No hotel is more synonymous with Hollywood glamour than The Beverly Hilton. When trailblazing hotelier Conrad Hilton opened his flagship property in 1955, he did it in splashy fashion. Beautiful women in bathing suits rode atop pink-painted elephants near the entrance, and “America’s Mermaid” Esther Williams plunged into the gardenia-strewn pool for its inaugural swim. Beverly Hills’ largest pool also was the same one that actress Angelina Jolie famously jumped into after winning a Golden Globe for Gia in 1999—still dressed in her sequined Randolph Duke gown.
The iconic hotel’s International Ballroom has served as the venue for the Golden Globes since 1961. In fact, more than 150 red carpet events are held here each year, including the Oscar Nominee Luncheon and Pre-Grammys Gala. Hence, it’s fitting that on our 60th anniversary, we celebrate hospitality’s brightest stars, our 2018 Star Award winners, at The Beverly Hilton during Verified, The Forbes Travel Guide Luxury Summit on February 27 and 28.
The mid-century modern Welton Becket architecture and iconic red-lettered logo give the hotel a retro vibe, but the interiors are updated with a contemporary look—the lobby is polished marble, and the 569 guest rooms have modern amenities such as Bose radio systems and iPads as well as bathrooms with LCD flat-screen TVs. The Beverly Hilton has always been an early adopter of technology; it was the first luxury hotel to have air-conditioning thermostats in each room and the first to install high-speed elevators with then-new technology Amplidyne, which regulates the flow of power so that they ride more smoothly. But one of our favorite room perks is the balconies with views of Beverly Hills, the Hollywood Hills and Century City (the latter is stunning at sunset).
When the hotel debuted, it soon gained a reputation for its dining. Trader Vic’s quickly became a hot spot for celebrities. The legendary tiki bar slung mai tais—owner “Trader” Vic Bergeron claimed to have invented the tropical cocktail—and pu pu platters until its closing in February 2017. L’Escoffier went more upscale with French fare and strolling violinists. Today, the signature restaurant is Circa 55 (named after the hotel’s opening year). Chef Alberico Nunziata, who hails from Sorrento, Italy, injects tastes from his Italian heritage into California cuisine with dishes like handmade gnocchi tossed with cherry tomato sauce, basil and mozzarella.
At Santa Monica and Wilshire boulevards, The Beverly Hilton sits at the gateway to downtown Beverly Hills. It’s four blocks from Rodeo Drive and across the street from Beverly Gardens Park—runners will want to hit the park’s path, a four-mile loop through picturesque Beverly Hills.
But even with all of that, you still will find it difficult to tear yourself from the glamorous, heated-year-round Aqua Star Pool—it looks hardly touched since the Rat Pack era with all-white décor, black-and-white umbrellas, striped awnings and white chaise lounges. This is the place to see and be seen. Cabana rooms with sliding glass doors that open up to the pool area go for a premium during the summer.
While not everyone will admit it, A-list celebrity sightings are a major perk of staying at The Beverly Hilton. Hotel guests get insider access to watch bold-faced names walk the red carpet before an event—linger around long enough and you might see a few sipping cocktails at the Lobby Lounge.