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Saturday, May 28, 2022

Rubbed Wrong Way

Hotel Bel-Air, playground for the rich and famous, has long catered to Hollywood stars and visiting dignitaries. So it’s only natural that the Bel-Air’s multimillion-dollar facelift would include the addition of a $2.7 million luxury spa, an exclusive sanctuary for the well-heeled.

But the project so far has been more stressful than relaxing. A dispute between the hotel and a New York construction company over the 12,000-square-foot spa landed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Dec. 7.

Bel-Air claims that Citadel Construction Corp. failed to pay subcontractors for work they completed in July and August, and alleges that one of Citadel’s shareholders used the company’s money for his personal benefit.

The hotel – owned by the Sultan of Brunei and managed by Dorchester Group – is best known for its Spanish colonial-style architecture, lush gardens and graceful swans.

The legendary hotel closed its doors at the end of September to begin a two-year refurbishment, which includes remodeling its 91 rooms and suites, upgrading the restaurant and adding 12 villas to its 12-acre grounds.

Construction on the new spa, which will include seven treatment rooms and three private suites, had started in the summer.

The suit states that subcontractors walked off the spa job in August due to nonpayment – leaving unfinished 25 percent of the exterior and 80 percent of the interior – and that no additional work was done through the end of September, when Bel-Air took the project over from Citadel.

In November, Citadel said it couldn’t complete the spa work, according to the lawsuit. Bel-Air hired a new prime contractor and secured new insurance coverage so construction on the project could proceed.

An attorney and spokeswoman for Bel-Air and a spokesman for Citadel declined to comment on the pending litigation.

Bel-Air is seeking $600,000 in damages from Citadel that the hotel claims it sustained due to the construction company’s missteps.

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