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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- New York's Plaza and Los Angeles' Beverly Wilshire hotels just got multimillion-dollar facelifts, but do they make the old favorites any more attractive?

By the time Fairmont's Plaza celebrates its 103rd birthday in October, it will have undergone $450 million in renovations that included making 152 condos out of some of its rooms and closing its famed Palm Court for more than a year. Not to be outdone, the Four Seasons' 82-year-old Beverly Wilshire recently completed a $40 million overhaul that included a complete restoration of its presidential and penthouse suites. Considering the hotel industry's gradual recovery since those renovations began, those improvements were as well-advised as avoiding the mini bar at either of said establishments.

According to

Smith Travel Research

, hotel occupancy increased nearly 11% at the end of last month over the same period last year, with room revenue up 13% during that span. Meanwhile, despite slow growth in the U.S. luxury sector and increased competition in Europe and the Middle East, Smith Travel forecasts that U.S. hotel occupancy will increase 3.6% this year, to 56.7%, and continue to rise 2.5% next year. Room revenue, meanwhile, is forecast to rise 3% by year's end and 6.5% next year.

Larger chains including




Intercontinental Hotels Group

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Sonesta International

( SNSTA) have already seen their stocks spike since spring, but can two of the gilded grand dames of America's hospitality circuit experience the same fortune? We took a look at improvements to the new Plaza and Beverly Wilshire and let the suites speak for themselves:


Managed by


and opened in 1907.


The Plaza's recent rebirth centered on the $6.5 million restoration of its Palm Court. The sitting room is best known for its 1,800-square-foot yellow-and-green stained-glass skylight, afternoon teas and role in Kay Thompson's


book series -- in which the 6-year-old title character inhabits the hotel's top floor. The hotel's shops have been spruced up as well, but the Food Hall -- a recreation of European food markets and, to a degree, the food hall at


in London created by chef Todd English -- is not to be missed.

Room to rent:

The 18th-floor Eloise Suite, a pink-striped palace dreamed up by designer

Betsey Johnson

, features two rooms (one for parents, one for kids), a king-size bed with illustrations of Eloise created by series illustrator Hillary Knight gracing its bedspread and curtains, zebra-striped carpeting, Eloise's name in hot pink neon on the wall and a tea set with dolls of Eloise and her dog Weenie. The $995-a-night suite is a lovely complement to the 2,100-square-foot dollhouse-style Eloise boutique tucked among the Plaza's shops.


Managed by

Four Seasons

and opened in 1928.


The victors get spoiled, as the Beverly Wilshire poured much of its renovation budget into its two top rooms -- the penthouse and presidential suite. The latter, on the eighth floor of the original Wilshire wing, has two bedrooms, a living room, a library, 4,000 square feet of office space, deep-soaking tub, steam showers for two and a dining room with a granite-countertopped kitchen area. Its $20,000-a-night price tag includes five hours of spa, personal training, stylist or makeup time a week, a refrigerator stocked weekly and a dedicated personal concierge. With all that, it's still not the best room in the house.

Room to rent:

The penthouse, with its 5,000-square-feet of space on the private, key-accessed 14th floor of the Beverly wing, has great views of downtown and the Hollywood hills. However, it earns its $25,000-a-night cost (expensive, but still not close to the $65,000-a-night Royal Penthouse Suite at the Hotel President Wilson in Geneva) with Swarovski crystal chandeliers and marble mosaic tile floors in its entryway, motorized drapery in the living room, a 160-square-foot walk-in closet in the bedroom, a steam and rain shower with its own light and music system in the bathroom and a 55-inch screen in the living room. By the way, the six-figure Porsche Panamera down in the garage is yours for the length of your stay.

--Written by Jason Notte in Boston.

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Jason Notte is a reporter for His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post,, Time Out New York, the Boston Herald, The Boston Phoenix, Metro newspaper and the Colorado Springs Independent.