There is service, and then there is Peninsula service. Attentive, yet discreet, the first-class touches of the upscale worldwide hotel chain make everyone feel like a movie star. Especially, perhaps, at The Peninsula’s Beverly Hills location, located near Rodeo Drive, where actual celebs often frequent the hotel. (But don’t expect the staff to point them out to you. Paparazzi are not allowed at the hotel and celebrity names are never released. Those who know say the hotel is packed with stars on Emmy, Oscar and Grammy weekends.)
Pull up to the hotel next to Ferraris, Bentleys and Maseratis, and traditionally uniformed bellmen usher you into to the lobby designed to feel more like a Beverly Hills mansion than a hotel.
Some background: The Peninsula Beverly Hills opened in 1991. The first location, the Peninsula Hong Kong, opened in 1928, where the tradition of the bellmen wearing the white satin pillbox hat and costume originated. Other hotels in the chain include Bangkok, Manila, Beijing, Tokyo, Chicago, New York, and as of this fall, Shanghai.
“At The Peninsula, it’s all about the guest experience,” Managing Director Offer Nissenbaum says. “Every associate at the hotel, from the pool attendants to the room service waiters to the top executives, does everything in their power to ensure that all guests are given VIP treatment. Maybe that’s why we have such a high percentage of repeat guests—65 percent. We make our guests feel very special and right at home.”
Check-in is seamless, and on your own timetable, past the glamorous “Living Room” where guests enjoy afternoon tea and conversation. Repeat guests benefit from a file noting their personalized preferences. A glass bottle of Coca-Cola and a slice of lime served on a silver tray waiting in your room? Two glasses of the Peninsula Pinot Noir? A particular guest room is preferred? All noted and delivered whenever possible.
A fresh fruit plate worthy of a still life painting, sweet treats, a potted orchid, fresh flowers in a bud vase, and even a tissue folded like a rose await in the soothing guest rooms. Bathroom products by Mondavi wines, shaped like wine bottles, complement the elegant old-Hollywood decor.
There are monogrammed pillowcases with your own initial (yes, you can take them home) on the pristine beds. This is the hotel where you can actually choose your own check-out time. Instead of being rushed out, you are graciously asked what time you would prefer to have your car ready (and washed, if you desire) and your bags attended to.
Such thoughtful details (the bellman rides in a separate elevator from you, so as not to crowd you in transit) add up to a relief from everyday stress. If you can’t bear to leave your pet at home, the hotel’s pet-friendly service offers plush doggie beds and a pet menu with items such as the “BowWow Beef Burger,” dog walking services and grooming.
Staying in shape while being pampered is not a problem; at the rooftop gym chilled towels and cold drinks are offered to you as you break a sweat. Personal training is also available. A small, elegant spa, also on the rooftop level, provides luxurious services, including acupuncture, which segue nicely into a sun session on the plush loungers at the rooftop pool surrounded by the towering cityscape. Those just wanting to enjoy the view can dine at The Roof Garden on fresh creations such as citrus-marinated prawns and a mixed herb and beefsteak tomato salad with pine nut lemon vinaigrette, or fish tacos with mango pico de gallo, cilantro and guacamole. A drink list includes a Speckled Jalapeno Margarita made with Patron Reposado tequila with fresh citrus juices and Grand Marnier, muddled with a thin slice of jalapeno, or the Billionaire Long Island, comprised of Patron Silver, 10 Cane Rum, Grand Marnier Centenaire, Tanqueray 10,Ultimate Vodka, fresh lemon juice and a splash of Coke.
Meals prepared under the direction of Executive Chef James Overbaugh are trendy and timeless, with seasonal ingredients revealed in inspired ways both flavorful and light. Dining at the five-star, five-diamond Belvedere on the lower level of the hotel is top-notch. The tandem attention of sommelier and server communicating with Chef Overbaugh makes chef ‘s plates paired with special wines a heightened sensory experience. Artichokes and Dungeness crab with watercress, Meyer lemon and shallot confit-Belvedere vodka vinaigrette paired with Roederer Estate “Brut,” (Anderson Valley, N.V.) or seared Barramundi fillet with roasted Le Rouge peppers, grilled romaine, dill broth, capers and extra virgin olive oil fried baguette washed down with Chalone Chardonnay (The Pinnacles, Monterey, 2005) are some of the recent delightful offerings.
The hotel’s Club Bar is a great place for an after-dinner drink and refined people watching. When it’s time to party off the premises, The Peninsula concierge can assist with reservations and directions from brunch at the Ivy to drinks at the Polo Lounge, or make suggestions for shopping on Melrose, visiting the Getty Center, lunching in Santa Monica, hitting up Rodeo Drive, finding unique bookstores and art exhibits, enjoying the area beaches and Hollywood activities. Whatever the decision, discovering the Los Angeles area from the plush landing pad of The Peninsula ensures it is done tastefully, comfortably and with a modern twist on classic style.
9882 South Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA,
90212. 310/551-2888 or www.peninsula.com.