The Dorchester Collection now manages two iconic properties in Beverly Hills that are divinely decorated for the holiday season. Both the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Bel-Air Hotel are glimmering and glowing as the New Year approaches.

BHHotel_LobbyTree13The Beverly Hills Hotel

The renowned Polo Lounge in the Beverly Hills Hotel is just a small part of the subtle and smart changes being made to the historic hotel that celebrated its 100th year in 2013. The oval shaped room overlooking the dining patio have always been coordinated beautifully, but recent changes include lovely color and fabric introductions that soften the ambiance, however, the green and white striped ceilings and patio umbrella’s remain in tact.

Pepe De Anda, the Polo Lounge Manager, who has greeted me at the door for over twenty-five years, is still there smiling and making people feel welcome. The servers, in immaculate white uniforms, are totally in control and strive to make your visit memorable. The dining room is relatively quiet, while the patio has always bustled with the activity of people wanting to be seen, and obviously still does.

Polo Lounge Interior

Polo Lounge Interior

The menu in the Polo Lounge has changed many times, but today Executive Chef Kaleo Adams has introduced some amazingly healthy items like kale and quinoa salad. Sorry to say they no longer serve things like apple-pan-dowdy, but the McCarthy salad is still a big favorite, and according to my server the West Hollywood salad that was introduced recently has become a number one item on the menu. Personally, I would give their beet salad with goat cheese a best of 2013 award.

PoloLounge_BestBeetSalad2013Whether it’s steak, chicken, lobster or fish you will find fabulous entrée and salad items to pair. Soups and pasta dishes are outstanding, and the desserts in this ‘room to be seen in’ have always been something to brag about. The crème brulee is perfect! The bar features the best classic cocktails to be found, and as you would assume the wine list is an endless collection of the best in the world.

PoloLoungeXmas13Interior design changes are seen everywhere in the hotel, and also at the restaurant pool, where the favored colors of pink and green remain but in soft subtle hues that are so attractive. The pool cabana’s have also been renovated, but will always be associated with the pool where major Hollywood stars have hung out through the years.

swiss_BelAirLoungexmas13The Bel-Air Hotel  

Entering this noble hotel is magical. Walking under flowering vines, across the covered bridge overlooking the swans lake decorated for the holiday season, and on to the hotel lobby that is the ultimate combination of ‘old world charm’ and modern chic is a wonderland experience. The beautiful white swans floating on the lake before you is surreal, and the entire hotel is sparkling and elegant for the holidays.

swiss_swansBelAir13The Lobby, showcases a huge Christmas tree, and burning fireplace that are beyond inviting, as is the hotel dining room.  Chef Hugo Bolanos is in charge of hotel food and beverage and the Wolfgang Puck Bel-Air Restaurant, featuring walls lined with cabinets containing their amazing collection of fine wine to pair with lunch or dinner.

The dimly lit and very intimate Lounge has an amazing photo of Tina Turner lining an entire wall, and live entertainment is featured here in the evening. This would be the ideal place to have a special rendezvous with friends or family during the holiday season.

CrescentHotelBar13The Crescent Hotel

A local boutique option for holiday fun is The Crescent Hotel. This darling boutique hotel at Brighton Way and Crescent Drive in Beverly Hills was built in 1927, and today is a chic little jewel of a hotel that offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as live entertainment on Thursday nights.

Crescent Hotel outside dining

Crescent Hotel outside dining

The newly decorated property is a lovely spot for patio dining and cocktails by the Christmas tree in the bar. It is located one block from Beverly Hills City Hall, The Wallace Annenberg Center for the Arts, and the only family owned market in the city.

Crescent Hotel Chef Diana Fernandez

Crescent Hotel Chef Diana Fernandez

Their talented chef Diana Fernandez, who has a curriculum vitae that includes a stint at CUT in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel with Chef Lee Hefter and work with the Patina Group offers a menu that has something for everyone. Their deep fried olives with blue cheese are an intriguing and delicious appetizer favorite with cocktails. Visit

Bonnie Carroll