Passion Points: Escape
There’s always been a strange disconnect in the world of hotels. Many travel industry resources—magazines, newspapers or blogs—are obsessively focused on buzz, with some reviews appearing before a new property is even officially open. But feeling up-to-speed with hotel debuts is one thing; taking the risk of booking (and possibly loathing) a brand-new property is quite another. Most savvy travelers might opt to have a cocktail at the hip new spot but prefer to drop their bags and travel dollars at a place they’ve known and loved for years. In the case of Los Angeles’ legendary Peninsula Beverly Hills, travelers can now get the best of both worlds.
In celebration of its 20th anniversary, the hotel has quietly been unveiling a fresh new look throughout 2011, embodying the Pen’s best quality: subtlety. In fact, the facelift is so understated that despite new light floral fabrics, custom-made furnishings and state-of-the-art in-room technology, one longtime guest recently asked after a visit, “What renovation?” While many of the high-end hotels in the LA area have been massively refurbishing to stay competitive, the Peninsula’s approach to theirs was undeniably smart and true to the brand. It did not disrupt hotel service and was mindful to keep the elegant, residential feel that guests have come to love over the years; the guest-return rate is an incredible seventy percent.
One reason guests return time and again is the property’s attention to service. Every employee takes a genuine interest in making visitors feel like VIPs. Yes, the white uniformed greeters remember your name, and yes, your pillowcase is monogrammed with your initial, but did you also notice that your empty toothpaste tube was replaced by a new one? That your checkout time was as late as you needed it to be? And, if you are one recent guest, that your favorite Greek yogurt was imported and awaiting you in the minibar? It’s those trademark Peninsula touches that have all guests wondering: “How did they know?”
Guests who are returning to the property during the holiday season can experience the updated look first-hand and eat at the beloved Belvedere restaurant. Diners can still book a table for celebrated Christmas day meal, a traditional dinner served family-style (the day will be merry indeed with unlimited Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne). Even Ebenezer Scrooge himself would leave humming carols after an evening spent at the hotel’s “Holiday Supper Club” and having a chance to give back, by buying an Christmas tree ornament with all proceeds going to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Read about decorator Kelly Wearstler’s favorite things to do in LA with her kids.
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