Luxury Hotels in Beverly Hills Provide a Refuge for Residents in Power Outage

Trousdale Estates residents have been beleaguered by ongoing power outages for the last year and a half, a hot-button issue that’s been discussed in heated city council meetings with Mayor Lili Bosse, councilmembers, and representatives from Southern California Edison. On the morning of Jan. 12, yet another power outage in the neighborhood reached a peak problem, with rain and cold weather making the situation untenable for many residents. By 4:24 p.m., Bosse, who had expressed her concern in the community’s WhatsApp group, offered a compelling solution: discounted, government rates at the city’s Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, for $150 a night, and The Beverly Hilton, for $125 a night.

The Courier also reached out to Beny Alagem, the owner of Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills and The Beverly Hilton.

“When I received a call from Mayor Lili Bosse and the City Manager Nancy Hunt-Coffey about the need, it was a great honor to be able to serve our residents. Lili always has top thinking of the residents. It’s business and government working together for the benefit of the residents,” said Alagem. 

“Before it got dark, we were going to make sure that anyone that needed a hotel had a hotel,” Bosse told the Courier. 

It was a luxurious and needed fix for Sally Sakhai and her family of five, including their 2-year-old son.

“It’s been difficult to get work done, and the kids become restless and scared in the dark,” Sakhai, who owns furniture design and manufacturing company Pangea Home with her husband, Omid, told the Courier. During previous outages, she bought tea lights to help to illuminate the home and tried to work from a hotspot, which became useless without electricity to keep devices charged. “This time it would have been impossible to stay with the baby, when it’s freezing at night,” she said.

Texting back and forth with the mayor was comforting, Sakhai added, referring to the messages on the 163-member WhatsApp group. “I cannot say enough about Lili, and as I’ve told her, my nickname for her is ‘Above and Beyond,’ because that’s who she is. She cares, she’s honest and no-nonsense. We needed somewhere to stay, and she secured these rates for us.”

Sakhai said the booking process was much easier than she’s used to, explaining that when she called the hotel, they simply took her name and set up a room for her family, including a basket for her children with coloring books, crayons, and plush toys. “It was next-level customer service,” she said.

Newlyweds Kayla and Brian Gabbay also took refuge at the Waldorf Astoria on the evening of the 12th, after learning about Bosse’s offer to residents on the WhatsApp channel. “My husband and I feel so fortunate to be part of a community that is supported by Mayor Bosse, who pretty much works around the clock to alleviate residents’ issues,” Kayla, who works in real estate and marketing, told the Courier. “It’s a reminder to be mindful of electing councilmembers who are dedicated to our needs.”

As for the Sakhai family, the hotel stay provided them the opportunity to recharge, as their older children slept soundly and went to school the next day, and they all were well rested. “It felt like a staycation,” she said, adding that she thinks it would be a great idea for the city to create a monthly program for local hotels to have discounted rates for city residents to experience their hospitality.

“Beyond that, I wish there could be an exception for Lili to have a lifetime appointment,” Sakhai joked. “In all seriousness, this is also a shout out to Edison about the outages. Clearly, something is wrong underground and it needs to be fixed.”

In response to inquiries from the Courier, Dave Song, public information officer for Southern California Edison, emphasizing the utility service’s efforts to give concrete reasons for outages, said, “We are keenly aware of the hardship the residents of Beverly Hills face during an outage. As we stated late last year, the company is focused on the timely completion of infrastructure improvement projects in the city to safely deliver reliable electric service.”

Ella Sakhai asleep at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills