Monday, January 28, 2008

Los Angeles Favorites: Hotel Bel-Air

I'm usually one who prefers modern day conveniences and accommodations over places that rely on "character" as part of their allure. When looking for houses a few years ago, I had to stop my realtor who started off by showing us a lot of older homes with such "character" until I told her that I was from the suburbs of Southern California, home of the tract homes, where the only thing that separates your house from the other is the color paint you chose, and even then, it was easy to get confused sometimes. My one exception to this rule is the lovely Hotel Bel-Air tucked away in Stone Canyon in Los Angeles. The hotel is older, and you won't find the updated marble tubs in their standard suite bathrooms that you do in newer hotels, but just pulling up to the entrance and viewing the lush gardens makes you feel as if you've stepped into a different time period and after driving through traffic, there is an instant sense of serenity. A pot of tropical tea awaits you in your room after you've checked in. The hotel is also special to me as that is where my husband and I spent our wedding night right before departing for our honeymoon the following day and also where I had taken my then future mother-in-law for afternoon tea to have our first serious conversation together.

We've made it a tradition since then to try and go back for every anniversary. Now that we've kissed clubbing days goodbye, after dinner out on the town, we enjoy coming back to the very calm and adult piano lounge in the hotel where you can snack on mini-burgers and truffle fries in a dark library-like setting. The service is impeccable as evinced by the fact that we had mentioned we were celebrating our 5th anniversary there in conversation with our server, and at breakfast mind you, were served a mini-dessert complete with candle to honor the occasion. There are quite a few amenities like the famed Swan Lake and their swimming pool that the hotel is known for, but it's worth checking out their website to see all that can be experienced.

Photo 1: Hotel Bel-Air

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