What It’s Like Managing a Luxury Hotel in LA

  • Rebecca Goldberg has been hotel manager of The Peninsula Beverly Hills for over two years.
  • She started her career in luxury hotels in New York City, including The Ritz-Carlton and The Pierre.
  • Goldberg told Insider what it’s like balancing celebrities, former presidents, and regular guests.

Rebecca Goldberg said she got into hospitality “sort of by accident” while trying to make it as a writer in her 20s in New York City. Now, Goldberg has made her way to becoming the hotel manager of The Peninsula Beverly Hills — just a walk away from the iconic Rodeo Drive.

“No day is the same,” Goldberg told Insider. “It’s about finding a balance,” she said, between new guests, regular guests, and the Beverly Hills community who come to the hotel’s restaurants and spa.

Goldberg oversees the day-to-day operation of the hotel — just like any other hotel manager — but what sets her hotel apart, she says, is what guests can expect from a hotel staff with decades of experience.

“They want us to take the stress away from them,” Goldberg said of guests who want reservations at the hotel’s restaurants or purchases from the hotel’s boutiques delivered to their room. “I think beyond that, people want attention. They want to feel known, they want to feel understood. They want the attention of feeling that they are as important as everyone else here.”

‘The education that comes with working in this world is incredible’

Goldberg said her first hotel job was as a restaurant manager at The Ritz-Carlton Battery Park, in New York, which has since closed.

“I was really young, and I had never worked in a hotel,” she said. “I thought, ‘Oh, my God, I’m never gonna get this job,’ but I did.”

Her next job was at The Pierre, where she became the director of in-room dining and events for the residences at the hotel.

Rebecca Goldberg with her curly hair down, photographed from the stomach up, wearing a black top

Goldberg said she started her career in luxury hotels at The Ritz-Carlton in New York City.

Courtesy of The Peninsula Beverly Hills

The first event she was responsible for was held in the hotel’s penthouse apartment, she said, adding that it was the most expensive apartment in the city at the time and dubbed the “chateau in the sky” by the New York Times.

“It blew my mind — I could not believe that there was something like this, an apartment like this,” Goldberg said.

Goldberg was around 25 at the time and managing a group of men who were older than her, she told Insider.

“They taught me so much — how to set a table, how to polish silver, the difference between crystal and cut glass. I mean, everything,” she said.

Looking back on her early time in the hotel business, Goldberg remembers the best lesson she learned.

She once told her boss about a hotel she thought was “cool” that she was interested in one day working at.

“He said to me, ‘Go interview there,'” she told Insider. “So I did. And I was horrified.” She didn’t see a hotel that was structured with the level of professionalism she had grown used to — it was “all over the place,” she said.

“He said, ‘Rebecca, don’t ever forget, the place you want to work and the place you want to hang out are two different things,'” she remembers being told. “And he was right.”

She still tells young managers the same lesson, because even if the luxury hotel industry doesn’t feel relatable in the beginning, “the education that comes with working in this world is incredible.”

Eventually, she moved to The Peninsula Hotel in New York as a director of restaurants, then became the director of food and beverage. She traveled to The Peninsula’s locations in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Tokyo to gain exposure to the brand and culture.

Eventually, he landed at the location in Beverly Hills.

The front entrance of The Peninsula Beverly Hills

The front entrance of The Peninsula Beverly Hills.

Courtesy of The Peninsula Beverly Hills

“At the time, I was not very keen on leaving New York,” Goldberg said, but she knew it would be a missed opportunity if she didn’t go.

She started as food and beverage director at The Peninsula Beverly Hills four years ago, before becoming an executive assistant manager overseeing food and beverage, spa, and security.

Two years later, she’s now the hotel manager.

‘You’re collecting characters, it’s amazing’

Although she declined to name any of her guests due to confidentiality, Goldberg said the hotel has hosted film stars, fashion designers, former presidents, and directors.

During the weekend of the Oscars, for example, Goldberg said she oversaw dresses sent from designers to celebrities staying at the hotel, all of the safe-deposit boxes full of jewelry, and party invitations delivered to guests.

Sometimes she’ll handle a last-minute request to buy out the hotel bar from someone who’s won an award, she told Insider.

a photo of the bar at The Peninsula Beverly Hills, the counter is on the right, and a line of chairs is on the left with lamps on the bar counter

The Peninsula Beverly Hills bar.

Vanessa Tierney Photography/Courtesy of The Peninsula Beverly Hills

“It’s like 1,000 moving parts,” Goldberg said. “You also have your regular guests, or your local guests, who are all there to watch everything unfold.”

Goldberg said she tapped into her love for writing to write poems for guests during holidays like Christmas or Valentine’s Day.

a Christmas poem Rebecca Goldberg wrote for guests at The Peninsula Beverly Hills

A Christmas poem Goldberg wrote for guests.

Courtesy of The Peninsula Beverly Hills

“Flexible check-in is probably our coolest amenity even though it doesn’t sound like it,” Goldberg said, but it means constantly having to be prepared, because each room is set up exactly for the guest who’s supposed to go into it.

“If we have to move the room because someone wants to check out later, it’s that much more complicated,” she said. “Every guest has a profile. You might only sleep on the left side of the bed, and like feather pillows, all of these things. You might have a nut allergy, everything is set up. So it’s constantly shifting the plan.”

Even though she didn’t pursue becoming a writer, Goldberg said a lot of her job is still about storytelling, whether that means giving guests a story to tell about their stay at the hotel, or how staff can connect with guests.

“You’re collecting characters, it’s amazing,” she said about managing the hotel’s staff and guests.

“I meet more people in a day than the average person does by far,” Goldberg said. “All of this information, my life is so much bigger because of this. That’s ultimately what I wanted.”

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