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There are some hotel names that are legendary… but that legend can work against them. Take the Waldorf Astoria. The one in New York has always been famous as a superstar hang-out since back in the 20s? But it makes you think of the 30s and Cole Porter and the Duchess of Windsor and Frank Sinatra to this day… yes, even with a massive refurb. The one in London on the Aldwych is equally grand and very ‘high tea’ and Palm Court. Which means when they open a rocking modern outfit in Beverly Hills, you probably walk in with the wrong idea. Because this is grand in a whole different century.

But you’ll know what you’re dealing with before you make the lobby, to be fair. The building is a huge, 12-storey almost Guggenheim-looking thing in white icing towering over the low-rise neighbourhood and curved to the corner of Wilshire and Santa Monica, the two most famous streets in Beverly Hills, so you see it rising from behind palms well before you get there. So you know that this isn’t Aldwych-style Waldorf Astoria. No siree Bob.

Walk in and you have a lobby with ceilings that go so far up you can’t even imagine how anyone changes a lightbulb or dusts a cobweb. And yes it’s modern and it’s new but you can see that 1930s flavour just coming through with shiny Deco cabinets, classic early mid-century furniture, shiny white marble floors and maybe some arum lilies in vases. Basically, you could be on the set of a Fred Astaire movie.

And if you think they couldn’t possibly extend this level of deliciously history-aware glamour to the rooms, then you are so wrong. We’ve lucked out and bagged ourselves a suite, which is big enough to herd horses through, not that you would with these carpets, with a bathroom that has countless Deco touches to appreciate while you laze in the tub, from the lighting to the shelving to the nicks and nacks.

But if you can get past the bathroom, and the huge walk-in wardrobe, and the bar, into the room, the first thing that strikes you is the view of the Beverly Hills – just along from the Hollywood Hills – right there in front of you. With glass doors opening right up and a collection of chairs and loungers, it’s hard not to just sit and watch the sun go down against those hills. Yes, it’s a little trafficky from the street, noise-wise, but we’re in LA, what do you expect?


If you do manage to drag yourself away from your room, you’re going to find it harder to drag yourself away from the hotel as a whole as there’s so much going on. Go up to the roof and you have The Rooftop by JG, by which they mean global superstar chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, a more casual lunch or dinner spot with views across town, living walls and a light fun atmosphere. Round the corner, you’ll find the pool, again with views, the perfect spot for a cocktail and a bar snack by J-G V… if you can afford them: none of this comes cheap and why should it when it’s so far upscale you could actually get a nosebleed?

Back downstairs and Jean-Georges Vongerichten is still calling the shots in a beautifully elegant restaurant called Jean-Georges Beverly Hills, still pretty much a hot ticket, so keep them peeled for celebrity power-lunchers.

If you thought teaching an old dog new tricks was tough, just look how effortlessly the Waldorf Astoria has done it. But the fact that it’s taught a new dog some beautiful old tricks at the same time is the real clincher.