Monday, September 28, 2009
the bel air hotel

This is one of the most beautiful settings of any Hotel I've ever seen....just the placement of this very elegant yet comfortable Hotel, is quite amazing. And because it is mostly a one-story building--two stories here and there, you wouldn't even know it is there in the heart of a Residential area called Bel Air----probably the most beautiful Residential Area in Los Angeles....and one of the oldest and most expensive. There are a couple of gates leading into the Bel Air section with it's winding hilly streets. This is one of the Gates....Bel Air is an area that is next to Beverly Hills-Holmby Hills on the East side, and north of Westwood and UCLA, above Sunset Blvd., on the South side, and on the West side it stops just about where the 405 Freeway cuts through the Sepulveda Pass..... You cannot really tell a lot from the picture above, except that on the right side of the Freeway is where Bel Air stops. Most of it is not in this picture....... This picture above was taken from the new Getty Museum which is on the Brentwood side of the Freeway, West of Bel Air. You can't really tell much from this picture either, except that there are a lot of houses on the crest of that Hill.....Again, this is the West side view of the back section of Bel Air. And to the North are the Santa Monica Mountains and there are many homes that go up to the crest of the hill. The San Fernando Valley lies on the other side of that hill. Mulholland Drive is pretty much where Bel Air ends, although not completely...... This is one of the other gates to Bel Air, above.....And the first gate I showed you was the West Gate, so called because it is further West on Sunset Blvd.....These gates are what they call 'faux gates' because they are not closed or locked in any way, though Bel Air is patrolled as are many communities in the Hills..... The gates just kind of set off the area in a very elegant way.....The homes in lower Bel Air---the houses closest to Sunset Blvd.----are the most prized and 'dear', mostly because of their proximity to Sunset Blvd. and Westwood.
Most houses are behind walls and gates but of course, here and there, one can see the houses themselves, mostly as you go way up in the more mountainous areas.....Bel Air is a very rarefied area. The homes range in price capping out at $75mil. (and more....!) to some homes that sell for around $2 or $3 million, and everything in-between....Of course, these low end homes are not the most prized pieces of property.....Often people buy these homes because of the zip code, and the name of the area. I know that sounds pretty shallow, doesn't it? Well, one would have to say, it probably is. Bel Air is all residential except for two prime properties: The Bel Air Country Club, a 'private' club complete with Golf Course and all the amenities,.....and The Bel Air Hotel.I love this Hotel. I truly do. There is this beautiful Pond with the Swans swimming about, and the incredibly beautiful foliage that is planted everywhere.......I've never stayed in any of the rooms there but I have seen quite a few of them. Over the many years I have lived here in Los Angeles---since February 1st, 1961----I have had many Lunches and Dinners in the beautiful dining areas, which are really really lovely and all relatively small with an intimacy hard to find in most Hotels. The Hotel itself is rather small....Only about 91 rooms...(52 Rooms and 39 Suites---no two alike, either).....And over the years I have actually also Officiated at two Weddings on the grounds there---both of these Weddings were really lovely affairs, mostly because of the setting, which is so very very pretty.
Above is this lovely area right next to the Pond and The Swans, where both the Weddings I officiated at were held. The Bride and Groom stand under the Gazebo. It doesn't look very wide, but it actually seats a great many people. Here below, you can see it set-up for a Wedding. I know they can seat somewhere between two hundred and fifty to three hundred people in this very sweet area...... Then, there is another area where they have the receiving line and Cocktails and Hor's Deuvres right after the ceremony.....It too is very beautiful....lots of big trees and this great feeling of privacy---as if you were in your own backyard or a relatives back yard......
This area can be used for larger Weddings of more than three hundred people....But I think most people choose the Bel Air Hotel because of it's intimacy.....If one is going to have that many more people at one's Wedding, there are many other venues that are probably more appropriate
The building to the left in the picture above is where the sit-down dinners are held after the reception.....It too, has an intimate feeling and yet is large enough to accommodate a very large number of guests, plus the Band and the Dance Floor......And just from these pictures one has no real sense of the actual Hotel, accept for that sort-of small Tower in the background in the picture above.....And that is the attraction of the whole place.....It is truly a beautiful Oasis of calm in a city that is so very busy and crowded and hurried......
This Mission style Hotel is so secluded that you might think you are passing by a private home....But of course, there are the discreetly Tiled Entry's announcing where you are, as you see above in that very first picture......But the truth is, you could easily pass it all by without a second thought. Absolutely nothing about that setting screams "HOTEL" or even whispers 'hotel' either.....! And that is why people love it. It is very small and very private....perfect for people who want to stay in an out of the way yet very first class Hotel......

More To Come........

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had this to say:

This is truly a lovely hotel and so secluded. I've not had the privilege of going there, but now I have - virtually, thanks to you.

Thanks also for your comments about the demands on actors skills in Soaps. All those lines so frequently, they must have fun with some improvisation. Recall having a weekend to learn female lead lines for "Witness for the Prosecution" (amateur production) due to a cast members emergency.
Challenging, especially first time.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 4:43:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

That's one of those places where you expect to see Cary Grant enjoying coffee with Audrey Hepburn on the terrace. A backdrop for a more gentile era.


Monday, September 28, 2009 at 6:40:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Whenever I'm feeling stressed or even just a little bit "down," a visit to your blog makes me feel better. Thank you.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 7:42:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Lovely photos, Naomi. I have been hearing about that hotel for many years, but I've never seen it. It's a wonderful setting for weddings!

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 8:02:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Naomi, this was such a lovely post. So many times I have read about celebrity weddings at the Bel-Air Hotel, and always wondered what that luxurious place was like ... now I know! You are really taking us on a tour of how the other half (of one-quarter of one percent, that is) lives, and I'm enjoying every minute of it. Thanks so much, especially for all the pictures.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 8:33:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Thank you so much for the tour that I can only guess I would have to sell two family members to do on my own.
There truly is a quiet,private sense to the grounds and dining areas. It does seem to step back in time. Some how expect to see croquet mallets leaning against the wall.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 9:43:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I love visiting elegant hotels and I would love to see the Bel Air Hotel. Great post, I love learning these things!

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 11:40:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

This hotel looks beautiful, but unfortunately, I don't suppose I shall ever have the good fortune to spend a night there. So I shall have to rely on your description and memories of the place!

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 2:34:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I love all the giant trees
and the pink chairs leading to the wedding gazebo

such a pretty place

I've been watching the show 'Flipping Out', the main character amuses the hell out of me
he does a lot of external shots in Bel Air and always refers to it as one of the most expensive zip codes in the country

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 3:35:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Nice! You made me want more so I found this Hotel Bel-Air video on youtube and it really is so lovely.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 10:44:00 PM PDT 

Anonymous Shawn Flannigan
had this to say:

hi naomi...
great post, as always!.....and timely too.....the hotel is closing october 1st for major renovations

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 1:52:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

wow Naomi.. you sure were in the mood for seeing some beauty to post those photos! Absolutely gorgeous! It's one of those things you look at and say "ohhh so this is how the rich live!" I just wonder if they look around and see all the beauty there is there?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 4:02:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

The Bel Air and the Beverly Hills hotels are two of the places that always spoke of glamour to me when I was young. When I see banana leaves, I immediately think of the Polo Lounge and again, old school/Hollywood glamour and sophistication! Cocktails, dear lady? ;~D xoxox

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 10:35:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I'd love to stay there for a while. My partner plays golf, so who knows, maybe we will!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 1:27:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

What a beautiful hotel as it should be. Loved the pictures, very beautiful. I have heard of this hotel but never seen photos of it, thank you for sharing with us.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 3:44:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Great photos of Bel Air Hotel, Naomi! I saw many times ago a reportage on tv about this Hotel and it really looks a wonderful, charming and gorgeous place!
I would love to have lunches and dinners there with you! Lol!
Thanks for sharing these beautiful post!

PS: I left a comment just a few minutes ago, but my internet shut off, so if there is another comment here, please, delete it. Thank you.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 4:07:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Wow I love how you take me on my own private tour of Southern CA! Probably the closest I will ever get but oh well!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 6:50:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Wow! Looks like a lovely place!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 7:57:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

It doesn't look like any hotel I've ever seen! It's private and elegant and really doesn't look like a hotel at all.

Who wouldn't want to attend a wedding in the beautiful gazebo area?? It's my favorite photo!

I also love those fancy gates! It's just an amazing area all the way around. I'd LOVE to visit someday!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 8:42:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I know there is always a reason to visit LA again because during my last two visits, I did not visit Beverly Hill & Bel Air ;(

Now I just have to visit because besides Beverly Hill & Bel Air, I have Naomi & Seemah too :D

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 11:06:00 PM PDT 

Anonymous Anonymous
had this to say:

Funny coincidence...I was watching the movie "The Last of Sheila" the other day and noticed the neon Bel Air sign just before Sheila is hit by a car.
I thought it was odd that a town sign would be in neon...I thought that it might have been a movie prop.
Well, I see in your picture that a neon Bel Air sign really does stand there.
It actually looked nice lit up at night in the movie.
Thanks, Kevin

Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 12:43:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Wow beautiful.. Very beautiful. I have heard so much about that area growing up.. Never been there but have heard so much about it.. Amazing. thanks for sharing it..

Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 12:56:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Hello Naomi! That's a glamourous looking hotel and I think I've heard Bel Air hotel on some movies or TV series but I can't seem to remember which one. I just had this deja vu feeling when I saw the name of the hotel in your post!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 1:58:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Here is the link. You are more than welcome to publish this and let everyone visit my ebay account if they want to see what I have up for now. I had quite a lot of stuff go off yesterday havent relisted any of it yet.. So let me know and I will relist some of my stuff. N..

Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 5:20:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

It is a lovely property in a beautiful location... very "retreat" oriented. It's wonderful that you have some very special memories of having visited there. : )

Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 5:32:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Naomi, I just so enjoy reading your post for moments I feel like I'm there and seeing and smelling the beauty of the landscape and all the noise and smells of a great hotel and area.

Your descriptions are so clear and yet simple it's hard not to feel what you have felt when you traveled and were there enjoying parties and visits with friends. You should write a book I could live vicariously through your life and I think a lot of your friends would agree you have a lot to share.

Hugs to you my lady..

Dorothy from grammology

Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 5:46:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

It is lovely!

I need to go there and hide for a few days :)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 8:39:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

oooooo, I feel like I've just been given a guided tour. I love it! I'd love to stay there....or attend a wedding in those gardens.

sorry I havent been by much lately. Life got busier (in a good good way) and it seems as though my days got shorter. Good thing insomnia kicks in every now and then! :)

Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 11:49:00 PM PDT 

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Name: OldOldLady Of The Hills
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