Inside the Beverly Hills Hotel

(CBS News) Hollywood stars who want to get away from it all know the lap of luxury is never far away. It's to be found at the legendary hotel that first opened its doors a century ago. Contributor Conor Knighton checks us in:

Fresh squeezed OJ in the morning, an endless supply of fresh linens and little soaps, a poolside chaise lounge . . . when guests go looking for the royal treatment, they check into the "Pink Palace."

At the Beverly Hills Hotel, anything can be yours, for a price: $1,200 will buy you one night in a suite that's a favorite of TV host Jimmy Fallon.

Or, for a few grand/hundred [?] more, you can while away the day in Marilyn Monroe's favorite bungalow.

Not much comes cheap in the world's most famous zip-code. But when the hotel opened its doors one hundred years ago this month, Beverly Hills wasn't much more than a hill of beans . . . lima beans.

Margaret Anderson, a hard-working single mother who'd already found success as a Hollywood hotel owner, took on the challenge of turning these dusty hills into an Eden.

"My great-grandmother could not stand behind the counter of either hotel that she owned because it was inappropriate for a woman to do that - I mean, they couldn't vote yet," said Robert Anderson, who has spent the last decade chronicling the rise of his great-grandmother's hotel, and the city of Beverly Hills that grew up around it.

The Beverly Hills Hotel.
CBS
Real estate developers had the notion that if you built a fancy enough hotel, replete with bridle paths, black-tie dinners, and lush gardens, the rich would come.

And they did, in droves, buying up property nearby. Although some of the first celebrity residents didn't get the warmest welcome . . .

"Douglas Fairbanks came to my grandfather once the hotel opened here, and asked him if he could find him a house here in Beverly Hills," said Anderson. "And he called my grandfather the next day, after moving in, saying, 'People are calling me and telling me I have to move!"

"And he was really upset. And my grandfather called up these idiots [complaining about movie star "riffraff"] and told them, 'Knock it off!'"

That Hollywood "riffraf" was soon considered royalty - and movie star mansions sprang up all around the hotel.

In the words of Honorary Mayor Will Rogers, "We have more swimming pools and less Bibles in Beverly Hills than any town in the world."

Through it all, the Beverly Hills Hotel remained the place to see and be seen.

Unless, of course, you didn't WANT to be seen.

The hotel's bungalows were renowned for their privacy, allowing guests like Clark Gable and Carole Lombard to carry on a clandestine affair.

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