Although I missed the 100th-anniversary celebration of Hôtel Plaza Athénée in Paris in April of this year, I was there last night for its “unofficial” closing ceremony. Yes, you read that correctly, the Plaza’s last day was September 30th. Rest assured, it is closing for a good cause: to reopen with even more grandeur (if that is even possible).
The picture behind über-chef Wolfgang Puck and me adorns the wall of one of Puck’s many kitchens in Los Angeles. The question is a good one: “What would Wolfgang do?” I think by now the celebrity chef who has catered the Governor’s Ball after the Academy Awards for the past eighteen years really knows what he is doing.
I was not the only one dining at über-chef Wolfgang Puck’s new restaurant at Hotel Bel-Air on a recent visit (luckily for the restaurant). The multi-talented Randy Jackson, who has been a judge on American Idol since 2002 — longer than anyone else — was sitting next to me. I had dined with him before, and know he is a gourmet, so I was not surprised to see him there. As we know, he is a tough judge — nice and fair, but tough…
The pool pictured in the photo to the left of this text is at the just-reopened Hotel Bel-Air, but most guests won’t be allowed to use it. It is to be used exclusively by those high-rollers staying in the brand-new 6,775 square-foot Presidential suite. Just imagine the luxury: one bedroom, one bathroom (although adjoining rooms may be connected for a maximum of five bedrooms and five bathrooms), indoor and outdoor living spaces, a private dining room for ten, chef’s kitchen, study, great room with a grand piano, and that magnificent pool, all for $15,000 or so per night.
If that one-of-a-kind space is too big for you, choose from the other 58 rooms and 45 suites the historic hotel now has to offer. Twelve of them are completely new, in new buildings constructed into the hillside; make sure to ask how to get there before heading there. This is the result of two years of renovations, remodeling, and refurbishing, and somewhere under $100 million dollars invested by the Dorchester Collection to make the Hotel Bel-Air more grand and splendid than it ever was since its 1946 opening. When you own a legend, you are obliged to maintain its status.
You don’t have to be a hotel guest to serve and volley on the two tennis courts at the famed Beverly Hills Hotel, but you only have until September to play your match.
Last week, during a lunch at the hotel, general manager Alberto del Hoyo declared that the courts will soon be covered by two new guest bungalows. Each will be over 3,000 square feet, with all the luxury and tech amenities imaginable, including a fitness room. The announcementof the new accommodations, which won’t come cheaply, is actually very optimistic news considering the current economy.
The hotel, also known as the Pink Lady due to its coral-pink façade, has made a few of our top hotel lists: