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Hotel Bel-Air's Upcoming Renovation Leaves Brides Jilted

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HOtel_Bel-Air_grounds.jpg
The grounds of the Hotel Bel-Air (Photo by Alan Light/Flickr)


The grounds of the Hotel Bel-Air (Photo by Alan Light/Flickr)
Many local brides opt to have their weddings at any number of beautiful venues in the Los Angeles area, giving their special occasion a special setting. An oft-selected location is the Hotel Bel-Air because of its oasis-like setting and long history as a place to escape for celebrities since it began serving guests in 1946. Owned by the Sultan of Brunei, an operated by boutique hotelier The Dorchester Collection, the 91-room hotel is due to close for 18 months while it undergoes an extensive renovation. The only hitch? Some people scheduled to get hitched weren't told about it.

"The Hotel Bel-Air has left all brides (and grooms) at the altar, so to speak, especially those who wanted to marry before 2009 was out," explains the website Hotel Chatter. One bride with her wedding date three months from now found about the closure from her fitness trainer, who'd had another client mention the change of plans. Even more frustrating: "The hotel had just taken a new deposit from her less than three weeks before and now they were closing? Without even telling her? Apparently, yes."

The Hotel Bel-Air is offering wedding parties who are getting jilted The Beverly Hills Hotel as their venue, since it's another Dorchester property. "A rep for the Hotel Bel-Air said they are still honoring the brides' contracts, only at The Beverly Hills Hotel." Of course, since it's also a favorite for weddings, brides might not have a lot of choice when it comes to times and spaces. Another pinch for that "special day" is turning out to be the deposit money and how much the Bel-Air can contractually refund if the bride opts to cancel the booking--even if there's no venue to be booked into anymore.

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In the meantime, if you're thinking of getting married, or holding any other major event at the beautiful Bel-Air, hold that thought until sometime around mid-2011, when the property's "major refurbishment" is expected to be complete.