Word on the street is that an infamous blond bombshell with curves to die for used to be one of several famous celebrity tenants at the Beverly Carlton Hotel from 1948-1951, long before it became the Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills, a retro nostalgic luxury boutique hotel made up of three separate and discreet buildings, a rock star Italian restaurant, and well-designed, eye-catching and chic poolside cabanas, all in a quiet residential neighborhood in the flats of Beverly Hills.
As a native Angeleno, I never had a reason to stay at a local hotel, but have driven by this corner at least 1.1 gazillion times in my life without really paying attention. Designed by the legendary modern-design pioneer Alvin Lustig, it first opened in 1948 and ultimately went through several reincarnations (an apartment complex and retirement home) before being turned into the Avalon in 1998.
That blond bombshell I was talking about. =)
I took this photo (above) from the left hand turn lane while on Olympic Boulevard facing west. I like that it’s private and blends into the neighborhood. You’d almost have to be looking for it to notice.
I adore the decor and the whole retro vibe at Avalon, although I will admit that folks who don’t appreciate the nostalgic touches in what used to be “an apartment hotel” could potentially think the Avalon falls short of luxurious. I don’t think so. And phooey on those who do.
It’s pretty rad that the architects (Koning Eizenberg) kept the integrity of the hour glass-shaped pool. I can almost imagine Marilyn there…
The poolside cabanas are wicked chic, don’t you think?
You don’t have to be a guest at The Avalon to rent the cabanas. Isn’t this a great place for friends to hang out privately while dining from the Oliverio Restaurant menu? Yup.
I arrived in the evening and chose to dine indoors at Oliverio, but love that you have a view of the cabanas and pool. Great place to people watch.
So, yeah. In case you’re wondering, the food at Oliverio’s is divine! I chose from the side dishes to make my meal: Spicy broccoli, truffle fries and Polpette E Verza. Boy, howdy. (You can click on the links to get a close up. Don’t drool.)
So, no, it doesn’t hurt that Oliverio’s Executive Chef Mirko Paderno is easy on the eyes and has a beautiful Italian accent. Not one little bit. Mamma mia! OMG, I’m sorry. Did I mention he can cook?
This is Anna, the hostess with the mostess at Oliverio. She was quite pleasant and told me she didn’t want me to take her photo. When I said please, she struck a pose; hair toss and all. LOL Ya gotta love LA!
More of that retro vibe. Simple, yet perfect for this ground floor hotel gathering space.
So yeah. I mentioned that there are 3 discreet buildings in this residential neighborhood, right? Well, this is the second building. It’s across the street from the Main Building and called the Canon Building. It’s also the one where Marilyn purportedly had her apartment. Very unassuming if you’re a celeb looking for some privacy.
A close up view of the outside of the Canon Building.
This is the entrance to the third of Avalon’s hotel buildings. It’s across the alley from the Main building and called the Beverly Building. Not a funky nasty alley. A Beverly Hills alley. And yes, there’s a difference.
Hallway of the Beverly Building. Still has that retro nostalgic thing going on. Also very private.
My final poolside snack before departure. I ate at Oliverio 3 out of 4 days.
The bottom line: Excellent, personal service from the staff from the moment you pull up to the front door until the moment you leave. There is an overall funky cool vibe at the hotel and the architectural details are a modern twist on an apartment hotel from the 50s. (Did I mention that Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz as well as Mae West stayed there too?) My room (1 of 84 rooms at the property) was comfortable and yes, it did remind me of an apartment, but I found that quite novel. It didn’t hurt that there were Neil George bath and body products in the bathroom as well.
Oliverio’s boasts tasty cuisine and is a cool place to dine (either outside or inside) with friends, even if you aren’t a hotel guest. The location is ideal if you don’t feel like driving, as the beginning of Beverly Drive is right across the street and Rodeo Drive is just down the way. There’s complimentary yoga poolside every morning for hotel guests. Even if you’re a local, it’s a nice little getaway if you need a respite from real life. It’s not cheap (although there’s always a deal), so if you’re watching your pennies and don’t favor unique little boutique hotels, find someplace else to stay, but this is where I’ll be. You’ll likely find me in a cabana.
Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills
9400 W. Olympic Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
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RANDOM FUN FACT: Marilyn Monroe and Ella Fitzgerald were very good friends. Here’s why.
Disclosure: I contacted the Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills because (1) any property with the Viceroy name attached to it is worth a stay; (2) I wanted to stay here; and (3) I wanted to write about it. I received a discounted room rate. All opinions are my own, because that’s how I roll.