Live like a local

21 things to see on our Hotel Bel-Air nature walk

June 18, 2020

With its winding pathways, verdant greenery and fragrant blooms, it’s easy to spend time getting lost in the tropical grounds of Hotel Bel-Air. Follow our nature walk to see what’s in bloom and discover your own favourite corner of paradise.

Inspired by nature

The plans first began in the early 1940s, when the original hotel owner envisioned a paradise of lush, tropical gardens surrounding the hotel. Since then, our passionate team of gardeners has spent years nurturing it into a horticultural haven, introducing both exotic and local species ranging from coastal redwoods to towering 100ft palms. Here’s what you can except to find.

1

Tucked away in the northern-most courtyard, you’ll find hedges lined with colourful begonias or cyclamen, depending on the time of year. You’ll also see Kentia palms, known as ‘paradise palms’, and Roebelenii palms, also known as ‘pygmy date palms’. Look out for the peach and orange trees, which are laden with fruit in summer.

2

Our stunning jacaranda near the upper canyon is a sub-tropical tree native to South America. We love the clusters of pale violet flowers.

3

Near the spa you can’t miss our majestic King and Queen Palms planted opposite each other. They’ve been growing here together for decades.

4

Follow your nose to discover the intoxicating fragrance of Jasmine, which curls and coils around the walls through a path leading out to the gate.

5

Native to California, the evergreen Coastal Redwood species includes the tallest living trees on Earth. We’re lucky to have many dotted around the grounds, beside Swan Lake and along Stone Canyon Road.

Sun soaked pool at Hotel Bel-Air

6

Our pool is a fiesta of colour. Look out for King and Queen Palms, vibrant birds of paradise and jewel-hued impatiens in the summer.

7

The gingko, or ‘maidenhair tree’ is our pride and joy. The species has been found in fossils dating back 270 million years, and our own gingko in the courtyard is one of the largest in LA.

8

Our saucer magnolia is nothing short of magnificent, particularly when in bloom in early spring and winter. This leading lady has been with us since before the hotel opened in 1946.

9

You may spot our Irish yew in the central courtyard and dotted around the hotel. This breed was first discovered in 1720 and has since become of the world’s most popular conifers.

10

As the name suggests, the Canary Island pine is a native of the sunny Canary Islands, but ours feels perfectly at home here in the central courtyard.

11

At Hotel Bel-Air we’re perhaps most famous for our bright purple bougainvillea. This Instagram-worthy vine can grow up to 40ft tall. You’ll find our largest here, in the central courtyard.

12

A picturesque spot for quiet moments, our iconic Swan Lake is bordered by towering pampas grass and flowering shrubs. Look out for our swans (Hercules, Athena, Odette and Chloe), who call the lake home.

Citrus tree welcoming guests at reception

13

Our glorious orange tree by reception has been welcoming guests for over 50 years.

14

Prepare for an explosion of purple! Hummingbirds love our Mexican bush sage, while lavender creates a fragrant path up to our canyon rooms and suites.

15

Look out for the princess flower in the outskirts of the grounds, a tropical Brazilian shrub studded with deep-purple flowers.

16

Our Californian Coast Live Oak (named ‘encino’ or ‘encina’ in Spanish) was planted before the hotel opened in 1946. It’s such a favourite species that the Encino neighbourhood in LA and city of Encinitas in San Diego took the name.

17

Our pineapple guava tree and peach tree are well worth looking out for as they are both laden with fruit in summer.

18

When we sadly lost two sycamore trees and a sweet pittosporum we sent the wood to be dried, cut and treated. The sycamores were given a new life as furniture and the sweet pittosporum was made into the seating area and backgammon table found on our Front Lawn.

Backgamon table alfresco

19

Over 25 types of flower and plants surround the grotto – most of which are native to California.

20

As the name suggests, our red maple tree’s flowers, branches and seeds are all a glorious shade of red. The brilliant deep scarlet foliage in autumn is spectacular.

21

We’re the proud owners of the oldest and largest silk floss tree in the US. This beautiful tree is 90 years old, more than 90ft tall, and its trunk measures 13ft around – all of which make it easy to spot.

When you visit us at Hotel Bel-Air we’ll give you a nature walk map so you can easily find all these areas of interest, and no matter what time of year you choose we promise there will always be plenty to see.

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