Athena, Chloe, and Hercules, the resident swans at Los Angeles’s iconic Hotel Bel-Air (701 Stone Canyon Rd., Bel-Air; 1-310/472-1211; hotelbelair.com; doubles from US$595), continue to skim Swan Lake. But much else has changed in the two years since this 1946 Spanish Mission–style property was shuttered for renovations by its new owner, the Sultan of Brunei. Once again accepting guests, it now boasts a La Prairie spa and a room count that has risen from 93 to 103, including 12 swanky villas nestled on a landscaped hillside with Jacuzzis and panoramic views of the surrounding mansions. Even the relatively intimate standard guest rooms feature high-tech media panels and photogenic interiors by New York designer Alexandra Champalimaud. Room service, for the first time anywhere, will be overseen by chef Wolfgang Puck, who made his name on nearby Sunset Boulevard and now returns with a sleek marble-clad restaurant and dining terrace that looks set to be every bit the celebrity magnet its predecessor was.
Originally appeared in the October/November 2011 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“A Legend Reopens”)