Less than a month ago, I was driving along the canyons of Bel Air, high on the gorgeous scents of citrus, pine and jasmine, on my way to the Hotel Bel Air, nested in the heights of Stone Canyon Road, in what seems to be an oasis of silence in the middle of West Los Angeles. The first thing that struck me was how lush and diverse the flora was – orange trees abound, of course, but they are joined by multiple variety of trees, flowers and bushes only found in this part of the world. I am no specialist, but it was a real treat to discover a new aspect of the Californian landscape.
I was staying in a Bel Air suite with its own outdoors area and jacuzzi which suited us perfectly as we were only there for a night and so were quite happy to enjoy some family time in our garden. We did go to sit by the legendary oval-shaped pool, where Marilyn Monroe was once photographed by Bert Stern in what would sadly be her last shoot, compiled in the book The Last Sitting. Much like its sister properly the Beverly Hills Hotel, the Bel Air is filled with atmosphere and stories from the Classic days of Hollywood. Grace Kelly, Cary Grant, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe were all residents of the hotel at one point in time, you can only imagine what went on in there. It is still a favourite amongst Hollywood A-listers nowadays, especially the extremely luxurious presidential suite, with its own swimming pool and private access.
The sense of privacy there is magnified by the sheer size of the property with its 12 acres of land. We hardly saw anyone while we were there, even though the hotel was actually almost at capacity. Mini had the most wonderful time playing Little Explorer in the grounds, observing the flowers, making friends with the many pups wandering the grounds and of course living life fully in our suite and garden.
Our suite was as sublime as you would expect, decorated in a modern Californian style, with crisp white linens and beige accents here and there. I got really excited by the tech part of the room service: each room has an iPad to be used by guests – so far, nothing new as many hotels tend to do this nowadays – except the iPad is actually the command centre of your room (lights, heating, air con) but also your link to the rest of the hotel (ordering room service from there was a breeze). There is also information about local events, hotel menus and more. Always nice to see new technologies being used as more than just gadgets.
Hotel Bel Air
701 Stone Canyon Road
Los Angeles 90077
+1 (310) 472-1211
Scrumptious breakfast for three
Fountains in the gardens
The Grace Kelly suite
Our private garden and jacuzzi
Mademoiselle Robot was a guest of the Hotel Bel Air.
Rooms start at $515 per night, Bel Air Suites at $1420 per night.