Thursday, October 01, 2009
the bel air hotel - part 2

By the time you read this, the Bel Air Hotel will have closed it's doors for a two year renovation.....The many people who wanted to have their Weddings their have been switched to The Beverly Hills Hotel....another very beautiful location, but a very different ambiance, plus it is much much larger......If it were me, I would be deeply disappointed but, that is what is happening......They hope to re-open in eighteen months or at the very latest towards the end of 2011! In my previous post I showed you the Tiled Sign on the right side of the entry wall....this is the Tiled Sign on the left wall, as you turn into this rather small entry area.....The first things you see are in the picture below. Lots of lush foliage, a few cars parked in the rather small parking area, and a tree that has been treated so that if someone happens to back into it or side swipes it, it won't hurt the tree too badly or worse, kill the tree....Then you drive towards the dark green awning where the Valet Parking people wait to take wonderful care of you....... This was taken on Wednesday, September 24th, when Seemah took me out for a ride so I could take some pictures.....I had already started working on this post and thought it would be fun to get a few pictures, myself........This parking attendant was very very nice...... We told him we weren't parking because I was unable to go into the Hotel.....He is the one that told us that the Hotel would be closed in eight days. I had known it was going to close for this major renovation, but I had no idea it was to be that soon or forgot. So I was really glad that we actually got there on that day.......Below: The entry way into the Hotel itself is through here..... It's this stone Bridge that goes over part of the Pond.....And when you reach the other side of the Bridge, the Bel Air Hotel's small Lobby is to your right.....It looks like a lovely small sitting room---very inviting and comfortable and beautifully furnished........ And what you see above is almost the entire room....It gives you some idea of the intimacy of the Hotel......And when you are standing on that Bridge which does seem to be kind of like a moat, you can see the Pond with those beautiful Swans gliding about....... And below, a closer look at these lovely Swans..... When you are down near the Pond, there is a walkway that takes you directly under the Bridge....The foliage is so lush and beautiful....it is quite extraordinary......Below......A closer look at the stream running out of the Pond...you really feel like you are in some other magical place in the country somewhere.....Certainly not in the big city of Los Angeles. Here below, right under that Bridge...... This is just one of the many Walkways that take you all around this almost 12 Acre property.....There are lots of places to stop and sit and to contemplate life, if that is what you feel like doing....It is a very very Romantic place, too. And one is surrounded by so much natural beauty as you walk around or just sit and relax----it is like a meditation..... And a closer look at the Waterfall, below....... And below, another little area where one can sit and commune with nature or with someone you dearly love...... Part of the fun of being here at The Bel Air is discovering all the many areas that seem to be hidden away......Here below is a picture someone took in the evening...... Part of the grounds of the Hotel are on a hilly incline and that is why there are some staircases here and there.....But the Hotel itself is pretty much on flat land..... There are these Walkways that are part of the Hotel, itself. When going to have dinner or lunch there at The Hotel, this is one of the Walkways you probably will take ro get to their dining areas..... Many years ago, my dear friend Hanna and I had Thanksgiving Dinner here at The Bel Air. We both decided early on in the fall of that year that we wanted to do something different than we each usually would do----we both were always invited to different peoples homes---sometimes we were invited to the same home for Thanksgiving Dinner. For some reason, neither of us wanted to do whatever it was we usually did.....So, I suggested going to The Bel Air---just the two of us. She loved the idea! And even though we called about a month in advance, they were already almost completely sold out....The only thing available was a table in The Bar. We took it! And were happy to get it, I might add. And in fact, our table was the one waaaaay over to the right in the above picture---right next to the roaring fireplace. And it just happened to be a very cold day---cold for Los Angeles----so the fire was indeed roaring! It was a wonderful dinner and we were very happy with our decision. Some years later, we decided it might be nice to go to The Bel Air for an Easter Brunch.....that time we made our reservation a lot earlier---like the end of January! (lol) We had a lovely table-for-two, in the dining room..... It was in this lovely alcove that looked out onto the Patio where lots of other people were having their Easter Brunch, too. I sat with my back to the Patio, but turned around to see how busy it was and there sitting at a lovely round table for six, were Carroll and Nancy O'Connor, with their daughter-in-law and and her parents and their mutual grandchild----their dear son Hugh had died not quite a year before.Carroll had been a member of Theatre West for many many years---and actually kept up his membership until his death. Back in 1964, Hanna and Carroll had worked together at Theatre West in a one-act play that Carroll had written---a really wonderful little play. And in fact, Carroll had specifically written the part for Hanna, and they were both WONDERFUL in the play....I produced the evening of four-one acts, all written by Carroll, for Theatre West. When it was picked up to go on to a larger theatre, Carroll re-cast Hanna. Beside the fact that this was not an okay thing to do as far as Actors Equity (our Union) was concerned, it was really a deeply deeply hurtful thing to Hanna. Partly Carroll recast her because she didn't have a big enough name in the eyes of the Producers at this larger theatre. And in truth, Hanna never forgave him. Hungarians have long long memories.......And though over the years Hanna would see Carroll at different functions, including a Birthday of mine, she never warmed to him again. And seeing the O'Connors there at The Bel Air, I wanted to go outside to say hello to them. Hanna was not about to do that. Carroll and Nancy had been through so much with Hugh's death and though I understood how she felt, I very much wanted to say hello to them because my relationship with them was very different than Hanna's.

Over the years I had worked with Carroll on a couple of his own theatre projects---helping him cast a full length play of his for a reading, etc., etc., plus spending time with Nancy and Carroll many other times over the years----And I had gone to Hugh's funeral, but had not seen them since, till that afternoon at The Bel Air Hotel. It was lovely to see them and after a bit of small talk Carroll asked me who I was with....and I told him, "Your Nemesis, Hanna." "Oh", he said...."I should go in and say hello to her"....And I said, "That would be very very nice, Carroll, I think it would mean a lot to her." Carroll knew that what he had done all those years before was incredibly hurtful to her and in some way he wanted to make amends, if possible---even after so much time had gone by---I know he was disturbed about what he had done, because he had actually spoken to me about it at some point some years before. He knew that what he had done was not right in regard to Hanna, and that it wasn't really right for the play, either, but he had never really said anything to Hanna about any of this in all these years.....
So, he followed me back to our table and he was as charming and dear as he could be. Carroll had a kind of European charm about him that few American men have, and Hanna would always respond to that and in fact would be enchanted by almost any man that had this in-born gift.....Well, all I can say is, that small gesture---Carroll making the effort to come inside to see her, turned the whole thing around and Hanna forgave him and in fact, felt completely differently about him after that day and for the rest of her life. This is a lovely memory for me, now that both Hanna and Carroll are gone.....And it reminds me of what a special and beautiful Hotel this is and that miracles can actually happen here at The Bel Air Hotel.......
Here below is a lovely little video about The Bel Air Hotel. Enjoy!











More To Come.......







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27 Comments:
had this to say:

Just wow! Bel Air hotel is just oozing with elegance. It also looks like a romantic place to be for a first date or an anniversary. The place is not just lovely, full of history as well. I really love to stay there for a month perhaps only when I get rich lol!

Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 12:53:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

What a lovely story! Easter is about rebirth and that Easter was the rebirth of Hanna and Carroll's old friendship. I really love when you share these wonderful stories. As always, many thanks.

Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 1:04:00 AM PDT 

Anonymous Kevin Raftery
had this to say:

Just when you think there is nothing of interest on the internet today...you come across a little gem of a story like this--like so many of your wonderful stories I have already read. Kevin

Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 1:09:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

That is pretty special that you got over to take some pictures of the Bel Air yourself. Drive abouts are wonderful, aren't they?

I'm surprised they would close for a renovation right now! In this economy, when most businesses are stretching and trying to hold onto what incoming income they can... wow! They'll be spending $$ on renovations. Wow.

That is a very special story you shared, about your Thanksgiving dinner (how WAS the dinner, BTW?) and your Easter Brunch. Touching and special to be a part of a relationship revival.

Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 1:12:00 AM PDT 

Anonymous Anonymous
had this to say:

So lovely. You make me want to book a room and be pampered for a week (or two!). Nice entry.

Winnie

Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 3:04:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Hope it is truely a renovation and they don't "change." That would be criminal.
Lovely story about Carroll and Hanna. It is so hard to be in the middle of friends who are feuding.
Well done and so glad they put the past where it belonged,in the past.

Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 5:27:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Beautiful grounds. My guess is, though, they've got a "No Skinny-Dipping" rule.

Cheers.

Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 7:14:00 AM PDT 

Blogger Pat
had this to say:

Now I've got it clear in my head - the difference between Bel Air and Beverley Hills.
Obviously the man in the car park realised you were two repectable ladies and not two gals sussing the joint:)
I think your visit with Hanna was meant to happen so that she could be reconciled with Carroll. A lovely story with a happy ending.
That is an awfully long time to be closed- it looks perfection already.
BTW with the help of Pootle I fixed the TV BEFORE the engineers came. So I'm feeling a little smug.

Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 9:38:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

It is beginning to be autumn here in Virginia on this lovely day -- the dogwood leaves turning red -- and what a treat to be plunged into the lush (inside and out) tropical world of the Bel Air. I truly feel like I've been there. Thanks so much, Naomi -- you are the best tour guide ever!

I remember when Hugh O'Connor died and how Carroll did everything in his power to let people know about the awful people who killed him. He sounds like a dear man, not perfect, but which of us is? And I'm glad Hanna was so forgiving.

Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 10:19:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Absolutely gorgeous place, Naomi and the swans - magnificent. It was so nice of Carroll to go and speak to Hanna and mend the relationship, but I really with that she had been the bigger person and gone to speak to him first, under the circumstances.

Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 11:53:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Wow that is amazing again. What a place and you visit there??? I can believe it but then again its hard to.. Isnt it amazing what people can do years later after an incident esp knowing that one or the other is going to be gone in some way first or other.. I love the colors and the walk ways..

Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 4:39:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Great..I'll visit in 2 years' time hehehehehhe...

What a nice place to chill out with girlfriends Noami, I love it :D

Thank you for all the beautiful photos.

Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 5:19:00 PM PDT 

Blogger Mar
had this to say:

A hotel with class, beautiful setting, what delightful posts to read!

Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 8:02:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Beauty and miracles. Words and pictures. A perfectly paired story. Thank you for reminding us that romance lives in the garden- even in LA

Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 11:36:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Naomi....I want to live in that hotel! Do you think they'd let me move in while they were renovating? I promise I won't get in the way.

Simply stunning!

And your story. How lovely it happened at Easter time. What it made me think of was how life's sadness and struggles can reframe our way of looking at the world to allow us to recognize what is most important..... love and family and friends. Nothing else really matters does it? Sadly, the lessons come after such sorrow sometimes.

Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 11:58:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Beautiful photos and a lovely story of friendship and forgiveness. It's nice that they were able to put something hurtful behind them. I hope they don't spoil the hotel with their renovations. It sounds very unique and soul rejuvenating.

Friday, October 2, 2009 at 7:10:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

What a lovely place to stay this would be! I love the elegance, the pond, the swans, and everything else! A wonderful history and truly an amazing place!

I do enjoy reading about your memories dear Naomi, and your awesome photos of this wonderful hotel!

Friday, October 2, 2009 at 9:31:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

If you stayed at the Bel Air you could just stay and ejoy the hotel and not even have to go out sight-seeing!

I love love love Carroll - may he, Hanna & Hugh all rest in peace. He was my favorite actor .. still is.

Friday, October 2, 2009 at 12:18:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I love all you had to say and show about the Bel Air hotel, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE the story of reconciliation that occurred between your friends, Hanna and Carroll.
What a dear story, and a happy ending to the bad feelings that had been there.
A holiday meal at the Bel Air sounds amazing! I can see why you'd want to break tradition and do something out of the ordinary. I like doing those kinds of things to. It makes for good memories!

Friday, October 2, 2009 at 1:37:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

What a beautiful hotel and your personal story (both posts!) makes it even more beautiful and interesting. Looking into the park and especially the swans and read about your adventures, makes it all like a fairytale. Thanks for sharing!

Friday, October 2, 2009 at 1:38:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

That small lobby is so beautiful, I just want to replicate it and make it my living room!

I love reading your stories.

Friday, October 2, 2009 at 5:38:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

What a truly enchanting place to look at!

I'm glad you and Seemah were able to get out and about for a bit. :)

Friday, October 2, 2009 at 8:00:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I remember passing the Bel Air whilst in LA. We actually stayed at the Beverley Hills, which as you say was different but still good fun. What strikes me about the Bel Air is how its kept its image. I hope the makeover is sympathetic to that for the new version.

I've been busy with something else recently and there's a short description over at my place , please take a look

If you're 'up for it', I'll happily send you a copy via an email swap to rashbre@mac.com

Best, as always, rashbre.

Saturday, October 3, 2009 at 10:01:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I really feel like I just visited the Bel Air in Los Angeles. What a lovely place – it must have been such a treat to have a meal there. All this give you such wonderful memories. I came to the USA in 1961 and my sponsor and his wife lived in Los Angeles. He was a film editor for Warner Brothers. I visited them in LA, but I did not see the Bel Air then… I like to visit grand old hotels, even just for a cocktail as I can’t afford them, like La Mamounia Hotel in Marrakech or the Raffles in Singapore.

Saturday, October 3, 2009 at 8:17:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

That place is going on my bucket list. If I don't get to ever stay there at least I want to have tea. The video was so romantic that I fell in love!

And I'm glad to hear you got out for a drive. Have blog will travel.

Sunday, October 4, 2009 at 8:56:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

After reading Bel Air - Part 1 I was reminded of you when reading in The Times the hotel's closing dates. Now, this Part 1 is lovely and your photos are delightful.

Nice that your friends could close the door on a chapter that could leave them with much more positive feelings toward each other. Good that you could facilitate that happening.

Glad to read that you get out and about some, as for some reason I had pictured that you were house bound all the time.

Monday, October 5, 2009 at 12:53:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

What a great story and with a happy end.
I understand your sentiments by all the memories of good friends and the charm of this hotel.

But times goes by, and things changes.

Thanks for letting us walk the memory lane with you.

btw. I did post more from our Vacation in France to day.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009 at 11:10:00 AM PDT 

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