‘Anything is possible, it’s Hotel Bel Air’ says my waiter, Mr Rafael Rojasu. It’s not only the impeccable and preemptive service but it’s also one of the most unique locations in Los Angeles that makes Hotel Bel Air literally better than the rest.
The 103-room hotel and spa is nestled deep in the exclusive residential hamlet of Bel Air and is set across 12 acres of lush gardens complete with swan lakes and redwood groves. The anticipation built as we took a right at Lil Wayne’s house and headed north off Sunset Boulevard, winding our way further and further into the opulent residential ravine.
Pulling up to the hotel for my dinner reservation was like being enveloped in the generous bosom of the glorious Kate Upton. We were greeted by a hoard of valet parkers in white vests, striped shirts, and Chuck Taylor high-tops. As my Uber driver drove off into the darkness the magic truly began. The garden with its 200 species of plants and flowers hummed with insects as we walked through the Porte Cochère and over a delicate foot bridge into the Alexandra Champalimaud designed lobby.
The feel of the hotel is warm and elegant and is a contemporary take on Hollywood Regency. The limestone fireplaces, plush cream sofas and sand-coloured marble create a serene setting that is as relaxed as it is refined. One of the things I like most about Hotel Bel Air is that it isn’t stuffy, it’s the embodiment of understated opulence.
We made our way outside onto the sparkling garden terrace for dinner at the hotel’s signature restaurant Wolf Gang Puck. A sprinkling of smart diners were clinking glasses and bathing in the warm glow of the candlelight. A well-known film producer slouched back into his seat to my right and a gentleman with gold teeth who I later found out was a lesser-known member of the A$AP crew popped bottles to my left.
The $265.00US a serve Royal Ostera Caviar seemed like a fitting choice given the #YoungMoney surrounds but instead we threw caution to the wind opting for a first round of succulent Prime Beef Tartare. Complete with a tower of sourdough crisps and blanketed in Horseradish snow, it was a brilliant dish to kick off the WGP experience.
I pardoned myself and headed to the little boys room, which wasn’t so little. I wondered how many pro basket ballers had fathered children in this here lavish marble palace. As I marvelled at myself in the full-length mirror I knew I was now ruined for all other bathrooms.
I returned to a tuna steak thicker than Amber Roses jiggle accompanied by a superb Santa Barbra Tyler Pinot Noir. Just like I like my bitches the greens were both petite and organic. A combination of shaved fennel and radish spritzed with an aged sherry vinaigrette was a fresh and crunchy break from the dense tuna. Wolf Gang Puck also does wicked Truffle Parmesan fries that aren’t on the menu but can be whipped up upon request.
I love a chef that doesn’t go all ‘Cake Boss’ on a dessert menu (who the fuck really needs a life-size red velvet recreation of Shakirah?). The dessert offering was simple but of impeccable quality with a decadent 50 bean vanilla ice cream, comforting home made cookies and a delectable platter of sweets served on a heavy slate tile. Before I knew it I was emerging from my food coma covered in tears of joy.
Whilst contemplating the meaning of life and how I would physically move from the table without assistance and a sturdy bellboy cart I reached for a much-needed digestif and was greeted by an aromatic and stormy Hennessy VS Cognac.
It was time to quite literally walk it off and the opulent grounds provided a beautiful space to explore and wonder. Hotel Bel Air is one of Los Angeles true treasures and after making meaningful eye contact with a swan on the way out the night certainly become one of my most memorable travel experiences I have had yet.
With special thanks to:
Hotel Bel Air
701 Stone Canyon Rd,
Los Angeles, CA 90077,