The new Hollywood hot spot -- How the Beverly Hills Hotel suddenly became the choice location for celebrity interviews

George Hamilton checked in for the day to meet a certain stranger, shortly before the release of The Godfather Part III. So did Reversal of Fortune‘s Jeremy Irons, and The Sheltering Sky‘s director, Bernardo Bertolucci, with his beautiful star, Debra Winger. Just what’s going on inside the secluded pink bungalows of the Beverly Hills Hotel? Spokeswoman Sheila O’Brien insists the short-term trysts are definitely fit to print, even if they do involve some hot sheets: The landmark hotel, home of the famed Polo Lounge, is once again a prime location for the press to chat up the stars — a major monthly magazine staged two of its celebrity interviews there for its January issue.

Once the haunt of Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, and Howard Hughes, the 79-year-old ”Pink Palace” has been gradually spruced up, first with an overhaul of its swimming pool and grand ballroom. Then, in 1987, the Sultan of Brunei purchased the hotel, reportedly for $185 million, and last month he announced plans to redecorate the 247 guest rooms and 21 posh bungalows.

”It’s highly exclusive and not everyone can just call up and ask to do their interviews here,” says O’Brien, who notes that the hotel is usually approached by the studios or the celebrities themselves. Room rates start at $205, but bungalows run from $495 to $2,675 for a four-bedroom spread. O’Brien says ”interview” rates depend on the profile of the celebrity. ”If it’s a living legend who actually frequents the hotel,” she boasts, ”then we’ve got it made.” In some cases, magazines have paid location fees of as much as $3,000 for the dateline prestige of ”Poolside, the Beverly Hills Hotel.”