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“Amazing Service but New Technology and Deocor are a Miss”
Review of Hotel Bel-Air

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Hotel Bel-Air
Ranked #1 of 355 Hotels in Los Angeles
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 18 December 2011

I stayed at the Bel Air Hotel right before it closed for renovations, and sadly they made it worse.
The Good News
The service is perfection, like nothing I have ever seen, training at its best. They make it so easy and exceeded my expectations. Luckily they did not mess with the grounds during the renovations because they are still a jewel, but parts are a little run down.
The Bad News
The Decor - Whoever designed the interior of the lobby clearly designed this in a vacuum in London and I would guess never even saw the property. The grounds of the property are warm, quaint and special. The cold black and white styling is objectively the wrong fit for this space. The interior should be like an urban San Ysdrro Ranch with warmth. Sadly all the soft goods need to be redone at once, maybe they should call Ty Warner. The interior is so cold, depressing and out of place it almost ruins the entire resort.
Our Room and Technology - We had a regular room with Patio, the Patio was much larger than our room. The finish out was superb, the only problem was our room was way to small for the size of the furniture. It is rare that I would advocate more room for lower finish out cost but larger, but these rooms are just too small, maybe they should in close the worthless patios.
Technology can be a game changer when it is done perfectly like Apple has shown. I think Microsoft consulted on their technology because it is really bad. The Ipad program crashes 10 times in a row before it works properly each time you use it. The lighting system is delayed and will drive you nuts. The wort part is the bang and olsen remote, it is really confusing and is not intuitive at all, these tv's need to be replaced asap. The pay per view movie system is hard to use because of the remote and the selection of movies is very limited.

So I am mixed, I love the grounds and the service is the best, but it is just not the special place it once was.

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled on business
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6  Thank CDUB212121
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HBAManager, Manager at Hotel Bel-Air, responded to this reviewResponded 30 December 2011

Dear CDUB212121,

First of all, we would like to thank you for your business and for coming back to experience the refurbished Hotel Bel-Air. Without the loyalty of our most valued patrons we wouldn't be in operation after 65 years. We've gone through several design changes at Hotel Bel-Air over our 65 year history and since design is a very personal choice, unfortunately isn't appealing to everyone. What has remained, and what always will remain is our exceptional bespoke service, delicious food, our incredible location and garden atmosphere, our legendary history and our original pink Spanish Colonial architecture.

I invite you to visit our website and view the multiple room categories that will highlight the nine different design themes we offer here at Hotel Bel-Air. Perhaps the room you stayed in just wasn't your style preference but we have eight others to choose from. Each and every room has a different layout and no two are alike so we're certain we have an option to suit you. Many of our most loyal guests try different accommodations to find the most suitable home away from home, and they can request them each time they stay with us.

We hope to see you again soon, and thank you again for taking the time to review us.

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566 - 572 of 729 reviews

Reviewed 12 December 2011

I have traveled extensively and this is my favorite hotel in the whole world. It is beautiful and old world and the service is incredible.

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled on business
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1  Thank barryjparker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HBAManager, Manager at Hotel Bel-Air, responded to this reviewResponded 30 December 2011

Dear Mr. Parker,

Thank you so much for taking the time to let us know about your recent stay with us. We appreciate your loyalty and business and hope to see you again soon!

All the best

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Reviewed 30 November 2011

My fiance and I were very excited to stay at the newly reopened Bel Air for Thanksgiving after waiting years for the renovation to be complete. While our stay was enjoyable, we didn't love the experience or facilities as much as we'd hoped.
The new decor is nice, but in many cases very at odds with the exterior which seemed completely unchanged. Some will find that last point a relief, but I myself would like to see a modernization of the pink stucco (I know I'm probably alone in that view) - to me it just looks old, dated and very tired. The interiors are now black & white and largely modern, in stark contrast - it's a bit odd, especially around the restaurant patio where all the different motifs come into play. But I was thrilled to see the swans are still there and very happy! The new pool is lovely, but the gym is way too small for a hotel of that caliber (with that much space!). I was extremely disappointed.
Our suite was nice and quite large with wonderful beds and bathrooms. The big negative was that everything is controlled by touchpads that were VERY glitchy - trying to turn off one light vs. another was an exercise in frustration.
The hotel staff are very focused on being friendly and attentive, but could use some work in efficiency. A perfect example was check-in. We were asked dozens of questions about what we wanted in our room from newspapers to pillows to mattress type (huh?) - the process was borderline annoying it took so long. And then it seemed as if the questionaire was ignored - none of our answers were implemented. None of the missed items were a big deal at all, but let's please not spend 10 minutes talking about things if you're not going to bring them. A lot of staff are new and seem a little confused, to be honest. All are trying VERY hard and have great attitudes, but some things were just a bit off. One person called us at 8:15am to ask if we liked the room - ? We were well awake so no biggie, but it's a little early for a "how are you doing?" call - and our privacy light was on too. Odd.
We found the food to be very good though overpriced and VERY slow in arriving - we'd be alone at breakfast and simple items would take strangely long amounts of time to arrive. The servers were wonderful though.
So all and all, a mixed bag. We certainly won't be racing back. In most catagories the Montage Beverly Hills is much better. But there is still something about being at the Bel Air that's special I guess. Must be the swans :)

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank eh555
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 5 December 2011

Dear eh555,

Thank you for being one of the first guests to stay with us at the new Hotel Bel-Air. Your review was very thorough and we appreciate the attention to detail you have, and for sharing it all with us. Only through guest feedback may we correct the issues that arise.

In your review, you reference the design theme with elements of black and white. Since design and decor are very personal choices, perhaps there is a different design theme that would be more suitable for you. We have nine different design themes at Hotel Bel-Air and many guests try different ones to find their perfect home away from home that fits their taste. All of our layouts are also unique. Hotel Bel-Air is not cookie cutter, and many of the rooms and suites have different features and benefits that offer the guest a different experience depending on the room selection.

We do hope to see you back at Hotel Bel-Air, there really is no other hotel like it in the world and especially in an urban center like Los Angeles. 12 acres of gardens, ecclectic custom decor, Hollywood history and the feeling of being on vacation (yet only 7 minutes from Beverly Hills) is a truly unique L.A. experience.

I've shared your comments with the appropriate departments and thank you again for sharing them with us.

All the best,

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Reviewed 27 November 2011

Was extremely impressed with the gracious, welcoming, efficient and professional level of service during my 3 night stay.

From the valet parking to the check-in desk ( supervisor Christina) to the concierge (Lauren) to the houekeepers to maintenance and to the waiters and busboys in the excellent Wolfgang Puck dining room, service is flawless.

The director of rooms Martin and the general manager Christoph both made it a point to say hello, which I thought was extremely nice.

I am not anyone important - and yet every single member of staff treated me as though I was. Very impressive, and really made my stay especially memorable and enjoyable because of how attentive and caring about guest comfort it all felt.

There were several small technology issues in the Patio Suite, and maintenance was sent immediately.

The attitude throughout the hotel staff is always responsive, willing and "can do".
They truly strive to listen and make improvements on anything that might be missing.

I did not have a shower caddy in my gorgeous large marble rainshower, and the next day one was brought.
I wanted the sweetener 'Truvia', for my hot tea and the next morning it was there (in addition to the usual sweet-and-low, splenda and equal) when I came for breakfast.

The upstairs patio suite (room 176) with its wood plank floor, is light and bright and open in feel, with a lovely ample sized patio with jacuzzi that heats to between 102-104 degrees.

The living room was also large and had french doors that let in the sunlight, as did the bedroom. Both had large flat screen televisions.

The marble floored bathroom is gorgeous, with a deep soaking tub, double sinks, and a private room with opaque glass for the HEATED Toto toilet (wow!).
The rainshower has good water pressure and the bathroom floor is heated.
The bath towels and large bath rugs are large and soft.
The bathrobe was mid-calf, soft, just warm enough, and one of the best I have ever worn - I would like to buy one!

My two other favorite rooms were the Swan Lake Suite (room 138) and the Loft Suites (room 500 and 501) in the Spa building

The decor in the rooms is modern, and everything is spotlessly clean.

I do think it would be nice if there were fresh flowers in each of the rooms, perhaps orchid plants, which would really warm up the spaces a bit and be in harmony with the elegant surroundings.
Perhaps they will have those in all the rooms in the future.

The twelve acre gardens are gorgeous and meticulously maintained.

I spent a few enjoyable hours watching the three swans in the pond - Hercules (who has a a broken wing), Chloe and Athena.
If you get to them early in the morning right as they are being released from their wooden caged area, they literally 'dance' with delight, speading their wings and happily racing from one end of the pond to the other - it is a magnificent sight.

Food was absoultely superb at breakfast (try the blueberry pancakes, the huevos rancheros or the smoked salmon!); at lunch (try the spaghetti arribiata or the steak tartare or the garden salad!) and also at dinner (try the jidori chicken).

The dining room itself with its windows on two sides, and dramamtic two sided white marble fireplace is gorgeous.
The China service (Plates) are beautiful, the silverware is attractive. Napkins are huge white hemstitched linen, lightly starched.
The Manager Daniel was a great host, and the waiters John, Livius, Mandy, Marcus and Mindy each gave wonderful service. The busboys all did too.

If you want to dine outdoors on a warm summer night, I highly recommend 'candlelit' booths 51, 52 or 53 - incredibly romantic, and have heat lamps as well to keep you warm.

I greatly enjoyed my stay, and think that this is a special property.
While I missed the traditional decor of days gone by, the hotel was badly in need of refurbishment and has done so very nicely.

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled solo
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5  Thank CinderellaDearest
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 5 December 2011

Dear Cinderella Dearest,

We were so excited to see your wonderful review and user photos related to your stay with us. Thank you for sharing so much information about your stay! Guest feedback is so crucial, especially now as we re-introduce the magic to our faithful and loyal guests as well as new ones. We look forward to seeing you again soon on your next visit.

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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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2  Thank plkmtk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 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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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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11  Thank S K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 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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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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9  Thank Lurkinc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 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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Additional Information about 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 Luxury Hotel in Los Angeles
#1 Romantic Hotel in Los Angeles
#1 Spa Hotel in Los Angeles
#3 Business Hotel in Los Angeles
#6 Family Hotel in Los Angeles
Price Range: £454 - £1,046 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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:
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