By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated March 19, 2002 12:48 PM

Tuesday marks an important day in the L.A. hotel trade: In anticipation of Sunday’s big night, “Oscar Suites” officially open, reports PEOPLE. These special rooms, prepped by designers for elite guests (such as nominees and presenters), have been part of the Oscar package at the better hotels in town for the past four years, and allow fashion designers, luxury beauty companies and the like to offer up their services — usually gratis — to special guests. Designers such as Randolph Duke, Prada and Vera Wang are among those expected to display their wares at L’Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills, while Donna Karan and Escada are anticipated at the Four Seasons. Invitees often “suite-hop” to check out what they might like — or even borrow for the weekend’s pre-Oscar events. This year’s free services will include manicures, pedicures and makeup consultations from Helena Rubenstein, as well as haircutting and styling, hot shaves for men and even micro-dermabrasion from Fred Segal Essentials. Among the better-known “suite designers” is Ted Kruckel, of New York-based Ted Inc. As a consultant for PEOPLE’s sister publication, InStyle, Kruckel initially became involved with the Oscar build-up after his work for last year’s joint event sponsored by InStyle and the Elton John AIDS Foundation. “My job,” he says, “is to get the fancy people to come.” To provide the proper ambience, Kruckel in the past has had to “remove every stick of furniture” from a suite, even redo the room. For an Estee Lauder suite, he yanked out the hotel’s rug and re-carpeted in the company’s signature blue. His eye, he insists, “is on making the environment right.”