It’s not just Beverly Hills dames who magically freshen up their looks with a little nip here and a slight tuck there. The legendary Polo Lounge at Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star The Beverly Hills Hotel has recently revealed a thoughtful makeover, too. When you walk in though, you’re almost unsure of what’s different — and that’s a good thing.
After (some) backlash with the modern renovation of Five-Star Hotel Bel Air, The Dorchester Collection took a seemingly different approach with its relaunching of this culinary crown jewel. A place for ladies who lunch and Hollywood elite who munch between meetings, the 72-year-old Polo Lounge has really undergone a refresh, rather than a renovation. The latter is too extreme of a word.
Much to the delight of the establishment’s longtime diners, the layout is exactly the same. The ambience and overall feel have remained intact as well. However, when you look closely, you’ll notice that everything about the old Hollywood classic appears cleaner, fresher and brighter — the carpets and linens are crisp, the booths have been tastefully reupholstered and there’s a fresh coat of paint on the walls.
In its Adam Tihany-spearheaded design, the space continues to celebrate California’s relaxed lifestyle with its familiar green-and-white stripes and similar color scheme still intact. Those who’ve visited the Polo Lounge before might also notice that a new hostess stand has been added. Fixtures and furniture were replaced. Ornate mirrors, historic photos and dark paneling adorn the walls. In the patio’s outdoor space, enhanced heating, sound systems and better lighting make alfresco dining in the evenings even more special. Flower settings, vintage lamps, Riedel glassware and new linens also add refreshing touches.
As for executive chef Kaleo Adams’ menu, regular diners will still find old favorites like the osetra caviar with potato blini, McCarthy salad (romaine hearts, grilled chicken, eggs, beets, tomatoes, cheddar, applewood-smoked bacon, avocado and balsamic vinaigrette) and the classic tortilla soup. However, they will also be pleased with such new-but-already-popular dishes as the West Hollywood salad tossed with a host of healthy goodies like kale, spinach, hearts of palm, gold raisins, feta and a brightly flavored preserved lemon vinaigrette. And much like a wine sommelier, a newly added “tea expert” completes the traditional afternoon tea service experience. But, if it’s vino you seek, wine lists are now offered on iPads, making for a more modern ordering process.
Amazingly though, even with all of the 21st-century upgrades, The Polo Lounge still carries an Old World elegance that celebrities, CEOs and chic travelers have loved for decades.
Photo Courtesy of Dorchester Collection