by William Ng | June 30, 2010
For Mehdi Eftekari, general manager of the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, 2010 is progressing much more fruitfully than 2009, when economic turmoil slowed corporate group business at the renowned property. 

Although the economy is still experiencing hiccups, Eftekari now helms a completely refreshed Four Seasons Beverly Hills, and he feels the excitement pervade his property. The 285-room home-away-from-home to many a Hollywood star recently finished a $33 million top-to-bottom renovation that included its 4,200-square-foot ballroom.

“The whole hotel was completely redone,” Eftekari says proudly, during a recent one-on-one breakfast in New York. “We’re very excited about our enhancements and new look.”

Catering to the fast-paced world of the elite, the Beverly Hills fixture does not necessarily keep with the traditional Four Seasons design ethos, Eftekari agrees. But he says signature Four Seasons service there is alive and well, including personal meeting assistants for group event planners.

Featuring a color palette of chocolate brown woods and light blue, teal, camel, and tan tones, the hotel aims to evoke retro modern with a look that harks back to 1940s Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Guest rooms have mirrored wall paneling and tan carpet with a flora pattern, but also bathrooms with glass-enclosed showers and flat-screen TVs and modern fixtures in the living areas.

For incentive VIPs, the 16th-floor Royal Suite has a design that reflects the Far East, with a red, cinnabar, chocolate brown, and black color combination. It has a newly expanded master bath with a walk-in closet. “The suite gives you entire views of Beverly Hills and Los Angeles,” notes Eftekari.

The hotel’s main hot spot, Windows Lounge, now has a backlit glass bar top and a green onyx fireplace to inspire moody chic out of both group visitors and leisure guests. Next to Windows Lounge, an enlarged patio now caters 25 seated for group functions.

Culina, the hotel’s Italian-cuisine signature restaurant, continues Windows Lounge’s chic, cosmo theme, with a combination indoor-outdoor setting and a presentation crudo bar. Yet, wine-tasting tables made of 200-year-old magnolia wood, artisanal product displays, and herringbone tile floors express a sense of rustic and Old World enoteca. 

The restaurant’s menu is authentic Italian, but chef Victor Casanova uses techniques to make the fare lighter for the active Californian—even if he or she is just one for a few days. Culina imports its balsamic vinegars and extra virgin olive oils direct from Italy. And it features a wine list of over 200 labels, many of them from Italian vineyards.

With Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts continuing its Meetings with More package across the chain around the globe, Eftekari says his world-famous Beverly Hills property has been instilling greater value in high-end group affairs. Still, with area hotel rates having been generally more depressed, planners are working in an opportune time in which they can place groups into upper-echelon properties.

“We’re not discounting rates, but we’re creating value with F&B and spa credits and other ways,” Eftekari notes. “We’ve been very successful.”