The Discerning Diva Does The Montage Beverly Hills
So let’s start from the top.
Check-in—the parking valet alerts the front desk of our arrival so the minute we reach the desk we are escorted to our suite when the preliminaries are handled. Nice.
The room—a Garden Suite ($795 a night) with 625 square feet of living space furnished with two flat screen TVs, one designed for your Internet comfort, queen-size bed with special pillows, large bathroom with two sinks, tub and great shower—stocked with aromatic Agraria toiletry (love the soap and body wash and moisture cream, but the shampoo and conditioner were harsh on my hair, big brown, cushy robes and slippers) and an inviting balcony overlooking Canon Garden.
The Spa—ah, what a 20,000 square foot treat. I had a 4 o’clock treatment so went an hour earlier to sit in the steam and mineral whirlpool that is all saline and no chlorine. The facility is understated elegant, nothing glitzy. The piece de resistance was Joseph, my therapist who treated me to the best massage ever—and this from a Diva with thousands of rubs to compare to. My treatment was a 60 minute Elements of the Earth Wrap which included a body scrub, clay body mask, and a deep tissue Shiatsu/Thai massage that left me limp and rubbery. I could barely make it back to my room.
But I did. My husband had a Scientific Rest Facial which is done in a retro Barber Shop (more about this later) that is supposed to make you feel like you took a two hour nap. Well he sure appeared refreshed and glowing.
We ordered wine and sat on our balcony sipping the rich Chard and musing about our treatments. It’s all good. Here’s Richard’s musings on his barbershop facial: “Facials freak out lots of men. Not only is there the still-lingering pussy factor–a guy getting a facial!–but also the extra anxiety caused by having to enter a spa setting designed for women. Often a man tiptoeing into the spa will be the only male there.
I have been that guy many times, so I know. But little did I realize that facials for men have a long history in this country, dating back to the railroad terminal barbershops that were commonplace in the 1930s and 1940s. There, men could get their shave and a haircut, along with what William Gornik told me was a treatment aimed at rejuvenating the harried (and sometimes hung over) businessman. It was called a “scientific rest facial,” William said, and it had the same result as two hours or more of sound sleep.
I learned all this while seated in an updated barber chair at William’s Gornik & Drucker barbershop on the lower level of the new Montage Beverly Hills hotel. Here, this men-only facial is called a deep cleansing skin treatment, lasts 45 minutes, and costs $75. After giving me a critical once-over, William swathed my face in hot towels, applied an Egyptian clay mask, rubbed cocoa butter into my beleaguered skin, applied a two-handed vibration massage to face, neck and shoulders, painlessly plucked out blackheads, cleaned up sideburns, applied more potions and lotions, and left me both relaxed and alert.
Gornik has had a Beverly Hills barbershop nearby for years, with a local clientele, some of whom prefer the Montage location. It’s a real plus for hotel guests, but a little hard to find since there are no signs yet to lead one to the spot and only a discrete small barber pole marking the entrance. But William is a genuine gentleman’s barber who wields the straight-edged razor with aplomb, has lots of fine Hollywood stories to tell, and vintage Ella, Frank, Tony and Dean in the background. He’ll even tell you about the opening scene to the original “Oceans Eleven” that was shot at his barbershop.” by Richard J. Pietschmann exclusively for PattiPietschmannTravelDiva.blogspot.com.
Then to dinner at Muse, a New York/European style restaurant with a super wait staff and chef. The room is dark and handsome loft that overlooks Parq—the hotel’s three meal a day eatery. We started with fresh house made pasta with maitake mushrooms, and Ahi carpaccio and moved along to a perfectly prepared salad and halibut washed down with a bottle of fine Peter Michael Chard. For dessert we opted for a plate of yummy cookies.
The next morning—after a workout in the super fitness center which has everything this fitness fanatic could hope for– we decided to do something camp and strolled over to the world-famous Nate ‘n Al’s Deli a favorite hangout for Beverly Hills industry denizens and out of town celebs (Larry King sat in a booth near us). I had a disappointing bagel (not NY style enough) but Richard loved his fried eggs and potato pancake. The coffee passed muster (we are both very fussy about of cup of joe).
Montage, 225 North Canon Dr., Beverly Hills, 310-860-7800, http://www.montagebeverly/ hills.com.
FYI: pack a bathing suit, the Montage sports an inviting rooftop pool as well as a coed mineral whirlpool in the Spa
Spa Treatment Prices: sticker shock here, $195 and up but if you have to ask… and well the therapists are truly hand-picked top notch.