Vogue Travel re-introduces readers to Beverly Hills. At IMA ART Fertility we engage everything this iconic American town has to offer into a 14-day luxurious IVF experience.
By Lisa Wong Macabasco "Why Beverly Hills Is Having a Moment in the Sun" Vogue Travel
The Beverly Hills zip code was the first I knew by heart after my own. Nine-oh-two-one-oh. It rolled off the tongue like smoke above a velvet chaise, like buttery whisky over a smooth hunk of ice, like a satin glove peeled off immaculate nails. And to my nine-year-old imagination, recently and completely captivated by the debut of the hit teen drama Beverly Hills, 90210, it represented the pinnacle of sophistication, affluence, and exclusivity.
It was Julia Roberts with armfuls of shopping bags admonishing snooty salesgirls about their “big mistake—huge.” It was Shelley Long’s Girl Scouts hawking cookies at a concert in front of Giorgio. It was Cristophe, Spago, and Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. It was Cher Horowitz in the loqued-out Jeep Daddy bought her. And of course, it was Dylan McKay’s 1964 Porsche Speedster convertible.
Beverly Hills has long been the place of dreams and abundance, far before early Hollywood stars like Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Rudolph Valentino built mansions here: The native Tongva considered it a sacred site, where converging streams flowed down the canyons. (The Beverly Hills Hotel now sits on that exact location.)
But after COVID and an ensuing upsurge in retail theft contributed to the closures of many of the neighborhood’s longtime businesses, Beverly Hills is getting a small facelift currently. There has been a spate of buzzy new dining options and hotels—with some New York names planting their flags on the West Coast for the first time—in addition to some major luxury retail openings: Chanel, Balenciaga, Loewe, Louis Vuitton men’s, and Rimowa, in addition to forthcoming flagships of Dior and Cartier. Taken together, they’re reinvigorating an area celebrating its 110th birthday this year—and providing locals and visitors alike an excellent reason to give the city so synonymous with glamour a fresh look.
A California-Cool Twist on British Hospitality Heritage
Although Beverly Hills has more five-star accommodations per square mile than anywhere in the US, British luxury hotel operator Maybourne, owner of Claridge’s and The Connaught in London, chose to open its first North American property here in 2020. And The Maybourne Beverly Hills stands out. Contemporary LA art sets the vibe in the public areas (don’t miss Jessalyn Brooks’s kinetic mural in the Terrace dining room), while the sunny, pastel-palette rooms are adorned with more compelling artworks and art books, both curated by The Maybourne’s neighbor Gagosian. Even with a bustling terrace cafe (popular for afternoon tea) and the extremely popular Dante on the roof (see below), there’s a serenity that feels like an oasis in the middle of Beverly Hills, overlooking the palm trees and hummingbird-magnet foliage in adjacent Beverly Cañon Gardens. The sprawling spa, the largest in a Los Angeles hotel at 20,000 square feet, features lavish facial treatments from cult skincare brand Dr. Barbara Sturm. The intimate Cigar and Whisky Bar speakeasy is another highlight, with exceptionally friendly and knowledgeable staff guiding you through one of the world’s most exclusive whiskey and cigar collections.
A New York Icon Gets an LA Makeover
The cherished West Village restaurant Dante opened its first outpost outside Manhattan last summer to great fanfare—and was promptly embraced by notoriously carb-averse Angelenos. On The Maybourne’s roof, the airy location has wide, pristine views of the Hollywood Hills and a beautiful ceiling fresco capturing the frequently spotted hummingbirds. The Mediterranean-Italian menu is focused on salads, pastas, and seasonal pizzas cooked in a massive wood-fired oven (aptly named Dante’s Inferno) that was craned onto the roof. Befitting one of the world’s best bars, the cocktails are spectacular, and the $10 martini happy hour is as popular here as in New York. (Pro tip: much of Dante’s menu is available poolside to hotel guests.) Other New York institutions arriving in one of the hottest dining areas of LA include Cipriani (which just opened its first West Coast location), the power-dining spot Marea, and Daniel Boulud’s first West Coast restaurant (both set to open this spring).
A Superb Subterranean Omakase
Even in a city with one of the highest concentrations of Michelin-starred restaurants in greater Los Angeles, Sushi Note Omakase impresses. Located in a Rodeo Drive shopping mall’s underground garage, the 14-seat restaurant, modeled after a Tokyo-style sushi bar, is a true hidden gem. The 20-course omakase, overseen by longtime sushi master Kiminobu Saito, showcases both the traditional and the nouveau—think eco-friendly Ora King salmon, the wagyu of salmon, dry aged locally. There’s a spare elegance to the dishes, which feels refreshing in a dining culture that feels desperate to please social media more than diners’ palates. The pairings focus on wine, and many are delightfully unexpected—red wine with a hearty piece of steak-like tuna, for example.
A Clubby Classic Italian Joint for a New Generation
The Sinatra-favorite hideaway La Dolce Vita has been one of the toughest reservations to snag since it reopened last spring, ambiance notwithstanding—being packed into an exceptionally dark, windowless room where the decor seems to have been frozen in the 1960s only seems to enhance its appeal. Do order the massive showstopping bone-in veal parmigiana and the LDV Gibson topped with drops of black garlic oil, which some consider LA’s best martini. Don’t order dishes not to share (the kitchen is too small to time them appropriately, the server warns), linger too long (see the crowd waiting?), or ask for milk with your after-dinner espresso (that’s as taboo here after breakfast as it is in Italy—capisce?).
Elegantly Eating With the Seasons
Espelette opened at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills last May, serving up coastal Mediterranean cuisine with a focus on local, seasonal ingredients. With soaring ceilings and a minimalist decor that whispers luxury, the restaurant has a traditional yet upscale feel that one expects from Beverly Hills fine dining. The food is not flashy but excellent, and the service shines. The tuna tartar is delicious, as is the wood-grilled Dover sole prepared tableside, and a whole steamed artichoke, too rarely seen on menus today, is a reminder of simpler pleasures in an age of culinary maximalism—especially when done to perfection.
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