It’s the most wonderful time of the year … at the Hotel Bel-Air. Whether checking in for a cozy winter getaway or joining friends and family for a festive holiday dinner, you have picked the perfect place to enjoy the holiday season. Built in 1946 in a fashion that can only be described as California mission-style; with its rose-colored cozy bungalows, the hotel is about as elite a hideaway as you can find. Tucked away off Stone Canyon, hidden by wild vines of bougainvillea and night blooming jasmine; nestled among the mansions of L.A.’s most exclusive neighborhood on 12 acres, the hotel is a true architectural California classic.
The holiday spirit swirls around you; the hotel is mapped by terracotta paths with twinkling lights, festive gold garland and peppered with white poinsettias throughout the property. The smell of the “eucalyptus wood”, burning from the (in room) -real wood- fireplaces, blankets the property like a cozy cashmere throw. As you enter the grounds, a trickling stream flows into the small pond which is home to the hotel’s famous flock of swans — they have become the ambassadors and insignia of the property — that certainly transport you into another place and time.
Few hideaways in Southern California offer such a blissful combination of California charm and understated opulence. The bungalows are all uniquely designed, and in keeping with its California style, feature neutral tones and milled wood accents. Special room touches include cozy “tubs for two,” heated floors throughout the bathrooms, and their own line of luxe linens. During the holidays, guests are greeted with champagne and seasonal yummy treats.
Throughout the holidays, Hotel Bel-Air will host festive holiday meals in the hotel’s only restaurant, Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air. Starting with a traditional Thanksgiving dinner—as only California’s own celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck can prepare—the festivities continue on into December with a classic Christmas Eve dinner and the wildly popular Christmas Day Brunch. Adding a classic touch, holiday carolers will be performing nightly throughout the season. Want to ring in the New Year in true California style? The hotel will feature a live band throughout the evening and two (early and late) dinner seatings include champagne, party favors and balloons at midnight …sounds like a great time, add me to the guest list!
The hotel’s bar & lounge is one of my favorite holiday hangouts—an enchanting place for a holiday drink with old or new friends. It’s always a lively spot with its chic Hollywood vibe and big roaring fire. It’s also the perfect place to toast the holidays with classic cocktails and spirted offerings, including Baby It’s Cold Outside and Run Run Rudolph. Live music serenades the senses nightly and complimentary seasonal “bar bites” are offered throughout the holiday season.
What a special time to be in Southern California … celebrating with loved ones, sparkling ornaments everywhere and twinkling lights a glow, the enchanting setting of Hotel Bel-Air becomes even more magical during this festive time. It truly is the “most wonderful time of the year.”
- Liz Taylor spent a month at Hotel Bel-Air following her first wedding to Conrad “Nicky” Hilton.
- The hotel’s most famous permanent residents: Chloe, Hercules, Athena and Odette are 4 large white Swans that live on the property.
- Marilyn Monroe who lived at Hotel Bel-Air on and off for more than a decade during her marriages to Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller, posed for photographer Bert Stern at Hotel Bel-Air just 6 weeks prior to her tragic death. The 1962 shoot commissioned by Vogue resulted in thousands of images and a published book, The Last Sitting.
- Romantic? I’d say so … the hotel is host to 40 weddings a year.
- The property sits on 12 acres in the heart of Los Angeles’s Bel-Air In the 1930s it was home to Bell’s estate planning and sales offices as well as the Bel-Air Horse Riding Stables, where residents could board their horses and enjoy the miles of equestrian trails winding through the canyons. Sounds Devine!
- Rumor has it Santa hangs stockings filled with treats on all the guestroom doors every Christmas Eve.
- Robert Wagner was once a pool boy at Hotel Bel-Air.
- In 1992, Anjelica Huston, the Academy Award-Winning actress, married Robert Graham at Hotel Bel-Air. The guests included Mick Jagger, Lauren Bacall, Warren Beatty and Annette Bening, Meryl Streep, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Joe Pesci, Penny Marshall, Carrie Fisher, David Hockney, Lauren Hutton and Harry Dean Stanton.
- Perfumer Jo Malone’s Orange Blossom fragrance was inspired by the scent of a summer night at the Hotel Bel-Air.
- Perhaps the most celebrated guest in the hotel’s history—that is impressive considering the list of world leaders who have spent time there which includes Ronald and Nancy Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev, Margaret Thatcher, and Prince Charles—was Princess Grace of Monaco, who was such a fixture, she has a deluxe suite named after her.