The latest items on the room-service menu at The Peninsula, the classy Beverly Hills hotel that caters to the wealthy, the famous and the influential, is not pheasant under glass, foie gras or baked Alaska. Believe it or not, it's meat loaf, macaroni and cheese and beef chili.
Have the managers of the luxury hotel gone mad? Are they trying to lose a star or two on their five-star rating? Not really. They're merely trying to keep their customers happy.
The menu addition was prompted by a Cornell University survey commissioned by the 196-room hotel in October.
Sending out questionnaires to more than 2,000 regular guests who had stayed at the classic French Renaissance hotel at least twice over the course of the year, the university asked patrons what things they would like to see at the hotel, where rooms go for a minimum of $395 a night.
While the 623 people who responded said they wanted more technologically advanced gadgetry in their room, they also wanted simpler things, such as a room-service menu that offered "comfort food."
"Before, customers wanted an in-room dining experience with candles and everything," said Ali V. Kasikci, general manager of The Peninsula. "Now they want comfort food when they are working in their rooms."
So the Peninsula staff wasted no time in adding standard American fare to the room-service menu.
Few other luxury hotels are offering it, said Neale Redington, a hotel consultant at Deloitte & Touche. "I haven't seen that in other places," he said. "I've seen the healthy food side of it. Yet in a top-notch hotel, a guest is going to get whatever they want."
Some of the weekend hangers-on are enticed to stay longer because the hotel drops its deluxe room rate from $415 a night to $350, and many take advantage of being in L.A. on business to explore the metropolis on weekends.
In response to the increased leisure stays, The Peninsula is trying to soften the look of the rooms It is changing its color scheme from greens, blues and peach-hued tones to corals and light yellows.
"Guests want to see a bedroom and not an office when they walk through the door," Kasikci said. "So the fax machines are very well hidden in the bedrooms."
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