10 Questions: A Conversation With Sal Abaunza, GM of L’Ermitage Beverly Hills

- Joy Pecknold, Passport blog editor

In our ongoing General Manager series, we catch up with heads of hotels for some unique insight and perspective. Sal Abaunza of L’Ermitage Beverly Hills takes our questions.

Name one thing about your hotel that you haven’t told anyone else.
That’s a secret.

What is the most unusual thing about your hotel?
The 360-degree panoramic views from the rooftop pool. It’s the perfect location for our guests to relax and unwind. Seasonally, we offer free yoga sessions. The rooftop pool area has been selected as the site for movie launch parties, weddings and many special events.

What kind of imprint would you like to leave on the hotel?
To continue with the legacy of our award ratings. Since 2000, L’Ermitage Beverly Hills has earned the rare dual designation of the Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamonds awards.

Why should a guest stay at your hotel rather than another hotel in your neighborhood?
The number one reason is our colleagues, who provide hallmark service. All of our colleagues are passionate in delivering customized, thoughtful service to our guests. It is the L’Ermitage staff that makes us who we are. Some of our team members have been with us for more than 20 years. Starting with the arrival experience, guests feel like they are arriving at their home-away-from-home or staying at a friend’s house.

Which elements will let the guest realize that they’re in a L’Ermitage hotel?
Each and every colleague and the exceptional service levels and personal attention they provide to our guests. Next would be our location. L’Ermitage is hidden in a residential neighborhood. Also, the spacious size of our guest rooms, which range from 650 to 675 square feet. L’Ermitage is known for having the largest rooms in Beverly Hills, each featuring step-out balconies and great natural light. Our suite sizes start at 1,200 square feet going up to 4,400 square feet.

Do you have a favorite room?
Guest rooms are like children, they’re all my favorite.

What is your favorite spot nearby?
One of my favorite museums is the Getty Villa in Malibu. It is an educational center and museum dedicated to the study of arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome and Etruria. Our concierge staff can assist in arranging free tickets to the Getty. Barneys Beverly Hills combines great Californian architecture with New York City taste, luxury and humor, and the shopping experience is not to be missed.

If I were to come to your city for the first time and met you in the Lobby asking for what to do, where would you send me?
I would personally take you up to the rooftop pool and point out to you all the spots you could visit during your stay; the Hollywood sign, Griffith Observatory, Sunset Strip, Century City, Santa Monica, downtown Los Angeles.

What is the one thing you miss in other hotels?
Uncompromising service.

Which hotel, apart from your own, do you like particularly?
I have two favorites: Mandarin Oriental San Francisco for a city experience and Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur for a stay along the rugged coast.

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