Before becoming one of the world’s most famous neighborhoods, Beverly Hills had yet to be established and there was nothing but scrubby farmland. Oil tycoon and real-estate developer Burton Green purchased land and built mansions on them. However, he had trouble selling them as the City of Beverly Hills had not yet been established as there were not many people residing in the 90210 area. In hopes of attracting more people to what would soon become Beverly Hills, in 1912 Green hired billionaire and recent widow, Margaret J. Anderson and her son Stanley Anderson to build what would be known as The Beverly Hills Hotel. In hopes of attracting more people to the area, Burton Green hired Margaret Anderson to build a hotel. The Anderson’s hired architect, Elmer Gray, to construct and design the hotel in a Mediterranean Revival style. In 1917, the first film producers arrived and began investing money into real estate as well as new business ventures. By 1919, several famous movie stars were attracted to the hotel’s amenities and design and would often stay at the now world-famous Beverly Hills Hotel.
By the late 1920s, the Andersons decided they wanted to sell the hotel and did so to the Vice President of Bank of America, William Courtwright. Under Courtwright, the hotel underwent an architectural redesign by Paul Revere Williams. For one of the redesigns, Williams decided that pink would be the best fit for the exterior of the hotel. This change led to the famous Beverly Hills Hotel “Pink Palace” moniker. Between 1928 and 1932 the hotel was owned by Hugh Leighton of the Van Nuys Railway News and Hotel Company which had to close the hotel in
1933 due to the impact of the Great Depression. Once reopened, in 1940, the hotel attracted everybody, from the most prominent businessmen and celebrities to presidents. Celebrities that were often spotted at the hotel included Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Marlene Dietrich, Dean Martin, and Lucille Ball. In 1947, the hotel underwent another major facelift and featured many popular dining options such as The Lanai Room, The Polo Lounge, The Fountain Room, and The Cabana Cafe.
The Lanai Room opened in 1947 (later renamed the Coterie Room), and was the main dining room of the hotel. It was decorated with the signature Don Loper green banana leaf wallpaper. The Lanai Room became world-famous as it hosted celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor, Katharine Hepburn, Danny Kaye, and Dorothy Lamour. While reviewing the luncheon menu of Beverly Hills Hotels’ Lanai Room, the first thing that stood out was the appetizers available during that time. Things like Eclair of Creamed Chicken Melba, Hearts of Celery, Marinated Herring, Crab Cocktail, Avocado Cocktail, and a Large V-8 Juice.
As the menu continues, restaurant-goers of the Lanai Room could order from an array of soups, entrees, salads, sandwiches, and desserts. Popular entrees on the menu that are not typically found in present-day restaurants include Fancy Oyster Pepper Pan Roast, Shirred Eggs Bercy with link sausage and glazed onions, and Irish Lamb Stew as well as cold meats like Roast Prime rib with potato salad and sliced tomato. Interestingly enough, on the menu, a selection of meats that were cooked on a charcoal broiler was available to order. The restaurants’ cold buffet and salad section had a list of popular salads of the time. The patrons of the Lanai Room were able to enjoy salads like Lanai Special Salad Bowl which consisted of romaine lettuce, watercress, sliced lobster, eggs, and anchovy as well as the Beverly Hills Salad De Luxe, which included crab legs and fresh shrimp. Charcoal broiled meats on the menu include Prime New York Cut Sirloin, Filet Mignon, ½ Spring Chicken, Two Double French Lamb Chops, Sirloin Steak Minute, and Pork Chops. To this day, meat cuts similar to these are still very popular today in American restaurants. Like many sandwiches now, the Lanai Room also offered club sandwiches, tomato, and bacon
sandwiches, and American or Swiss Cheese sandwiches. The restaurant offered a selection of decadent desserts which included french pastries, fresh pineapples, sherberts, pies, cup custards, ice cream, cake, and Jell-O which was a staple in American kitchens during this time. As time progressed, the Lanai Room has been able to upgrade and reinvent itself in a multitude of ways that have allowed the Beverly Hills to remain a staple within Beverly Hills and Hollywood culture.