A stay at Hotel Bel Air, Los Angeles

Hotel Bel Air is a home away from home for A-list Hollywood stars who want a discrete, old world hideaway. It also tends to attract creative executives (there is an impeccable business centre), couples and well-heeled families. Locationwise, Bel Air is in the heart of one of LA’s prime residential districts, situated between Beverly Hills and Brentwood. It is a five-minute drive to Rodeo Drive, 10 minutes to the Sunset Strip and 20 minutes to the Santa Monica beach (on good traffic days).


The Bel Air was bought by the Dorchester Group in 2008 and given an impressive facelift (rumoured to have cost over $100 million - £64 million). It looks like Barbara Cartland’s dream hotel with its signature pink stucco front and swans gliding around in Swan Lake, but inside there is a sensuous modern interior by designer Alexandra Champalimaud (of the Pierre and Dorchester fame) and a glamorous restaurant designed by David Rockwell. The hotel imparts an old world grandeur, while its 12-acre gardens offer redwood groves and 200 species of exotic plants and flowers.


The 103 rooms and suites have been tastefully redone by Alexandra Champalimaud. There are lofts in the spa complex, patio suites with their own garden terrace and even a 6,775 sq ft presidential compound. All are designed with an elegant, sensuous modern aesthetic. Each is equipped with a free iPad and bathrooms have high-tech Japanese toilets.


Michelin-stared LA chef Wolfgang Puck has taken over the restaurant, bar and room service. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. Mouthwatering dishes at haute cuisine prices (entrees from $33 - £21). Guests can eat inside or on the famed patio. The elegant bar is one of the most romantic spots in town. The lobby lounge, with its hanging bronze fireplace and arched windows, is ideal for cocktails or tea.


The hotel is legendary for its impeccable service. Everyone is treated like a VIP at the Bel Air, which is quite a feat considering the celebrities usually in attendance (Julia Roberts, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman to name but a few). The hotel amenities include a 4,000 sq ft La Prairie beauty spa, a Joseph Martin Hair and Beauty salon, new business centre, fitness room and the famous outdoor oval swimming pool. There is also complimentary transport to destinations within a 3-mile radius, although it is a challenge to find a compelling reason to leave the hotel: I wanted to stay forever.


Hotel Bel Air

701 Stone Canyon Road

310 472 1211

Rooms from £361/$550 per night


I flew from London Heathrow Terminal 5 to Los Angeles (LAX) with British Airways. British Airways offers direct flights from London to Los Angeles from £472 return.

Elisabeth Rushton

Elisabeth has over a decade of experience as a luxury lifestyle and travel writer, and has visited over sixty countries. She has a particular interest in the Middle East, having travelled extensively around Saudi Arabia, Oman, and the UAE. A keen skier, she has visited over fifty ski resorts around the world, from La Grave to Niseko. She is currently focused on writing about luxury products fo...(Read More)

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