Los Angeles, California – Reported by Elite Traveler, the private jet magazine
Hotel Bel-Air, one of the Dorchester Collection hotels, will reopen July 2011 after 22 months of extensive renovation and redesign. The thoughtful restoration is a collaborative effort between two internationally renowned design teams, Alexandra Champalimaud and Rockwell Group. The design for the renovation was inspired by the unique and legendary character of the hotel, known for giving guests the sense of being in a luxurious private residence surrounded by gardens. The redesign celebrates the landscape by effortlessly blending the indoor and outdoor experience. Most of the historic elements are being restored while adding classic contemporary fixtures and state-of-the-art technology to encourage exciting juxtapositions between past and present.
Entrusted with the role of lead design firm for the project, Champalimaud was commissioned to set the design style for most of the interiors and exteriors including; a new reception and boutique, new lobby lounge, all guestrooms, suites and bathrooms, 12 new hillside accommodations, the spa and three guest lofts located within the new spa building. Champalimaud also worked closely with the landscape designer to define the exterior language of the hotel’s 12 lush acres. The hotel selected eco-friendly celebrity landscape designer Jon Goldstein, founder of Jonny Appleseed Landscaping, Inc.
Champalimaud’s design creates a new generation of Bel-Air aesthetic; contemporary, fresh and extremely comfortable while evoking a lifestyle inspired by themes of past Los Angeles eras. The glamorous decades of the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s are represented through an eclectic selection of furnishings and color. Relaxed residential style interiors set within Spanish Colonial architecture call to mind graceful living with international flair. Guestrooms will feature custom limestone floors and natural wood ceilings with rich finishes and textures melded to create a confident style that is clean, full of light and elegant. A new lobby lounge nestled next to the familiarly fragrant orange tree overlooking Swan Lake will be warm and inviting, a perfect spot for tea or conversation, the heart center of the Hotel.
The hotel will reopen with a total of 103 guestrooms and suites, featuring 12 new accommodations built into the hillside offering sweeping canyon views, expansive sliding glass walls, outdoor fireplaces and spacious decks with private infinity edge spa pools. All of the guestrooms and suites will have larger bathrooms with separate shower and bath, and heated floors. There will be seven individually designed specialty suites including the famed Grace Kelly Suite and a new Presidential Suite compound with 6,775 square feet of indoor and outdoor living space. This suite will offer private dining for 10, a chef’s kitchen, a study, great room with grand piano, and a private pool located within a private Spanish courtyard. The Hotel’s original oval pool will remain the same with the added feature of underwater acoustics.
“We strive to create the essence of home in our canyon oasis and I look forward to sharing the magic of this property with our loyal clientele and new guests for many decades to come,” said Hotel Bel-Air General Manager Tim Lee.
A new 12,000-square-foot spa has been added, which will include three guest lofts with open floor plans, doubled-sided fireplaces and dramatically high ceilings. The spa will showcase seven treatment rooms including a private couples’ room, as well as a 24-hour fitness center. World class La Prairie will manage the spa, and La Prairie products will be used as amenities in all of the guestrooms. The entire spa building will feature the highest acoustical standards to guarantee a most peaceful experience.
While maintaining the hotel’s signature style and intimate feel, Rockwell Group is restoring the dining environments and several public spaces including the famous hotel bar, restaurant and terrace, grand ballroom, executive boardroom and public washrooms. The redesign calls to mind the return to gracious entertainment to embody the glamour of the Golden Age of Hollywood conveyed in a youthful, fresh and elegant manner.
Rockwell Group has extended the famous hotel bar into the outdoors with the addition of two “garden niches” keeping its cozy club feeling inside with a grand piano and familiar wood paneling, which has been given a fresh look. Additionally, there will be a separate bar on The Terrace for year round enjoyment. A new retractable screen will allow for outdoor dining regardless of weather and the stone floors will remain heated. In the dining room, every guest will feel close to the gardens with the expansion of an indoor/outdoor patio. The dining room will feature multiple glass wine cellars displaying over 2400 bottles and the largest will be a central focal point and will separate the main and private dining rooms. The Grand Ballroom and pre-function rooms have been completely reconfigured to host a total of 228 people and will flow perfectly between the inside and new outdoor elements. The interiors are designed with soft tones, allowing for each specific event to create the color scheme. The executive boardroom will comfortably seat 14 for business meetings and feature video conferencing.
The hotel will reopen with the most advanced, state-of–the-art technology. The new high-speed WiFi network will ensure gadgets work at optimum speed. And the addition of the hotels own mobile antenna will allow for mobile phone signals throughout the property for all major carriers. A voice over IP system will be installed and each guest will be given a dedicated number to avoid going through the main hotel line for ultimate privacy. With the new TV system, guests will have the ability to set a wake up call, order room service, check their bill, control their guestroom temperature and mood lighting from their bedside. And with the new I-Phone interface guests can take it a step further and do the same from their I-Phone anywhere on property. For the first time in the United States, Bang and Olufsen® high definition flat screen televisions, including a 65” version in the new Presidential Suite, will be installed in every guestroom.
In additional to the upgrade of technology and infrastructure, a new more efficient power plant has been installed to lower energy use throughout the property. Water consumption will be reduced by using practices such as the storage and subsequent use of grey water for landscaping, recycling water in Swan Lake and using indoor conservation technologies such as low-flow toilets and fixtures in every guest room.
The beloved signature Bel-Air swans have remained at Swan Lake during the entirety of the restoration process, enjoying a new circulation pump giving them the clearest water to glide in. The installation of the new pumps will save Los Angeles 50,000 gallons of water a year.