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Middle Age Miles

Hotel Review – Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills

Waldorf Astoria, Beverly Hills

This article is part of our Trip Report, Date Night in Beverly Hills.

For our Date Night in Beverly Hills, Philly and I stayed at the new Waldorf Astoria, taking advantage of a Hilton Free Weekend Night certificate that we earned through credit card spend.

Executive Summary

The Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills was a fantastic place for a high-end date night.  The hotel is brand new, and the hard product is spectacular.  Most service was excellent, but we experienced a major service snafu at check-in that put a sour taste in our mouths to start our stay.  For a free hotel night in a fun location that is reasonably accessible from the West Coast and the Southwest, the Waldorf Beverly Hills is the cat’s meow.  Paid rates of more than $700 a night would be next-to-impossible for us to justify, but if it’s within your “splurge” budget, it would be a nice place to relax and have fun.

Booking and Rate

We booked the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills about a week before our stay, using a Hilton Free Weekend Night certificate that we earned through credit card spend.  We booked into the hotel’s “standard” room for points redemptions, a Superior Two Queen Room with Terrace.  Paid rates would have started at more than $700 per night for a base room, which appears to be a normal rate at this property, with prices of course being higher during times of greater demand than during our early February stay.  Full details of our Booking and Rate are in our “How We Did It” post for the “Date Night in Beverly Hills” Trip Report.

Location

The Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills is very conveniently located near the center of activity in Beverly Hills, at the intersection of Wilshire Blvd and Santa Monica Blvd.  It is immediately adjacent to the venerable and famous Beverly Hilton.  International shopping mecca Rodeo Drive is within a 10-minute walk, along with several restaurants and the rest of Beverly Hills’ central business district.  The Westfield Century City shopping center is less than a mile away (just to the southwest of the California Space Center in the map below), and the hotel generally is centrally located within Los Angeles for reasonable access to everything LA has to offer.  Our cab ride from LAX to the hotel was about 45 minutes through moderate traffic (but should have been shorter), and our Uber ride from the hotel back to LAX was about 25 minutes through light traffic.

Arrival & Check-In

Arrival at the Waldorf Beverly Hills was impressive.  The lobby area is large and open, with marble floors and high ceilings.  Check-in is toward the right, along with the concierge desk.  A hallway to the left leads to the hotel gift shop, a special “Aston Martin” area (the hotel runs promotions with Aston Martin), and the hotel’s signature Jean-Georges restaurant.  And behind the initial open area lies a small sitting area to the far right, a small bar to the far left, and a fireplace with a small sitting area in the center, all marvelously decorated.

Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills lobby

Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills lobby art

Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills lobby chandelier

Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills lobby sitting area

Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills lobby – small bar

Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills lobby – Philly modeling the fireplace

Our check-in process was bumpy, to say the least, and frankly it started our stay on a disappointing low note.  We arrived around 2:00 pm, slightly ahead of “official” check-in time.  We had booked a room with 2 queen beds, but in the reservation we had specifically requested a room with a king bed if possible.  We were told that a 2-queen room was available immediately, but that a king room would be available within a few minutes, as it was ready but simply awaiting inspection.  We were willing to wait a few minutes for a king room, so we were invited to wait at the Rooftop Bar.  The check-in agent confirmed my cell number and said she would text me when the room was ready.  Now, the Rooftop Bar was nice, the day was beautiful, and we didn’t mind having a drink.  But we couldn’t really settle in, as we were expecting to hear from the front desk at any minute.  More than an hour passed – no text and no other communication from the front desk.  It took three rounds of asking and another 45 minutes before, finally, the bar host told us that our room was ready and we could head back down to the front desk to check in.  Our server at the bar suggested that the hotel normally comps a round of drinks in our circumstances; however, when she asked the front desk to do so, they said no.  All of this miscommunication and lack of follow-up made for a serious service miss.

Once back at the check-in desk, things were fine.  Hilton Diamond status was not expressly recognized, but we were given an upgrade to a higher floor – the 9th floor, as opposed to the standard “Superior Room with Terrace” we had booked, which would have been located on the 3rd-5th floor.  In the hotel’s hierarchy, we seem to have been given a two-level upgrade to a “Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View.”  And indeed, the view was quite nice, looking to the north across Beverly Hills.

Panoramic View from “Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View”

A few other points relevant to arrival and check-in: First, our taxi driver was unsure of the hotel’s location, perhaps because the hotel has been open for less than a year.  Hotel staff suggested that to help an uncertain driver, tell them that the hotel is next door to the Beverly Hilton.  Second, bellhops are readily available when you pull up to the hotel entrance.  Third, after our check-in was complete, the agent escorted us up to our room, along the way describing some of the hotel’s features and helping to orient us so we could get around easily. This was a nice service touch.

And finally, I diverge for a moment, at risk of sounding like The Californians from Saturday Night Live … At LAX, it appeared that there was a very long wait for an Uber, so against my better judgment we grabbed a taxi.  Typical cab – old car, bad suspension, weird odors, driver doesn’t want to run the a/c.  Philly was not impressed.  As I mentioned earlier, the cab driver did not know where the hotel was, and he had never been there before.  Ok, simple enough, corner of Wilshire & Santa Monica.  You’d be hard-pressed to find a better-known location in all of LA.  But although our driver wasn’t sure where he was going, he still wouldn’t simply plug the address into Google Maps on the cell phone mounted to his dashboard.  He took us up the 405 (crowded, but still probably the best route) but then drove past the Santa Monica Blvd exit up to the Wilshire exit.  In addition to Wilshire being a longer and slower route, this cast us headlong into an immigration protest occurring outside the Federal Building that brought traffic to a standstill.  Yeah, Google Maps would have shown us that.  This cast a bit of gloom on the start of our Beverly Hills adventure, which was then compounded by the hotel’s service glitch at check-in.  First world problems.  Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming …

Room

We were assigned to room 915, a “Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View,” as I previously mentioned.  The room is large – approximately 550 square feet, with a terrace of approximately 85 square feet.  Basic layout consisted of an entry hall with a large closet and a coffee nook to the right and the bathroom to the left, which then opened up into the main part of the room with a work table straight ahead and the bed and a couch to the right, with a sliding door to the terrace straight behind the table.  The TV was mounted on the wall near the work table, facing the bed.  Furnishings were high-end and new as you’d expect.

Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills – Room 915

Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills – Room 915

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View – Entryway

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View – Looking back from the room to the entryway

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View – Artwork

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View – Artwork

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View

The bathroom had marble floors and a solid sliding door to close it off from the room.  The potty room inside the bathroom had its own a frosted-glass door.  The bathroom had a tub and a separate shower.  The vanity was backed by a large lighted mirror, and it included two sinks and a make-up mirror.  Toiletries were Salvatore Ferragamo “Tuscan Soul,” which were nice enough that I took home the extra shampoo and shower gel.  The only negative was a small one – some water leaked out from under the shower door.

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View – Bathroom

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View – Bathroom

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View – Bathroom

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View – Bathroom

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View – Bathroom

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View – Bathroom

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View – Bathroom

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View – Bathroom

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View – Bathroom

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View – Bathroom

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View – Bathroom

The closet was quite large and included two hanging racks, multiple drawers, a footstool, shoe accessories, a robe, and a safe.  Philly and I had fun opening all of the drawers and doors to see what we would discover next.

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View – Closet

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View – Closet

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View – Closet

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View – Closet

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View – Closet

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View – Closet

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View – Closet

The coffee nook included our two complimentary bottles of water as Hilton Diamond guests and a Nespresso machine.  Pods and other accessories for coffee and tea were stored underneath in drawers.  The room also included a fully-stocked mini bar.

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View – Coffee Nook

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View – Coffee Nook

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View – Mini Bar

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View – Mini Bar

The room was well-equipped with modern electronics including regular and USB plugs in the nightstands and even an adapter in the left nightstand for international guests.

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View – Electronics

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View – Electronics

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View – Electronics – left nightstand drawer

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View – Electronics – right nightstand drawer

The terrace had a chaise lounge and large potted plant to the right, and a small table and chair to the left.  The views of Beverly Hills to the north were quite nice, despite a bit of haze.  We could even see the Hollywood sign in the distance.

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View – Terrace

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View – Terrace

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View – Terrace

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View – Terrace

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View – View of Fountain at Wilshire & Santa Monica

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View – View of Beverly Hills business district

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View – View with Hollywood sign in the distance

We also received a welcome amenity with lots of fruit and a few sweets.  The sweets and most of the fruit were tasty, but I did not care for the strawberries, as something about them was “off.”

Beverly Hills Room with Terrace and View – Welcome Amenity

Common Areas & Amenities

Restaurants and Bars

Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills – Jean-Georges Restaurant

The hotel’s signature dining facility is the Jean-Georges restaurant, the child of French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.  The restaurant and its bar located at the far end of the hall to the left of the lobby.  This is where the hotel’s breakfast/brunch is served, in addition to lunch and dinner.

Prices at Jean-Georges are not cheap.  Appetizers, salads, pizzas and pasta dishes run $20-30 each, with main dishes generally in the $40-60 range and all sides a la carte in the $15-20 range (including French fries).

Jean-Georges Restaurant – Dinner Menu

Breakfast was likewise pricey.  Philly and I received a $15 credit each for our breakfast, which covered a little less than half of our tab.  Not that we ate anything extravagant – I had pancakes, bacon and a Diet Coke, and Philly had oatmeal.  I’ll give them credit, though – the breakfast was very tasty.

Like the rest of the property, the restaurant was beautiful.  Even though the restaurant is on the lobby level, it is high and open with large windows to the east, so that the room filled with natural light.

Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills – Jean-Georges Restaurant outdoor view

The restaurant bar is to the left when you enter the restaurant, and it is likewise comfortable and beautiful.  It has a long corridor down the middle, with the bar and high chairs to the right, and a row of tables to the left.  Not surprisingly, the bar attracted an interesting crowd on a Saturday night.  We had a few drinks, received good service, and made some new friends.

Jean-Georges Restaurant Bar – looking out from the restaurant entrance

Jean-Georges Restaurant Bar – looking back from the far end toward the restaurant entrance

New friends from all over the world!

We also got a chance to visit the Rooftop bar while we were waiting to check in.  The Rooftop bar provides great views across Beverly Hills and the rest of Los Angeles, and it’s plainly a happening place to be.  Rumor had it that none other than Harry Styles came up to the Rooftop bar after we’d left!

Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills – Rooftop Bar

Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills Rooftop Bar – view

Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills – Rooftop Bar

Fitness Center, Spa & Pool

The hotel fitness center was full of brand new TechnoGym equipment, including weight machines, treadmills and ellipticals.  The room also included free weights and large screen TVs. Towels and bottled water were provided.

Interestingly, the fitness center included two curved treadmills, which I’d never seen in a hotel fitness center before.  I would’ve liked to try out all the equipment, but the weather was so nice that Philly and I had a good run outdoors through Beverly Hills on Sunday morning.

Here are some pictures of the fitness center and equipment:

Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills – Fitness Center

Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills – Fitness Center

Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills – Fitness Center

Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills – Fitness Center

Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills – Fitness Center

Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills – Fitness Center – curved treadmills!

The hotel’s La Prairie Spa was located next door to the fitness center, but we did not visit.  It includes a Salon.

The hotel pool is on the rooftop, adjacent to the Rooftop bar.  We took a quick look, and it looked very nice, but we did not visit.

I’ve reviewed the spectacular lobby space above, and the hotel does not have a lounge.

Service

Except for our snafu at check-in, service at the hotel was attentive and excellent.  Our check-in agent personally escorted us to our room and gave us a quick tour of the hotel on the way, making sure we knew where the restaurants, bars, fitness center and spa were located.  All of our other servers – our host and server at the Rooftop bar, and the hostesses, our bartender, and our server at Jean-Georges restaurant – were on-point.

I also received some above-and-beyond service from the hotel manager at check-out. I asked if I could purchase a $200 Hilton gift card and have it charged to my room. The background was that I had an Amex Offer for a $70 statement credit with $350 spend at Waldorf Astoria. Our food and beverage charges for our stay were slightly more than $150, so I figured this could be an opportunity to effectively purchase $200 in Hilton credit for net $130. (All charges were paid with our Amex Hilton Ascend card, which earns 12 points per dollar on charges from hotels in the Hilton portfolio, including Waldorf Astoria.)  Our hotel check-out clerk wasn’t sure about this, so she called out the hotel manager. The manager was not able to process a gift card on the spot due to a technical issue, but she promised me that she would complete the sale, call me when it was complete, and ship the gift card to me. It took a couple of days, but she delivered on all fronts. The hotel manager called me as promised to confirm that she had completed the sale, I received the $200 Hilton gift card within a few days, and my $70 statement credit from the Amex offer posted promptly. It would have been very easy for the clerk and especially the manager to give up on this request and simply tell me it couldn’t be done, or for it to slip through the cracks after I left the hotel. I very much appreciated this level of effort, service and follow-up from the hotel.

 

 

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