The Beverly Hills Hotel’s fabled history stretches back to 1912, and the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star darling still carries an air of old Hollywood. There’s the red carpet that unfurls from the porte cochère to the lobby doors, the cozy but decadent bungalows and power-dining spot The Polo Lounge with its palm-and-flower-filled patio.
The classic glamour inspired fine art photographer Gray Malin’s new series, “Gray Malin at The Beverly Hills Hotel,” which debuts today at the property.
Malin is known for his vivid aerial shots of destinations ranging from St. Barts to San Diego. This marks his third hotel-focused project, after Parker Palm Springs and Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara.
“I’ve lived in Los Angeles for 12 years and I still get excited every time I visit The Beverly Hills Hotel,” Malin said (it’s also the first series he’s done in his hometown). “The history of the property and its numerous legendary guests really made shooting on location extremely special. The red-carpet entry, perfectly manicured grounds, perennial banana-leaf wallpaper and glimpse of celebrity make every visit to the hotel feel like I am walking onto a movie set. My goal was to capture the true spirit of the hotel in a timeless fashion.”
The collection looks like it was taken straight out of the 1950s and ’60s, and the hotel effortlessly provides a throwback backdrop. In the gardens, pillbox-hat-wearing ladies who lunch hold teacups with pristine white gloves. Classic pastel-hued Cadillac Coup DeVilles park in front of the retro hotel signs. Women in demure swimwear sport high ponytails, swim caps and saucer-sized sun hats while mingling at the pool with men in colorful trunks.
“Every summer I spend time at our family vacation home on Lake Michigan,” Malin said. “There is a large closet full of 50 old photo albums that meticulously documented my grandparents’ travels all over the world. Though they have passed, looking back on the era in which they lived and seeing how they traveled has influenced me tremendously. I am drawn to what I call ‘The Golden Era’ and that is what I wanted to evoke when shooting this project at The Beverly Hills Hotel.”
He said that his favorite parts of the “Pink Palace” are the red-carpet entrance, The Cabana Cafe and Fountain Coffee Room — he adores the distinctive banana-leaf print that covers the latter’s walls.
“I loved shooting the driveway scenes with the vintage cars. ‘The Beverly Hills’ sign on the side of the hotel is so iconic and timeless that it immediately transported me back in time while shooting the vintage models and props in front of it.”
The three-day shoot was Malin’s largest, and it was the first to use staged vignettes of models, props and meticulously planned sets.
“Gray Malin at The Beverly Hills Hotel” runs through October 26 at the property’s entrance. After the exhibit, the hotel will permanently display a print across from the Fountain Coffee Room, and five on the walls in the signature shop. Signed prints are available on GrayMalin.com and the hotel’s shop starting October 16.