One of the top places to see celebrities – and perhaps some of their crazy antics – in Los Angeles is the historic Chateau Marmont Hotel and its restaurant.
The Chateau Marmont has Old Hollywood glamour, a pool, an intimate restaurant and cocktail bar that still attracts lots of A-list celebrities. I can’t tell you which celebrites you are likely to find when you go, but with suites priced between $575 and $3,000 per night you can bet a good portion of the guests will be celebrities… or at least quite wealthy.
Located at 8221 Sunset Blvd, the Chateau Marmont opened in 1929. It was patterned after the Chateau d’Amboise in France. Apparently in the old days of Hollywood it was a bit of a place where celebrities could go and enjoy both publicity and privacy. They could be seen, but they could also have private parties and “let their hair down” in the privacy of their rooms pull some of the wilder celebrity antics we later read about in the tabloids without being evicted too fast.
Among the celebrities that have stayed there are: Howard Hughes, Rock Hudson, Heath Ledger, Errol Flynn, John Belushi, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, James Dean, Natalie Wood, Elizabeth Taylor, Jim Morrison, Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert DeNiro, Sofia Coppola, Sidney Poitier, Lindsay Lohan, Clark Gable, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jean Harlow, Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Spike Lee, Greta Garbo and Mick Jagger.
Tales of what some of those celebrities have done while in the “privacy” of the hotel have become LA Urban Legends and fodder to keep the tabloids thriving for a century. The most tragic and famous of them all was John Belushi’s death at the Chateau Marmont. He mixed a speedball (heroin and cocaine) drank it and died in his sleep.
In the thirties, F. Scott Fitzgerald had a heart attack somewhere on the grounds of the hotel after suffering a serious another blow to his career.
On the lighter side, Jim Morrison was trying to swing into his room from the rooftop and slipped and fell on his back, resulting in injury. The drummer for the band Led Zeppelin is said to have ridden his motorcycle through the lobby. Auditioning with Natalie Wood for the part in Rebel Without a Cause, James Dean jumped thorough the window to impress the director.
Montgomery Clift was nursed back to health after a car accident by Elizabeth Taylor in the hotel. Photographer Helmut Newton wasn’t as lucky. In 2004, he crashed into a wall by the driveway of the hotel and died.
And then there were the affairs. Lots and lots and lots of them and we’re not going to repeat them. Except for this one. Clark Gable had an affair with Jean Harlow while she was suppose to be on her honeymoon with her third husband, cinematographer Harold Rosson. The other affairs reported to have happened in the Chateau Marmont are equally scandalous!
If you decide to splurge and dine at or stay at the Chateau Marmont to see some celebrities, you might just be an eye-witness to the next tabloid sensation. But then again you might not. Though there are dozens of eyebrow raising incidents that have happened at the historic hotel, it isn’t that many considering the hotel has been catering to celebrities for 90 years!
You probably will see a celebrity or two there, but my bet is they will be well behaved unless you get to pushy about insisting they give you an autograph or pose for a selfie with you.
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