Friday, July 24, 2015

When it opened in 1975, in
a converted luxury condominium building that was once the home of Elizabeth
Taylor and Richard Burton, L'Ermitage Beverly Hills was the first all-suite
hotel in the United States. Setting a new standard for refinement, this
pioneer in boutique accommodations quickly became a hit amongst the
entertainment and fashion crowd, with suites starting at 625 square feet
decorated in a Zen minimalist fashion, with neutral color schemes and natural
wood accents. Now, the 117-suite L'Ermitage, which has been managed by
the Viceroy Hotel Group since 2010, is undergoing a major lobby-to-rooftop
transformation by Smith/Firestone Associates, a Los Angeles design firm that
has worked on the Fairmont Heritage Place in San Francisco and the Waldorf
Astoria in Orlando. The hotel will remain open during the renovation of the
public spaces and suites, with completion expected in early 2016. In
addition to enlarging the suites to 650 square feet and up, the five-star,
five-diamond hotel will offer guests a dressing room with walk-in closet and a
makeup vanity with adjustable light settings, 55-inch Samsung flat screens in
the living room and TV monitors built into the bathroom mirrors. The custom
furnishings include plush and curvaceous upholstery, floor-to-ceiling suede
and velvet headboards, and an art program that includes monochromatic
abstracts by the acclaimed French artist Yves Klein.   "We gave the
original color palette a glamorous twist by introducing glowing metallic
tones, smooth leather, and textured wall surfaces, upgrading the neutrals to
shades of fawn, blush, and taupe contrasted by cool rich amethyst and
indigo," says Kara Smith, a principal at the firm. Here, she gives a
walk-through of some highlights: Lobby The entrance to the L'Ermitage
sets the stage with a custom inset carpet of tonal lavender and grays shot
through with soft metallic fibers. The check-in desk is an art piece created
with textured white gold leaf and a custom cast glass top. The floors are
white marble and the reflective ceiling has a high gloss lacquer wall covering
in a soft muted copper. The most stunning feature of the lobby is the
decorative bronze glass grid work on the walls, which are inlaid with acrylic
that mimics pearl alabaster, copper mirrors, and hand cut glass.
Courtesy Viceroy Hotel Group Grand
Luxe Suite Like the rest of the suites, custom-designed furniture adds
glamour and sophistication.   In the living-dining space, the table is
gray stained wood with a polished nickel base, and the chairs are finished in
embossed leather in a soft cream. Taupe colored wall covering imitates lush
textured fabric, and there are leather panels on the wall behind the flat
screen TV. If you insist on working, there's also a small niche in the
room, which houses a polished wood desk set against a mirrored back wall.
Governor's Suite In this suite, the two flat screen TVs in the
living-dining space can be hidden by specially designed leather panels.
 There is one TV on a mirrored wall above a newly added fireplace encased
in stone, and one TV across from the dining table. The unique feature of the
dining room set-up is that it allows guests to convert the area into a
conference center via a strategically placed electronics unit that rises out
of the table and connects to the flat screen.  
Courtesy Viceroy Hotel Group Presidential Suite
The bedroom features French 1940s and midcentury modern-inspired furniture,
and a custom headboard upholstered in leather in champagne tones, accented on
the sides with glass, mirror, and a metal grid work similar in style to the
one in the lobby. This suite also features two fireplaces, one in the living
room area, and one in the library. Illuminated by a crystal lighting fixture,
the living room features large indigo sectionals for entertaining, and for TV
binge watching, there's also an additional paneled media room with plush
chaise lounges. David A. Keeps is on the Los Angeles beat for Travel +
Leisure. The host of Ovation TV's "Art and The City," he writes regularly
about travel and design. Follow him on Twitter at @davidkeeps and Instagram
at @davidkeepsinsta.   More good reads from T+L:
• World's Top 50 Hotels
• The 14 New Beach Hotels to Book Right Now
• Best Places to Travel in 2015 Did you enjoy
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Confused Black Bear Broke Into This Alaska Zoo A first look at
L'Ermitage Beverly Hills, which the Viceroy Hotel Group is renovating from
lobby to rooftop.

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