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Vintage Places in Beverly Hills

Updated on May 8, 2012

Beverly Hills is a fancy fantasyland where you'd expect the streets to be paved with gold. It's a souvenir postcard of a golden era, a reminder of when hollywood stars were really stars-not just paparazzi fodder, and they built their own residential sets to prove their power.

These homes rivaled even their most elaborate fictional fill abodes. B.H. was developed as a city in 1907, but it was a financial failure until silent-film stars Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks built their dream home named "Pickfair" in 1920,and the rest of Hollywood soon followed the trend. This is where the very first gods and goddesses of the silver screen hung their designer hats. Beverly Hills is wrapped in historic architecture since actors frequetly employed th atual studio set designers to build theirown custom castles. In effect, Beverly Hills became a palm-tree-lined kingdom of gilded gates, blue swimming pools (like the ones immortalized in David Hockney paintings), and platinum Rolls-Royces purring in the driveway. It's the kind of place where glitz sneaks up behind you, pulls you in, and makes you feel glad to be alive. ´╗┐

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Beverly Hills Hotel

If you love old-school Hollywood glamour, then the Beverly Hills Hotel is a must to visit. It's the tip of L.A.'s diamond iceberg, on which all other biuldings just float by in a sea green with envy. It was a favorite home-away-from-home for Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, Ava Gardner, Liza Minnelli, John F. Kennedy, and Elizabeth Taylor (who has spent six of her honeymoons at the hotel). Designer Tom Ford has said, "When you pull up under that canopy you can't help but feel like Ricky and Lucy pulling into Hollywood from New York in their Cadillac. It's so Glamorous!" This hotel is the perfect place for anyone who craves the sight of green-and-white-striped awnings, red carpets for arrival, pink Spanish stucco, and custom banana-leaf wallpaper, which itself has become a recognizable icon. It was designed in 1949 by Paul Williams (the esteemed L.A. architect, not the Muppet Movie soundtrack composer). It is owned and was gorgeously renovated by the Sultan of Brunei, who bought it in 1987 for $185 million and put over $100 million into bringing it back to its gleaming pink glory. Though the furniture and paint are shiny new, it still retains a total 1950s glammy Hollywood pastiche.

Named "The Pink Palace," this Spanish mission-style landmark was built in 1912 to lure potential residents to a new development called Beverly Hills. The hotel houses lavish rooms and private bungalows, original artwork on the walls, and pink marble powder rooms. It's a full-service resort with a day spa, a tearoom, boutiques, a pool as famous as the guests who swim in it, and the legendary Polo Lounge restaurant.

Address and phone number: 9641 Sunset Blvd., Beverly Hills. (310) 276-2251.

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Beverly Hills Rent-A-Car

Instead of a pina colada spray-scented Taurus (aka sofa on wheels), when cruising L.A. for vintage. Check out the Beverly Hills Rent-A-Car's small selection of swanky vintage convertible boats. Cruise in a mint-green 1959 Cadillac, a late 60s Cadillac DeVille, a 1975 Lincoln Continental pimpmobile, or a 1976 Cadillac El Dorado.

Address and phone number: 9732 S. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills. (310) 274-6969.

Greystone Mansion

Greystone Mansion is one of L.A.'s best-kept (and prettiet) secrets. In 1928, oil tycoon Edward Doheny built this posh estate as a gift to his son, Ned Jr., at a cost of over $4 million. Many people hail this massive home as one of the grandest mansions on the West Coast (second only to William Randolph Hearst's San Simeon.) Ned and his family moved into the mansion in 1928, and the spread included 55 rooms, tennis courts, a pool, a greenhouse, and its own fire station. Despite their fortune of over $100 million, the Dohenys had their share of tragedy. Edward Doheny was publicly accused of bribery, and his son's life ended in a bizarre-murder suicide at Greystone when Edward Sr.'s personal secretary killed Doheny Jr. and then himself when he was denied a raise. The son's widow lived at Greystone until 1955 (along with a couple of ghosts, no doubt). In 1954, the property was sold to "Trousdale Estates." In 1955, the remaining 18.3 acres of land, including Greystone Mansion, were sold to a businessman who never occupied it. The mansion remained vacant until 1965 when the City of Beverly Hills purchased it, and in 1971, dedicated the site as a public park. In 1976, Greystone Mansion became a historic landmark, since it was the largest home ever built in Beverly Hills, and the first in the fancy tradition of White House-sized extravagant, Aaron Spelling-worthy manors everyone seems to adore.

Many movies have been filmed at Greystone Mansion, including The Witches of Eastwick, The Big Lebowski, Death Become Her, and Ghostbusters II. It has also been the set for memorable and beautiful music videos. Elton John's great music video where Robert Downey Jr. wanders around lip-synching takes place at Greystone as well as the Gun's and Roses' November Rain video, where Axl Rose weds Stephanie Seymour in true rock n' roll decadence.

The coolest thing about Greystone is that while it's semi-fun to drive past all the grand mansions of Beverly Hills, this one you can actually stroll around without getting arrested. The mansion is guarded with wrought-iron gates, and the 16-acre grounds are a maze of lush landscaping, winding stone walkways, brick stairways, brick stairways, sweeping green lawns, wonderful vistas, sculpted hedges, and hidden courtyards. Peek through the dusty windows of the mansion, and you'll see thick gray limestone walls, heavy wooden doors, glorious old ballrooms, crystal chandeliers, and sweeping stone archways-like a giant castle abandoned in some tragic fairy tale. There is an undeniably beautful sadness to this deserted mansion. The grounds are dotted with numerous swimming and relfecting pools, fountains, waterfalls, and ponds, but many of these now stand dry and spooky, The grounds are open everyday, and Music in the Mansion performances are held in the unique and intimate setting of the historic Greystone Mansion's living room.

Address and phone number: 905 Loma Vista Dr., Beverly Hills. (310) 550-4654.

Guns N Roses- November Rain

The Paperbag Princess

If you've ever dreamed of discovering s time machine where it could take you shopping for designer clothes at Saks Fifth Avenue in the 1960s, then this boutique will surely give you heart palpitations. Glamour-puss owner and former model Elizabeth Mason stocks one of L.A.'s most dazzling collections of classic vintage. Her retail philosophy is "If they come in and behave like a person, i'll treat them like a perso. If they behave like a person, then i'll treat them like a celebrity." This is where fancy Beverly Hills ladies with overflowing closets come to unload their treasures. You'll be awestruck by minty items from all eras of iconic designers like Chanel, YSI, Givenchy, Chloe, Dior, Ceil Chapmen, and Pucci. She also stocks cosignment pieces, showstopping baubles, and a shoe department to make any girl's heart melt. The "Princess" is also the only boutique in L.A. that has a bridal trosseau room. Her celebrity clients list includes Donatella Versace, Winona Ryder, Courtney Love, Molly Ringwald, and Madonna. Prices range from $195 for a collectible pair of never-worn 1950s glittered Schiaperelli stilettos, in the original box, to $12,000 for an Adrian jacket once belonging to Theodora Getty.

Address and phone number: 8818 W. Olympic Blvd., Beverly Hills. (310) 358-9036.

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Avalon Hotel

If the B.H. pink palace is a little over your budget, try this midcentury gem of a hideaway. Once called the Beverly Carlton, it has since been revamped by their interior designer Kelly Wearstler with her signature inmitable, vintage-inspired flair. Many rooms feature classic furniture by Eames and George Nelson and include groovy touches like bubble lamps, shag carpeting, and Keane-inspired paintings. This hotel was a favorite of Marylin Monroe in the 1950s, and you can just picture her swimming in their fabulous hourglass-shaped pool, after sipping screwdrivers in a private poolside cabana. Minutes from Rodeo Drive, you can take a beautiful walk to some great store to do shopping.

Address and phone number: 9400 W. Olympic Blvd., Beverly Hills. (310) 277-5221.

Nate 'N Al

This is a serious Jewish Delicatessen with an old-school clientele that has been serving great pastrami sandwiches, bagels with lox, and matzoh ball soup since 1945 to three generations of power hungry agents and retired Hollywood geezers. Their tough waitresses will remind you of Flo from the 70s show Alice. And for you film fanatics, this happens to be Roman Polanski's favorite American breakfast joint.

Address and phone number: 414 N. Beverly Dr., Beverly Hills. (310) 274-0101.

Virginia Robinson Gardens

If you're into strolling along rare and beautiful blooms while in the shadow of a historically beautiful six-acre estate. Viriginia Robinson's Estate and Gardens is a well hidden secret sanctuary of gorgeousness, and it's open to the public! In 1911, when Beverly Hills was still mostly barley fields, Harry Robinson (of Robinson's Department Stores) had this magnificient estate built for him and his wife, Virginia. It was designed in a classic Mediterrenean-style by developer Nathaniel Dryden, Virginia's father, who is also responsible for the glorious Brand Castle in Glendale. Robinson Gardens is very significant in this part of the city; it's deed actually reads, "The first residence in Beverly Hills." The Robinson's have inspired the development of downtown Beverly Hills by opening their department store, in turn encouraging others to invest, which led to Beverly Hills current status as one of the most ritzy retail areas on the planet. The couple shared a passion for gardening and collecting real plants, fueled by their travels around the globe. You can see these plants gracing the landscaped paradise to this day!

Address and phone number: 1008 Elden Way, Beverly Hills. (310) 276-5367.

Robinson's (or J.W. Robinson's) department store was the last of the original downtown Los Angeles department stores to open a branch outside of downtown. Beginning in the 1920s through the 1940s, stores like Bullock's, Coulters, The Broadway and the
Robinson's (or J.W. Robinson's) department store was the last of the original downtown Los Angeles department stores to open a branch outside of downtown. Beginning in the 1920s through the 1940s, stores like Bullock's, Coulters, The Broadway and the | Source

The Witche's House

This was originally built in the 1920s by studio art director Harry Oliver, to be used as a silent film set for the Willatt movie studio in Culver City. It hails from an era when architects began letting their imaginations run wild, turning pockets of L.A. into the surreal fantasyland it is today. And in this land of mixed-up screwed-up home design, there sits a witch's cottage-eith towering peaked roofs, crooked shutters, a magical overgrown English garden surrounded by moat, and a very long candy line on Halloween. It was moved to B.H. in 1934 and converted into a real home, named Spadena House (after the first family to reside there). It's now owned by a real estate agent who is restoring it to be once again the most magical storybook castle in all of Hollywoodland.

Address and phone number: N. Walden Dr., Beverly Hills. (310) 271-8174.

Francis Klein

Established in 1960, they display (and sell to those with deep pockets) vintage estate jewels covered in glimmering gems. These are the kind of rubylicious pieces you'd see Jean Harlow wearing in Dinner at Eight. In their Art Deco display cases, you'll be dazzled by Victorian, Edwardian, Art Deco, Art Noveau, and modern-era accountrements-nothing less than extraordinary.

Address and phone number: 310 N. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills. (310) 273-0155.

Trader Vic's in Beverly Hills, Ca.
Trader Vic's in Beverly Hills, Ca.

Trader Vic's

Looking for the perfect place to get cocktails served in coconuts and adorned with pineapple slices and platic swords? Aloha! Trader Vic's has been rockin' Polynesian style in the Beverly Hilton since 1955, and it's one of the last great remnants of L.A.'s tiki lounge culture. It's a little paradise of mai tais and mink coats, candlelight and clamshells, Asian fare and flaming drinks to share. It's a fantasy island of taxidermied blowfish, red pleather booths, brass menus, and wooden canoes floating overhead.

Address and phone number: 9876 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. (310) 274-7777.

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