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A Plush Postpartum

November 01, 1998|Debra J. Hotaling

Call it the Mondrian of maternity. The Peninsula of postpartum. The Ritz of recovery. Call Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's deluxe maternity suites whatever you fancy, but if you want to have a baby just like the celebs do, you'd better call now because reservations for its four in-hospital suites are harder to come by than a seat at Spago Beverly Hills.

"We're always booked," says Beth Hallman, director of women's health for Cedars-Sinai, the de rigueur hospital from which to dispatch news of your newborn's arrival to Daily Variety. "It's almost as though the woman looks to see if the pregnancy test is positive, then picks up the phone to dial us."

And, really, who could blame her? For the discerning (or famous) new mother's postpartum recovery, Cedars' suites boast the comforts, and optional amenities, of a swank hotel: high-thread-count linens, aromatherapists, security, discreet limousine service, tastefully reproduced 18th century furnishings, original art, 24-hour room service, a well-stocked refrigerator, cable TV with VCR, laptop computer with Internet access, fax machine, printer and, compliments of the This Little Piggy store in the Beverly Center, a stuffed piglet. For dads, after a hard night hooing and heeing in the birthing room, there is a massage therapist. For the happy couple, the hospital offers a romantic post-delivery dinner for two. And--oh, right, you just had a baby, after all--there is your very own rent-a-mom, called a doula, who provides around-the-clock help with the Blessed One and advice on breast feeding, burping and how to read a diaper.

The price tag (and remember, this doesn't include the cost of the actual, um, birth) ranges from $750 to $1,100 per night for the suites--each a two-room affair, although one can be converted to three rooms in case your partner or agent, or both, decides to do a postpartum camp-out. The accommodations, opened last year, have proven so popular that Cedars is putting the finishing touches on two additional suites.

The only problem is that babies--even ones conceived after two bottles of Louis Roederer Cristal--have no concept of how hard it is to make reservations in L.A. So even with advance booking, it's a first-delivered, first-served situation. And while Cedars staffers won't admit to any fistfights in the hall, they do acknowledge that tensions can run high when there are two new moms and only one empty suite. "I had a woman calling me every day for weeks, pleading, 'My daughter has to have that room,' " says Hallman.

The baby was born, arriving with much love, but, alas, no aromatherapy.

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