When you take a trip to Los Angeles on the west coast, as much as the sun and the beach are, the frenetic pace of the crowded city can at times be overwhelming. Andrew Rivkin knows that it’s worth some time to find a hotel that while convenient, provides comfort, relaxation, and an escape, for however long, from the bustling city life.
One of Andrew’s favourite places to stay is the Hotel Bel Air. An early brochure for Bel-Air Estates once read “Mother Nature was in her kindliest mood of creation when she fashioned the domain that is now Bel-Air.” Hotel Bel-Air, with 12 beautifully landscaped acres of gardens, is nestled in the very heart of this exclusive and private neighborhood, yet only minutes from Beverly Hills, Century City, and Brentwood.
Mr. Alphonzo Bell had purchased the land in the early 1920s and decreed that this would be “a haven of rest for the businessman who toils in big, noisy, congested Los Angeles.” In the 1940s, Mr. Bell turned the management and maintenance of the neighborhood over to the Bel-Air Association, and in 1946 Joseph Drown purchased 18 acres on Stone Canyon Road. He quietly began remodeling and adding buildings to create the rambling complex of guest rooms and suites. Drown transformed the grounds into lush, beautiful gardens, adding Swan Lake to the picturesque front lawn. He had a vision of creating a natural California oasis, planting palms, ficus trees and perennial blooms. Drown also closed the Stone Canyon stables and built the sparkling oval-shaped pool at the site of the original riding ring.
The Hotel is a favorite of the rich and famous, Rivkin is quick to point out as Hollywood celebrities and world dignitaries are frequent guests at the glamorous retreat. While numerous updates have been completed since the 1940s, the hotel has preserved its rustic tranquility and has maintained an international reputation as one of the finest hotels in the world. Andrew Rivkin is looking forward to return later in 2011, as the hotel is currently undergoing refurbishment, including renovation of all 91 rooms and suites, the famous Bar and the hotel’s restaurant, event spaces and private dining rooms. Additionally, a further 12 Canyon View guestrooms and suites, and a 12,000 square foot Spa with three guest “Lofts” will be developed within the hotel’s 12 acre grounds that are home to some of L.A.’s most beautiful and exotic gardens.
Another equally extravagant and luxurious hotel that Andrew frequents is the five star Beverly Hills Hotel. Surrounded by 12 acres of lush gardens and exotic flowers, The Hotel has 210 rooms and suites including 23 one-of-a-kind bungalows. Guests may choose the comfortable elegance of the main building or the beauty of the bungalow gardens. All accommodations offer a variety of unique features such as private garden patios, kitchens, fireplaces, and balconies with gorgeous views of the palm-lined avenues of Beverly Hills
Clearly, Los Angeles doesn’t need to be solely about the active and industrious nature of the city. It can be about relaxation and comfort, as Andrew Rivkin has been fortunate enough to experience.