Chateau Marmont

 
(1930s)* – Postcard image of the Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1926 Fred Horowitz, a prominent Los Angeles attorney, chose the site at Marmont Lane and Sunset Boulevard to construct an apartment building. Horowitz had recently traveled to Europe for inspiration and returned to California with photos of a Gothic Chateau along the Loire River. In 1927 Horowitz commissioned his brother-in-law, European-trained architect Arnold A. Weitzman, to design the seven-story, L-shaped building based on his French photos. When deciding upon a name for the building, Chateau Sunset and Chateau Hollywood were rejected in favor of Chateau Marmont, a name conceived by the small street running across the front of the property.*

 

 

 

 

 
(1940s)* – Photo showing the Chateau Marmont Hotel located at 8221 Sunset Boulevard.  

 

Historical Notes

On February 1, 1929, Chateau Marmont opened its doors to the public as the newest residence of Hollywood. Local newspapers described the Chateau as “Los Angeles’s newest, finest and most exclusive apartment house ... superbly situated, close enough to active businesses to be accessible and far enough away to insure quiet and privacy.”

Due to the high rents and inability to keep tenants for long-term commitments during the depression, Fred Horowitz chose to sell the apartment building to Albert E. Smith for $750,000 in cash. The following year, Chateau Marmont was converted into a hotel. The apartments became suites with kitchens and living rooms. The property was also refurbished with antiques from depression-era estate sales.*

 

 

 

 

 
(1977)^.^ – View looking east on the Sunset Strip showing the beautiful Chateau Marmont standing out like a castle in the Hollywood Hills.  

 

Historical Notes

Designed and constructed to be earthquake proof, Chateau Marmont survived major earthquakes in 1933, 1953, 1971, 1987 and 1994 without sustaining any major structural damage. Nine Spanish cottages were built next to the hotel in the 1930s and were acquired by the hotel in the 1940s. Craig Ellwood designed two of the four bungalows in 1956, after he completed Case Study Houses.*

 

 

 

 

 
(1983)* - The Chateau Marmont Hotel, inspired by the architecture of the Loire Valley in France, and the Imperial Gardens Japanese Restaurant are shown above Sunset Blvd. There is a billboard advertising the 1984 Olympic Games to be held in Los Angeles. The back of the Marlboro Man sign can also be seen.  

 

Historical Notes

With its external appearance of a castle or Gothic fort, combined with its residential past, incredibly thick walls, discreet entry, and highly protective staff who treated guests like members of the family, the Chateau Marmont became the ideal hideout.

European guests found the architecture familiar and comforting, sexual outsiders felt accepted, the emotionally shy were shielded, and anyone else with a reason to hide simply blended into the woodwork—from the start there was the feeling of a shared sensibility. Greta Garbo felt comfortable here, as did Howard Hughes.^

 

 

 

 

 
(1981)** – Chateau Marmont located at 8221 Sunset Boulevard with the silhouette of the Marlboro Man seen on the right. Photo by Ron Galella  

 

Historical Notes

Lots of Hollywood gossip comes with the Chateau Marmont.  In 1955, James Dean supposedly jumped through a window to audition for Rebel Without a Cause. Director Nicholas Ray lived in a bungalow at the time, where he was having an affair with underaged Natalie Wood.^

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1995)* – View of the Chateau Marmont Hotel as seen from the Hollywood Hills looking southeast.  

 

Historical Notes

Members of Led Zeppelin rode their motorcycles through the lobby in the 1960s.

On March 5, 1982, comedian John Belushi died from a speedball injection in Bungalow No. 3.

On January 23, 2004, photographer Helmut Newton, who lived at the hotel, lost control of his Cadillac and crashed into the driveway wall. He was killed.

There is a commonly-denied and non-denied story that Benicio Del Toro and Scarlett Johansson hooked up in the elevator the night before the 2004 Oscars.^

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1984)* - Chateau Marmont, one of the most famous buildings in the Hollywood area. Located on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, it has hosted some of the world's greatest entertainment figures and members of many royal families as well. The architecure incorporates French and Spanish-style elements throughout.  

 

Historical Notes

Lindsay Lohan shacked up at the Chateau in the midst of her (first) drunk driving scandal.

During her public meltdown phase, in September 2007, Britney Spears was temporarily banned from the Chateau for smearing her face with food, disgusting fellow diners.

Lohan was finally banned in 2012 (she’d been living in Suite No. 33) after racking up a $46,350.04 tab on stuff like cigarettes, candles, iPhone chargers, and copies of Architectural Digest.^

 

 

 

 

 
(2006)*^ - View showing the Chateau Marmont Hotel located on the Sunset Strip, 8225 Marmont Lane and 8221 Sunset Boulevard.  

 

Historical Notes

When celebrities visiting Los Angeles want to be seen, they often go to the Beverly Hills Hotel. When they wish to keep out of the limelight they often stay at the Marmont.

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 2019)^^ – Close-up view of the Chateau Marmont on the Sunset Strip as it appears today.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1976, Chateau Marmont was dedicated LA Historic-Cultural Monument No. 151 (Click HERE to see complete listing).

 

 

 

 

 
(1940s)* – Photo showing the Penthouse Terrace at Chateau Marmont Hotel with the Hollywood Hills in the background.  

 

Historical Notes

The fact that tourists rarely discover the hotel is one of the reasons why stars like Marilyn Monroe, Nicole Kidman, Robert DeNiro, Josh Hartnett, Scarlet Johansson, Lindsay Lohan, Warren Beatty, Dustin Hoffman, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Greta Garbo, Keanu Reeves, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matthew McConaughey, Sarah Jessica Parker, and the Eagles have all stayed for extended periods.

 

 

 

 

 
(2014)^ - The Chateau Marmont, the ideal Hollywood hideout, located at 8221 Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood.  

 

Historical Notes

Author Shawn Levy, The Castle on Sunset, states that “the Chateau became the perfect place for so many of the things about Hollywood and the music business that we most want to celebrate.” The story of the Chateau Marmont, he writes, “parallels the story of Hollywood so thoroughly as to be inseparable from it.”^

 

 

 

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