New Beverly Hills/Old Hollywood

There was a new face at Fred Hayman’s traditional Friday lunch at Spago. He was Alan J.Fuerstman, founder and CEO of Montage hotels, the newest of which is under construction on Canon-and-Beverly Drives.

The “almost $400 million” hotel’s main entrance on Canon is just a few steps up the street from Spago — and directly across the street from Fred Hayman’s traditional-yellow office building. The third floor is currently housing offices for the Montage’s managing director Ali Kasikci — who can look out the window daily and follow construction progres.

Kasikci already adds tradition to the new Beverly Hills addition. He held the same position at the Peninsula hotel for 17 years and made the hotel a gem, luring showbiz visitors from around the world as well as toasting local events thruout his Peninsula tenure. He was lured to the Montage with a million-$ gift.

The Montage’s Fuerstman, arriving in Beverly Hills via Las Vegas and Laguna Beach, is respectful of the community’s Hollywood history and said portraits of the greats in filmdom’s history would adorn walls and hallways. And room decorations would include some of the creative artistic talents of movie-makers — such as costume designs. Of course, the ultra-latest technical communicating advances would be featured in every room.

The hotel will boast three restaurants, from the gourmet selections on the ground level to a casual at the pool on the top, seventh level. Fred Hayman has offered suggestions — and his input is welcomed — on the hotel, including its dining room.
His own hotel history begins with working, as a teenager, in the kitchen of the Waldorf-Astoria to managing the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles and the Beverly Hilton.

The Montage will devote two floors to a spa. The hotel will have 201 rooms/suites and 20 condominiums will sell at $10,000 a square foot. Fuerstman said 400 requests have already been received from prospective condominium owners.

Among the many subjects Fuerstman and Kasikci enthusiastically talked with us at the lunch was parking, always a concern of hotel-gowers. They enthused about the non-stop valetl/and/or underground self parking facility which will also avoid any in-the-rain waiting (should it ever rain in L.A. again!).

Guests at Fred Hayman’s lunch included his wife Betty, Ali’s wife, Donanne, celebrating her birthday, and Selma.

Also lunching at Spago today were Sidney Poitier with his regular Friday lunch partners, Walter and Larry Mirisch, also there: Sally Kellerman, talking business. Barbara Lazaroff was distributing cards apologizing for, and explaining, her unusual taciturn self. She was suffering with laryngitis. But she still managed to greet everyone as usual…        

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