shade for hot days.
The Four Seasons Spa features steam rooms, a sauna and a range treatments. For a truly relaxing experience, ask for your treatment from one of the poolside cabanas, where you can lounge in a chair and enjoy the fresh air while being pampered.
The hotel's fitness center is the last piece of the puzzle to be renovated, but the current state of the center will get you pumped up to work out. Located poolside and set in an outside environment (with proper shades in the event of rain), the fitness center, while small in size, has treadmills, elliptical machines, stair-steppers, bicycles and a weight section. My perfect morning started off with a 5-mile run, followed by 20 minutes of elliptical training and ending with 20 minutes by the pool. Sometimes, a little 'me time' is necessary.
When you stay at a luxury hotel, you expect luxury service, and the Four Seasons didn't disappoint. I asked Eftekari how he managed to keep the hotel moving during the renovations, and he praised his staff who he said, "They believe in what they do." It couldn't be more apparent that the hotel staff love their jobs. From the check-in desk to the concierge to the maid service, everyone said "hello" with a smile and was eager to help with any request. The waitstaff knew when I needed more coffee, and even suggested a little protein in my diet when I had ordered only vegetables for lunch one day. When the last raspberry danish was given to another guest one morning, they made sure to save me one for the next day.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Imagine a place where Frank Sinatra might have played the piano late-night, or Lauren Bacall might have flipped her hair when Humphrey Bogart walked in the room, and you have the essence of the Four Seasons Los Angeles, Beverly Hills. If you listen closely you can the secrets of Hollywood's elite whispering through the walls.
The bottom line: If you're going to spend the money to stay in Los Angeles, you might as well be treated like a star and the Four Seasons Los Angeles Beverly Hills will gladly roll out the red carpet for you.