The story of The Beverly Hills Hotel is almost like a fairy-tale, for where this hotel of legend now stands, there used to be a field of beans.
And a vintage photograph taken in 1900 captured the farmland that would eventually give way to one of the world’s most glamorous hotels. Lodgings that would cater to the whims of planet earth’s most famous stars of the silver screen.
The picture features in the mesmerising tome The Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows – The First 100 Years, the second edition of which is out now.
The land in 1900 before the Beverly Hills Hotel was built. It was used for growing lima beans. At that time the city of Beverly Hills did not even exist
The Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows was built in 1912 for $500,000 ($13million in today’s money). It was billed as a destination ‘halfway between Los Angeles and the sea’
To mark the opening of the Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows, a formal dinner, pictured, was held on May 13, 1912
Two years after the hotel was built, Beverly Hills was incorporated as a city, with buildings springing up around the hotel
A bird’s-eye-view of the Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows in 1921. By the 1920s, Beverly Hills was one of the smartest addresses in the world
The hotel originally had a country club-style theme and offered lessons in horse riding, golf and tennis
Silent-movie stars Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton shot movies at the hotel. This image shows another film star, Carlyle Blackwell, outside the hotel in 1914
A smiling Margaret S. Anderson in her car in front of the hotel in the 1920s. She helped to build the iconic property on Sunset Boulevard in 1912 with architect Elmer Grey
Children staying at the hotel could enjoy a ride in a carriage pulled by a pony
Other fascinating pictures in the book include the hotel’s formal opening dinner in May 1912, actors filming the silent movie, A Sailor-Made Man in 1921, Hollywood movie stars including Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich and Rita Hayworth relaxing at the property during the 1940s and 1950s – and a very glamorous shot of guests arriving at the hotel’s iconic entrance.
The book is by Robert S. Anderson, the great-grandson of Margaret J. Anderson, who built the iconic property on Sunset Boulevard in 1912, with architect Elmer Grey, for $500,000 ($13million in today’s money).
At that time, the city of Beverly Hills did not exist and the hotel was built in open fields and billed as a destination ‘halfway between Los Angeles and the sea’.
Two years after the hotel opened, Beverly Hills was incorporated as a city and by the 1920s it was one of the smartest addresses in the world.
The hotel became known for making its famous guests feel at home, and indulging their desire for privacy. Among the first well-known guests were silent film-era stars such as Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, who shot movies at the hotel.
By the 1940s, the hotel switched hands. The new owner was Hernando Courtright, the vice president of Bank of America.
The pool area at the hotel, pictured in 1938. The hotel became known for making its famous guests feel at home, and giving them privacy
These vintage images feature in a book, The Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows – The First 100 Years, which is being released for a second edition. This 1938 image shows the pool area transformed into a beach, with sand imported from Arizona
Another 1938 image of the pool. By now the hotel was firmly established as a world-class offering
The pool at the Beverly Hills Hotel in the 1950s/60s. By the 1940s, the hotel switched hands. The new owner was Hernando Courtright, the vice president of Bank of America
He renamed El Jardin Restaurant the Polo Lounge in honour of a celebrity band of polo players who toasted victories at the restaurant after matches in the bean fields.
Towards the end of the decade, the hotel had its first major facelift, and in 1947 it opened the Crystal Room and the Lanai Restaurant (later renamed The Coterie).
The hotel is known for its pink exterior, and this hue first appeared in 1948 to complement LA’s famous sunsets and the country club style of that time.
That year also saw the addition of the Crescent Wing, named after the hotel’s location on Crescent Drive. The hotel’s name is written in huge letters on one of its outer walls – and this section is now one of the most photographed.
In the early 1950s, Detroit real-estate magnate Ben Silberstein purchased the hotel for $5.5 million and its popularity with royalty and celebrities continued to escalate.
The Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows was the setting for many movies. Pictured is silent movie star Harold Lloyd filming A Sailor-Made Man on the hotel’s front lawn in 1921
The hotel has always been extremely popular with royalty and celebrities. Pictured is Dorothy Jordan – an American movie actress, who starred in several of the early talking films – driving to the hotel in 1935
Rita Hayworth poses by the hotel pool in the 1940s, left. Pictured right is Marlene Dietrich at the hotel in 1940. She convinced the hotel’s Polo Lounge restaurant to change its ‘no slacks for women’ dress code
Marilyn Monroe poses on the lawn of the hotel’s Bungalow 7. She stayed in bungalows 20 and 21 in 1960 while reportedly having an affair with her Let’s Make Love co-star Yves Montand
Stars of the screen Lucille Ball, left, and Ann Southern, right, both pose for the camera at the hotel in 1938 and 1935 respectively
Gregory Peck and Lauren Bacall relax on the set of Designing Woman, a movie filmed at the hotel in 1956
Actress Carol Burnett pictured at the Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows in 1963 – the same year she filmed the movie Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed?, also starring Dean Martin
New guests included the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon, King Albert of Belgium, the Crown Prince of Monaco, John Wayne and Henry Fonda.
Another regular, the androgynously elegant Marlene Dietrich, convinced the hotel’s Polo Lounge restaurant to change its ‘no slacks for women’ dress code in the 1940s.
In 1956, the hotel’s pool and cabana club were backdrops for Gregory Peck and Lauren Bacall in Designing Women, while Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and the rest of the Rat Pack engaged in prodigious drinking bouts in the Polo Lounge.
Liz Taylor honeymooned in the hotel’s lavish bungalows with six of her husbands, including Richard Burton. Bungalow Five was one of their favourite hangouts.
The entrance to the Polo Lounge in the 1970s, left. Pictured right is the sign pointing guests to the hotel in the 1940s
Inside the hotel’s Polo Lounge in 1974. It was named in honour of a celebrity band of polo players who toasted victories at the restaurant after matches in the bean fields
A morning ride with the Los Angeles Riding Academy, which opened its second branch at The Beverly Hills Hotel
The celebration for the opening of the Hotel’s Crescent Wing, 1949
Horse riders in Wild West-style costumes at the celebration for the opening of the Hotel’s Crescent Wing in 1949
Children on a school trip explore the grounds of the hotel
Reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes not only lived in the bungalows on and off for 30 years but, starting in 1942, he parked his Cadillac in front of the hotel for so long that plants started growing out of it.
He also had hotel staff leave late-night meals, including roast beef sandwiches, in a nearby tree.
Marilyn Monroe stayed in bungalows 20 and 21 in 1960 while reportedly having an affair with her Let’s Make Love co-star Yves Montand.
The entrance to the hotel pictured in the 1950s. This month, the hotel is hosting an all-star photography exhibition on its famous red carpet, where 10 archival photographs will be unveiled
The modern-day entrance to the Beverly Hills Hotel, which always has the red carpet rolled out for its guests
The hotel is currently part of the Dorchester Collection, which is owned by the Sultan of Brunei
A modern-day aerial image of the Beverly Hills Hotel. The link between the hotel and Brunei recently became a highly controversial one after Brunei rolled out its interpretation of Islamic laws, or sharia, punishing sodomy, adultery and rape with death, including by stoning. George Clooney led a global backlash against the laws
The Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows – The First 100 Years can be purchased in the hotel’s Signature Shop and online or by calling +001 310-887-2140
John Lennon and Yoko Ono stayed in bed for a week in another bungalow in the 1970s.
The Beverly Hills Hotel went through several ownership changes in the 1980s.
The Boeskys gained control in 1986 for $100 million, and later that year, the hotel was sold for $136 million to Denver oilman Marvin Davis.
In 1987, Davis sold the hotel to its present owner, the Dorchester Collection, which is run by the Sultan of Brunei.
This link recently became controversial when Brunei rolled out its interpretation of Islamic laws, or sharia, punishing sodomy, adultery and rape with death, including by stoning.
Actor George Clooney led a global backlash and the Southeast Asian country extended a moratorium on the death penalty to the legislation.
On December 30, 1992, the hotel closed for a complete restoration, with the project lasting two and a half years.
The hotel reopened on June 3, 1995, with upgrades and custom-designed furniture and fittings.
And in 2016, the hotel began a restoration of its historic bungalows, with work conducted on all 23 bungalows in phases throughout 2018.
This month, the hotel is hosting an all-star photography exhibition on its famous red carpet, where 10 archival images will be unveiled.
The incredible photos include a Polo Lounge lunch attended by then hotel manager Hernando Courtright, baseball star Joe DiMaggio, and blues singer Billy Daniels in 1952 and a portrait of Marilyn Monroe at a party held in her honour at the hotel in the summer of 1958.
Other images are of crooner Bing Crosby leaving a Christmas lunch in 1952 dressed as Santa Claus, and Elizabeth Taylor in 1961 celebrating her Oscar win for ‘Best Actress’ in Butterfield 8 at one of the hotel’s legendary bungalows.
The exhibition runs at the hotel until November 10.