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“Oasis of Civility”
Review of Hotel Bel-Air

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Hotel Bel-Air
Ranked #1 of 350 Hotels in Los Angeles
Certificate of Excellence
Los Angeles
Level 3 Contributor
22 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Oasis of Civility”
Reviewed 25 September 2008

The Bel Air is one of the most civilized hotels in the world. It's not loud or ostentatious, rather it is quiet, beautifully appointed with the most outstanding service I've ever experienced.
I highly recommend this bastion of graciousness.

  • Stayed January 2008
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank Marvinator
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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  • Location
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  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
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San Francisco
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 September 2008

We were invited to a wedding being held at the Bel Air in late August. We decided to splurge and stay at the hotel for the weekend. Check-in went smoothly and the front desk people were very friendly and professional. We had booked a Grand Deluxe King Fireplace & Patio room, and it was lovely.

We really enjoyed sitting out on the patio during downtimes throughout the weekend. It was very quiet and lovely. Our first night there we were meeting friends for dinner at Musso & Frank's and had planned to call a cab but then we learned that there was a free hotel car service. They told us to call the bellman five minutes before we were ready to leave and voila, we walk out the entrance and our towncar was waiting. Very nice.

Apart from the lovely grounds, I was impressed with how friendly and attentive the staff people were. I don't think I passed a single employee in the course of my stay who didn't smile and say hello.

I have only one very minor complaint. Shortly after we arrived a fruit basket and bottle of champagne were delivered to our room. I read in other reviews that this seems to be standard practice. When we were presented with it the man who delivered it said, "This is compliments of the hotel." Two cards were delivered with it as well, one saying "compliments of the hotel" and the other saying, "Welcome to the hotel, thanks for coming," and it was signed by my friends who were having the wedding.

We decided the fruit and champagne were from the hotel, and the card from my friends was just that--a card welcoming us. It was a little awkward when we thanked our friends for the card later and they said, "A card? We sent you a fruit basket and champagne!"

Other than that slight confusion, we loved this hotel, and would definitely stay there again.

  • Liked — Beautiful grounds, friendly service
  • Disliked — Minor mix-up with gift basket
  • Stayed August 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank GogoSanFrancisco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bury St Edmunds, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
65 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 September 2008

We stayed at the Bel-Air for eight nights in a Garden Suite (room 122) and two in a Spa Suite (308) during late August and September. A lot has been said here comparing the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Bel-Air. To my mind, if you are more interested in where you are seen to be staying, and who you see while you are there, then visit the Beverly Hills. If, however, you want to experience the best possible service in a discrete, luxury location then stay at the Bel-Air.

The setting of the Bel-Air is truly exquisite - it is almost akin to staying on a luxury island. The grounds are wonderful; filled with glorious gardens and the even the occasional humming bird. The hotel is far enough from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles to be truly tranquil yet the courtesy car can have you on Rodeo Drive within ten minutes.

Our suites were spacious, well appointed and the linens provided were of the highest standard. Of the two the Garden Suite, though cheaper, was my preferred room – its location, adjacent to the restaurant, was ideal and its layout slightly preferable to that of the Spa Suite. The Jacuzzi in the Spa Suite was a delightful addition but the room’s location, the other side of the service entrance, was far enough from the main entrance to be a mild irritation.

The service, from parking valets through to pool attendants, restaurant staff and housekeeping was exceptional. Perhaps the staffing highlight of the trip was the hotel’s driver, Steve, who was not only incredibly helpful but also highly intelligent and articulate and able to offer an unexpected insight into life in Los Angeles and wider California.

The only flaw in what is otherwise a perfect hotel is the food. It is of a very high standard but does not quite hit the culinary heights one might find in an equivalent European hotel (Claridge’s or the Berkeley for example). My advice to any European visitor used to fine dining is stay away from classic European dishes as you will be disappointed. Instead try dishes such as the delightful ‘Huckleberry braised short rib’ and ‘Maine Lobster with Angel Hair Carbonara’. On the first evening I was forced to return my filet steak which was ordered blue but arrived severely overcooked. Subsequently, at breakfast, the milk served with the ‘Oatmeal with Apples, Cinnamon and Honey’ had gone off. Both errors are inexcusable in any kitchen. To the credit of the staff they agreed on both occasions and replaced the food without hesitation. These errors aside the food was very good but not truly world class. The wine list is fantastic and includes an excellent selection of attractively priced Hirsch Vineyards Pinot Noir. For the best possible experience be sure to sit outside.

Overall, I could not recommend the Bel-Air highly enough. It is a true sanctuary located on the doorstep of a major city – something that I didn’t think possible until I visited.

  • Stayed September 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank BuryFoodLover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level 5 Contributor
53 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 September 2008

Set up in the hills, this luxury hideaway was a great spot for us to relax for a couple of days.
The fabulous pool was great for lounging, with Evian on tap and the best Marguaritas! The staff were great and often greeted us by name as we walked around the hotels wonderful gardens.
We had a room with a private patio which was great value compared to other California hotels. The highlight of our stay was being served a candlelit dinner on our patio - not the usual standard of room service!

  • Liked — Door onto private patio, then into our room - really private
  • Disliked — Some of the other guests wereloud walking around on their cellphones
  • Stayed September 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank PandEKew
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NY
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 August 2008

We recently completed a four day stay at the Hotel Belair. I would have to say we were disappointed. I note ,after reading other reviews, that we are in the minority. But our issues seem to be the same as others who were disappointed had. In general the service was excellent and everyone seemed to be really trying very hard. Given the physical plant they have to work with I can understand. More on this later. We arrived around 6PM and were apologetically told that our room wasn't ready yet and we were offered free cocktails and drinks while we waited. Certainly appropriate and very nice. She mentioned that the room was by the pool. I was worried that this would not be quiet as I had requested when I made my reservation. I had been told not to worry as all the rooms were quiet so I didn't worry. When we got to the room it was clearly not quiet. The voices of children playing in the pool was disconcerting to say the least and this was 7 o'clock. I can't imagine what it would be like earlier in the day. Perhaps they were having us wait hoping the kids would be gone? The room's window faced the patio which was quite exposed to the pool area thus making it impossible to open the drape and maintain any semblance of privacy. I noted that the drape was drawn when we were shown the room and I fully understand why. I said that this room was not acceptable and at first was told that they had no others available but that they would see if they could change our room the next day. I was then getting more upset and finally they did indeed have another room. The other room they moved us to was quiet and faced a beautiful garden area. It was, unfortunately, very small (at least at the room rate of over $600 a night with tax). Everything was really crammed in and there was really no sitting area other than the desk, the bed and the outdoor patio. It was about the size of the small standard rooms at The Beverly Hills Hotel years ago before they did the major renovation. The bed was very nice but the bathroom was small, cramped and not up to the luxury standards that should be appropriate here. Little details were just not up to snuff (the towels were thin and worn rather than fluffy and luxurious etc.). One morning we were woken up by hammering, banging, sawing and drilling in the room next door. I called to complain and they said they would speak to security (?). Finally they called back after 30 minutes to say they were making repairs. I feel that a hotel of this supposed level of quality and service should go the extra mile and check to see if we had left our room (check the do not disturb sign) before turning our next door room into a construction site and waking us up. I noted no offer of breakfast, cocktails etc. for this intrusion. We did have dinner at the restaurant and it was excellent. I have been staying at the Beverly Hills Hotel for many years and feel there is no comparison. The Hotel Belair seems like The Beverly Hills Hotel years ago before the renovation brought it up to current luxury standards. All in all, as you walk in, walk around etc. it seems like a step-down imitation of The Beverly Hills. Great staff, disappointing hotel

  • Stayed August 2008
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank ultimatefood
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
La Jolla, CA
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 August 2008

between about 15 hummingbirds. They were MAD and apparently ‘couldn’t get along’. The stay went up from there. The room was very comfortable. The porter showed me how to work the wood burning fireplace in the room. This confused me since Bel Air is in Los Angeles, and August is the middle of, like, summer. Later, I had to wait about 30 minutes for a seat at the bar – the place was packed with (rich) locals. The food was terrific, but got cold as I spent too much time talking to the bartender who was fascinating and, much to my surprise, was NOT AN ASPIRING ACTOR!
Seriously – I have stayed at more 5 star hotels than I can count. And I rarely arrive at a property and say ‘wow – this is cool’. Well, I said to myself when I arrived here. The grounds of this hotel outdo the nicest botanical garden I have ever visited by a wide margin: comfortable, calm, thickly wooded, and just beautiful. This is just a stellar property and managed accordingly. If there is a nicer hotel in LA, I haven’t seen it. This one ranks near the top of my list worldwide of any hotel in any category. If you go, make sure to greet the pet swans near the front pond.
I would note that this hotel is not terribly near the normal attractions you would want to see in Los Angeles, so a car is necessary.
The only complaint I had with my stay was the morning paper was the *despicable* NY Times. I had expressly asked for a WSJ, but apparently they have trouble, in LA, getting the weekend version of the WSJ. This, for a hotel of this caliber, was a little hard to believe ….

  • Liked — This is just a cool property -- green, lush, comfortable.
  • Disliked — No complaints.
  • Stayed August 2008, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank mike_la_jolla
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle
Level 5 Contributor
60 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 August 2008

Our adult family came to LA to view a special exhibit at the Getty Center and we stayed at the Hotel Bel Air for 4 nights in the middle of August. The hotel is tucked up in the hills, away from the hustle and bustle, in beautiful Bel Air. There is nothing within walking distance as it is a totally residential area. The hotel is extremely quiet, no traffic or other loud noises. It is all open-air with tiled walkways beautifully landscaped with mature plantings, trees and flowers. We especially enjoyed the pool area which was surrounded with palm trees and where the service was outstanding.
The food was fresh and delicious, especially the salads, and the berries and other fruit. Gorgeous and very tasty.
The staff was polite and friendly and always happy to go the extra mile. No request too small for immediate attention. All in all it was a very relaxing, rejuvenating experience.

  • Liked — outstanding service
  • Disliked — no complaints
  • Stayed August 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank seattlefamilyoffive
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 Luxury Hotel in Los Angeles
#1 Spa 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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