I wasn’t the only person to exclaim “Oh my!” stepping out from the elevator onto the roof deck of the new Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills—pretty much everyone who came after me said at least something similar. Whether it was “whoa,” “wow” or “jeez,” it was kind of an involuntary reaction to the views to the Hollywood Hills from 12 stories up, across a deep green carpet of oaks, cottonwoods and soaring palms punctuated by terracotta-tiled roofs and the cool blue of swimming pools.
The Waldorf may have just opened in a brand new building, but it boasts classic L.A. luxury at the crossroads of Beverly Hills, where Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards meet.
This being a new build (it opened on June 1), design architects Pierre-Yves Rochon, Perkins+Will and Gensler had the opportunity to do it right. At only 18 rooms per floor, the guest floors feel more intimate than the hotel’s 170 rooms and suites would suggest. Quarter-sawn cherry wood doors, finished in high-gloss for an almost mirror-like sheen, open on to rooms awash with subdued, sophisticated color palettes (varying from blue to chocolate brown, celadon or gold) and bathrooms in three different hues of marble.
Each room has floor to ceiling windows and spacious balconies for those hill views (or wave at the open-topped celebrity tour buses below). Or if you face the other direction, you can feel big-city love for the skyscrapers of the adjacent Century City district.
From the outside, the building fairly gleams in glass and white Portuguese limestone as it climbs 12 stories into the clear blue California sky. The exterior design gives a nod to Streamline Moderne, recalling Hollywood’s golden age, and inside the two-story lobby is fitted with a bronze chandelier and Lalique crystal panels throughout.
The hotel’s dining—main and rooftop restaurants and in-room dining—is by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and the 5,000 square foot La Prairie Spa includes a salon by celebrity colorist Tracey Cunningham. Off the lobby, the flagship Jean-Georges Beverly Hills restaurant makes the most of SoCal’s bounty, partnering with local farmers and sourcing produce from the famed farmers market in nearby Santa Monica.
Then there’s that roof. The Rooftop by JG restaurant and bar area on one side, and the swimming pool on the other (exclusively for hotel guests), offer those sweeping views to the Hollywood Hills and east across the L.A. basin to Downtown Los Angeles, nearly 10 miles away. Look to the west, and you can make out the Pacific.
The Waldorf sits next to another local landmark, the storied Beverly Hilton, and a stone’s throw from the Peninsula Hotel.
And, now that the landmark Waldorf Astoria on New York’s Park Avenue is closed for renovations (since March, for two to three years), the Beverly Hills location is a worthy stand-in as the flagship Waldorf in the United States.
-Forbes Magazine – Andrew Bender