Sunday, April 25, 2010

Hotel Review: Funky and Unexpected Chateau Marmont

Many many years ago in Alabama, I worked in a cubicle next to a diehard obsessive Keanu Reeves fan.

Not only did she have an homage to him at her work desk, but she and other fan club friends used to stalk him. They regularly made pilgrimages to Los Angeles to watch him perform with his band (is he still in a band, I wonder?). They splurged on a stay at the iconic Chateau Marmont hotel in Hollywood, where he stayed, and hoped for a personal encounter. I think once she actually did corner him alone in an elevator.

And that's how the Chateau Marmont's existence first entered my mind.

Before moving to Japan, Sean and I decided to have a blowout Los Angeles weekend. Looking for a unique hotel, I remembered the Chateau Marmot.

This bizarre castle hotel has been a magnet for celebrities since the 1940s and not for reasons that you'd expect. Some of the famous who have rested there include Humphrey Bogart, Greta Garbo, Grace Kelly, Natalie Wood, and Jim Belushi, who was found dead of a drug overdose in Cottage#2. The many rockers include the likes of Jim Morrison and Led Zeppelin.

Incidentally, we had our own Slash from GunsNRoses encounter in our very first 2 minutes of arriving there. Waiting in line for the valet, a very sleek black Lexus SUV pulled in behind us. All we could see was fiery red hair sitting behind the driver's wheel. Tired of waiting, the hair impatiently honked the horn as loud and long as possible. Who was this rude entitled person?

When we got checked in and sat down for lunch at the outdoor garden cafe, the fiery red hair and family turned up too. The woman with the hair wore a short minidress and 5 inch platform stripper heels. The husband (Slash) had his crazy hair tamed into a ponytail, but he sported plenty of gold jewelry and tattoos. They also had two adorable children with them, who looked completely normal and conservative, even. Just a regular heavy metal family outing for Father's Day.
Our cottage# 83. I like to contemplate which tortured celeb might have stayed here...

You might think given the clientele, hotel amenities and accommodations would be sleek, state of the art, and luxurious. But when we opened our cottage door, we were surprised.
The theme was retro, and I don't mean hip designer retro. I mean my grandmother's house in East LA retro.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. We liked that the hotel had a homey laid back atmosphere in a glitzy fakey place like LA.
Check out this ancient refrigerator. We expected to find classic glass milk bottles inside.

Still, it was unanticipated that celebrities would be attracted to this kind of hotel. But then we considered that wealthy people ALWAYS have access to the ultra-new and modern. So, maybe this place is more interesting and charming.

The hotel was certainly offbeat. The rooms were a little strange, the service was a little off, and
the nighttime entertainment was, well - wholesome.

I'm sure the walls could talk with all the sordidness that has happened through the decades, but the night we spent there, it was tame. In fact, after a drink or two at the bar, we opted for a late night ping-pong game in the courtyard.
Another unexpected feature of the hotel is that all those ridiculously expensive snacks other hotels tempt you with in your room are all FREE at the Chateau! Our stockpile included chocolate chip cookies and pecan sandies, pistachios, peanuts, pretzels, chips, mints, gummi bears, and Toblerone.

For as much as we paid to stay here, we stocked up for sure.

Have you had any rude or friendly celebrity encounters? Share your story here.


Peter and Stephanie said...

Have not been there, now want to go, and totally have that same shirt in the same color from Express.... :P

Fly Girl said...

Yes, Keanu still has his band. I'm surprided at Marmont's decor as well, it's not what I envisioned. My most memorable celebrity meet up was that horribly embarrassing Lennie Kravitz incident in Elethera that I posted about.

Mary and Sean said...

Fly girl,

I remember your Lennie Kravitz encounter. Hilarious!

Anonymous said...

What about the Lincoln Lodge? Cornfield 28, Indiana?

Sean & Mary said...

"Jim Belushi, who was found dead of a drug overdose in Cottage#2."

I think you mean John Belushi. :)

I am Sean and my wife's name is Mary. We are about to start our own crazy adventures. We are starting out in London for 6 months then seeing what happens from there. I was surprised to find your blog with our names on it :) We have one at Thanks for sharing your adventures with everyone! I love it!

Mary and Sean said...

Oops! good catch! Good luck on your own adventures round the globe!


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