Certainly the most beautiful hotel within a major city in my experience. We arrived early and waited for our room in a sun-lit courtyard, which may be the only smoking area, while our room was prepared. I enjoyed an excellent Bloody Mary, my wife a nice Riesling. Before we could down our drinks our room was ready - rather than leave us waiting, the front desk staff moved things around to get us in a room as soon as they could. I took a bit longer, but managed to finish my cigar. Having been left hanging by so many other properties, I really appreciated this accommodation.
We wound up with a room in the 470 series, a bit far from reception, but convenient to the pool and spa. The skylit bathroom contained a large soaking tub, stall shower with one of those four head waterfall shower heads, toilet cabinet and a large double sink. Two plush bathrobes and plentiful towels of the finest quality. Amenities by Anne Semonin.Unfortunately they lasted through our stay so I didn't get refills to take home. Quelle dommage!
The bedroom held a plush king sized bed, console with min-bar, drawers and safe, a writing table and a sitting area with a couch and lounge chair. The room was quite comfortable. There was a small walled in patio at the back which we never used as we preferred to sit by the pool. The lighting and thermostat was controlled by an Alcatel system using touch screens on the phones - a bit complicated but logical enough once you mastered it. There was also a wood burning fireplace which required calling a staff member to ignite - we never got around to it. The TV was by Bang and Olufsen, and swiveled to be visible from the lounge area and the bed. A bit of California citrus greeted us on arrival and water bottles were provided throughout our stay at no charge.
The pool area was large - larger than say the Wilshire, Ermitage and Fairmont which are my mist recent reference points for comparison.The pool staff were very accommodating, covering the chairs, bringing towels and water, etc. Much better pool side service than the Beverly Hilton. The pool had a deep end reaching ten feet, much more enjoyable than the awful shallow lap pools at so many hotels these days. And maybe we were just lucky but the parents of small children actually shushed their kids my noisy ones are now in college, so I appreciated their consideration. In sum, the pool is an oasis that we visited each day of our stay.
We spent about an hour walking the grounds one morning and were rewarded with exotic flowers, magnificent trees and the company of two well fed, lordly swans. Not to be missed.
Our package included a credit toward breakfast so we took that meal on property each day. Avoid the booths at the back and sit in the sunshine - better service there. We had the Bel Air breakfast the first day as it looked like the best value - basically a typical meat, eggs, potatoes and bread breakfast with coffee and fresh squeezed juice at $35. But you will do much better to order one of the egg dishes - the wild mushroom and bacon omelet, the egg white and herb frittata or the huevos rancheros, and pair them with the bread basket, which serves two. The egg dishes are excellent, particularly the omelet, but the bread basket is the best thing on the menu. A plain croissant, a pan au chocolat, a sugar brioche, a schneken, and two ficelles. The latter are so good they don't even need jam. Good butter. The whole basket tastes like something you would get a top rank Paris hotel Coffee, served from plunger pots, was a bit underwhelming - a caffe latte was better.
Chef Puck's dishes are available in the Bar, as was the man himself, who came to the tables to greet the guests and press the flesh. He gamely posed for photos for some. A bourbon and Aperol cocktail was spot on and the wine was excellent. The only con being the loud crowd who drowned out the piano player. The latter was an accomplished musician, who laid down some nice improvisations on Elton John tunes -instrumentals only.A Tuscan pizza was delicious, but the crust could have been crisper- an A not an A+. The snack mix and olives were of good quality. We made plans to dine the last night, but cancelled as we feared the airport traffic -- Jamzilla was on, so I can't comment on dinner. The night we were to dine the chef was written up in the LA Times,
Cons - very few. If you are coming during hot weather or in the unlikely event of rain, rooms in the 400s and 500s are going to be far from reception/parking so bear that in mind. The hotel charges $35 a day for parking plus 10% tax. Given that the location makes arrival on foot or by public transportation impossible, there is no way around this and I feel it should be less- you are not bringing a car into the heart of the city where a charge like this would be more palatable. The B&O TV is actually a con - the screen is small, it is slow to warm up and respond to commands and the remote, despite its pleasing heft has tiny buttons.
Overall this is a wonderful hotel and worth the steep price of admission. Highly recommended.
If you want to be in the heart of things I think the 200 and 300 series rooms would fit the bill.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Thank you for taking the time to write a very detailed review of your recent stay at Hotel Bel-Air. I must admit that after reading your wonderful opening line, "Certainly the most beautiful hotel in a major city," there was almost no need to read any further! But of course I read on, and I am so glad I did as I was able to hear more about all that you enjoyed at the property.
Needless to say, I am delighted to hear that you had such a wonderful experience and that you highly recommend the hotel. There is no greater compliment than knowing you would encourage others to stay with us. I was also thrilled to hear that you appreciated the service provided by our team members, whether at the reception desk upon check in, at the bar while listening to live music, or while you were dining at Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air. We are committed to providing the highest levels of service for all our guests, in all areas of the operation, and it's so gratifying to know that we achieved this during your stay. And seeing Chef Puck walking through the restaurant is always great fun. Hopefully next time you return you will be able to enjoy dinner and not have to rush off to head to the airport. I also think you made the right decision by spending every day at the pool. It is indeed a place we like to consider a true oasis to relax and unwind, and all just minutes from the busy city. As for the hotel's lush grounds and scenic gardens, what can I say? We are privileged to be in such an enchanting setting.
Thank you again for your kind words and we look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.