Beverly Wilshire Executive Remembers Garry Marshall: "His Legacy Lives On"
"We welcome tourists from around the world on a daily basis who want to take their photo in front of the 'Pretty Woman' Hotel," says Ben Trodd.
"Reg Bev Wil."
That's how Laura San Giacomo's character Kit de Luca so memorably remembered where to find her prostitute pal Vivian Ward, played by Julia Roberts, in Garry Marshall's Pretty Woman. The hotel's full name — Regent Beverly Wilshire — has been replaced as it's now known as the Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills (a Four Seasons Hotel). However, the iconic status still stands.
Following Marshall's death on July 19 at the age of 81, The Hollywood Reporter reached out to the hotel and caught up with regional vice president and general manager Ben Trodd. He opened up about the impact the film has had on the property, and while a string of high profile productions have also used the hotel as a backdrop — including Escape from the Planet of the Apes, Clueless, Sex and the City: The Movie, Valentine’s Day and Entourage — none have inspired the kind of tourist love Pretty Woman has.
The Beverly Wilshire — then known as the Regent Beverly Wilshire — is featured prominently into Garry Marshall’s Pretty Woman. What impact has the film had on the hotel since the film’s release in 1990?
We have been known as 'The Pretty Woman Hotel,' and this has undoubtedly added to our status as one of the iconic hotels of the world. I remember on my first trip to Russia, introducing the Beverly Wilshire to prospective clients, and seeing their excitement as they understood we were 'that' hotel. When access to US movies became possible in the nineties, Pretty Woman was one of the first movies that many Russians were able to see, and for that reason the hotel became a symbol of their newfound freedom. Personally, when I moved to take up the position here, most of my friends and family in London new the hotel instantly through the popularity of the movie.
What has been the reaction to Mr. Marshall’s death at the hotel, among staff or friends of the hotel?
For those staff and regular guests who have been with us for many years, the news has brought back memories of the filming, of the immediate excitement as locals and guests looked to see the actual rooms where filming took place. Also, some of our staff remember how popular the bench was on the Rodeo and Wilshire corner for pictures to be taken.
Have you heard any good stories about the shoot or Mr. Marshall? Have you met him?
Sadly, I didn't have the pleasure of meeting Mr Marshall. However, we still have countless guests looking to be photographed here, quoting the famous 'Reg Bev Wil' line, and recognizing us through social media as the home of the movie, and we have always been very happy to have the association, and enjoy guests looking to recognize parts of the building that may or may not have been used, so his legacy lives on.
Do you still get tourists and/or cinephiles stopping by today?
We welcome tourists from around the world on a daily basis who want to take their photo in front of the "Pretty Woman Hotel," or enjoy one of our Pretty Woman-themed cocktails in THE Blvd or sidebar by Wolfgang Puck. Our Nail Bar also plays "Pretty Woman" on repeat which is quite popular with guests who want to take home part of the experience.
The film inspired a special hotel offering. Your website advertises “Pretty Woman for a Day” as one of the hotel’s ‘extraordinary experiences,' which gives clients the opportunity to experience the film in real life by staying in the presidential suite, having a picnic (with Rolls Royce transportation), personal shopping consultation and styling, as well as other experiences. How popular is this?
There has been a lot of interest in our extraordinary experience and recently we booked a package where a guest wanted to pamper his girlfriend as he built up to a marriage proposal. Our concierge team helped recreate famous scenes from the movie from the romantic picnic in the park to the VIP shopping spree on Rodeo Drive. She finished the day with hair and makeup styling before a private intimate dinner created by our chefs on our terrace where he proposed. Other experiences around the hotel such as sipping Pretty Woman-themed cocktails and getting a manicure and pedicure in the Nail Bar are also very popular.
Ben Trodd serves as regional vice president and general manager of Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills (a Four Seasons Hotel). (Credit: Courtesy of Beverly Wilshire)