Beverly Hills Hotel was designed by Pasadena architect Elmer Grey, in the mission revival style, with distinctive pink and green motifs.
Located on twelve acres of some of the most valuable real estate in the world the hotel is a bona fide Beverly Hills Landmark. Opened May 12, 1912- Margaret J Anderson and her son Stanley Anderson, owners of the very successful Hollywood Hotel, were convinced by Burton Green to build cross town in the undeveloped subdivision of Beverly Hills.
Beverly Hills Hotel got a wave of press in the early 1920s when big name Silver-Screen stars like Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks moved into the neighborhood. And so did Charlie Chaplin, Gloria Swanson, Rudolph Valentino and others. Will Rogers was inaugurated as the first (and so far only) honorary mayor of Beverly Hills on the hotel grounds. Mrs. Anderson sold the Beverly Hills hotel at the top of the market to Hugh Leighten for $1.5 million. Months later when the stock market crashed, Leighten lost it all.
During the Depression the Beverly Hills hotel closed its doors; ownership of the property was relinquished back to Bank of America. Bank of America reopened the hotel in 1932, but the hotel struggled. The bank sent vice president Hernando Courtright to foreclose the business. Courtright fell madly in love with the hotel and decided he had to save it. He gathered a consortium of investors that bought the property and hired him as hotel manager.
Courtright changed the name of the El Jardin Restaurant to The Polo Lounge. The restaurant was the local hang out for celebrity polo players Will Rogers, Darryl Zanuck, Spencer Tracy, and Tommy Hitchcock who played polo in the bean fields near the hotel, and celebrated festivities at the hotel restaurant afterwards. I am told that the Polo Lounge has the best Steak Tar Tar in Los Angeles.
The Hotel’s most eccentric guest, Howard Hughes was a long time resident. He booked four hotel bungalows at once- one for himself, one for his wife Jean Peters, and two as decoys. Number 4 was his favorite. Off and on for 30 years, the reclusive billionaire lived in complete isolation at the hotel, ordering pineapple upside-down cakes from his personal chef at 3:00 am and having roast beef sandwiches delivered to the trunk of a tree in the garden, so he could fetch them without seeing a soul.
Over the years architect Paul Williams did many different projects on the hotel. His largest project was completing the $1,500,000 Crescent Wing addition in 1949. The Cursive script of The Beverly Hills Hotel signature on the crescent wing addition has become a universally associated image of the hotel.
The celebrity and royalty guest clientele of the Beverly Hills Hotel is truly a who’s who of the world’s most influential people. Hotel guests included Prince Philip, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Princess Margaret and Lord Snowden, King Albert of Belgium, the Crown Prince of Monaco, John Wayne, and Elizabeth Taylor and six of her eight husbands. Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and the rest of the Rat Pack used to get drunk at The Polo Lounge. If only the walls could talk- the stories this building has to tell…
Currently the sultan of Brunei owns the Beverly Hills Hotel. The hotel underwent a two and half year $100 million dollar renovation that was completed in 1995.