The Beverly Hills Hotel; The Story Behind the Hotel & its Design
The Beverly Hills Hotel is one of the most iconic hotels in the world. In 1912 Developer Burton E. Green purchased and developed the property before Beverly Hills was a city.
The area surrounding the former Lima bean plot was formerly known as Rancho Rodeo de las Aguas when it belonged to Mexico. Burton Green hired Pasadena Architect, Elmer Grey to design the hotel which soon after became a destination spot for the rich and famous.
Image Source – Yahoo News
Starchitect Paul Williams modernized the hotel with his additions.
In 1949 Architect Paul Revere Williams was hired to renovate and modernize the white stucco Mediterranean Revival Style building. Paul Williams was an extremely talented & prolific Architect who designed many buildings of note including The Ambassador Hotel, Chasens & Perino’s Restaurants. He was also the first African American to be accepted to the AIA, American Institute of Architecture.
I highly recommend the blog, The Paul R. Williams Project in addition to the book Paul R. Williams: Classic Hollywood Style written by his granddaughter Karen E. Hudson and Interior Designer Kelly Wearstler.
Image Sources – Herald Examiner Collection, Los Angeles Public Library
The biggest change to the hotel came in the form of a pink & green color scheme. A bold move on Mr. Williams part and a brilliant one at that. The scripted lettered signage and striped entrance (porte-cochere) reinforced a mood of relaxed elegance and exclusivity.
The Fountain Coffee Room designed by Paul Williams in 1949, is one of my favorite spots in the hotel. From the iconic banana leaf wallpaper to the curved walls and black countertop, one feels instantly transported back in time. The food is the best of the best diner food; club sandwiches, perfectly crisp French fries and chocolate malts. I highly recommend a visit.
The Banana Leaf Wallpaper.
Speaking of iconic! I would be remiss is I failed to mention the designer, Don Loper. Don Loper was a well known fashion designer who outfitted the likes of Jane Russell and Lucille Ball. He also had a hand in designing the interior of the hotel.
Image Source – No Accounting For Taste
In the 40’s Don Loper branched into interior design. In 1942 he designed perhaps the most recognizable wallpaper in the world, “The Original” Martinique Banana Leaf Wallpaper used throughout the Beverly Hills Hotel. The original design has been emulated and copied umpteen times, but the original known as Martinique “A” Wallpaper BH90210 is still available through Martinique.
The Bungalow Cottages at The Beverly Hills Hotel are as famous as the celebrities who have frequented them. Marilyn Monroe’s favorite Bungalow was #7.
Image Source – Wonderful Marilyn Monroe
Elizabeth Taylor was known to favor Bungalow 5 with its private swimming pool.
Image Source – Architectural Digest
The main swimming pool at the Beverly Hills Hotel is flanked by a row of cabanas equipped with flat screen televisions, wi-fi and fruit bowls.
Image Source – Eric Laignel
I love this photo of Faye Dunaway the morning after she won the Oscar for “Network”. Such a classic photograph by Legendary Photographer Terry O’Neill.