Hotel Crush: Hotel Bel-Air, Los Angeles
This Dorchester Collection hotel has been attracting A-listers since it first opened in 1946. Marilyn Monroe lived here for a time (and shot what would be her final photo shoot, with Vogue, here). The Beatles, Tom Cruise, Anjelica Huston, Grace Kelly, Jennifer Aniston, Oprah Winfrey, Lauren Bacall, Russell Crowe, and all the rest, have visited, married, dined and slept within its trademark 'Bel-Air Hotel' pink walls. While I was there, Bradley Cooper and Clint Eastwood were dining a deux in the restaurant. Though I wouldn't recommend doing anything uncouth like asking for a selfie... Play it cool, and all that.
The luxury Los Angeles hotel is set in a 12-acres of tropical gardens, punctuated with scarlet bougainvillea, bird of paradise, jasmine, orange blossom, and vertiginous palm trees. The hotel's swan logo is brought to life through the Swan Lake and its regal residents, Hercules, Ophelia, Athena and Chloe; the swan-shape soap you'll find in your room, on the towels you'll want to steal... There's also the little tortoise, Zeus, lolling around in a pond up by the Canyon Suites.
One of my favourite things about this five-star abode, is the heated oval swimming pool, shaped so, as it used to be a horse riding ring. It's surrounded by comfortable loungers, with the added fun of a giant inflatable swan, and there are glossy magazines, sun lotions, sunglasses cleaning, refreshments and the rest, on tap.
Michelin Star chef Wolfgang Puck is behind the on-site restaurant at the Hotel Bel-Air, resulting in a breakfast, lunch, dinner and room service menu fit for royalty. Incidentally, Prince Charles once said, "I slept better in the Presidential Suite of the Bel-Air than in any other hotel in the world". Order the Pepito's Revenge cocktail (a day-friendly mix including tequila, cucumber water and mint), tuck into the truffle tartine for brunch, and if the Stone Canyon Road ice cream dessert is on the menu, make a beeline for it. It is all delicious.