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“Back at last-but not without start-up problems”
Review of Hotel Bel-Air

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Hotel Bel-Air
Ranked #1 of 350 Hotels in Los Angeles
Certificate of Excellence
London,England
Level 6 Contributor
272 reviews
101 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 221 helpful votes
“Back at last-but not without start-up problems”
Reviewed 20 November 2011

We have stayed at the Bel-Air quite a few times over many years and were happy to see it re-open after more than two years of renovations. The best news is that the gardens are as beautiful as ever and the new decor is very tasteful and to a very high standard (as one would expect given the room rates). The food, now overseen by Wolfgang Puck,is also to a high standard.Unfortunately much of the old staff has been replaced and the new staff is still getting up to speed. Note that when we were there fewer than one-half of the rooms were completed and the hotel had been opened less than three weeks prior to our visit. Every aspect of our room (a.c., lighting, messaging etc.) was controlled by touch screen and I Pad, and we experienced significant problems in adjusting the room temperature,adjusting the lighting, deleting messages etc. , all apparently due to programming errors (although we are not 30-something techno-philes). These bugs need to be ironed out but I long for the old on-off switches and a "paper" list of services. Also, charging for wi-fi in the room is questionable given the room rates. Lastly, what passes as a "Business Center" is not exactly that. Nevertheless, we shall return on our next visit to LA since the setting is so beautiful and serene (except perhaps for the excessive number of LA types (non-hotel guests) who come for a drink or to be seen at breakfast or lunch.

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank plkmtk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
, Manager at Hotel Bel-Air, responded to this review, 5 December 2011
Dear plkmtk,

We appreciate your loyalty so much, thank you for being one of the first guests to experience the new Hotel Bel-Air. We are so glad you enjoyed the gardens, food and decor and appreciate your feedback about the issues you experienced with our new technology. We did have some challenges that have been corrected and we look forward to having you back so you can try it out again. Once you adjust the temperature in 3 seconds with an easy touch, you will see you don't have to be a 30-something technofile to enjoy the benefits.

We appreciate you taking the time to write a review and thank you for your business.

Warm regards,
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
  • Location
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
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English first
San Francisco, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 November 2011

I wanted to love the newly refurbished Hotel Bel Air as much as, or more than, I had in the past. The Bel Air tops my list of fabulous hotel experiences, with its lush grounds and superior service. Now, I like it...but the love is gone.

Happily, the grounds are spectacular and the upkeep impeccable. Pink and white stucco abounds; its classically stunning pool shines and the scent of wood burning fireplaces still wafts through the crisp air. A luxurious updated suite (original section) offered contemporary touches of travertine floors, black lacquer pieces, iPads, tricked out lighting and a wonderfully sublime bathroom. Linens are plush, very comfy bed and a GREAT shower!

Yet, the place is missing some of its former je ne sais quoi.

It appears the design team dropped in from NY to deem the heart, or core, of the Hotel "old school". After all, management delegated restaurant and room service duties to Wolfgang Puck. This is probably seen as an uptick for future bookings.

The hugely transformed terrace/ restaurant (and lobby) has gone from relaxed CA garden elegance to sleek urban trendy. A lot of black elements are in jarring contrast to the charming California mission style architecture. The design feels over wrought and out of context, especially at day time. Flame towers, really? While the food is very good, it follows the Puck tradition of overpriced and under portioned. The restaurant service is amateurish. Unfortunately, the Terrace now features a generic computer podium check-in w/ "hi guys" hostesses. I'm guessing the highly seasoned restaurant staff of yesteryear found employment elsewhere. Room service staff was highly competent, yet the very pricey food seemed under portioned.

Surely nostalgia has influenced my assessment, though I tried not to be crumudgeony about the changes. I guess sometimes a place is so very special, its memory so visceral, that there's no going back. The thing is, for me, The Hotel Bel Air was uniquely that place you COULD go back to and never,ever feel disappointed. This time, I just didn't feel that magic.

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
11 Thank S K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
, Manager at Hotel Bel-Air, responded to this review, 2 December 2011
Dear SK, first of all I would like to thank you for your loyalty and for coming back to stay with us so soon after we open. I'm so pleased you enjoyed the contemporary touches paired with our residential atmosphere. The design team worked tirelessly to retain the atmosphere and the architecture the world has come to love for the past 65 years.

Having been closed for a few years, the soul of the hotel is very new as well. Having worked here for 10 years, I know what you are speaking of and as the weeks pass I can assure you our revitalized soul is developing every day. Our new staff members, as well as the number of former employees who work with them are just as passionate to provide you with the signature Hotel Bel-Air bespoke service as before. We hope to have the opportunity to show you the magic of our unique paradise again in the near future.

Warm regards
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Los Angeles, California
Level 5 Contributor
70 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 November 2011

After being closed for two years, it is wonderful to have the Grande Dame and the Swans back, but why oh why did they use IKEA-looking outdoor furniture in some of the forest areas? Metal at the Bel Air? Why did they ruin the bar with vile modern art that looks like Aaron Bros?
Why does the patio have ugly metal fire lamps that don't give out heat? Why are the guest rooms black and white (with some pink, thank God) looking like the Viceroy Hotels? The dining room is way too small, and the outdoor patio is way too big with wasted space.
The service and food are excellent. But how sad that they blew the decor everywhere.

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
9 Thank Lurkinc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
, Manager at Hotel Bel-Air, responded to this review, 2 December 2011
Dear Lurkinc, thank you for giving us the opportunity to introduce you to the new Hotel Bel-Air. Just like viewing a work of art, design and decor is a very personal experience. We are disappointed that one of our room designs offended you. We have nine different design themes here at Hotel Bel-Air each highlighting the accommodation's unique characteristics.

Prior to our closure, our customers and the travel community asked us to update our interiors, enhance and expand our alfresco dining experience, and introduce better technology...all while maintaining the incredible residential atmosphere and architecture we are known for. We feel we've been able to do that for our guests and many of them have already shared their positive feedback with us. We do appreciate your feedback and hope you will return to experience one of our other design themes, which may be more suitable for you.

All the best
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Dallas, Texas
Level 6 Contributor
187 reviews
90 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 November 2011

Stayed after the new renovations. The exterior is the same but the rooms have been updated. The rooms have a great tv with ipod hookup and the remote controls all lights and a/c. The only issue is that the bugs still need to be worked out with the electronics. The staff went out of their way to help however. The food was great and the overall experience was very nice. The occupancy was not up to the previous levels but should be soon.

  • Stayed November 2011
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Helpful?
1 Thank quicktraveler91
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
, Manager at Hotel Bel-Air, responded to this review, 2 December 2011
Dear Quicktraveler91, we are so excited you were able to be one of the first to stay with us at the new Hotel Bel-Air! To ensure every guest experience was the best, we limited the number of reservations during the first few weeks of opening...that may have been why it felt like we had fewer guests when you visited. We are pleased you enjoyed your stay and do thank you for your patience and support while we perfect some of our new techological advances. We look forward to welcoming you back!
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Bangor, Maine
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 October 2010

My wife and I stayed there last time we visited LA. As always, the food the service was top-notch. The staff always goes above and beyond to make one feel so comfortable. This is the most beautiful place.

Stayed May 2010, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
3 Thank Mainerslovetravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
, Manager at Hotel Bel-Air, responded to this review, 2 December 2011
Dear Mainerslovetravel, thank you so much for your review and we look forward to welcoming you back to the new Hotel Bel-Air!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Denver, Colorado
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 May 2010

This is one of the classiest hotels on earth. The service is amazing, the last bellman we had said he had been there for 15 years. Check in and out is a breeze and they make everyone feel like a VIP. The bar is great and you never know who is going to show up at an out of the way table.The linens are superb and every time we stay, we always see at least one "A-list" celeb. I am looking forward to seeing the renovation and checking out the new villas in 2011.

  • Stayed February 2008, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank BeenDereDoneThat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
, Manager at Hotel Bel-Air, responded to this review, 1 September 2010
We would like to take this opportunity to thank EVERYONE for all of your wonderful reviews. We look forward to our re-opening in July 2011!
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London UK
Level 4 Contributor
37 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 October 2009

We stayed at the Hotel Bel Air this Summer and this is our fourth time back. After touring the West Coast we stay here on the last part of our trip. This is such a special place and quite unlike anywhere else we have stayed. I would describe it as a secluded, and completely understated yet impeccable service, decorated in a traditional, elegant style.The staff are excellent, Maria at the Front Desk, Bell Man, Valet and the Pool Staff were exceptional and genuine people and so incredibly nice.
It is such a shame that this hotel is being closed for refurbishment. After staying at many five star properties worldwide there is NO other Hotel that can possibly compare.

  • Stayed August 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank MylesLondonUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Bel-Air

Property: Hotel Bel-Air
Address: 701 Stone Canyon Rd., Los Angeles, CA 90077-2909
Phone Number:
Region: United States > California > Los Angeles > Westside
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Spa Hotel in Los Angeles
#1 Luxury Hotel in Los Angeles
#1 Romantic Hotel in Los Angeles
#3 Business Hotel in Los Angeles
#6 Family Hotel in Los Angeles
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — Hotel Bel-Air 5*
Number of rooms: 103
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

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