The New York Times is very concerned about the poor studio executives whose precious Polo Lounge could possibly, if you speculate hard enough, be ruined! by the in-process refurbishment of the Beverly Hills Hotel. What is their evidence? Well: "'When I first heard about the redesign, I was seized up with anxiety and a sense of protectiveness,' said Stacey Snider, a partner with Steven Spielberg in DreamWorks Studios and its chief executive." That's about it (and: "Hollywood power players are a little traumatized"). But they sure have a lot of explanations for why that might be:
-- "Because film is so ephemeral, there is a tendency to overcompensate and clutch at anything permanent."
-- "The entertainment industry's devotion to the Beverly Hills Hotel also exposes deeper parts of its psyche. The movie capital is a place that routinely razes and rebuilds, but many of its top executives have roots in New York and hunger for hangouts with a timeworn patina."
-- "The Beverly Hills Hotel, which just turned 100, remains the heart of moviedom's schmoozing scene ..."
-- "The pool alone is as close to sacred ground as it gets in show business. It's where Raquel Welch was discovered, where Esther Williams swam every morning (a permanent guest pass was written into her MGM contract) and where the Beatles once took an after-hours dip."
-- "Twenty years of Orso power lunches ended in 2009. Spago, the Grill on the Alley and Mr. Chow's are still chugging along, albeit with an aging clientele, but their influence sharply faded a few years ago, when Creative Artists Agency and International Creative Management decamped to new offices in Century City."
-- "Hollywood's fear specifically reflects the bad plastic surgery that befell two of its cherished haunts, Le Dome and the Hotel Bel-Air."
The Bev Hills Hotel recently became Beverly Hills's first historic landmark and much of it can't or just won't be touched: "The banana-leaf wallpaper (all five miles of it), added in the 1940s by the designer Don Loper, will be left intact. The signature white and green stripes, which appear on the porte-cochere, are protected, as are the Polo Lounge's hunter green walls. The Fountain Coffee Room will keep its curving counter, and the pool will have only a few tweaks, like new landscaping." The project's interior designer, Adam D. Tihany, says the Polo Lounge will get new lighting, new carpeting, and updated upholstery. Polo Lounge via Alan Light
· The Dowager's Makeover [NYT]
· Beverly Hills Hotel Getting Just a Little Work Done For Its 100th [Curbed LA]