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“New Culture”
Review of Hotel Bel-Air

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Hotel Bel-Air
Ranked #1 of 351 Hotels in Los Angeles
Certificate of Excellence
Paget Parish, Bermuda
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“New Culture”
Reviewed 3 March 2012

I used to regard the Hotel Bel-Air as a wonderful escape. Unfortunately, a lot of the magic of this idyllic property has gone. Whilst the renovations to the hotel rooms were necessary, the whole culture of the hotel has changed. I had an unpleasant experience at the restaurant one night that became indicative of the change that has taken place and which was enough to alienate me from the hotel and instead to go to the comfort of the restaurant at the Peninsula Hotel. The restaurant clearly now brings considerably more people to the hotel and this is great for hotel revenue and exposure, but can be very stressful for guests. To what extent hotel guests receive preference now is debatable. The Bel-Air is no longer a 'hideaway' and the new restaurant may have produced a situation whereby the carrying capacity of the resort is exceeded to the detriment of hotel guests and those seeking a quiet place to exhale and enjoy the privacy of the Bel-Air culture that once was.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled solo
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HBAManager, Manager at Hotel Bel-Air, responded to this review, 2 April 2012
Dear Nancy8888,

Thank you for taking the time to share your impression of the newly re-opened Hotel Bel-Air.

Having been closed for a few years, the culture of the hotel is very new as well. Having worked here for 11 years, I understand your point of view and as time passes I can assure you our revitalized culture will further developing over time. We had 65 years to build it! 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.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

700 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (147)
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London, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
39 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 February 2012

This was my first visit following recent refurbishment. The magnificent setting - the pool, pond, gardens, and swans remain untouched - provide an oasis of calm with LA just outside your door. I had booked a five day stay through WhataHotel, which came with the added bonus of a continental breakfast, although no room upgrade was offered.The newly styled interiors are superb, with beautiful and thoughtful design features providing elegant, modern luxury. The rooms are very well finished with heated floors in the bathrooms (although surprisingly not in the loo), B&O TV's, La Prairie soaps,superb linens and fluffy robes. Although some die-hards may prefer the old club style bar, it too is now lighter and far less stuffy. The ballroom would make a wonderful spot for any celebration. There's a new spa and gym, both state of the art; although the gym could offer several sizes of Swiss ball, and also make sure there are plenty of clean headsets! The staff were apparently all replaced (except 11) after the two year shutdown; the new waitstaff, bellboys, and cleaners are all wonderful, where you're really made to feel extremely welcome. A small niggle - some of the day to day restaurant managers could be more client focussed; on several occasions it took far too long to get seated for breakfast or dinner.
Wolfgang Puck's restaurant is still settling in; the food is competent, although a little more innovative menu will be required if the restaurant is to receive many star accolades. At the prices charged for dinner there were surprisingly no ameuses bouches on starting dinner, or extras around dessert. There's a great wine list, if you have a reason to celebrate, with knowledgeable sommeliers. The house white, a Gruner Veltliner, offers the best value.
All in all, this is a unique hotel, with a great provenance, now brought in to the 21st century.
With a little attention to some of the teething issues above, the hotel will retain its position amongst the top 2-3 hotels in the US. I can't think of a better choice if relaxation is what's called for.

Room Tip: Get a deluxe room or better with a patio.
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HBAManager, Manager at Hotel Bel-Air, responded to this review, 2 April 2012
Thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed review. We are thrilled to hear you enjoyed your stay with us and we appreciate your feedback.We are happy to say we’ve added several new Swiss balls to our gym as a result of your comments. We apologize for there not being clean headsets; we have asked our Housekeeping staff to visit the gym more frequently to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

We are thrilled you consider us to be one of the top 2-3 hotels in the US, thank you! We hope to welcome you back to the hotel very soon.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boston, Massachusetts
Level 6 Contributor
223 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 February 2012

They welcome you at your car at the Bel-Air and then walk with you on the bridge over the water with the swans to get to the lobby.The new lobby is very old Hollywood and Art Deco with a fabulous large square fireplace in the center,all in black and white.The walkways are lined with trees and flowers and fountains and look like Italy.The rooms are all high tech with everything controlled by the i-pad and are black and white. The bathroom is serene and has an amazing rainfall type shower.It is very quiet and relaxing.The bed is perfection!The service is very helpful but not bothersome.It is my favorite hotel !They seem to do everything just right.

Room Tip: We chose a room with a private outdoor patio,which was lovely.My brother did not have the patio but...
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HBAManager, Manager at Hotel Bel-Air, responded to this review, 2 April 2012
We are pleased to read you enjoyed your stay with us. It is a true honor to be called “your favorite hotel.” We hope you will be back to visit us again very soon.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Flyover Red State
Level 5 Contributor
83 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 107 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 January 2012

Have been going to the Hotel BelAir since 1966. It is the best hotel you can possibly imagine. It's worth a trip to LA

Room Tip: Ask for a room with a patio, not near the road.
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  • Stayed August 2011, travelled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HBAManager, Manager at Hotel Bel-Air, responded to this review, 2 April 2012
Thank you for the kind words. We are pleased you enjoyed your stay with us and look forward to seeing you again very soon.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wetherby, Yorkshire
Level 5 Contributor
37 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 101 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 January 2012

A dreadful rhyme I know but frankly this hotel is a fairytale of exclusivity and enchantment. In one sense it is without rival the best hotel in Los Angeles. Let me explain. If arriving after dark you cannot beat the twinkling lights over the water as you cross the bridge to the lobby. Self check in is possible on the i-pads in the rooms but I was processed the traditional way by cheerful staff. My room was a delightful ground floor with a large sunny patio reached by a longish walk past the lozenge shaped pool and several playing fountains. I was totally satisfied with the room including the new technology. Very impressive was the log fire with a pile of logs in the room so you could light it yourself and enjoy the ambiance it leant.
However this hotel is QUIET. Monastery quiet. I felt I had the place to myself with a large staff. Rather like I was in a grand hacienda alone searching in vain for my host who never appeared. It wasn't unpleasant, just unusual. Come the weekend the inevitable wedding appeared. White seats by the pool outside and a ravishing bride swishing around the property all afternoon. I was rather glad to see other people there by this stage. The dining situation is a little too upscale for my tastes. that is to say food is gorgeous but very expensive. A casual cobb salad by the pool for lunch seems unattainable but this is not a criticism just an observation.
I used the fitness room which was very well laid out if small, and the spa too was attractive. Zero points for the hair salon though which appeared to be smaller than my own wardrobe, claustrophobic and with no natural light. Just one girl working there made for a very dull appointment. I wont be going back there for my blow drys.
I never got to grips with when the bar was busy during my 6 day stay - I'm sure it's very nice but wasn't appealing to me at the times I went there in the early evening.
Transportation is slow. One house car is available but given the distance to Rodeo it naturally takes longer than more central hotels to get back. They should have two really but it's a small price to pay to stay at this divine place. Waiting for a taxi when called can take 15 minutes so extra time must be allotted when going anywhere.
It's best to have a lover if you stay at this hotel as romance oozes from every corner. Honeymooners should beat a path to its door as should A-listers who like reclusivity. I was in none of these categories but nevertheless counted myself one of the luckiest people in the world to get to spend a week in this haven.
If money is no object try one of the new canyon view suites which looked fabulous but really any room here is worth a stay if only to say you have been.

Room Tip: Deluxe guestroom with patio was amply big enough for me.
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  • Stayed January 2012, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HBAManager, Manager at Hotel Bel-Air, responded to this review, 2 April 2012
Thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed and wonderful review. We are pleased to hear you enjoyed your stay with us. Our most unique feature is our location, minutes from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles just outside the Bel-Air gates but while inside…you could be in Southern Spain. We’re glad you noticed!

We appreciate your feedback and look forward to your next visit.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 January 2012

I stayed at this hotel last week for a few nights while on business in LA. Loved the decor and the rooms. I am not sure why other people thought that technology was complicated..it is pretty straight forward and you can use the Ipad but also the phone to adjust all settings. BTW, there are some switches on the walls in case you really cannot use any touch screen devices... And who in the world doesn't like a warm toilet seat and ability to wash, dry and flush with only one touch???
The staff was superb and I had the best facial ever (Platinum Rare Facial - done by a lady called Carla )at the La Prairie Spa...OMG!!
I felt like home, walking through the beautifully manicured courtyards and walkways. Privacy and serenity..a wonderful oasis.
I will be back soon in LA and will only stay at this hotel.(and will have The Caviar massage this time!)
Great job to all!

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled on business
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HBAManager, Manager at Hotel Bel-Air, responded to this review, 2 February 2012
Dear JuliaP,

We were so pleased to read about your recent stay with us at Hotel Bel-Air. We have 65 years of experience providing this type of service to our guests and we're so glad your experience was memorable.

We hope to see you again soon, and thank you for your business.
Best,
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 January 2012

Used to be the classiest, serene oasis in Los Angeles. Now you cannot turn on a light without using an iPad. And then it's all the lights or none. The bellmen and front office staff are busy running to all the rooms to turn the lights, heat, a/c, etc. on and off for the guests. I asked the the bellman to tell the management that the technology was impossible. He then told me that if he complained for the guests one more time, he would be fired. The person who eliminated every light switch should be fined for ruining the Bel-Air.

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HBAManager, Manager at Hotel Bel-Air, responded to this review, 8 February 2012
Dear Hans S,

Thank you for taking the time to post a review regarding your recent stay at Hotel Bel-Air. We take these comments very seriously and will discuss them with the team.

We would like to highlight that there are on/off light switches in each room at Hotel Bel-Air with two additional buttons for high and low lighting. The iPad and the touch screen phone are two additional ways to control the lighting, cooling and heating to suit your individual needs.

We were sadened to read about the conversation you had with our bellman. Our policy of open door communication between our employees and management is our trademark so we are disappointed to hear this. The comment completely conflicts with our core values as a company and unfortunately after speaking with our small crew of five-star bellman we can't validate the comment but we do thank you for sharing it with us.

We can assure you, however that since your visit we've completed multiple technology audits and the issues have been corrected. As with any new technology implementation, there is a learning curve for us as well as the clients so we do appreciate your patience and thank you again for giving us the opportunity to serve you.

Many thanks
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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 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 (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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