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Mar 12, 2007
A Room of Our Own - ForbesLife

Enter the ForbesLife Penthouse at the Beverly Wilshire and slip into something a little more comfortable.

When the bold, beautiful and well-read need a place to unwind above the klieg-light glare of Los Angeles, they have a brand-new option: the ForbesLife Penthouse at the Beverly Wilshire at the foot of Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. The suite, a recent part of the $35-million renovation of the legendary 1928 landmark hotel begun after the Four Seasons took over, has, we modestly note, the best rooms in town.

Don't just take our word for it, however impartial--Prince and Jamie Foxx have already booked parties in the suite. In a town that values good backdrops, this place is the ultimate set for A-listers: 4,000 square feet of highly civilized salons topped by a large rooftop terrace with sweeping vistas over the city and mountains, not to mention a God's-eye view directly down on the Visa-card Valhalla that is Rodeo Drive. Although the ForbesLife Penthouse is for receptions and hence is bed-less, the terrace is overlooked by a lone rooftop pavilion that was arguably the most admired bedroom in Los Angeles: Warren Beatty lived there for ten years.

In fact, the entire hotel has something extremely rare for Los Angeles--a heritage older than Paris Hilton. For three decades the rooms of the ForbesLife Penthouse were the glittering home of Caroline Ahmanson, one of California's grandest hostesses, who was a close advisor and friend to Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, and was one of the first women to chair a Federal Reserve Bank. We'd like to think that quite a few of our readers--and, at least in Nixon's case, contributors--graced the suite before before it was named after this magazine.

Enter through the double doors to the penthouse and you leave the baroque and colorful world of the Beverly Wilshire celebrated in Pretty Woman for an übermodern space whose dominant color scheme is--what else for a joint named after a publication?--black and white.

Decked out by designers at the L.A.-based furniture boutique Diva with innovative B&B Italia pieces, the ForbesLife Penthouse is decorated in a style that can be described as Clockwork Orange modernism with Philippe Starck flourishes. An oversized body-contoured chair connects with an ottoman via a rubber leash like a mother to her newborn, while diverse sculptural sofas and chairs are gathered around shag rugs and funky tables in groupings as cliquish and overlapping as those at a senior prom. "Since these are event rooms, we wanted to give the place a look of restrained elegance that looked like someone might live there but make it fun at the same time," said Sarah Chavez, Diva's creative director.

A portrait of Malcolm Forbes presides over the front living room, while an eclectic variety of artwork and mementos from the Forbes family collection is sprinkled along the walls throughout the space.

The media room, which takes up the west side of the suite, features two flat-screen TVs to compete with the view. And if that's not enough visual glamour, the suite features something that has become de rigueur for hipster spaces around Hollywood: a smattering of preposterously large mirrors leaning against the walls. Hey, out here vanity isn't a vice, it's a job requirement.

If all that hard staring makes you hungry, you can get the hotel concierge to help you jump the reservation line for the hallowed Euro--Vietnamese seafood at Crustacean restaurant around the corner. Of course, if you prefer to hobnob exclusively with your own posse, the Beverly Wilshire's chefs can perform culinary magic in the suite's dining room or its intimate wood-paneled library quicker than you can say, "I wonder if the Ivy is crowded tonight?"

"Why can't you be more like Malcolm Forbes and have fun all the time?" a wife queries her husband in one of the original New Yorker cartoons hanging in the penthouse library. In this suite, that possibility seems well within reach.

The ForbesLife Penthouse rents for $5,000 a day. For further information, call the Beverly Wilshire at (310) 275-5200 or visit

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