When advised I'd be staying at the best and newest hotel in Beverly Hills, my expectations rose exponentially. The five-star hotel opened on the corner of Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevard in mid-2017, replacing – according to locals – a ramshackle restaurant and sprawling carpark.
The hotel is brimming with marble finishes and antique bronze metallic accents by designer Pierre Yves Rochon. The custom grand chandelier in the foyer is impressive rather than ostentatious. The concierge has been asked umpteen times, what is that gorgeous aroma wafting through the foyer? Apparently the scent is so new it doesn't even have a name.
There's an Art Deco vibe throughout, with a refined onyx fireplace adjacent to the tucked-away lobby bar. Hotel shopping includes Bijan (accessories, art, fragrances) and a pop-up space that, during my stay, was occupied by Azza Fahmy Jewellery. The hotel also hosts the only La Prairie Spa in Southern California – does a caviar massage entice? The rooftop swimming pool is expansive and its guests-only environment serene.
Each of the 170 rooms and suites has a spacious balcony and stupendous views stretching to Downtown LA. There are exquisite Salvatore Ferragamo toiletries and the bath (replete with sleek book-reading rack) is enormous.
My private terrace had a potted baby palm tree
The King rooms are decked in blue and the Queen rooms are golden-hued. While colour schemes for the suites and villas are chocolate brown and celadon, respectively.
A voice-control system, "Alexa", switches on the radio or orders towels and so on, while room service menus and other information are accessed via a smart tablet perched on the desk. I discover "Alexa" can't calculate Celsius – she persisted with a Farhenheit forecast for the day. You are in LA, so there's a 24-hour fitness centre and weekly roof-top yoga.
Home-style olive dip and grissini, followed by hummus and farmer's market crudites appear on the table when I order the juicy much-lauded lobster burger at The Rooftop by JG (referring to the Michelin star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten). Lunch costs $AU60 with obligatory tip and a surprise surcharge for swapping fries for salad. I order the avocado carpaccio pizza (with jalapeno, coriander and lime) at the Jean-Georges restaurant. It's supreme. The tasting menu includes the best Wagyu beef tenderloin I've encountered.
Rodeo Drive, the world-famous shopping district imbued with high-end fashion labels such as Prada, Chanel and Hugo Boss, is an easy 10-minute stroll. If you don't care to walk, the complimentary "town car" (often a Rolls Royce) can drop you off. Just down the road is The Paley Centre for Media, a cool exhibition space and cinema showcasing the history of American television, radio and film. There's the Will Rogers Memorial Park nearby for a perfect picnic, while at Sprinkles Cupcakes you can order from the first-ever cupcake ATM.
From the foyer, to the rooms, to the pool, to the rooftop bar, you are ensconced in sophisticated, upscale luxe. Considerate and attentive staff – gushing with holiday tips and complimentary Waldorf Astoria-branded water bottles – are the icing.
Rooms at Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills start at $AU1153 a night. The Presidential Suite is $AU28,300 a night.See waldorfastoriabeverlyhills.com
Being in an environment of sublime grandeur sans pretension.
The beautiful room scent used in the foyer is not for sale.
The writer stayed as a guest of Waldorf Astoria, Beverly Hills.