Topics

Robert Goulet

At the Hotel Bel-Air, a pianist's elegance and ivory

At the Hotel Bel-Air, a pianist's elegance and ivory

The Champagne Bar at the Hotel Bel-Air is dark as a lair. Ice clinks as men and women on caramel-colored leather chairs and forest-green couches imbibe, converse and laugh. A roaring fire blasts light and warmth, which is welcome, despite the heat of a late-summer evening, because the air-conditioned room feels like an ice bucket. Against a wall, under giant paintings of swans, Antonio Castillo de la Gala -- dapper in a dark suit, striped tie and crisp shirt -- surveys his domain from his perch at a Yamaha baby grand piano. As his hands caress the keys, his bespectacled eyes roam the dark-paneled bar and he nods at the many familiar faces. Five nights a week for 12 1/2 years, Castillo...

Loading