Originally called “Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel,” the luxury Millennium Biltmore Hotel has a long history of Hollywood and political luminary guests since it opened in 1923.
In 1927, the Crystal Ballroom was where the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was founded over a luncheon banquet. For several of its early years, the Oscar ceremonies were held at the
Biltmore Bowl, the most recent one in 1977 hosted by Bob Hope. Will Rogers hosted the opening of the Biltmore Theater (where the Bilmore Court and Tower now stands) which was home to plays with Katharine Hepburn, Henry Fonda, and Mae West.
In the second World War, the hotel’s second floor was set up as a rest and recreation facility for US military personnel on leave. In 1960, the late President, John F. Kennedy gave his acceptance speech as the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee here, with his and running mate Lyndon B. Johnson’s press conferences held at the Crystal Ballroom. In 1964, The Beatles stayed at the Presidential Suite on their first US tour.
The hotel was designated as a Historic-Cultural Monument by the City of Los Angeles in 1969. It served as the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee in 1984 and in more recent years, hosted globally broadcasted events such as the semi-finals for American Idol, annual awards for Cinema Audio, World Baseball Classic, and several Grammy Awards after-parties.
The hotel name sounded vaguely familiar but I did not particularly remember or know this history when on Christmas morning, we walked into the high-ceiling intricately detailed interiors of the Millennium Biltmore Hotel. It had that luxury vintage glamour vibe. It was as we explored the details on the walls and memorabilia that the bigger picture came together.
GOING TO THE OLD MAIN LOBBY:
Gown Designed to symbolize the Crystal Ballroom with the hip scallop design representing the balconies:
THE CRYSTAL BALLROOM:
VIEW FROM CRYSTAL BALLROOM REAR BALCONY WITH YUKO MABUCHI ON PIANO:
CHRISTMAS BRUNCH MENU, CRYSTAL BALLROOM
As I took in the fabulous piano music by Japanese pianist, Yuko Mabuchi, with many returns to the buffet stations and catching up with family with us, thinking of family not with us, Yuko suddenly played this song:
It was a favorite song of someone dear to me and my tears couldn’t stop flowing as I remembered that person who wasn’t with us during this lunch. I told Yuko about it and she was so excited to tell me that she had just learned the lyrics that same morning so she was more than happy to go to Round 2 and sing it for the guests! What a lovely way to cap this special day. Thank You, Jesus, for these sweet details! Happy Birthday/ Merry Christmas! I’m daily happy about the day of Your birth.
Some of the movies filmed at the Millennium Biltmore: A Star is Born, Splash, Bachelor Party, Beverly Hills Cop, Ghostbusters, Dave, True Lies, Independence Day, Heartbreakers, Blow; The Fabulous Baker Boys, Ocean’s 11, The Nutty Professor, Bugsy, Blue Streak, In the Line of Fire, Wedding Crashers, The Italian Job, Daredevil, National Treasure, Spider-Man, Alien Nation, The Game, and Prom Night, The Wedding Ringer, Something New, and Chinatown and exteriors of the hotel are in Heat, Cruel Intentions, Fight Club. Some of the TV shows filmed here are Charlie’s Angels, Beverly Hills, 90210, ER, NYPD Blue, The West Wing, That ’70s Show, Ally McBeal, CSI: NY, Nip/Tuck, 24, Drop Dead Diva, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, House, Leverage, Heroes, Mad Men, Mob City, Glee, Scandal and War and Remembrance. Music Videos: Janet Jackson “Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)”, Britney Spears “Overprotected”, and Simple Plan “Shut Up!”, Ed Sheeran “Thinking Out Loud” , Chris Price “Homesick.”