Nestled in the canyons of Los Angeles lies an oasis in the Hotel Bel-Air, a secret hideaway that celebrities, billionaires, luxury enthusiasts and those seeking absolute privacy can agree is one of the best hideaways in all of Los Angeles. Since opening in 1946, this stunning property, now managed by The Dorchester Collection, has been an escape for the rich and famous. Hollywood celebrities and world dignitaries such as Grace Kelly, Jackie Gleason, Cary Grant, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe stayed here in Hollywood’s heyday, while, today, the likes of modern day royalty such as Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman have enjoyed its serenity. It’s rich in history, and has a timeless, yet endlessly opulent feel. This is the place that Grace Kelly fell asleep mere hours after winning the 1954 Academy Award for her role in The Country Girl: the Grace Kelly suite is named so because Kelly had chosen the bungalow for her post-Oscar photo shoot and lived at the hotel prior to her marriage to Prince Rainier Grimaldi III. It is a place where Marilyn Monroe sneaked around wearing a dark veil, and packed the walk-in closet of her suite with approximately 558 pairs of shoes. It is where, in 1974, President Richard Nixon worked on his memoirs, specifically in the Swan Lake suite. It is where Robert Wagner once held a job as a pool boy, where Sophia Loren and Carlo Ponti spent their wedding night and the inspiration behind Jo Malone’s famous fragrance, Orange Blossom. Though the hotel has significant old Hollywood ties, it’s also a place where those who enjoy the very best in life will adore in present day, a paradise of relaxation and indulgence. Here are seven ways to pamper yourself in absolute privacy at the beautiful Hotel Bel-Air.
- The Suite Life. There are some extremely amazing suites at the Hotel Bel-Air, such as the Swan Lake suite (a favorite of Richard Nixon’s), the Grace Kelly suite, the Presidential suite and the Chalon suite. You can literally lose yourself in the latter; you might just feel like a vintage Hollywood-era starlet thanks to the suite’s mid-century architecture and timeless vibe. The suite overlooks the hotel’s picture-perfect gardens and features a private patio with a sitting area and a Jacuzzi. A luxurious great room, two bedrooms and two and half bathrooms also make this one of the largest suites on premise. Guests who book will have literally everything taken care of, including round trip LAX airport transfers and welcome bottle of Krug Champagne. The Hotel Bel-Air truly wants you to have an easy, organic experience. There are iPads in the room on which to order room service, heated bathroom floors, the ability to flick your drapes closed with one switch, a rain shower, a spa tub with a built-in TV and luxurious, ultra-comfy Fili D’Oro 310 thread count Egyptian cotton bed linens. It’s bliss.
- Enjoy Fine Dining In A Secret Spot. The hotel’s main eatery is helmed by none other than restaurateur to the stars Wolfgang Puck. In addition to the Austrian chef’s beautifully prepared fare, you’ll be doing so in a restaurant that’s all alcove. You can hide away in secret booths, or, conversely, eat underneath the stars if you wish. In addition to the elegantly prepared dinners, the hotel also offers a Sunday brunch here: the three-course menu includes a glass of champagne or a Bellini, plus a choice of dishes such as the H.B.A. Benedict, Poached Eggs, White Cheddar Biscuit, Maple Hollandaise; Huevos Rancheros, Black Beans, Ranchero Salsa Avocado, Cotija Cheese, Corn Tostadas; Blueberry-Buttermilk Pancakes, 100% Pure Vermont Maple Syrup, Salted Maple Butter; and Japanese BBQ Salmon Salad, Cucumber, Avocado, Pickled Vegetables, Seaweed, Baby Lettuce and Ponzu. There’s also a lovely afternoon tea time-honored tradition of afternoon tea which includes a “Little Royals” tea menu for children under 12.
- Have a Private Picnic. If you want to have a romantic afternoon, or just simply want to escape by yourself, the hotel offers yet another way to do so with its Bel-Air Basket. Chef Puck and his team have created gourmet picnic baskets that you can enjoy around Swan Lake, by the pool or in whatever little alcove on or off property you might find. Guests wishing for a more elaborate set-up beside the enchanting Swan Lake including pillows, extra blankets and food items creatively displayed.
- Spa In Serenity. The five-diamond Spa by La Prairie is one of the few La Prairie spas anywhere in America, which says enough. The high-end Swiss brand offers the ultimate indulgences in treatment, such as the Caviar Luxury—a $560 affair that uses the skincare line’s decadent Caviar Luxe Cream to effectively firm and revitalize. 60 minutes of indulgent La Prairie Signature Caviar Massage followed by a 90 minute Ultimate Caviar Lift Facial will leave you feeling exquisite. Even if you’re not enjoying a facial or massage, you can still relax in The Enclave, a 570+ square foot sprawling private suite, which boasts a shower, bathtub and shaded patio with soothing waterfall and outdoor seating. The Enclave, which fits up to 10 people, is ideal for those who wish to luxuriate in privacy and treat themselves to the ultimate in pampering.
- The Perfect Place For A Romantic Rendezvous. You can meet a stranger on a train, and you just might meet one in the mysterious and old-school Bar & Lounge. With its central fireplace, grand piano and wood-paneled walls, this upscale bar will truly transport you back to the atmosphere of Hollywood’s golden age. An inventive cocktail menu pays homage to the classics while also celebrating an inspired new wave of mixology that incorporates house-made infusions and elixirs. It’s somewhere you can easily imagine meeting someone for a romantic assignation—and no, we don’t mean a Tinder date.
*The Hotel Bel-Air keeps things fresh to balance out its timelessness. New initiatives this summer include the designer cake program, which takes edible art to a new level;the summer barbecue series, where guests enjoy Texas-style slow-cooked meats, savoring the sweet and spicy flavors of Kansas City’s signature sauces, or discovering the unique smoky flavors of an authentic Argentine asado, with some of the best chefs in the world such as Francis Mallmann and Nancy Silverton; cool and complimentary poolside amenities such as frozen banana pops, fruit granita, fruit brochettes, frozen cheesecake pops and complimentary sunglass cleaning; and essential summertime cocktails like the Barrel Aged Negroni, which ages for six to four weeks to produce a smooth and flavorful drink comprised of three brands of premium gin, Campari and Carpano sweet vermouth, Pins & Needles, made with Tanqueray “10” Gin, rosemary, cucumber, and lemon juice, and Aleeto’s Way, made with Patron Añejo Tequila, Aperol, and lemon juice.