The Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles

Monday, 19 July 2021 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Greater Los Angeles Area, Hotels
Reading Time:  6 minutes

© flickr.com - Chris Eason/cc-by-2-0

© flickr.com – Chris Eason/cc-by-2-0

The Millennium Biltmore Hotel, originally the Los Angeles Biltmore of the Bowman-Biltmore Hotels group, is a luxury hotel located opposite Pershing Square in Downtown Los Angeles, California. Upon its grand opening in 1923, the Los Angeles Biltmore was the largest hotel west of Chicago in the United States. In 1969 the Biltmore Hotel was designated a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument by the City of Los Angeles. In 1951, the Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel Company sold to Corrigan Properties for more than $12 million. Regal Hotels purchased the Biltmore in 1996, and then sold it in 1999 to Millennium & Copthorne Hotels. As of 2009, the Los Angeles Biltmore is operated as part of the Millennium & Copthorne Hotels chain as the Millennium Biltmore Hotel. The hotel has 70,000 square feet (6,500 m²) of meeting and banquet space. From its original 1500 guestrooms it now has 683, due to room reorganization. Since 2015, four restaurants and bars serve the hotel, including Smeraldi’s Restaurant (American continental cuisine), newly relaunched Bugis Street Brasserie, the Rendezvous Court, and the Gallery Bar.

The architectural firm Schultze & Weaver designed the Biltmore’s exterior in a synthesis of the Spanish-Italian Renaissance Revival, Mediterranean Revival, and Beaux Arts styles, meant as an homage to the Castilian heritage of Los Angeles. The “Biltmore Angel” is heavily incorporated into the design—as a symbol of the city as well as the Biltmore itself. With a thick steel and concrete frame, the structure takes up half a city block and rises over 11 stories.

The interiors of the Biltmore Hotel are decorated with: frescos and murals; carved marble fountains and columns; massive wood-beamed ceilings; travertine and oak paneled walls; lead crystal chandeliers; cast bronze stairwells and doorways; fine artisan marquetry and mill work; and heavily embroidered imported tapestries and draperies. Most notable are the frescoed mural ceilings in the main Galleria and the Crystal Ballroom, which were hand painted in 1922 by Italian artist John B. Smeraldi, known for his work in the Vatican and the White House. Smeraldi and his team famously painted the ballroom’s colorful, seamless fresco over a period of seven months, decorating it with figures of Greek and Roman gods, angels, cupids and other mythological creatures. It was meticulously restored in the 1980s by Smeraldi’s apprentice, Anthony Heinsbergen. The imported Austrian crystal chandeliers that adorn it are 12 feet (3.7 m) in diameter.

© flickr.com - P G Roy Photography/cc-by-sa-2-0 Lobby © flickr.com - milleniumbiltmore/cc-by-2-0 Pershing Square © flickr.com - Chris Eason/cc-by-2-0 Pershing Square © Visitor7/cc-by-sa-3.0 The Crystal Ballroom © flickr.com - Chris Eason/cc-by-2-0 Entrance © Markschnitzer/cc-by-sa-3.0 © flickr.com - Chris Eason/cc-by-2-0
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The Crystal Ballroom © flickr.com - Chris Eason/cc-by-2-0
The Rendezvous Court, once the hotel’s lobby but now used primarily for afternoon tea, is decorated with a Moorish Revival styled plaster ceiling painted with 24 Carat Gold accents, two original imported Italian chandeliers from 1923, and a grand Spanish Baroque Revival bronze doorway, whose astrological clock still keeps time today. Two figures appear on the stairwell front—on the left is the Roman goddess of agriculture Ceres, while on the right is the Spanish explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa. The current lobby at the hotel’s Grand Avenue entrance still has its original travertine walls and oak paneling as well as the large artificial skylighted ceiling, reflected in the custom carpet below.

Each ballroom on the Galleria level is themed either after the room’s original function or the hotel’s overall California-heritage premise. The Emerald Room was once the hotel’s main guest dining room; its decor features images of hunt and harvest, with hand-painted animals and fish on the cast-plaster ceiling beams. The Tiffany Room was formerly an open corridor used as a drop-off point for Crystal Ballroom functions. Now enclosed, the elegant space centers around exploration, with relief sculptures and panels depicting Queen Isabella I of Castile, and Christopher Columbus and other Spanish New World explorers. The split-level Gold Room, once a dining room for elite guests, features Prohibition-era hidden liquor compartments and panels along the ceiling for press photographers to take pictures of the event below. It is decorated with a gold cast-plaster ceiling, hand-oiled wood paneling, and nine mirrored windows along three sides.

The South Galleria is painted with floral friezes inspired by the decor of ancient Roman Pompeii, and features a vaulted ceiling, marble balustrades and heavy Roman piers. Gold-painted wrought iron gates open to a staircase leading down to the Biltmore Bowl.

Also of interest is the hotel’s health club and indoor pool, which was modeled after the decks of 1920s luxury ocean liners. Solid brass trim on windows, doors and railings, teakwood deck chairs and hand-laid Italian mosaic tile on the walls and in the pool are original.

Read more on Millennium Biltmore Hotel and Wikipedia Millennium Biltmore Hotel (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Johns Hopkins University & Medicine - Coronavirus Resource Center - Global Passport Power Rank - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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