A History of Hotel Bel Air

One of the many perks of owning Bel Air properties is being a part of a rich and glamorous history.  In October 2011, Hotel Bel Air reopened after a two year construction project, but the history stretches back more than half a century. Soon after Alphonso E. Bell bought more than 600 acres in the 1920s, he began to make his vision of an elegant and upscale development real. Bell built his sales and planning office in a mission-style building. Next door were stables so Bel Air residents could board their horses when not riding them through the beautiful Los Angeles canyons.

In the 1940s, Texas entrepreneur Joseph Drown purchased the mission-style office and 18 acres with a dream of developing a lush, exclusive, retreat-style hotel. Architect Burton Shutt converted the building into a 62-room hotel while Drown transformed the landscape with beautiful gardens and Swan Lake. He also closed the stables and put in an oval pool in the exact location of the original riding ring.

In the early days, the hotel attracted the legends of Hollywood glamour -- Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor. As the city has grown up, so has the hotel, with major renovations done over the years. It continues to attract an exclusive clientele, in part because even with modernizations, it keeps its original glamorous feel.


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