Once part of the original Spanish land grants in 1843, Hotel Bel-Air’s rich history reaches further back than the state of California itself. During the 20th century, this Los Angeles County resort transformed into a favorite retreat for starlets, presidents, and rock stars. It’s where Marilyn Monroe shot her final photo series for Vogue, where Richard Nixon wrote his memoirs, and where Oprah Winfrey celebrated her 50th birthday.
Today, Hotel Bel-Air is posher than ever. The resort, which includes the super deluxe Hotel Bel-Air Spa and Wolfgang Puck restaurant, boasts a five-star rating from Forbes Travel Guide, a five-diamond rating from AAA, and was a 2018 Travel + Leisure World’s Best Award winner.
The property transports guests to a fairytale oasis as soon as they enter the grounds. A wooden footbridge spans the aptly named Swan Lake, home to Chloe, Hercules, Athena, and Odette. Once inside the 12-acre paradise, guests can choose from 103 residential-style rooms and suites, featuring Alexandra Champalimaud’s sleek design. Inspired by the hotel’s lush gardens, the private spaces feature a breezy cream palette, Egyptian cotton bedding, limestone floors, and soaking tubs. Those feeling flush should splurge on the Presidential Suite, a 7,000-square-foot enclave with a private infinity pool and chef’s kitchen.
All guests have unlimited access to the fitness center and spa—and are encouraged to put them to good use. Detox in the steam rooms, cozy up with a cashmere throw in the relaxation lounge, or book a signature Valmont facial. Retreat to one of the chaises lining the heated oval pool where servers bring you treats like chocolate-dipped bananas and seasonal sorbet.
The secret garden ambiance extends to the dining room where private alcoves overlook Swan Lake. At Wolfgang Puck, a name synonymous with California cuisine, you can enjoy fresh Baja Gulf Prawns and locally caught uni. After dinner, head to the Bar & Lounge where Norman Seeff’s portraits of American royalty line the dark wooden walls. Channel your inner Cary Grant as you sip on a small-batch rye next to the marble fireplace and contemplate what you’ll do tomorrow. Here’s a hint: Whatever you please.