What are Dale DeGroff’s favorite hotels?
Hotel Bel-Air — it just recently reopened after a renovation. What’s extraordinary about the property is the Japanese gardens and the layout. There’s nothing over two stories. You could drive to your bungalow without ever going to the lobby, which is why President Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe had their affair there. The presidential limousine would pull around right up to their bungalow and they never had to see anyone and no one had to see them. The rooms are beautiful, the gardens are world-famous and have some of the rarest plants in the world — they’ve been there for many, many years.
I’m such a huge fan of The Carlyle. The Carlyle is special — it’s a boutique hotel even though it’s bigger than most boutiques. What is lovely about it is the music scene, and the bar and the lovely little café. It just brings such life to that place. I took over a staff of seven people there, and I tried to train them in modern mixology. It was tough because they were really old veterans. Like Tommy Rolls, he’s still there two days a week — 55 years on the job. How do you teach a man like that to make a Pisco Sour? Who cares? He never did. And yet, everyone loves him. It was an interesting job and a lot of fun. Our film director friend, Woody Allen, has taken over the Monday nights — he does that once a month. It’s not about the restaurant, it’s about the music and the bar.