If you’re in the market for a calm oasis in the midst of a big city than the Hotel Bel-Air may be just the place for you. That it comes with a healthy dose of old Hollywood charm is just the icing on the cake. A part of the Dorchester collection, the Bel-Air does not skimp on the niceties that make guests feel special. Touches, like in room check in for all guests and a personal welcoming note on arrival, are among the things that make every guest feel special.
It can be a little overwhelming at times – the swarm of bellmen (in three distinct types of uniform including a quite dashing navy blue blazer ensemble) that greet you as you pull up to the hotel entrance is perhaps the best example. Who to tip for what – hopefully they share tips because we ended up tipping the last man standing (the guy in the vest who brought our bags to our room). And what a room it was!
The hotel just re-opened after a two-year renovation that brought state-of-the-art technology, beautiful linens, and stunning décor to the property. The intrepid Nancy B (aka the B) and I were in a two-bedded room with patio on the lowest level. It wasn’t the most expensive room in the place – those are in the new section of the hotel overlooking the canyon but I’m not sure what else I would have wanted. Beautiful décor, humongous bathroom with a tub that was easily 3 feet deep and it’s own flat screen tv (not a little 13” one either), La Prairie toiletries, plush towels, robes, and slippers. The only fault – and a minor one at that – is that the beds in a two-bedded room are twins. Having said that, I’d be hard-pressed to figure out what features to give up to get two doubles into the room. You can run all the lights, order room service, and surf the Web from the iPad docked on the desk although we never did quite master the lights and so ended up using the good old-fashioned wall switches.
We were just at the Bel-Air for a quick overnight and a visit to the LA County Museum of Art and then South to San Diego (the B’s hometown) for a few days. We spent all of our free time at the pool, which is beautifully planted and astoundingly quiet. The chaises were incredibly comfortable and the poolside service that perfect balance of attentive, not intrusive. The grilled cheese sandwich is quite yummy if you are in the mood for a snack.
Breakfast at Wolfgang Puck’s on-property restaurant included a selection of chef-made preserves (raspberry, blueberry, and strawberry the day we were there) that is not be missed. Room service was quite quick and you can’t beat a hotel that sends you warm milk with your coffee. If you are in the mood for coffee in the morning, it’s free in the lobby – starting at 5:30 AM, great timing if you just arrived from the East coast!
A description of the Bel-Air wouldn’t be complete without noting the lovingly tended plantings and fountains that grace the property. It is well worth the walk up the hill to see the small waterfall and water lily pond and for the view back out over the hotel and into the surrounding canyons. Through out the property there are comfy spots for relaxing – not the least of which is the spacious, quiet lobby graced by a central fireplace.
If you’re looking for a quiet oasis to escape the hustle and bustle of LA, than the Bel-Air is worth the price of admission. If you plan to be out and about seeing the sights or enjoying the beaches, then you might want to hunt around for a better deal. For me, on this mini-vacay, the Bel-Air was the perfect choice for the start of a brief stay in the golden state.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Nestled on 12 acres in the Bel-Air Estates neighborhood of Los Angeles, the iconic Hotel Bel-Air is one of the most beautiful, romantic, and exclusive hotels in the world. This Spanish mission-style urban oasis wins a never-ending stream of praise for its faultless service, luxurious accommodations, and magical ambiance. All rooms and suites feature a new generation of design aesthetic and is reflected through different design themes from the glamorous decades of the 1930s, 40s and 50s conveyed in a fresh, youthful and elegant manner. The famous restaurant, bar, catering and in-room dining services are managed by world-renowned Master Chef Wolfgang Puck with a menu featuring modern California cuisine with European and Mediterranean influences in a spectacular garden setting. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Bel Air