By David Neth
Dorchester Collection’s Beverly Hills Hotel’s 73-year-old Polo Lounge returns after a two month restoration program.
Led by acclaimed designer, Adam Tihany, the renovation honors the original Polo Lounge’s heritage and design, solidifying it as one of Hollywood’s most beloved dining experiences.
“The Beverly Hills is a dream project. I love this hotel. And it is so important that it continues to respect the spirit of the city,” said designer, Adam Tihany. “By maintaining much of the Polo Lounge’s beloved originality, we have not only kept the connection to the community but also enhanced it.”
The renovations upgraded the lounge’s best features, including carpets, upholsteries, fixtures, lighting, furniture and historic images, all while maintaining California’s relaxed lifestyle. The patio’s outdoor space has been improved as well by enhancing the heating, sound systems and lighting.
The Polo Lounge’s menu maintains the traditional American dishes that guests have come to enjoy. Executive Chef Kaleo Adams has made small changes in the presentation and service delivery to help perfect the dining experience. Friday and Saturday’s afternoon tea with a “tea expert” has also been reintroduced. Wine lists are now presented on iPads to create an interactive experience that ensures guests get the wine of their choice. Live entertainment remains at the Polo Lounge with a live Jazz trio for Sunday brunch, guitar and vocal entertainment for dinner, and piano during lunch.
“The Polo Lounge is lovingly referred to as ‘Hollywood’s commissary’ and will forever be a timeless fixture in the community,” said Regional Director, West Coast, USA and General Manager Ed Mady. “We felt a tremendous responsibility to maintain much of its wonderful originality while also providing an enhanced and relevant dining experience to our countless regular guests and first-time visitors. The Polo Lounge is and always will be a very special place for generations of very special people.”
The Polo Lounge has an extensive history. Booth 1 remained Charlie Chaplin’s standing reservation for decades, remaining empty if he didn’t show up. Marlene Dietrich refused to wear a skirt in the Polo Lounge and removed the “no slacks for women” dress code in the 1940s.
The hotel’s restoration continues after the new lobby and renovated Polo Lounge and will spread to pool cabanas, the Cabana Café, as well as guestrooms and suites, by the summer of 2014.