The Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles announced its plan to celebrate the hotel’s 100-year anniversary in 2023. Before a crowd of dignitaries, historians and city officials, hotel representatives revealed the Biltmore’s centennial celebration logo, a series anniversary events, along with planned updates that will ensure the Biltmore’s grandeur will continue well into the future. A special Certificate of Recognition was presented by L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger’s office.
“The 1923 opening of The Biltmore is widely credited for putting Los Angeles on the map as a coveted metropolitan destination. Among its many accolades, the hotel hosted the Academy Awards throughout the thirties, was the stage where John F. Kennedy announced his presidential candidacy, operated a covert speakeasy during Prohibition and served as the backdrop for some of the most acclaimed films in cinematic history,” noted Alex Decarvalho, General Manager at The Biltmore Los Angeles. “We welcome locals and visitors alike to celebrate with us – and rally around a momentous year for a seminal symbol of Los Angeles heritage.”
The Biltmore Los Angeles’ “100 years of grandeur” commemorative logo revives a version of the original logo’s angel, regally poised with broad wings and set with type treatments that evoke the golden, “Hollywood Noir” era of the 20s, 30s, and 40s. Following the logo reveal, Biltmore Art Director and Event Producer Shawn Strider announced the year-long centennial celebrations bookended by the grand New Year’s Eve Golden Stag Event and the 100th Anniversary Ball in October 2023 both in the Crystal Ballroom (ringing in and out 2023), and punctuated by thematic speakeasy events, An Evening with Mermaids, high teas at the Rendezvous Court and a soon-to-be-announced fashion show.
Los Angeles Conservancy President and CEO, Linda Dishman, took guests through a detailed history of the hotel, and noted that the value of the Biltmore is not just in its legacy, but in the special memories that it has generated for generations. “I want to acknowledge everyone who loves this building. The Biltmore is here because people had a vision of building a great hotel to serve Los Angeles. The Biltmore is here because owners through the years understood the value of the architecture and restored it. The Biltmore is here because it is the place where people have a personal connection, the place is part of their history.”
The “Grande Dame” will also be getting improvements during its centennial year, including a complete overhaul of all the windows and fixtures and a restoration of its original majestic fresco ceilings. The hotel has planned to return the entrance to its original location on Olive Street. Improvements will be implemented without the need of hotel closure.
“Guests, locals, and historians truly appreciate how The Biltmore has held steadfast to its original design and grandeur,” added Decarvalho. “Over time we have modernized the infrastructure and service amenities, but we never lost sight of the original role and vision of the Biltmore in the Angelino community. History and architecture of this caliber are a rare commodity on the West Coast, and The Biltmore Hotel will continue to serve as a living testimony of all that has made – and continues to make – Los Angeles so uniquely special.”
HISTORY OF THE MILLENIUM BILTMORE HOTEL
Hotelier John McEntee Bowman was the man behind The Biltmore and partnering with the architectural genius of Schultze & Weaver, as well as the Italian artistry of Giovanni Smeraldi, they created one of the first great hotels in the western United States. Conceived in the early 1920’s as the movie industry was entering the golden era, The Biltmore was built in 18-months, and invited its first guests in the fall of 1923.
1920’s – The Biltmore quickly gained a reputation as THE place to be
The twenties saw the guestrooms and ballrooms filled with the most famous faces of the time, earning it the nickname ‘The Host of The Coast’. The Gold Room was one of LA’s most famous prohibition-era nightclubs, Peggy Hamilton helped change the face of fashion over afternoon tea, and the Academy Awards was conceived in the Crystal Ballroom. Even the design for world’s most famous and coveted movie award, the Oscar, was first doodled on one of The Biltmore’s napkins.
1930’s – The Biltmore played host to the Academy Awards
Throughout the thirties, The Biltmore’s connection with Hollywood’s biggest stars was well established. Journey back in time and the ballroom was the dancefloor of choice for luminaries like Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Jimmy Stewart and Ginger Rogers. Despite the turbulence of the Great Depression, Baron Long, the new hotelier, established the world’s largest nightclub, The Biltmore Bowl.
1940’s – A unique use of the hotel
Los Angeles saw a boom in industry and activity during the war years, as well as a unique use for the hotel. Swapping the battlefront for The Biltmore, servicemen recovering from fighting in World War II were hosted in a military rest facility on the hotel’s second floor. Shortly after the end of the war, the hotel found itself in the middle of one of the most infamous unsolved murders of the twentieth century. Last seen in the hotel lobby, the actress Elizabeth Short, would be found murdered hours later, and the Black Dahlia continues to captivate decades later.
1960’s – Chosen as the base for the 1960 Democratic National Convention
The Biltmore was the pivotal starting point of JFK’s Presidential campaign. As well as Kennedy, the hotel has welcomed Presidents Truman, Roosevelt, Carter, Ford, Reagan, Bush and Clinton. Even Nelson Mandela spent some time in the Biltmore in 1990.
1970’s – Sad years for The Biltmore
Sadly, after the highs of the sixties, downtown LA saw a decline during the following decades. One of The Biltmore’s last big hurrahs was in 1977 with the 50th anniversary of the Oscars. The Biltmore was forgotten, the doors closed, and what was once the pride of the city was destined for demolition. Recognizing its historic value and beauty, architects Gene Summers and Phyllis Lambert stepped in to save the Grand Dame.
1980’s – Back to The Biltmore original glory
The Biltmore would change hands once again, this time the new owners brought it for a more significant $75 million and spent another $135 million bringing the hotel back to its original glory.
2000’s – Millennium Hotels acquire the historic hotel
The Millennium Hotels & Resorts Group became the new custodians for The Biltmore in the year 2000 and have continued to ensure that not only is the heritage of the hotel preserved, but that the guest experience is equally memorable.