Overflowing with gleaming surfaces, expensive fabrics and an abundance of floral displays, the Waldorf Astoria is a fitting addition to Beverly Hills. Rooms are impossibly comfortable, the rooftop pool has heartbeat-skipping views of the city, and restaurant Jean-Georges Beverly Hills is the place for sealing deals over caviar and champagne. The hotel’s recently unveiled La Prairie spa offers bespoke facials from the Swiss skincare brand, incorporating caviar, platinum and gold.
Ten miles (17 km) from LAX airport, the hotel is situated at the gateway to Beverly Hills, opposite The Peninsula Hotel. Brilliantly placed for shopping, the property is less than a mile away from both Rodeo Drive and Wilshire Boulevard.
Wolfgang Puck’s truffle pizzas can be found up the road at Spago, or for something kale-related, Urth Café is a mile away. Book the hotel’s house car and you can arrive in style – jaunts in the Waldorf’s Rolls-Royce Phantom are complimentary for journeys of up to two miles.
The hotel’s lobby
Style and character 9/10
For European travellers weary after the long flight to LA, there can be few more welcoming sights than a room here. Duck-egg blues, Tiffany greens and pearly creams combine with cumulous bed linen and monogrammed pillows to provide exquisite refuge from the bustle of Beverly Hills.
Shiny maple sliding doors give way to metres of cupboard space (complimentary ironing of two pieces is provided upon check-in), and everything else is panelled, contoured or polished to within an inch of its life. Best of all, rooms are marvellously sound proofed. Just one quibble: my bathroom floor wasn’t heated.
Bedrooms and suites are supremely comfortable
Facilities in the spa 5/10
An elevator delivers you directly into the spa lobby: a tiger-striped jewellery box of a space featuring a large counter of La Prairie tester products. Six treatment rooms lie beyond, and downstairs there’s a 24-hour gym.
Therapists are trained by the Swiss skincare brand to perform tailored La Prairie facials and body rituals, but don’t expect much hand-holding or gong chiming; this is a down-to-business sort of place. There are separate changing rooms for ladies and gentlemen, equipped with saunas and eucalyptus-infused steam rooms plus generous supplies of La Prairie products (including SPF 50). Dyson hairdryers are a neat touch.
The spa’s reception area
During my visit, the ladies’ steam room took a long time to fill up with steam, and even then, the benches were too cold to sit on comfortably. You could ring ahead to allow time for the steam room to be heated up, but of course this shouldn’t be the customer’s responsibilty. Also, the relaxation room is quite tight on space, with just three beds, and feels somewhat corporate.
Head up to the rooftop saltwater pool instead and enjoy the marvellous views of the city and hills. There’s yoga on the roof every Sunday at 10am, and private yoga and personal-training sessions are available upon request.
The rooftop pool
The treatments 8/10
With a focus on beauty, the spa’s forte is facials that work on a cellular level. Both the Rejuvenating Platinum facial and the White Caviar lifting and firming facial give instant results (a cleaner, more youthful look) but if you have time, the bespoke Signature La Prairie facial is worth investing in.
It starts with an in-depth consultation; then, with your goals in mind, the aesthetician creates a personalised facial using an array of La Prairie products. It culminates with a lymphatic drainage massage to give the skin a lifted, contoured appearance. As well as enjoying a facial that’s entirely custom-made, you’ll leave with a set of La Prairie products created for your skin’s exact needs.
For further skin plumping, micro-current therapy, ultrasonic therapy and LED light therapy are available. Body treatments include exfoliating masks, body polishes and the usual variety of massages (hot stone, Swedish, deep-tissue, reflexology and pregnancy).
Food & drink 8/10
With caramel leather banquettes, palm-leaf prints and terrazzo floors, Jean-Georges Beverly Hills (named after chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten) is more Miami than LA. Waiters sporting jazzy waistcoats and salmon-coloured ties restore the Hollywood feel, as does the clientele: a mix of ladies in leopard print, suited-and-booted film execs and bearded creatives (Judd Apadow is a regular).
Dine indoors under a fairy-lit Ficus tree or outside on the patio where, in August, one can pick passion fruits straight from the vine.
There’s plenty of variety on the menu too: toasted egg yolk and Bulgarian caviar; Santa Barbara sea urchins; wood-grilled Kobe beef; and a selection of wood-fired pizzas – all come in large portions. For lighter fare, head up to The Rooftop by JG for chilli-rubbed beef skewers or mushroom and kale tacos next to the pool – treat yourself to a Kumquat mojito while you’re there.
Value for money 7/10
Double rooms from $795 (£562) in low season; rising to $795 (£676) in high season, not including breakfast. Facials from $250 for 60 minutes, massages from $195 for 60 minutes.
Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, 9850 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90210, USA. Virgin Atlantic flies daily from London Heathrow to Los Angeles from £399 in economy and £2,915 in Upper Class. To plan your California spa break, see visitcalifornia.com.