Hotel Bel-Air, Dorchester Collection
What sets the Bel-Air apart is its sense of sanctuary; despite the property’s relatively large size (12 acres), the warm staff, the cozy Spanish Mission-style architecture, and the old-world gestures like complimentary tea service in the lobby lounge create an intimate ambience. The 103 uniquely decorated rooms all have luxurious, understated touches; many include fireplaces. Those with private patios are tucked behind walls covered with cascading bougainvillea, flowering shrubs, and giant California oaks. Lunching on the Bel-Air terrace, while gazing over the swan pond and pretending not to notice the Oscar winner at the next table, is a decades-old L.A. pleasure.