Cheval Blanc Approved by Planning Commission

In a major milestone for the ambitious project, the Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend for approval the luxury hotel development Cheval Blanc Beverly Hills at a meeting on June 13. The project will now come before the City Council for final hearings and approvals at a later date.

The luxury hotel from the French conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) is proposed for the corner of Rodeo Drive and South Santa Monica Boulevard. The spot stretches across four parcels of land: the former Brooks Brothers building, Celine Rodeo Drive, the former Paley Center for Media and the property at 449 N. Beverly Drive. In addition to a 115-room boutique hotel, Cheval Blanc will include LVMH retail establishments, a private club, a spa, and high-end dining venues.

The project was designed by award winning architect Peter Marino, a Rodeo Drive mainstay who designed stores for Louis Vuitton, Dior and Fendi.

LVMH is no stranger to the Golden Triangle or Rodeo Drive. The luxury products group owns or leases 19 properties in the city, including Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Fendi, Marc Jacobs, Rimowa, Bulgari, Loro Piana, Hublot, Berluti and Sephora. Most recently, in 2021, the group acquired Tiffany & Co.

A spokesperson for LVMH indicated satisfaction at the Planning Commission’s conclusions.

“We are very pleased by the Planning Commission’s unanimous approval of Cheval Blanc Beverly Hills following careful consideration and valuable feedback,” the representative previously said in a statement to the Courier. “We now look forward to the next step in the City’s transparent and inclusive public review process, and to working closely with all stakeholders to deliver an exceptional new landmark and economic driver in the heart of the Golden Triangle.”

The project has not come without a few bumps in the road.

Cheval Blanc Beverly Hills would stand at nine stories on the Beverly Drive side, stepping down to four stories on the Rodeo Drive side. The city code limits buildings in the Triangle to three stories, meaning the City Council would have to grant an exemption to Cheval Blanc. Some in the city have expressed concerns that the nine-story edifice on the Beverly side – the same height as the adjacent Bank of America Building – would compromise the village-like atmosphere of the Triangle.

The project also hit a roadblock over traffic concerns, resulting in a pause in the review process from March to June. The Planning Commission voiced worries that the hotel and its amenities would bring heavy traffic to the area without the capacity to deal with it. Specifically, the project’s proposed motor court on South Santa Monica Boulevard would add 235 cars an hour to the existing 1,400, potentially ensnaring traffic on the busy road.

The project returned to the Planning Commission on May 26 having studied the issue and made corrections. In the plans approved by the Planning Commission, retail shoppers and club members would no longer use the motor court. Additionally, one of the hotel’s restaurants will no longer be open to the public, which would further lower the number of patrons using the motor court. The revised plans also call for halving the amount of space for the spa.