In a city filled with high profile luxury hotels like Los Angeles, some of the best fly more under-the-radar. The Hotel Bel-Air, one of the city’s best, lives a life of quiet luxury on a side street off Sunset Boulevard, near Beverly Hills. I’ve been visiting the hotel since the 1950s, when it was more known as a rustic getaway. That rustic getaway is now one of the city’s best luxury hotels and also a popular spot for celebrities to get some privacy.
The hotel was opened in 1946 and originally built earlier as offices and stables for Mr. Bell, the developer of Bel-Air. The area, filled then and now with some of the most expensive mansions in Los Angeles, was also developed as a place for country estates, where celebrities and the wealthy could enjoy the country lifestyle, including horseback riding.
The hotel now
The Hotel Bel-Air was closed for a total renovation in 2009, re-opening in 2011 ready to offer the highest standard of luxury, in a country setting, in the heart of Los Angeles. It’s a spectacular place, isolated from the city, yet only minutes away. The hotel is like a private mansion, on 12 acres of gardens and the front is surrounded by a small lake, filled with swans. Access to the hotel’s main entrance is over a bridge, which crosses Swan Lake.
Owned by the same company that also owns The Beverly Hills Hotel, the Hotel Bel-Air offers free shuttle service between the two, along with signing privileges there as well. The Dorchester Collection knows about luxury hotels, they also own eight other five-star properties around the world. The staff here has a long history of fine service and the Dorchester management only enhances and perpetuates it. I just stayed at The Beverly Hills Hotel with my son and we had a terrific experience with very personal service.
58 guestrooms and 45 suites feature a range of accommodations, some with patios, some with lofts. The suites shine here, including seven unique specialty suites with home-like size and amenities (like their own private pool). I would be very happy to live in the hotel’s Presidential Suite, and would entertain frequently. Rates are commensurate with the hotel’s luxury and service level. Guestrooms start around $545 per night with online offers like the hotel’s Deluxe Breakfast Getaway which includes a $115 breakfast credit for two.
This is Bel Air, the heart of Hollywood and the chef is equally as famous. Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air is the name of the restaurant and it’s a space personally overseen by the chef, serving local, farm-sourced ingredients. The space is half outside on the hotel’s beautiful terrace and it’s also big power lunch spot for studio bosses. A daily tea service is also a Los Angeles tradition here.
The Hotel Bel-Air (701 Stone Canyon Road, Los Angeles) is on a residential street off Sunset Boulevard, west of Beverly Hills and just east of the 405 freeway.
Ted Sherman has spent a lifetime traveling. With journeys to every continent, almost 100 cruises and multiple group tours, he enjoys sharing his travel experiences and knowledge with others. Follow Ted on Twitter, @travel4seniors and on his travel blog, travel4seniors.
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