The magnificent interiors of the Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel are a prime example of the Renaissance style popular during the Beaux Arts period of architecture in the United States (1880-1920). Designed by the architectural firm of Schultz & Weaver, it was associate architect Earl Heitschmidt who commissioned Giovanni Battista Smeraldi (known in the U.S. as John B. Smeraldi) to create many of the lavishly detailed interior ceilings. Smeraldi’s work can be seen in many historic public buildings in the United States, mainly on the ceilings, and he considered the Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel to be his finest work in this country. The current hotel restaurant off the old lobby is named after him. Below are photographs I took of his incredible work during one of the wonderful walking tours given weekly by the Los Angeles Conservancy. I highly encourage taking one!
(Right) This is the main ballroom. This magnificent space is the largest of the hotels ballrooms and is able to accommodate 700 people at tables. The domed ceiling is a single canvas and the most detailed of Smeraldi’s magnificent frescos.
(Left) The balconies visible in this photograph and the one above extend from three of its walls.
(Right) Photograph of a famous socialite in her specially designed gown representing the Crystal Ballroom and it’s signature balconies (extending from the hip line of the gown). She had this gown created for the grand opening gala in 1923. This photograph hangs at the entry to the Crystal Ballroom.
A golden retriever face stares down at guests from one of the many murals painted by Smeraldi on the beams of the Emerald Room depicting scenes of the hunt. Once known as the Renaissance Room, it was the hotel’s main dining room seating up to 400 guests.