When Carlos Lopes, the managing director of the Hotel Bel-Air, asked a breakfasting guest early last year what he thought of the renovations to the suite he was occupying, the guest replied, "Well, it's not my personal taste." Fortunately for an unnerved Lopes, the man eventually added,
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"But my wife loves it." It turned out to be a rare bit of negative feedback about the venerable property's $20 million upgrade, which is now fully complete. "Overwhelmingly, the patrons said the new look was in keeping with the image," he recalls. "So I was able to sleep...