The Beverly Hilton: The Hotel Host to the Golden Globes

"There hasn't been a celebrity in Hollywood for the past 50 years that hasn't been to The Beverly Hilton at least several times...it is the gathering place of the stars." ~Dale Olson, legendary Hollywood publicist

*Update on February 11, 2012*-The hotel's Hollywood history added a tragic chapter today when Whitney Houston's body was discovered in Room 434 at The Beverly Hilton.  She was 48.

In honor of the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards last night, I thought I'd write about my visit to the star-studded Beverly Hilton, which has hosted the Globes since 1961 in its International Ballroom.  The Beverly Hilton has stood watch over Beverly Hills for decades and has major Hollywood panache. And even better--room rates are more accessible than nearby hotels because there are nearly 600 rooms to fill.

The Aqua-Star Pool from AboveThe exterior is a step back in time, to the 1950s when it was first opened by Conrad Hilton.  But you'd never know by the interior--rooms are plush and comfortable with great work space and flat-screen TV's.  There's still old glamour, like the famed outdoor swimming pool next to Trader Vic's, home to the original Mai Tai invented by Victor "Trader Vic" Bergeron.

Trader Vic's LoungeThe Aqua-Star Pool is the largest in Beverly Hills, and it was the favorite of famous swimmer and actress Esther Williams. In 1999, Angelina Jolie jumped in the pool wearing her Randolph Duke gown after winning for her role in Gia.

The Aqua-Star Pool

Poolside TablesSome rooms have expansive views over downtown and the hills of L.A.

View of Downtown L.A.

 

 

When's the best time to stay at the Beverly Hilton? Well if you want to experience the Golden Globes red carpet arrivals firsthand, YOU CAN!  A package the weekend of the show includes a two-night minimum stay, breakfast, a gourmet box lunch, and most importantly--RED CARPET seating so you can see who is wearing what.  Start planning for next year!

And don't miss Le Chateau, the wine and chocolate boutique run by sommelier Georges Serna in the lobby of the Beverly Hilton. Beautiful!

Le Chateau

Oscar Aura at Renaissance Hollywood Hotel & Spa

Fifteen years ago, I wouldn't have walked alone at the corner of Hollywood & Highland in L.A.  But it's now the center of tourist's Hollywood, spiffed and spruced up ever since the Oscars moved to the Kodak Theatre in 2002.  I'd rather duck around camera-toting tourists rather than knife-wielding drug addicts.

In honor of the Academy Awards this Sunday, I wanted to get a closer look at the 637-room, 33-suite Renaissance Hollywood Hotel & Spa, host to the Governor's Ball.  I was never that jazzed about the exterior but I left highly impressed with the rooms and Oscar aura. The hotel is less than ten years old, built during the renaissance of Hollywood (haha), so it feels very new. 

The lobby is colorful and super modern with lots of potted green plants throughout.  The grand staircase leads up to the meeting rooms and out to the Hollywood & Highland shopping complex.  You're never more than five minutes away from Sephora, Gap, or Mrs. Fields in case you need mascara, a hoodie or a cookie.

LobbyWhat I really liked were the rooms, and their views of the Hollywood Hills and Hollywood sign.  Nothing out of the ordinary but they are comfortable and I loved the bamboo plants on the desks.  But the stunning views of the hills are what make these rooms stand out.  Rooms with hills views cost just a bit more (in $25 range) and are absolutely worth it. Other rooms offer views of downtown L.A. and Hollywood. 

Standard Room

View of Hollywood Hills & sign

Suite overlooking downtown Los AngelesThe 3,500 square-foot Panorama Suite, which has seen the likes of Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon, Kate Winslet, and a Britney Spears video shoot as guests, literally made my jaw drop.  The views of the dream factory that is Los Angeles sprawling below made me wish I could be an A-list actress for a day so I could own the whole city.  The suite used to be the hotel's rooftop restaurant but is now sought after for events, photo shoots, and those star stays.

Panorama Suite

Master Bedroom in Panorama Suite

The hotel has been host to a number of film productions and even has its own helipad (backdrop for a recent Jonas Bros. video), which helps the stars get in and out of the hotel without having to traipse through the lobby (the horror!).

The hotel's helipadThe pool area is classic L.A., with cabanas ready for days of reading magazines and cold drinks, overlooking the Hollywood & Highland complex. 

Pool

The hotel is great for large groups, families, and those visiting L.A. for the first time.  I'd tell jet-setting travelers looking for a smaller, boutique experience to look elsewhere.  If you want to be as close to the Academy Awards action as possible, there's no better place.

One last photo--this is the hallway that attaches the hotel to the Kodak Theatre. Oscar winners walk through here on their way to the flashbulbs and press junkets asking them how they feel and what they're wearing.  I know Colin Firth will be walking this very hallway on Sunday.