Every few years, the Chateau Marmont gets a (frankly not that needed) boost of press and attention. Chateau Marmont history is of course the stuff of celebrity rumors and revelry. Lindsay Lohan was the Vanity Fair cover story a few years back when she was living at 'the Chateau,' as it's amicably called (in the same manner Leonardo DiCaprio is called 'Leo') and immortalized by the magazine as its 'Eloise.'
Most recently, acclaimed director Sofia Coppola shot her film Somewhere at the hotel and she (and the Chateau) received their share of publicity and attention. They're both talented in their own ways; Coppola for obvious reasons and the hotel for its old world architectural style, and a rare semblance of privacy, exclusivity and mystique--characteristics adored by Hollywood's A-list denizens.
Like every great actress in Hollywood, the famous and infamous hotel Chateau Marmont has two sides--public and private (well, semi-private, if you consider the unstoppable paparazzi). Founded in 1927, it has had decades of influence on the pop culture at large and in Los Angeles.
Public Chateau Marmont
The Chateau Marmont was modeled after a royal residence in France's Loire Valley. It is home to 63 rooms, cottages and bungalows.
Anyone with some extra money to spend can check into this amazing historical hotel or its nearby private serviced apartments (many with kitchens).
In fact, for a landmark birthday, a good friend of mine rented an apartment for a night and had a nice, intimate party there (nothing too Johnny Depp and Kate Moss--no broken furniture). The hotel also, incidentally boasts "party-thick soundproof walls" (as if asking for such trouble).
If you're not staying at the Chateau, you can of course enjoy a pleasant lunch al fresco at its restaurant.
In addition, there's always Bar Marmont for cocktails. Depending on when you go, there may be an affable enough doorman manning the lounge, and everything from a decidedly coolster and insider crowd, to a wide-eyed and bushy-tailed touristy scene.
Private Chateau Marmont: My Firsthand Account
You've probably seen the photos in the tabloids. Celebrities meeting (sometimes when they shouldn't be) and/or partying at the Chateau Marmont. Like the Playboy Mansion during its former heyday, the Chateau is one of those 'must party at before you die' places.
Not all the parties here are ragers of course. The hotel has hosted some quite civilized events for Chanel as well as book launch parties.
In the latter category, a good friend of mine had his book launch in the old-fashioned lobby of the Chateau during an early evening. It was lovely to mingle in there and then wander outdoors for a walk through the beautiful back garden area (where you can also drink and dine). It never disappoints in the arena of grand old design and style--a throwback to Hollywood's glory days.
The real must-go part of the Chateau is its penthouse 'party' suite. Its balcony overlooks Sunset Boulevard.
I once got to check out this special spot when a party was thrown for some of the cast of Saturday Night Live.
Of course former SNL cast member Maya Rudolph was there, as well as other starlets like Daryl Hannah, and actor Steve Buscemi.
This area is truly charmed. The balcony basically is the suite as its view over Sunset is unbeatable. Parties here in the warm months always center around this veranda area--which is also not so coincidentally where the barman serves cocktails.
List of Celebrity Guests and Visitors to the Chateau Marmont
- 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
- Mick Jagger
- John Belushi famously died of a drug overdose in one of the Chateau's bungalows in 1982
- Clark Gable and Jean Harlow were said to have had romantic trysts at the hotel
- Writer F. Scott Fitzgerald had a heart attack there
- Members of Led Zeppelin rode their motorcycles through the lobby one night
- As chronicled in the Oliver Stone film The Doors, Jim Morrison stayed there, and injured himself when he fell after hanging from a drain pipe
- Photographer Helmut Newton crashed into a wall by the driveway of the Chateau and died, in 2004
Books Written About (or Taking Place at) the Chateau Marmont
In short, a book could be written about the Chateau Marmont, so deep and fascinating are its Hollywood roots. In fact, books have been written about it. Here is a short list of some tomes about or referencing the hotel:
- Hollywood Handbook: Chateau Marmont by Andre Balazs and Richard Pandiscio
- Los Angeles: People, Places and the Castle on the Hill by A.M. Holmes
- Life at the Marmont by Raymond R. Sarlot
- Last Night at the Chateau Marmont: A Novel by Lauren Weisberger
Chateau Marmont Hotel and Bungalows
8221 Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA
(Cross street: Crescent Heights)