When Hotel Bel-Air is mentioned, the mind suddenly becomes awash in ambrosial images of elegant seclusion and natural wonders. Nestled on Stone Canyon Road, just minutes from the bustling centres of Beverly Hills and Westwood, its quiet reputation has swelled over the years to almost mythic proportions, and there isn’t a celebrity or dignitary worth his or her Guccis who hasn’t graced its hallowed space.Over the past couple of years, however, this idyllic portrait has been altered considerably. Although it is generally frowned upon to tinker with works of art, in this case the changes are embraced. Hotel Bel-Air, owned by the Sultan of Brunei’s Dorchester Collection, underwent a comprehensive multimillion-dollar renovation in which just about every aspect of the interior has been nipped, tucked, cleansed, and updated—in fact, it was closed for approximately two years, considered lunacy among the commoners of the hostelry world—leading to its grand reopening last month.
Thanks to the design collaboration of Alexandra Champalimaud and the Rockwell Group—Champalimaud oversaw the rooms and suites for the most part, while Rockwell handled the dining and entertainment venues—the hotel maintains the dashing aesthetic of Spanish Colonial architecture that lured countless members of Hollywood royalty through its corridors for decades with a deft mixture of pleasing indoor/outdoor experiences.