Hotel Intel: The Beverly Hills Hotel Celebrates a Century

- Joy Pecknold, Passport blog editor

As legendary as the legends that have slept in her beds, The Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows turned 100 years old over the weekend. We recount some of the historic hotel’s charms.

Built by architect Elmer Grey for $500,000, and with a mind to have every room receive some sunshine at some point in the day, the Beverly Hills Hotel opened on May 12, 1912, predating by two years the plush neighborhood that would surround it. Its celebrity guest registry is long and continues growing.

Here, silent film stars Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks met, Liz Taylor and her six husbands honeymooned (not all at the same time, of course) and Marilyn Monroe reportedly had an affair with Yves Montand in 1960. But it inspired more than love between couples. In the 1940s, Marlene Dietrich would affect the Polo Lounge’s “no slacks” dress code for women. Much later, the likes of John Lennon and Prince disturbed other guests with vocal antics.

Marilyn Monroe at the Beverly Hills Hotel with costar Yves Montand and his wife, actress Simone Signoret during the filming of “Let’s Make Love”

In the hotel’s Kiwi Collection history, it made CMO Jean Marie Healy’s top five list, and Carrie Harrison-Ell reviewed the property and regularly stays there. We asked Carrie a few questions to better understand what makes the hotel’s allure so enduring:

What is it about the hotel that makes it so special? “It’s history. There have just been so many celebrities associated with the hotel over the years. It’s special to walk through the bungalows while imagining people like Liz Taylor living there.”

Why do you think so many celebrities like to stay there? “Privacy is of the utmost importance at the hotel. Also, it’s amazing history, reputation, and all-round high quality.”

Is it true that every room gets sunlight at one point of the day or another, as per the architect intent? “I didn’t know this tidbit, but I can see it being true. I’ve stayed here during different seasons and each time the rooms were both sunny and cozy. The bungalows are also spacious and so well lit.”

What’s your favorite thing about the hotel? “What it represents; it’s classic Beverly Hills. There are so many stories about the property.”

Faye Dunaway poses poolside for photographer Terry O’Neill the day after winning her best actress Oscar for “Network”

A star-studded centennial celebration is set for June 15 to 17, 2012. Benefiting the Motion Picture Television Fund, there’s an evening soiree hosted by Brett Ratner and a Polo Lounge brunch co-lead by Warren Beatty and Jeffrey Katzenberg. Those not on the coveted invite list who still want to reminisce can drink from the hotel’s themed “These Walls Are Talking” cocktail list whilst perusing the pages of The Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows — The First 100 Years, an anniversary book by the hotel’s historian Robert S. Anderson.

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