What’s the proper etiquette when sharing a hotel elevator ride with Sir Elton John? I honestly don’t know, so I kept my lip buttoned all the way down seven floors to the lobby of The Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. Elton turned left, and I sprinted right to the concierge desk to ask, “Was that really him?” She simply smiled.
The discreet staff here have seen it all before: hot and cold running celebrities. Ever since The Four Seasons opened the doors of its Los Angeles property on Doheny Drive in 1987, the prestigious urban haven has been the home away-from-home for Hollywood’s rich and famous. They come here for award season parties and premiere events, for romantic dates and discreet high-rise suites, and for power lunches on the Culina patio. And the not-so-famous locals love it too, for prominent weddings, holiday fetes, and the most extravagant Sunday brunch in the city.
In 2010, the hotel underwent a $35 million renovation which glammed up 285 guestrooms and suites with a nod to Old Hollywood. The redo also included a new saline pool, elevated whirlpool, renovated pool deck, temperature-controlled outdoor fitness center, and enhancements to Windows Lounge and the ballroom. Most notably, Culina, Modern Italian opened that year, and was promptly named one of the nation’s best new restaurants by Esquire Magazine.
Well, the property has done it again. The latest renovation has again updated guestrooms, menus, lobby décor, and has given Culina two new neighbors: a private screening room with 38 plush recliners, 14’ HD widescreen and Klipsch Pro-THX surround sound plus elevated snacks like truffle popcorn and champagne; and Vinoteca, a sensational new wine bar highlighting the finest Italian varietals and the finest California wines made from Italian grapes. In addition to approachable wines by the glass and bottle, Vinoteca offers three-ounce flights and “Icon Wines” from the Coravin. “With a large selection spanning various elevations, a multitude of soil types and native Italian varietals, guests can customize their selection,” says wine director Luca Bruno. “We’re also happy to curate a tasting flight or have guests design their own to taste.”
Every morning, Vinoteca wakes up as an espresso bar, and serves small plates – crudo, oysters, house-made pasta, bone-marrow risotto, Northern Italian cheeses — all day and evening. The lounge seating encourages guests to plug in their laptops and stay awhile, soaking in the atmosphere in the hotel’s newest place to see and be seen. “We have a very clear vision,” says General Manager Michael Newcombe. “We see our guests and neighbors utilizing Vinoteca as an extension of their home or office. Creatives and industry executives are welcome to visit any time of day to sip on a cappuccino while catching up on the news, or drop by after work to enjoy a glass of Vermentino and montanara pizza from Naples.” Those with a sweet tooth can indulge without guilt with Culina’s new gluten- and dairy-free dessert menu. The hotel’s pastry chef creates plant-based versions of popular treats, such as a decadent chocolate Cococado that uses agave and creamy whipped avocado.
To spruce up the already-chic guestrooms, Wemberley Interiors was brought in, following interior design work at Four Seasons Westlake Village, The Sentinel Hotel in Portland, The Boston Harbor Hotel, Monarch Beach Resort, The Spa at Desert Springs, and The Bentley Suites at the St. Regis Dubai and St. Regis New York. Guest corridors and the elevator lobby have a new color palette with cream-textured wallcovering, elegant new crystal chandeliers, and bold floral-inspired carpets. Beige and gray monochromatic color schemes make executive suites and king guest rooms float. And newly-constructed rooms feature Carrara marble mosaic floors in the entryways and bathroom, plus a walk-in shower with built-in bench, dual-sink vanity, and deep, luxurious bathtub.
“It was extremely important in developing the design concept that we embraced the unique story and history of the hotel,” says Jessica Houlemard, senior designer. “Before it was the Four Seasons hotel, the owners had a flower shop on this block. To capture the owners’ love of flowers, we brought in neutral palettes, subtle textures and colors to create a visual balance like that of a flower.”
Taking the floral commitment to the next level, The Four Seasons Los Angeles recently lured the world-renowned Four Seasons Artistic Floral Director, Jeff Leatham, back to Beverly Hills where he got his start before creating a 16-year sensation at the Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris, and with his historic installation at the Palace of Versailles. Leatham’s whimsical lobby installations can stop traffic, and his new start in L.A. inspired him to open his very first floral boutique. “This is a homecoming for me,” says Leatham. “Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills is where I began my journey with flowers that transformed my life.”
Four Seasons L.A.’s floral extravaganzas, reimagined restaurants, redecorated guestrooms, private screening room, panoramic pool deck, spa and wellness programs offer so much, that once you’re arrived there’s really no good reason to leave.
Except for one. I had promised to meet a friend at the nearby Peterson Auto Museum to see the “70 Years of Ferrari” exhibit so asked the valet to call a taxi. “We can do better than that,” he said as he opened the door for me to step inside the hotel’s chauffeured Bentley. “With our compliments,” he smiled. A $240,000 perk for registered guests? I like your style, FSLA.