Thursday, October 13, 2011

Around Town - The New and Improved Hotel Bel Air

Why is it that September seems to pass by with not much going
then October hits and it's nonstop activity
It's like the universe sends us a message to come out of hibernation from the heat of the Summer months
and then get back into the swing of things

I've been busy this week with little time for blogging
Already I've been to a private preview of the newly redone Hotel Bel Air
and a viewing the Elizabeth Taylor jewelry being presented by Christie's
So I'll get on with the Bel Air and post about the Liz Taylor loot later this week.


Purchased by The Dorchester Group a few years ago, the Hotel Bel Air was in definitely in need of refurbishing. (The Dorchester Collection includes The Beverly Hills Hotel, The Dorchester in London, The Hotel Plaza Athenee and Le Meurice in Paris, and the Principe di Savoia in Milan)

So, after 2 years and 100 million dollars, the hotel will finally reopen tomorrow. 

To me the old hotel was like an aging dowager, elegant and classic.
In fact it was my favorite hotel in LA just because it wasn't too new and shiny.
Way, way back in the day my husband loved the clubby atmosphere of the bar with it's roaring fire and piano player crooning the standards.  And I used to love the restaurant which was charming for lunch outdoors on the terrace overlooking the pond.   It was an especially heady place for a power breakfasts way back when power breakfasting was all the rage amongst Hollywood honchos and hedgefunders.

Now my classic dowager has had full facelift by way of New York interior designer Alexandra Champalimaud.
Goodbye traditional California Spanish Colonial style
Hello Old Hollywood Glamour with a twist
Here's an example of one of the rooms.
What do you think?
I appreciate the details such as the heated flooring in the bathrooms and the ipads for ordering from room service.
And here is the new Wolfgang Puck restaurant which will serve...
are you ready for this...
California - Mediterranean cuisine...
what a surprise!
Here's the bar.
It's still kinda clubby....kinda.

A new La Prairie has been added
are you curious about the prices for the treatments?
A manicure is $60
a microdermabrasion facial is $270
and
a white caviar illuminating facial is $1,000
So serene but I won't be booking spa services there anytime soon.

At least the pool and and the gardens look pretty much the same.

(my photos.... that's why they are blurry)


The hotel will be open this week for guests and the restaurant and bar will be open to the general public in November.

The hotel's website says the usual stuff about corporate responsibility including low resource usage and core values, but there is a rumor that the Dorchester Group laid off all of the old employees who had worked at the hotel for years and replaced them with younger workers.  I hope that this isn't the case. 
I will miss the lovely blond lady who was the hostess of the restaurant.  She always remembered me and would greet me with "Hello Mrs. R, it's so lovely to see you again".
Certainly beautiful rooms and amenities are important for any high end hotel
but nothing beats personalized service.
Don't you agree?
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5 comments:

déjà pseu said...

I agree. Beautiful decor pales in comparison to spectacular service. The pool area looks so inviting, especially with today's heat!

helen tilston said...

Not knowing how it looked before I have little to compare but feel it must have been grand. The new look is pleasing and modern and no doubt many like this look. I prefer the old world charm and grandeur - and yes staff and customer service is everything.

Thank you Helen xx

David Toms said...

Now it does look rather swish! I kind of like the clubby look of the bar! Can't wait for your take on Liz's bijoux

Bourbon&Pearls said...

Can't believe I missed this post, I'll have to wait till I see it in the flesh but I loved the old rooms, we used to stay in a great suite with a big fireplace and it really felt like a home rather than a hotel, now, on the surface it just looks like a run of the mill big ritzy hotel.

The Preppy Princess said...

It looks like they really did a beautiful job, the pool is gorgeous. Last time I was there was probably at least 8 or 9 years ago, but even then it desperately showed its age. Can't wait to see it in person hopefully!

Sending you a smile,
tp

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