Suite Wars : Los Angeles

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We put our celebrity status to good use, and get inside the finest hotels in LA’s über chic Beverly Hills, Bel-Air, and West Hollywood locales

By Ayesha Khan

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It’s no wonder that they call Los Angeles the City of Angels. Nowhere else in the world will you find the sheer magic of cinema, wide, tree-lined boulevards, year-round good weather, and the world’s most glamorous beaches all concentrated in one, magical city. So, whether you like to see or be seen, stick with our picks for the top five suites, and your next trip to LA will prove to be truly heavenly- that’s a Hollywood promise.

For the trend-conscious trendsetter, the chic, multiple award winning Hotel Bel-Air is an absolute must-visit. 12 acres of lush landscaping, swan-filled ponds and fountains, and beautiful Spanish-inspired design is upstaged only by the hotel’s 91 guestrooms and suites.

The classiest of the suites at the classiest hotel in Los Angeles is the 1,485 square foot Presidential Suite- the ultimate in discretion with its own private entrance and dedicated parking. Renovated in 2006 by renowned designer Sybil VanDis, the suite features two bedrooms, both with en-suite bath, a formal living room with hardwood antiques and wood burning fireplace, a dining room, and a full kitchen. Past lavish French double doors lies a charming garden patio complete with fountain and soak pool.

For the quintessential film aficionado, the Beverly Hills Hotel’s pink walls conceal nearly 100 years of tales of famous Hollywood guests, events, and scandals, from its glamorous pre- and post-award show parties to the signing of the biggest deals in Hollywood (including the Paramount-Gulf & Western Industries deal of 1966). Hollywood’s elite, from Elizabeth Taylor to Marilyn Monroe, have ducked out in its 21 bungalows. Appearances by the Rat Pack were a nightly occurrence at the hotel’s Polo Lounge and a host of starlets were discovered while lounging by the famous pool (where Katherine Hepburn is said to have jumped in, fully clothed, after a day of tennis). The “Pink Palace” is also the very place featured in the Eagles’ Hotel California. What a lovely place, indeed!

 For the troubled celebutante, Ian Schrager and Philippe Starck’s Mondrian reigns supreme as the ultimate feel good sanctuary.

Although there are a plethora of luxury offerings in both the rooms and the bungalows, we suggest you make a beeline for the four-bedroom presidential bungalow that is Bungalow 5, and aspire to become an elite Pink Card member (an honor that even Lyndon Johnson was not afforded). At this self-contained home, you will find four bedrooms and a private lap pool among other luscious amenities.

Failing that, you can always take refuge in the hotel’s Presidential Suite (sprawled out over 2,500 square feet). Your very own chef and butler will be on call 24/7 should you tire of being seen at the Polo Lounge, or the Cabana Club Café, and seek a little time in seclusion à la Howard Hughes (who was known to book much of the hotel for months on end).

For the avid dealmaker, the Peninsula Beverly Hills’ proximity to Century City makes it the ideal venue for wooing investors and signing deals. Several big-budget film contracts have been signed by its famous rooftop pool in the private cabanas at this quintessential setting overlooking the skyscrapers of Century City. And if all the wheeling and dealing proved to be too strenuous, you can always unwind at the award winning Peninsula Spa.

The two-story, 2,336 square foot Peninsula Villa is the ideal place to entertain prospective business partners. It features a fully equipped kitchen, dining room for 10, state of the art living room, two bedrooms, and a fully furnished private terrace with Jacuzzi.

Coincidentally, luxury speaks volumes at the only hotel in Southern California to receive both the AAA Five Diamond and Mobil Five Star rating for 13 consecutive years. Of course, that’s no surprise, seeing how the Peninsula’s sister hotel in Hong Kong is widely regarded as the most luxurious hotel on earth. Just like its Hong Kong counterpart, the utmost in technology is fully integrated into the hotel’s rooms and suites, and a fleet of Rolls Royce motor cars will shuttle you to all of your high-profile meetings.

For the troubled celebutante, Ian Schrager and Philippe Starck’s Mondrian reigns supreme as the ultimate feel good sanctuary. Close encounters with the A-list of young Hollywood (the likes of Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan) are a nightly occurrence at the famed SkyBar, and there’s no denying the sex appeal of the hotel’s avant-garde interiors.
At 1,700 square feet, the Penthouse at the Mondrian is the pinnacle of Starck bliss. The whiter-than-white color palette is interrupted only by full-height tangerine mirrors and light maple floors. The suite features a private screening room with 60” TV, two separate en-suite bedrooms complete with seating areas, and a full living and dining room. The suite’s very own balcony is the ideal place to watch the sun set over Sunset and contemplate your Hollywood karma.

For the incurable romantic, and back in the safety of the 902-ZIPs, is the world famous Beverly Wilshire, now under the vigilant control of Four Seasons. The fact that the hotel is just steps from Rodeo Drive shopping and is home to Wolfgang Puck’s signature CUT restaurant furthers its superstar status. Past the intricate Italian Renaissance façade and lavish lobby, guests will find the most romantic accommodations available west of Paris.

The hotel’s Presidential Suite was, of course, the notorious backdrop to Julia Roberts and Richard Gere’s affair in Pretty Woman. However, its 4,000 square feet of Park Avenue-inspired decadence was not quite haute enough to spark our interest. Instead, we chose the more roomy (at 5,000 square feet) Penthouse Suite, which sits atop the Beverly wing and offers stunning 270-degree views of the city and the Hollywood Hills. The suite features three bedrooms, three full marble bathrooms, a dining area for 12, a den, and a living room.

As your action packed trip to the City of Angels draws to a close, you will be longing for more. But don’t worry, you’ll be back soon: in the timeless words of the Eagles, “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.”

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