Beverly Hills Hotel
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The Beverly Hills Hotel opened to the public in 1912, two years before the city of Beverly Hills was incorporated. For over a century the "Pink Palace" has served as a key attraction to Beverly Hills' visitors. Designed to lure the wealthy away from neighboring cities such as Pasadena, the Beverly Hills Hotel has attracted everyone from the most prominent businessmen/women to presidents, and countless celebrities. During the 1940s, the Hotel boasted the most premier restaurant in the Los Angeles area, the Polo Lounge. It was not uncommon to see Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Humphrey Bogart, or Judy Garland enjoying lunch and, often, too much alcohol. The Fountain Room was added in 1948, showcasing famed designer Don Loper's banana leaf wallpaper, the signature print of the Beverly Hills Hotel. Tourists still flock to both the Fountain Room and Polo Lounge to enjoy a first-class meal suitable for the likes of Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor. To celebrate the Beverly Hills Hotel's 100th anniversary in 2012, it was named the first historic landmark in Beverly Hills. While the shops on nearby Rodeo Drive may be constantly evolving, the Beverly Hills Hotel will remain a showcase of history in Beverly Hills.
Backstory and Context
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The story of the legendary Beverly Hills Hotel begins in 1912 when the former manager of the Hollywood Hills Hotel, Margaret Anderson, hired architect Elmer Gray to build what would become the Beverly Hills Hotel for $500,000. It was two years later that the city of Beverly Hills was officially incorporated. In 1915, the first five of the Hotel's bungalows were built, offering exclusivity for the wealthiest of visitors and stars.
From the time of its conception, the Hotel has attracted the most famous names in Hollywood. In 1919, the swashbuckling Douglas Fairbanks purchased a lodge just above the Hotel and expanded it. He and wife Mary Pickford named the mansion "Pickfair." By the late 1920s, Anderson was ready to sell the Hotel and it was purchased by the Interstate Company of New York. With the stock market crash and the onset of the Great Depression, even the Hotel was affected closed in 1933, only to be reopened a year later by the Bank of America. During the Depression, the Hotel continued to offer grandeur to the most privileged, even the infamous pool was surrounded by pure white sand the Hotel had imported from Arizona.
The 1940s saw another change of hands with the Hotel, the vice president of Bank of America, William Courtright, purchased the Hotel with celebrity friends Irene Dunne and Loretta Young, as well as Harry Warner and Joe Schnitzer. In 1948, the Hotel underwent an architectural redesign by Paul Revere Williams. Williams decided to have the Hotel painted pink and added the Fountain Coffee Room to accompany the Polo Lounge restaurant. It was then the moniker the "Pink Palace" was born.
The Beverly Hills Hotel has remained an attraction for some of Hollywood's biggest names, especially the solitary bungalows. Out of the Hotel's 23 bungalows, Marilyn Monroe preferred to stay in Bungalow 7, while Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton briefly lived in Bungalow 5. Howard Hughes, the reclusive aviation pioneer, director, and business magnate, was so obsessed with maintaining his privacy he occupied nine bungalows on and off for 30 years. The Hotel has also been a prime location for filming and can be seen in movies such as Designing Women (1957) and California Suite (1978).
The Beverly Hills Hotel has not been without controversy, however. It made headlines in 1986 when owner Ivan Boesky, son-in-law of the late owner Ben L. Silberstein, who purchased the Hotel in 1954, was indicted by the Securities and Exchange Commission for insider trading. Shortly thereafter, the business magnate Marvin Davis purchased the Hotel, only to be bought out the next year by what is now the Dorchester Collection. For three years, from 1992 to 1995, the Beverly Hills Hotel closed down for a $100 million renovation, to be re-opened with only more extravagance. In 2012 it was officially named the first historic landmark under the Beverly Hills Historic Preservation Ordinance, recognizing the staple the Beverly Hills Hotel has been in the city of Beverly Hills for over a century.
Beverly Hills Hotel: Timeline for 100-year history. The San-Diego Union Tribune. May 07, 2012. Accessed June 07, 2018. http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/sdut-beverly-hills-hotel-timeline-for-100-year-history-2012may07....
Blodgett, Lucy. Beverly Hills Hotel 100 Years Of History With Hotel Ambassador Svend Peterson. HuffPost. June 01, 2012. Accessed June 07, 2018. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/01/beverly-hills-hotel-100-years_n_1563759.html?slideshow=tru....
Green, Emily. 9 Things You Didn't Know About The Beverly Hills Hotel. Guest of a Guest. July 27, 2012. Accessed June 07, 2018. http://guestofaguest.com/los-angeles/things-we-love/9-things-you-didnt-know-about-the-beverly-hills-....
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