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The Beverly Hills Hotel, also called the Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows, is located on Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills, California. One of the world's best-known hotels, it is closely associated with Hollywood film stars, rock stars, and celebrities. The hotel has 210 guest rooms and suites and 23 bungalows, the exterior of each designed in the signature pink and green colors that are a trademark of the hotel.
The Beverly Hills Hotel was established in May 1912, before the city's existence. The original owners were Margaret J. Anderson, a wealthy widow, and her son, Stanley S. Anderson, who had been managing the Hollywood Hotel. The original hotel was designed by Pasadena architect Elmer Grey, in the Mediterranean Revival style. From 1928 to 1932, the hotel was owned by the Interstate Company. In 1941, Hernando Courtright, the vice president of the Bank of America, purchased the hotel with friends including Irene Dunne, Loretta Young, and Harry Warner. Courtright established the Polo Lounge, which was for many years the premier dining spot in Los Angeles, hosting entertainers ranging from the Rat Pack to Humphrey Bogart and Marlene Dietrich. Courtright paid for a significant renovation in the late forties, during which the hotel was first painted its famous pink color in 1948, to match that period's country club style. The following year, architect Paul Williams added the Crescent Wing.
The strict resident owner of the Beverly Hills Hotel from 1954 until his death in 1979 was former Detroit real estate magnate Ben L. Silberstein. In 1986, Marvin Davis bought the hotel from Silberstein's sons-in-law Burt Slatkin and Ivan F. Boesky. On December 30, 1992, the hotel closed for a complete restoration, reopening in 1995. Since 1996, it has been run as part of the Dorchester Collection belonging to the Sultan of Brunei. In 2012, the hotel was named the first historic landmark in Beverly Hills, and two new Presidential Bungalows were added.
The song "Hotel California" by the American rock band the Eagles is slightly based on the folklore behind the hotel. The cover of the band's album of the same name features a photo of the hotel itself.
In early 1911, Margaret J. Anderson, a wealthy widow, and her son, Stanley S. Anderson, who had been managing the Hollywood Hotel, ordered the construction of the Beverly Hills Hotel, in close proximity to the Burton Green mansion. Burton Green, an oil tycoon and real estate developer, President of the Rodeo Land and Water Company, had purchased land in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains, which had once been owned by the Mexican government. He had begun building mansions on the land, including his own residence, investing some $500,000, but was having difficulty selling them. He hired Anderson to build a hotel, which he named Beverly Farms, after his home in Massachusetts, believing that it would attract people to the area, billing it as "halfway between Los Angeles and the sea". The Hollywood film industry was taking off at the time, and investors were looking to develop the area.
A May 11, 1911, edition of the Los Angeles Times announced the news that a "huge Mission-style hotel" was to be built by Anderson, with the motto that "her guests were entitled to the best of everything regardless of cost".
The hotel opened May 12, 1912, before the city's existence. Margaret and Stanley took up residence within the hotel grounds. By 1914, Hollywood directors, actors, and actresses such as Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, Gloria Swanson, Buster Keaton, Rudolph Valentino, and Will Rogers had purchased homes in the area, "transforming bean fields surrounding The Beverly Hills Hotel into prime real estate". The city of Beverly Hills was established. The first five bungalows of the hotel were built in 1915. In 1919, Douglas Fairbanks and his wife, Mary Pickford, bought and expanded a lodge above the hotel, which they named Pickfair. According to one publication, a star would know they would finally "made it" when they received an invitation to dine at Pickfair. Gloria Swanson resided in one of the bungalows of the hotel during her divorce.
In 1915, the Andersons donated a portion of the hotel's original grounds to the community of Beverly Hills. It was used to create the community's first public park. Originally known as Sunset Park, it is now Will Rogers Memorial Park. An early tradition was the annual Easter egg hunt, put on for the children of the guests and employees. Silent film star Harold Lloyd was an early hotel patron, and in 1921, he decided to film a scene at the hotel for A Sailor-Made Man. From 1928 to 1932, the hotel was owned by the Interstate Company. Interstate had to close the hotel during the Great Depression years, although the company leased the bungalows out as rental properties. With Bank of America funding, the hotel reopened in 1932.
The glamour years
During the 1930s, the Beverly Hills Hotel became increasingly popular with Hollywood film stars. Fred Astaire took a shine to the hotel and enjoyed reading the Daily Variety and the Hollywood Reporter by the pool. Cesar Romero and Carole Lombard were pictured together at the hotel in 1937. In 1938, the Sand and Pool Club was established at the hotel. It proved extremely popular, with white sand imported from Arizona, which made the pool area look like a beach. The following year, it began hosting fashion shows sponsored by local department stores such as Bullock's Wilshire. In 1940, one of the hotel's long-time patrons, Marlene Dietrich, was instrumental in bringing about a change in policy in the Polo Lounge, which had made it compulsory for women to don skirts, which she refused to wear.In 1941, Hernando Courtright, the vice president of the Bank of America, purchased the hotel with friends. Irene Dunne, Loretta Young, and Harry Warner also became owners of the hotel as a result of their investment with Courtright. Courtright established the Polo Lounge "in honor of a celebrity band of polo players who toasted victories at the restaurant after matches in the bean fields". In 1942, Howard Hughes bought up half a dozen of the bungalows and lived there on several occasions throughout the decades. The hotel accommodated his eccentricities, including his request for "roast beef sandwiches delivered to a nook in a tree". The Beverly Hills Hotel underwent significant renovation in the late forties when the porte cochere was expanded and painted in stripes. In 1947, Courtright opened the Crystal Room and the Lanai Restaurant, later called The Coterie. The building was first painted its famous pink color in 1948 to match the country club style of the period, and it became known as "the Pink Palace". The following year, architect Paul Williams added the Crescent Wing. The Fountain Coffee Shop also opened at this time.
In 1954, Detroit real estate magnate Ben L. Silberstein bought the hotel for $5.5 million. Courtright late...