Virtuoso Life - May/June 2018 - 125
Owner, Alice Marshall Public
Relations, an agency specializing in luxury travel and goods
Regional director, West Coast
U.S.A., the Dorchester Collection, and general manager of
The Beverly Hills Hotel
IT'S ALWAYS GOING TO BE ABOUT THE ARRIVAL EXPERIence. When you drive up the driveway here, you see that
huge Beverly Hills Hotel sign that was installed in the forties, the green-and-white-striped awning. The red carpet for
our hotel is really the warm welcome. Whether it be there or
at another property, I always look for how people make you
feel when you walk in.
Service sets the entire mood and the tone. When it gets
down to poor service, it's never, ever about the mistake -
it's about the recovery. People are forgiving. If you're at a
restaurant and somebody spills a glass of red wine on the
table, it's really about what they do to try to make it right.
As long as there's a genuine embrace of "Wow, I'm really,
There's a tremendous amount of warmth and authenticity at The Beverly Hills Hotel. The Pink Palace is the first historic landmark in Beverly Hills - the city of Beverly Hills was
named after the hotel. The Polo Lounge turned 78 last year.
It's one of those rooms that is so magnetic. You can plop
down, enjoy it, and do your people-watching. Table number
three was Frank Sinatra's table; table number six was Joe
DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe's favorite table. People sit
there and they kind of fall in love with the room.
Luxury can be like a dog chasing its tail in today's world.
Technology has changed how we interact with guests a tremendous amount. But there's not a device out there that will
ever replace human interactions. There's no expiration date
on relationships if you continue to invest and deposit trust
I'D NEVER REALLY BEEN IN A HOTEL AS A YOUNG WOMAN.
It's not something I grew up with. We were a modest, middleclass family. My first real job was with Cunard Line, and my first
experience with hotels was with The Ritz in London, which was
a Cunard hotel at that time. I truly thought I had died and gone
to heaven. The GM was this very distinguished gentleman who
had worked for the king of Jordan. There was this kind of makebelieve world that I felt like I was entering.
The Mansion on Turtle Creek had a real impact on me, maybe 30 years ago. What they were doing at that time was so out
of the box. They were doing the gardens and having their own
products. They were the first to use a local chef, who was doing amazing things in the kitchen. It was super-luxury, but super
"of" that place.
I still love the Park Hyatt Tokyo. Every book is in the right
place; the hangers are perfect. That's what's fun about hotels.
For that one moment, everything is perfect.
In the old days there was this housekeeper at The Beverly Hills Hotel who would make maps of how guests left their
rooms. They would literally have Polaroid photos of how things
were laid out so that person would return time after time and
have things in a predictable, comforting way. Sometimes that
familiarity gives people comfort in a time that's unpredictable,
like when they're traveling.
Hotels are becoming almost extensions of living rooms. It's
a trend that started with the more millennial-focused hotels -
the Aces, the NoMads - and now some of the more traditional
hotels are doing it. It gives a really nice local feeling, that people
from the neighborhood are using the hotel. I was recently at The
Lowell in NYC, having a drink in their beautiful new club area. It's
stunning. Partly it's having this beautiful fireplace, but it's also
the flowers, the lighting. They've just hit that note perfectly, and
with great, comfortable chairs and the right music.
Why are hotels so cool? You are, for that second, whoever
you want to be, whether that's a character from Downton Abbey walking in in your best clothes, or you're just sneaking up to
your room and snuggling up with a book. Whether it's getting an
aspirin if you have a headache or someone offering you a tea if
you come off the plane looking tired, that feeling of being taken
care of is what's ultimately appealing on a very basic level.
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