Those Walls Are Still Talking


Having just returned from Hollyweird, I’m still trying to cope with that wonderful thing they call jetlag; that lovely body-clock-o-rama craziness which leaves you feeling like you’ve left part of your brain and body in another country. So yes, I’m not quite ready to head back to the land of LaLa just yet. Unless of course the PR for the Beverly Hills Hotel invites me back again…

One of the most iconic hotels in the City of Angels, the Beverly (that’s what I nicknamed her), is celebrating her centennial this month on May 12th, commemorating 100 years of being a haven for the rich, glamorous and famous – all trying to rendezvous in secrecy post-surgery and scandalous relationship breakdowns.

Known to insiders back in the day as “The Pink Palace”, the hotel and Polo Lounge restaurant was the social haunt of many film and music legends including Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Humphrey Bogart, John Lennon and Frank Sinatra, along with his Rat Pack. The hotel’s pool was also the setting for Katherine Hepburn’s back-flip in full tennis attire (I bet that was post-Martinis); the place George Hamilton fried on a lounger nurturing that sundried tomato tan, and also the backdrop for Designing Women, the 1957 film starring Gregory Peck and Lauren Bacall.

The hotel is still frequented by the well heeled “let’s do lunch” crowd today, but if it’s celebs you’re after, your starry-eyes might only meet the ghostly visions of Harpo Marx or Rachmaninoff. Don’t expect to see Marilyn floating around either, she prefers hanging out at the Roosevelt Hotel.

But spooks aside, to mark its 100 years on Sunset Boulevard, the hotel is offering an array of special packages which will run until the end of the year, and I already love the “These Walls Are Talking” cocktail menu which you’ll find at The Polo Lounge and Bar Nineteen12.

I tried The Old Fashioned Rebel, a potent mix of Rebel Yell Reserve Bourbon, sugar, muddled Bourbon Cherry, an orange slice and Angostura Bitters – inspired by Marlene Dietrich. The actress and chanteuse deliberately chose to be rebellious and wear trousers in the Polo Lounge, eventually persuading the restaurant to change its “No Slacks for Women” dress code. Expect to slur in a heavy German accent after a few of those…I almost dragged a bar stool right around the hotel with my Mulberry Alexa attached. I was last heard blaming Marlene for not being able to see straight.

If you fancy hopping on a plane and pampering yourself for a few days in luxury, then special packages include “The Centennial Celebration”, which features a stay in swanky accommodation, two complimentary cocktails from the “These Walls Are Talking” menu, a keepsake 100-Year candle and a box of chocolate truffles. They even throw in a daily American breakfast for two (you best forget the diet that week).

There’s also a “Little Legends Family Package” if you happen to have little folk, where kids are greeted with a red carpet arrival which includes a photo shoot and an autograph seeker clad in a feather boa, sunglasses and top hat. I would like a grown-ups version of this package please, where the autograph seeker also gives you expensive gifts.

A range of special spa services will also mark the celebrations, featuring The Pink Palace Manicure and Pedicure; the Diamond Anniversary Facial, and the Caviar Express Massage. And in a quirky nod to the golden olden times, a “1912 Pop-Up” lottery will also take place in a chosen dining venue each week, with one person randomly selected to receive their meal at 1912 pricing.

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