The Bel Age Hotel from “Beverly Hills, 90210”Feb 9th, 2015 | By Lindsay | Category: 90210 & Beverly Hills, 90210 Filming Locations
Ah, change. It’s one of my least favorite things, especially when it comes to filming locations. So I was devastated when the Wyndham Bel Age Hotel, one of the most prominent locations from Beverly Hills, 90210, closed in 2007 to undergo a huge renovation and was renamed The London West Hollywood. I had been to the Bel Age prior to its closure, but failed to take any photographs of the place. I was so incredibly excited to be there that the visit is seared into my memory for eternity, but I still wish I had pictures. Back in 2003, I was enrolled in an acting school and two of my classmates happened to work at the Bel Age. One evening during class, upon learning what a 90210 freak I was, they offered to take me on a tour of the place. The whole thing was very last minute, which is why I did not have my camera. So around 11 p.m. that night (class got out late), we headed to West Hollywood and my friends proceeded to take me through every square inch of the hotel – we’re talking restaurants, kitchens, back hallways, suites, ballrooms, and, most memorably, the rooftop pool. The whole thing was pretty epic for someone as obsessed with 90210 as I am and, looking back, the fact that I did not have a camera is rather tragic. But there’s good news! Mike, from MovieShotsLA, and I recently stopped by The London – and this time I brought a camera! – and I was shocked to discover that, despite the extensive remodel, the hotel is still very recognizable from 90210.
For a good two decades the Wyndham Bel Age was the place to see and be seen in West Hollywood. Located right off the Sunset Strip, the wood-paneled, pink-hued, all-suite hotel, which was built in 1984, featured a fitness center, a salon, a florist, an antique gallery, a rooftop pool, two restaurants (the exclusive Franco-Russian-inspired Diaghilev and the more casual Club Brassiere, which turned into a jazz club at night), 24-hour room service (yes, please!) and an art collection rivaling that of a museum. The Bel Age displayed pieces from Salvador Dali, Joan Miro, and Erte (not just in public spaces, but in each guest room, as well!), just to name a few, and also boasted an open-air sculpture garden. In late 2005, the property was purchased by the Blackstone Group and subsequently closed for its $50-million renovation on May 15th, 2007. It re-opened as The London the following May.
As I mentioned, though, the hotel is still very recognizable from its 90210 days.
The Bel Age popped up countless times on Beverly Hills, 90210. It was pretty much the producers’ go-to hotel of choice. The property was first featured in the Season 1 episode titled “The Green Room.” As you can see below (though my photograph is facing the opposite angle from the screen capture), the lobby is still very similar today to how it was in the ‘90s. During the Bel Age days, the lobby was all pine wood paneling and muted pink accents. That wood paneling has since been painted white, but its shaping and embellishments remain the same. The large mauve rugs were sent packing, though, and the lobby currently boasts bright white marble floors.
The front desk is also still situated running the entire length of the western side of the lobby, just as it was pre-remodel. (My apologies as my below photograph was, again, taken from the opposite angle of the screen capture.)
The large corridors that branch off from the lobby are, also, still much the same as they were on 90210, minus a lot of pink and floral furniture.
The corridors house the entrances to the property’s banquet rooms (I believe) and were seen in several episodes of Beverly Hills, 90210.
The hallways between suites also haven’t changed much, aside from the addition of a lot of white paint. I got the photograph below off of Trip Advisor and, as you can see, the chair railings, crown moldings, diagonally-situated wall panels, and carved wooden doors that appeared on 90210 are all still intact today. The art work that once lined the Bel Age’s corridors was all, sadly, sold at an auction following the hotel’s 2007 closure and is therefore no longer on display.
One of the Bel Age’s actual rooms was used as the corporate suite where Dylan McKay (Luke Perry) lived in “The Green Room.” Though it is a bit hard to make out in the screen captures below, the room featured in that episode was Suite 211.
As you can see, the room from “The Green Room” matches a photograph of a former Bel Age hotel room that I got from the SanFrancisco.com website. You can check out what The London’s rooms currently look like here.
In the Season 1 episode of 90210 titled “The First Time,” Brandon Walsh (Jason Priestley) took his former girlfriend Sheryl (Paula Irvine) to meet Dylan for lunch at the Bel Age. At the time, the restaurant where they ate was known as Club Brasserie. That eatery is now the Boxwood Café. As you can see in the screen capture and photograph below (which I got off of the London website), the space’s unique peaked ceiling was not changed during the remodel.
Room 211 made an appearance in “The First Time,” too.
The Bel Age was also where the West Beverly High Mother/Daughter Fashion Show was held in the Season 1 episode titled “Perfect Mom.”
The actual fashion show took place in one of the hotel’s ballrooms, though not much of it can be seen in the episode due to the dark lighting. You can check out what the ballroom looks like today here.
In the Season 2 episode titled, “Things to Do on a Rainy Day,” Brenda Walsh (my girl Shannen Doherty), Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth), Donna Martin (Tori Spelling) and David Silver (Brian Austin Green) booked a room at the Bel Age in order to try to meet the guys from Color Me Badd, who were staying at the hotel. That so sounds like something I would do, by the way! Oh, who am I kidding – I HAVE done that!
Me doing my best Kelly-Donna-Brenda-standing-in-the-rain impersonation.
A real room – or a set very closely resembling one – was used in the filming of “Things to Do on a Rainy Day.” As you can see below, the gang’s suite, most notably the railing and curtain, matches the below photograph of one of the Bel Age’s former rooms, which I got off of the Agoda website.
In the Season 3 episode titled “Back in the High Life Again” (which was probably my least favorite episode of the ENTIRE series), Jack McKay (Josh Taylor) threw a soiree in his room at the Bel Age upon getting released from prison.
It was in the “High Life” episode, at the hotel’s rooftop pool, that Dylan finally chose Kelly. Gag! Mike and I did not make it up to the pool during our visit, but you can see what it looks like in its current state here. Thankfully, the pool was not altered during the remodel.
Most famously, the West Beverly Senior Prom was held at the Bel Age in the Season 3 episode titled “A Night to Remember.” And we all know what happened at the West Beverly Senior Prom! That night resulted in one of 90210’s most memorable storylines EVER. Let’s hear it for “Donna Martin graduates!”
The gang’s prom took place in one of the hotel’s ballrooms – I believe the very same ballroom that was used in “Perfect Mom.” If you look at a current photo of that ballroom, you can see that the space’s ceilings and crystal chandeliers remain the same today as they were in 1993 when the episode was filmed.
For as long as I can remember there has been a bit of a mystery surrounding the bathroom scene in which Donna got sick in the episode, but I am very happy to report that while writing this post I figured things out and can officially put that mystery to rest. A few years back, there was a blog called “Tales of an Extra” that was written by a man who was a professional background actor. (For whatever reason, the blog is no longer online.) The man appeared in numerous episodes of Beverly Hills, 90210 and had this to say about his experience shooting Season 3’s “Senior Poll” at the L.A. Forum, “Some scenes of some of the female characters and extras were shot in the ladies room, which were to be used as part of a prom scene in the episode, and had nothing to do with the Forum.” That post caused many people, myself included, to believe that the scene in which Donna got sick at the prom was most likely shot at the Forum. The bathroom from “A Night to Remember” is pictured below. The space never struck me as a bathroom that would be located at a sports arena, though. Not to mention the fact that it would be rather odd that a scene from “A Night to Remember” would be shot during the filming of “Senior Poll,” which was two episodes ahead of it chronologically. My friend Owen, from the When Write Is Wrong blog, managed to track down the set decorator for both episodes for me, so I emailed her to try to clear things up. She informed me that the prom bathroom was a set created for the shoot and was most definitely not located at the Forum. Because the room certainly had that set look, I believed her. But that left me wondering about the supposed prom scene filmed in a Forum bathroom.
Then all of a sudden it hit me! Maybe there was a bathroom scene in the “Senior Poll” episode! I popped in my DVD and, sure enough, there was! And in it, Kelly was wearing a prom dress! In the scene, Kelly, Donna, Andrea (Gabrielle Carteris) and some other West Beverly girls are shown getting ready to take their yearbook pictures for the senior poll. Kelly had won “Most Beautiful” and chose to wear a formal gown for her photo. It was that scene that was shot in a Forum bathroom. Mystery solved!
One thing I was not able to figure out, though, is where the stairs that the gang walked down in “A Night to Remember” were – or are – located. Mike and I did not see them while stalking The London, nor do I remember them from my 2003 tour of the Bel Age. They appear to have been located somewhere in the lobby, though.
The same stairwell also appeared in 90210’s “Perfect Mom” episode.
I also came across a more recent photo of the stairs in a 2006 WeHo News article. Though the picture is taken from a wide angle, it does not clear up where the stairs were – or again, are – located. Oh, how I would love to find them!
The apartment building where Mel Silver (Matthew Laurance) lived – and where the gang drank champagne before the prom – in “A Night to Remember” was actually the back side of the Bel Age hotel, which can be found on Larrabee Street. For the shot, producers simply installed an awning reading “121 Doheny Palm.” Aside from that minor change, the area still looks pretty much exactly the same today as it did in 1993.
The interior of Mel’s apartment appears to have been some sort of banquet room or large suite, complete with a large built-in bar, at the Bel Age.
The wooden doors (see screen cap above) and carpeting of Mel’s apartment match those of the hotel, as seen later in the episode while the gang is waiting for Donna to come out of the bathroom. The framed artwork hanging on Mel’s wall is also a direct match to the artwork pictured hanging in the Bel Age hallways in previous episodes.
The Bel Age also served as the location of Steve Sanders (Ian Ziering) and Janet Sosna’s (Lindsay Price) wedding reception in the Season 10 episode titled “Baby, You Can Drive My Car.” Though producers changed the name to the “Beverly Royale Hotel” for the scene.
While the Bel Age’s lobby . . .
. . . and one of its rooms appeared in the episode . . .
. . . I believe the room where the actual wedding reception took place was just a set.
The Bel Age also appeared in many episodes of Beverly Hills, 90210 during its later years, but because I pretty much stopped watching the series during Season 5, it would be impossible for me to chronicle them all.
90210 is hardly the only production to have been lensed at the hotel. In the 1985 crime drama Prizzi’s Honor, Charley Partanna (Jack Nicholson) and Irene Walker (Kathleen Turner) met up a couple of times at the Bel Age.
In one scene, they had drinks at Diaghilev restaurant.
The Bel Age pool was the site of Sammy Joe’s (Heather Locklear) photo shoot in the 1991 miniseries Dynasty: The Reunion.
Allison Parker (Courtney Throne-Smith) attended a work party at the Bel Age in the pilot episode of Melrose Place, which aired in 1992
The Bel Age was also where Charles Reynolds (Linden Ashby) stayed in the Season 1 episode of Melrose Place titled “Single White Sister.” Only the exterior of the hotel was used in the episode, though.
Interior scenes were filmed at another location altogether.
In the Season 4 episode of Ally McBeal titled “The Getaway,” which aired in 2001, Richard Fish (Greg Germann) and John Cage (Peter MacNicol) headed to Los Angeles for a vacation and checked into the Bel Age.
The pool was featured in the episode, as well.
In the Season 2 episode of Desperate Housewives titled “I Wish I Could Forget You,” which aired in 2005, the Bel Age Hotel was where Bree Van De Kamp (Marcia Cross) went for a romantic weekend with her new boyfriend George Williams (Roger Bart).
Bree and George ate at Diaghilev in the episode.
The stairs from 90210 also made an appearance.
In the Season 1 episode of Melrose Place 2.0 titled “San Vicente,” which aired in 2009, Ella Simms (Katie Cassidy) threw a party for movie executive Curtis Heller (Nolan North) at what was by then The London.
While it has been said that the Bel Age pool was featured in the opening scene of 1991’s L.A. Story, I am fairly certain that is incorrect. As you can see in the screen capture below as compared to an old photograph of the Bel Age pool that I got from the Top Travel News website, the patio area at the Bel Age is considerably larger than the patio that appeared in L.A. Story.
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: The London West Hollywood, aka the former Bel Age Hotel from Beverly Hills, 90210, is located at 1020 North San Vicente Boulevard in West Hollywood. You can visit the hotel’s official website here.