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Hotel Bel Air

March 10, 2012 | By S. Irene Virbila, Los Angeles Times Restaurant Critic
With the new Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air, the Austrian chef who, along with Alice Waters, begat California cuisine, has finally achieved a quintessentially Californian restaurant, one with a legendary outdoor terrace in a verdant setting with swans gliding through ponds and enormous old trees overhanging walkways and tumbling streams. And what a difference: For the first time in recent memory, the historic hotel has a serious restaurant with some seriously good food. Puck may no longer be the youngest kid on the block, but he's tough and smart and, more important, he knows how to make food that is genuinely delicious.
October 1, 2009 | Hugo Martin and Patrick J. McDonnell
The Hotel Bel-Air closed quietly Wednesday, shutting for two years of renovations without agreeing to a severance package with its unionized employees. The garden-shrouded resort -- for more than 60 years a retreat for presidents, movie stars and others -- has refused to commit to rehire 250 union employees after its multimillion-dollar face-lift is complete in 2011. Leaders of Unite Here Local 11 have accused the hotel's managers of using the renovation project to rid itself of the union.
April 19, 2012 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
Prepare to dream. The Conde Nast Traveler's 2012 Hot List of new hotels, resorts, spas and restaurants is out -- offering lots of travel fantasy fodder. Editors, not travelers, compiled the list of the best 121 new (which includes the seriously renovated) hotels in the world. These in the West made the cut: -- Hotel Bel-Air , 701 Stone Canyon Road, L.A., which just emerged from a two-year renovation. Its Prairie spa also won a best-spa mention. -- Mr. C Beverly Hills, 1224 Beverwil Drive, L.A., scored high marks for its high-rise style.
October 26, 2010 | By Valli Herman, Special to the Los Angeles Times
It’s been little more than a year, but to fans of the Hotel Bel-Air , the elapsed time since the iconic hideaway closed for renovation might as well have been in dog years. There’s an end in sight: July 2011. When the 64-year-old Los Angeles hotel welcomes guests next year, the face-lift will have changed not just the look but the feel and function of this luxury lodging. The multimillion-dollar effort aims to maintain the hotel's residential sensibility, using a decorating scheme that draws on the best homes of Bel-Air and other Los Angeles areas through the decades.
October 8, 2011 | By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times
When the Hotel Bel-Air reopens next week after a two-year renovation, the resort's mascot swans — Chloe, Athena and Hercules — will still occupy the lush 12-acre property visited by presidents, movie stars and other dignitaries. But absent will be most of the union workers who washed dishes, made beds and laundered towels at the hotel. They were laid off when the hotel closed, and many of them will return only to march and protest outside the hotel entrance. The historic hotel, closed in 2009 for the multimillion-dollar upgrade, will reopen Friday with only about a dozen of its former union workers on the staff of 275, dealing a blow to the hotel workers union and its members.
August 5, 2009 | Hugo Martin
The Hotel Bel-Air, a storied Mission-style landmark frequented by Hollywood's elite, will close for nearly two years for a multimillion-dollar face lift that will put hundreds of staffers out of work. The massive renovation, beginning Oct. 1, will include upgrades for all 91 rooms and suites, the hotel's Champagne Bar, its restaurant and private dining rooms. When it is finished in mid-2011, the hotel will boast 12 new villas and a spa with seven treatment rooms.
October 15, 2011 | By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times
After a two-year renovation, the iconic Hotel Bel-Air in West Los Angeles reopened to a spirited protest by about 300 activists and former union workers who were laid off when construction began in 2009 and were never rehired. As guests arrived, they were greeted by the demonstration Friday afternoon organized by Unite Here Local 11, whose leaders contended the hotel used the multimillion-dollar upgrade to force union workers out. The union activists were joined by protesters from Occupy L.A., who rode two buses from downtown Los Angeles, where they have been demonstrating against corporate greed.
May 2, 1989 | TERRY PRISTIN and ERIC MALNIC, Times Staff Writers
The legendary Hotel Bel-Air, a bougainvillea-bordered haven for show business celebrities and European royalty seeking privacy and elegance, is being sold to a Japanese investment group for more than $100 million, the hotel's current owners announced Monday. The per-room purchase price of more than $1.2 million shatters the old record of about $757,000 per room, established when the Sultan of Brunei bought the nearby 260-room Beverly Hills Hotel for about $200 million in 1987. Investor Donald Trump paid $496,000 a room when he bought New York's Plaza Hotel last year.
The Hotel Bel-Air remains the same exclusive, romantic, garden-like hideaway that it was when the first guests moved in 45 years ago. But one thing has definitely changed: the food, which has kept pace with California's fast-paced culinary scene. You can savor the dishes beautifully displayed in a new book that gives equal play to the lush grounds of the hotel. Leafing through "The Bel-Air Book of Southern California Food and Entertaining" (Crown: $50) is like indulging in a luxury weekend.
November 14, 2010
A local's view of bicycling tours Regarding Chris Reynolds' "It's Downhill From Here" [Nov. 7]: I know of no one who lives upcountry (or on Maui for that matter) who looks favorably on downhill bicycle tours. We may not complain, but we see it as a few local companies who are making a living off taxpayers by turning our beautiful island into a Disneyland to benefit a handful of tourists. Thank you for mentioning that this ride can hurt you or even kill you. It's very dangerous — period.
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