This was my first visit following recent refurbishment. The magnificent setting - the pool, pond, gardens, and swans remain untouched - provide an oasis of calm with LA just outside your door. I had booked a five day stay through WhataHotel, which came with the added bonus of a continental breakfast, although no room upgrade was offered.The newly styled interiors are superb, with beautiful and thoughtful design features providing elegant, modern luxury. The rooms are very well finished with heated floors in the bathrooms (although surprisingly not in the loo), B&O TV's, La Prairie soaps,superb linens and fluffy robes. Although some die-hards may prefer the old club style bar, it too is now lighter and far less stuffy. The ballroom would make a wonderful spot for any celebration. There's a new spa and gym, both state of the art; although the gym could offer several sizes of Swiss ball, and also make sure there are plenty of clean headsets! The staff were apparently all replaced (except 11) after the two year shutdown; the new waitstaff, bellboys, and cleaners are all wonderful, where you're really made to feel extremely welcome. A small niggle - some of the day to day restaurant managers could be more client focussed; on several occasions it took far too long to get seated for breakfast or dinner.
Wolfgang Puck's restaurant is still settling in; the food is competent, although a little more innovative menu will be required if the restaurant is to receive many star accolades. At the prices charged for dinner there were surprisingly no ameuses bouches on starting dinner, or extras around dessert. There's a great wine list, if you have a reason to celebrate, with knowledgeable sommeliers. The house white, a Gruner Veltliner, offers the best value.
All in all, this is a unique hotel, with a great provenance, now brought in to the 21st century.
With a little attention to some of the teething issues above, the hotel will retain its position amongst the top 2-3 hotels in the US. I can't think of a better choice if relaxation is what's called for.
- 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. Just opened after a two year transformation, this Spanish mission-style urban oasis wins a never-ending stream of praise for its faultless service, luxurious accommodations, and magical ambiance. All newly renovated 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