Dan Ahwa stays at the iconic Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, California.
When in LA it's a pre-booked transfer, of course, with Beverly Hills Car Rental's fleet of luxury vehicles. The service is one of the most trusted in California, and if you want peace of mind in a comfortable BMW SUV, it's worth it. Director of international marketing Kevin Sanli is used to driving celebrities, Saudi royalty and Chinese millionaires so knows his audience, and after 12 hours of flying, the conversation is interesting but not overbearing. We weave through traffic, which takes about 40 minutes, with smoky Californian fires in the distance.
Check-in experience: I arrive at 3.30pm on an unusually steaming hot October day, perfect as check-in begins from 3pm. Walking through the Italian Renaissance-style entrance immortalised in the 1990 film Pretty Woman, smartly dressed staff are welcoming, taking my bags straight to my room. Concierge also offers me a fully recyclable branded water carton, which is a nice touch. Be prepared with a few dollar bills for tipping.
First Impressions: Completed in 1928, the front building has retained most of its original fixtures. The elevators have red-leather seats, and the Tuscan stone and Carrara marble add old-school glamour. A black Maserati parked in the centre of the lobby is available for guests to drive during their stay as part of a promotion, adding to the alluring glitz. My room is across the central driveway in the second building, added in 1971, and I marvel at its unapologetic glamour - patterned carpet, grand chandeliers and fresh flowers. This is part of the Four Seasons franchise, so there's a level of luxury maintained throughout.
What's so good about this place: There's never a dull moment. There's always some celebrity wafting past or an event happening, and restaurant Cut is always humming. On the night I arrive a riotous, ritzy bat mitzvah is taking place. The hotel is perfect for people-watching and since it's located at the epicentre of Beverly Hills, you can pretty much walk anywhere and on return, the hotel is an easy enough landmark to find.
And the bad? Nothing to note, these guys have a reputation for being one of the best in the business and, like all the hotels in Beverly Hills, the service is impeccable.
What's in the neighbourhood: It's a stone's throw from Rodeo Drive's luxury boutiques. Take a short stroll and find yourself walking down three major roads known as the Golden Triangle: South Santa Monica Boulevard, Wilshire Boulevard and Canon Drive. There are plenty of restaurants, and across the street is Via Rodeo, a shopping precinct modelled on a cobblestoned European street. Don't miss the impressive Galerie Michael, housing a great collection of Picasso and Salvador Dali artworks.
Room: A welcome upgrade from a Signature Balcony room to a one-bedroom Beverly Suite on the ninth floor with a separate and spacious sitting-room area and a king bed. Both rooms have balconies overlooking Rodeo Drive and the Hollywood Hills, perfect on a glorious Californian day. Highlights include two TVs, both with Chromecast, a generous mini-bar, and speakers playing soothing bedtime tunes ranging from classical to jazz. A DIY Pretty Woman cocktail set is waiting upon arrival as the hotel ramps up deals inspired by the film in the lead-up to its 30th anniversary in 2020.
Bed: King size with big fluffy pillows and soft Egyptian cotton sheets – all white.
'It felt like I was standing in a corridor in the Death Star'
Wi-Fi? Free and easy.
Bathroom: Marble floors, a bathtub and standing shower with excellent pressure. The lighting in the bathroom is also impressive, perfect when you're after a nice soothing bath (L'Occitane bath salts are at the ready).
Toiletries: Salvatore Ferragamo body lotion, shampoo and conditioner, along with beautifully scented soaps. Luxe.
Noise: Up on the ninth floor there's very little apart from the noise from the activity on the streets below.
Food and drink: There are three key eateries on site. The Pool Bar and Cafe is perfect for sitting poolside with a cocktail. The BLVD is a great place to have brunch or a business meeting. For dinner try Cut by Wolfgang Puck, a contemporary classic steakhouse with food prepared in an open kitchen. Outward-facing booths make it a great spot for celebrity watching.
Exercise facilities: The Mediterranean-inspired swimming pool is a good place to start, or there's a nearby fitness centre that offers state-of-the-art weight-training machines and a cardio circuit. Private yoga lessons are also available.
Price: US$1295 a night (approximately $2039) before the addition of a Californian Tourism Assessment fee of 0.375 per cent.
Contact: 9500 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90212. fourseasons.com/beverlywilshire