Old Hollywood Hotels to Visit in Los Angeles0
When visiting Los Angeles, you will most likely hit the Hollywood Walk of Fame, snap a picture of the famous Capitol Records building, stroll down Rodeo Drive, and maybe even take one of those topless Star Tours buses (tip: bring SPF 30 and an Iced Blended from Coffee Bean so you don’t fry). But did you know that there are some amazing places where you can rest your pretty head every night and are filled with history? The Hollywood Roosevelt, Culver Hotel, and Millennium Biltmore Hotel are three Old Hollywood hotels which were all built in the 1920s and are so fantastic that I visit them constantly to enjoy their beauty and soak up the glam vibe. Fortunately for me, I live in in Southern California. All three Old Hollywood hotels are featured in my new book, From the Corner of Hollywood and diVine: Your Guide to 30 Old Hollywood-Inspired Spots in Southern California, so if you like what you read here I hope you will check it out! Let the adventure begin!
1. Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel: An Old Hollywood Hotel
The Hollywood Roosevelt an Old Hollywood hotel located at the western end of a pretty fabulous stretch of Hollywood Boulevard. Its neighbors include the TCL (Grauman’s) Chinese Theatre, the Hollywood and Highland shopping center, El Capitan Theatre, Egyptian Theatre, and Hollywood Museum. Opened in 1927, silent film stars Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks were among the hotel’s investors, and in 1929 the very first Academy Awards ceremony was held in the hotel’s Blossom Room. I was at the hotel before and after the renovation in 2005. They did a great job of updating things while preserving the wonderful bones of this historic building. The style of the Roosevelt is Spanish Colonial, and you will see lovely sweeping archways and balconies with tile and lush drapes throughout. If price is not an issue, go for the Gable Lombard Penthouse on the twelfth floor, which is named after Clark and Carole. The rooms around the pool are mid-century modern, and the pool is surrounded by palm trees with an underwater mural painted by famed artist David Hockney.
The Old Hollywood hotel’s cool, dark, spacious lobby is a wonderful place to just relax after a day wandering around in Hollywood, and I’ve spent lots of time there doing work on my laptop and just people watching—you’ll see everyone from tourists to celebrities pass through on any given day. You have some wonderful food/entertainment options to choose from at the Roosevelt, including Public Kitchen and Bar (don’t miss their Sunday brunch) and 25 Degrees, which is open 24/7. And let us know if you happen to spot the ghosts of Marilyn Monroe and Montgomery Clift, who are rumored to haunt the hotel.
7000 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90028
2. Culver Hotel: An Old Hollywood Hotel in Culver City, CA
If you’re looking for something a little calmer than what you might find in Hollywood or Downtown Los Angeles, but still totally glamorous, stay at the Culver Hotel. Located in Culver City, it’s in a great location that’s about 20 minutes from the beach and LAX, and about 30 minutes from Hollywood and Downtown (depending on traffic). Plus, you can tell all your friends that you stayed in the same hotel that housed the Munchkins during the filming of The Wizard of Oz at MGM! And speaking of MGM… What used to be the legendary MGM lot is now Sony Pictures Studios, which offers a wonderful studio tour (you can book on your own or ask the Culver Hotel folks to assist with tickets to that, Disneyland, and more). The lot used to be right across the street from the Culver Hotel, and there is a persistent rumor that there’s a secret tunnel from the hotel to the studio that was once used to bring the Munchkins to the set, and later used to shuttle alcohol and women back and forth.
The Culver Hotel opened in 1924 as the Hotel Hunt, and the stone and brick façade (with 200 windows) looks much like it did back in the day. The “pie slice,” as the building is affectionately known for its unique wedge shape, is a cozy boutique hotel with 46 rooms and some wonderful indoor and outdoor spaces. You could have Sunday brunch or take in some live music in the evening in the high-ceiling lobby, or join friends for cocktails on the outdoor patio or in the mezzanine lounge
9400 Culver Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90232
3. Millennium Biltmore Hotel: An Old Hollywood Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles, CA.
Located on Grand Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles, CA the Biltmore (opened in 1923) was once the largest hotel west of Chicago. If you want to explore Downtown, this is a perfect place to stay because you can walk to landmarks like the Los Angeles Central Library (right across the street), the PacMutual Building, Pershing Square, Grand Central Market, and Cicada Restaurant. When I bring people to the Biltmore for the first time, I love to watch their faces to see their expression when they take a look at the hand-painted, frescoed mural ceiling in the Galleria area, or reach the top of the Spanish Baroque staircase (seen in many movies and TV shows) in the Rendezvous Court. Even though the hotel is not in Hollywood, it wows around every corner with sheer over-the-top Hollywood glamor; in fact, the Biltmore hosted some Academy Awards ceremonies in the thirties and forties, and there’s a rumor that MGM Art Director (and Art Deco fan) Cedric Gibbons came up with the design for the Oscar statue by doodling on a Biltmore napkin! The Biltmore has lots of great things to do right there at the hotel; there’s a pool, beauty salon, restaurants, shops…and afternoon tea! Tea happens Wednesday through Sunday from 2-5pm beside a gurgling fountain in the Rendezvous Court, and is just as cute as it sounds. You can choose from a variety of little sandwiches (crusts cut off, of course), teas, and treats—don’t miss the freshly baked scones with homemade Devonshire cream and strawberry preserves.
506 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90071