This past weekend Drew and I had two of our favorite people in town from Florida and our mission was to help them get a taste of all that makes California so dreamy. After visiting places like Venice, Hollywood and Santa Monica, we realized that out of all the places, Beverly Hills put a sparkle in our eye that was bigger and shinier than any other.
Oh Bev Hills. We all know the famous Pretty Woman scene where Julia Roberts gets kicked out of the now Vertigo store on Rodeo Drive, and when she meets Richard Gere and stays with him in the Presidential Suite of a swanky hotel on Wilshire, known as The Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel. These examples are just a few of the endless reasons why Beverly Hills is so famous now and forever.
Less than 6-square miles in size, Beverly Hills is a place for the fortunate to live in comfort, and shop and dine at their leisure. The city has no smokestacks, no billboards, no visible telephone wires, all businesses close by 9pm (yes, even Starbucks), all fire hydrants are painted silver (truth be told, yellow is a bit too tacky and clashes with all the gold jewelry), there is not even a hospital or cemetery in the city as not to remind the residents or visitors of their mortality. Therefore, it can be said that technically no one is born or dies in Beverly Hills.
Being that there is so much to be said about the 90210 area code, here are a few fun and famous Beverly Hills facts that you just must know:
A 1-night stay in the above mentioned Presidential Suite of The Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel costs $5,500, and if the Penthouse is more your taste, it’ll cost you $7,500 a night. For an alternative option, you may want to think about making an appearance at THE Blvd Restaurant, known for its 18-foot illuminated onyx bar, it is a lovely place for a romantic evening for two or perhaps for a glamorous Sunday brunch.
If you are looking for a new “coif,” Michael Canale, with his famous salon located on 214 N. Canon Drive, has worked with Jennifer Aniston since the start of her career on “Friends,” as well as Denise Richards, Shannon Elizabeth on “American Pie”, Shakira, Faith Hill and Amanda Bynes on “What I like About You.”
Spago, an absolute favorite restaurant of the stars, cost over $4 million to build and is well known for its California Wild King Salmon pizza, a specialty of chef Wolfgang Puck. One must make reservations weeks in advance and, unless you are a celebrity, you cannot make a reservation between 7 and 9pm… just another of the many reasons to try to “make it” in Hollywood!
“The Golden Triangle” encompasses Rodeo Drive and a grid of smaller commercial streets filled with shops and restaurants most frequented by Hollywood celebrities. As you can see below it is bound by Santa Monica Boulevard, Wilshire, and Canon Drive.
The House of Bijan, the most expensive store in America, is located on Rodeo Drive and requires a reservation to shop. Customers average $10,000 a visit, and with socks that cost $50 and suits in the upwards of $15,000, we can see how that would be easy to do. Be sure to make note of the amber colored crystal chandelier when you enter the boutique, as it is made from over 1,000 authentic Bijan perfume bottles. Also, the names of some of Mr. Bijan’s well-known clients are permanently engraved on the front window of his store.
The Beverly Hills Hotel was built in 1912 in the middle of a lima bean field. The “Pink Palace,” as the Hotel is affectionately known, was there even before there was a Beverly Hills. Now, you don’t need to be a staying here to enjoy it’s classic beauty, the Polo Lounge offers live entertainment daily and on Fridays and Saturdays, from 3-5pm, you can enjoy tea time complete with delicious little tea sandwiches and cakes.
The homes North of Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills hold the title of the most expensive real-estate in Southern California, their price tags are even bigger than those in Bel-Air and Malibu!
Aaron Spelling‘s former home, pictured below, was built on Bing Crosby’s former estate and sold for $85 million to heiress Petra Ecclestone. “The Manor,” as it is referred to, has a bowling alley, a screening room, an ice rink, an entire floor of closets, 123 rooms (three of which are designated for wrapping presents!) and a ballroom that can accommodate up to 650 guests! Talk about extravagant.
The Beverly Hilton Hotel served as the “Western White House” whenever President John F. Kennedy was in town. If you are looking for a unique dining experience, Trader Vic’s, the legendary Polynesian-themed indoor/outdoor restaurant, specializes in serving Island appetizer plates and exotic cocktails, including the original Mai Tai, which was invented by Trader Vic himself in 1944.