Wolfgang Puck, La Prarie at the Remodeled Hotel Bel-Air
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The Hotel Bel-Air, a six decade-old symbol of Los Angeles glamour, has announced in a press release that it will reopen its doors in October 2011. The property has undergone a dramatic two-year-long redesign and renovation, which was supposed to be completed by this July but will evidently take several months more. The restoration has been a collaborative effort between two noted design teams, Alexandra Champalimaud and Rockwell Group. The team has taken great pains to preserve the hotel's well-known and individualistic aesthetic. The exterior of the Spanish Colonial-style building remains painted in a shade of "Bel-Air pink," while the interiors evoke an Old-Hollywood charm reminiscent of the 1940s and '50s, when the hotel experienced its advent.
The Hotel Bel-Air was part of the original Bel-Air Estates area, which was purchased and developed by Alphonzo E. Bell in 1922, according to the hotel's official history. The building that initially housed Bell's estate planning and sales offices still stands today and has served as the hotel's main building since it opened in 1946. In that year, hotel entrepreneur Joseph Drown purchased 18 acres in Bel-Air and created a luxurious hideaway that soon became frequented by Hollywood élite and wealthy jet setters. The Sultan of Brunei's luxury hotel firm, The Dorchester Collection, eventually bought the hotel, adding it to a roster of properties that includes the Beverly Hills Hotel, the New York Palace, and the Hôtel Plaza Athénée in Paris. The firm decided to temporarily close the Hotel Bel-Air in September 2009 for the renovation.
Since then, the historic hotel has added a massive 12,000 square foot Spanish mission style structure that now contains a new bell tower, fitness studio, and three loft guest rooms. The 4,134 square foot spa is being serviced by the luxury Swiss beauty brand La Prarie, which has also given Hotel Bel-Air exclusive rights among American hotels to provide an in-room amenity line of their bath and body products. The property's 103 guest rooms and suites are joined by 12 new accommodations, some of which have outdoor fireplaces and decks with private infinity pools. Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck and his company, the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group (WPFDG), are overseeing all of the property's food and beverage operations. The centerpiece of their culinary endeavors is a restaurant called Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air, which will serve modern California cuisine with European and Mediterranean influences.
Reservations at the Hotel Bel-Air opened on June 1, with rates starting at a hefty $565 a night. Returning guests will be pleased to know that the hotel's signature swans have remained at the its "Swan Lake" during the whole restoration process. These birds, too, will enjoy only the best amenities--namely, a new circulation pump that, in the words of the hotel's press release, will give them "the clearest water [in which] to glide."