By Richard Carroll
It had come to a point where Cadillacs, Jaguars and "Beemers" would turn up their tail pipes and look away as they flashed down Sunset. In this part of the world, when things go bad you cease to exist.
Overnight you can plummet from royalty to a barefoot bum, and who cares? The heady smell of success had turned into a pungent can of wilted sauerkraut. Other, newer hotels such as the Four Seasons and the Peninsula gleefully took over. It was like a faded movie queen with foot-long eye lashes competing with Marisa Tomei on the casting couch.
Charles Chaplin, Gloria Swanson, Rudolph Valentino, Will Rogers, Greta Garbo, John Wayne, Henry Fonda and hundreds of other stars have hung their undies on a hook here. Gable and Lombard snuggled in a secluded bungalow waiting for his divorce. Elizabeth Taylor shared her bungalow bed with six husbands, (not at the same time) and Marilyn Monroe and Yves Montand, while filming "Let's Make Love," decided to do just that in bungalows 20 and 21.
Today, all roads lead to the 12-acre Pink Palace. After a whopping $100 million, visitors will find many aspects unchanged such as the pink facade, the architecture, banana leaf wallpaper, the Polo Lounge, Fountain Coffee Shop, the pool and cabanas -- with 52 phone and fax lines -- the popular bungalows, and the tennis courts.
The Polo Lounge, ranked among the world's best-known restaurants, offers indoor and outdoor dining and after theater dinner; open 7 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. A new dinner room, the Polo Grill is open 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
The palace-like lobby where afternoon tea is a people-watching Mecca, is a nice introduction to a hotel that is settling in for another hundred years. Room rates range from $275 to $3,000 per night. Beverly Hills Hotel, 9641 Sunset Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90210; reservations (800) 283-8885.