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Online Exclusive – Suite 100, Beverly Hills

Jun 12, 2014

By Kathleen Kervin

“Design is only one part of a very multifaceted approach that creates a meaningful experience,” says Susan Manrao, principal of Los Angeles-based Susan Manrao Design and the project director for Suite 100—an unprecedented hotel undertaking in collaboration with the Beverly Hills Conference & Visitors Bureau. Under the program, five hotels in Beverly Hills redesigned one of their suites in celebration of the city’s centennial anniversary. Each suite is conceived as a tribute to a specific era in the city’s history. But beyond the updated design, the hotels—which will be offering accommodation in the revamped suites only through December 2014—provide comprehensive packages that create an unforgettable experience for guests.

                                                          The Beverly Hilton, Courtesy of the Beverly Hilton

The hospitality promotion by the Beverly Hills CVB that allows hotels to “play an active part in shaping how visitors can experience the city as well as influence the reputation of the city as a travel destination and a brand,” says Manrao, who is no stranger to hospitality design. Having held former design roles with Hilton Worldwide, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, and W Hotels, she “wanted to create something that hadn't been done in the hospitality space,” she explains. “For over 20 years designers have been doing ‘hotel as theater.’ I wanted to take the hotel experience to another level.”

                                    The Montage Beverly Hills, Beverly Hills Conference & Visitors Bureau

While Manrao oversaw the entire redesign project, she enlisted a different designer for each suite. For example, at the Montage Beverly Hills, locally based designer Nina Petronzio created a film noir aesthetic that references the 1940s with classic touches including a collection of Lalique crystal and a vintage phonograph and typewriter. Bespoke Art Deco-inspired furniture featuring lyre, gold and silver leaf, and mirrored finishes round out the look. But it is details such as the “Press for Champagne” button located in the suite that “create unexpected moments,” Manrao explains.

                                                      Beverly Hills Hotel & Bungalows, Photo by Peter Vitale

New York-based Tihany Design channeled architect Paul Williams and actress Marilyn Monroe in its 1950s-inspired suite at the Beverly Hills Hotel & Bungalows. Curved furnishings in blue and green hues complement black lacquer finishes and tropical prints. For the full effect, guests can take part in the “Norma Jean Experience,” which includes a bottle of Chanel No. 5, airport transfer in a vintage car, and Monroe’s favorite room service dishes.

                                                      L'Ermitage Beverly Hills, John Ellis Photography

Tom Ford Design furnishings enliven the Beverly Hilton’s 1960s-style suite; and at L’Ermitage Beverly Hills, San Francisco-based Ken Fulk recalls the era of Studio 54 in his homage to Andy Warhol’s Factory that includes an elevated catwalk and the option for an in-room, personal mixologist. Lastly, Los Angeles firm Forchielli Glynn’s suite at The Peninsula Beverly Hills exemplifies the modern era, inspired by Hollywood’s awards season. In fact, suite guests are offered the “Red Carpet Glamour Experience,” a Hollywood-style photo shoot on the hotel’s red carpet.

                                               The Peninsula Beverly Hills, Photo by Ryan Forbes

For Manrao, it is these special offerings that take the hospitality experience to the next level—one that goes far beyond the design itself. “Design sets the stage for something wonderful to happen, but it is not alive,” she says. “Creating unexpected moments through attention to details, such as music, scent, and service rituals bring the guest experience to life while integrating the locality or region lends authenticity.”

She anticipates applications for programs such as Suite 100 as wide-ranging. “We are in a new era of travel,” she says. “[There] are innovative strategies for attracting travelers, or for creating dynamic metropolitan experiences—I even see it working well in a city hosting large events like the Olympics.”


hdtalks: the interviews

During HD Expo 2014, Hospitality Design’s Michael Adams sat down with HBA’s Michael Bedner to talk about his half-century in the hospitality design industry. View the video.



Produced by: Emerald Expositions
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