We chose to eat our breakfast inside instead of on the Terrace which is probably a more enjoyable experience when the sun's out and the weather's warm, which is was not when we stopped in.
So we ate inside. The staff is excellent--just what you expect from a luxury hotel--attentive and accommodating but without the haughty attitude.
Yet what really had us shocked was the tired decor. Everything's a little bit overdone here. It's still California casual with a Mediterranean twist but accompanied by heavy table linens and proper china settings. Yet with all that stuff in the room, you really can't afford to let anything look tired or dated. The dining room's rug was worn down considerably and not that we have anything against the mid-1990s but any rug from that era should probably not still be nailed to the floor.
Same can be said for the table linens. They were dirty. Sure, they were probably washed the night before or that morning but you know when you have a shirt for like 10 years and no matter how many times you take it to the dry cleaners it still looks beat up? That's what those linens looked like. The Terrace looked only marginally better.
Interestingly enough, we came across an ad the other day for the Hotel Bel-Air in which it touted it's restaurant's "Best Decor and Service in LA" from the Zagat guide. We don't know what year this happened but we'd be surprised if it happened in the aughts.
Now, we didn't get to go inside a room but we still think the restaurant and Terrace could use a renovation.
Overall what probably saves the Hotel Bel-Air is its amazing location tucked inside a canyon and beautiful grounds. These truly are a sight to see in LA and if you can't afford a room at the Hotel Bel-Air, we suggest you go to walk around. Plus, you can park for free on the street.