The Century Plaza Hotel
|Fairmont Century Plaza|
|Location||2025 Avenue of the Stars|
Los Angeles, California
|Coordinates||34°03′27″N 118°24′57″W / 34.057449°N 118.415886°W|
|Owner||Next Century Associates|
|Design and construction|
The Fairmont Century Plaza is a 19-story luxury hotel in Century City, Los Angeles, US. The hotel fronts the Avenue of the Stars, adjacent to the twin Century Plaza Towers and the 2000 Avenue of the Stars complex. At the time of its opening in 1966, the Century Plaza Hotel was the highest building in Century City, with views extending all the way to the Pacific Ocean. It was also the first hotel to have color televisions in all of its rooms. The hotel closed for renovations in 2016, and reopened on September 27, 2021, operated by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. It is a member of Historic Hotels of America.
In 1961, developer William Zeckendorf and Alcoa bought about 180 acres (0.73 km2) from 20th Century Fox after the studio had suffered a string of expensive film flops, culminating in the box-office disaster Cleopatra. Century City was built as "a city within a city" with the arc-shaped, 19-story, 750-room Minoru Yamasaki-designed Century Plaza as the centerpiece.
When the Century Plaza began operating in 1966, its doormen wore red Beefeater costumes. The hotel was managed by Western International Hotels, which later changed its name to Westin Hotels. The hotel's ballrooms became the center for numerous high-profile events, including an opening charity gala in 1966 with Bob Hope as master of ceremonies, who with singer Andy Williams entertained Ronald and Nancy Reagan and Walt and Lillian Disney. In 1967, 1,300 club-swinging police clashed with about 10,000 anti-Vietnam War demonstrators as President Johnson spoke at a Democratic fundraiser at the hotel. On August 13, 1969, President Richard Nixon hosted a lavish state dinner in the Los Angeles Ballroom to celebrate the Apollo 11 moon landing astronauts.
In 1984, the hotel added a 322-room tower on the south portion of the property, adjacent to Olympic Boulevard. The Tower at Century Plaza was marketed as a luxury wing of the hotel and increased capacity to 1,072 rooms. Ronald Reagan by arrangement signed in as the first guest of the newly completed Tower on December 27, 1984. In 1999 the hotel rededicated its penthouse suite comprising the entire 32nd floor the Ronald Reagan Suite. While Reagan was in office, he stayed in the Tower so frequently the media dubbed it his Western White House. President Reagan had recently celebrated his re-election to a second term as President on the stage of the Los Angeles Ballroom in the original Century Plaza Hotel on November 6, 1984. In 2000, soon after Westin was acquired by Starwood, the Tower was converted into a separate hotel under a more luxurious Starwood brand, The St. Regis Los Angeles. That hotel was then sold by the owners of the Century Plaza in 2005 to developers who closed it for conversion to residential use. With its 1980s ceilings too low to meet modern residential demands, the relatively new building was razed to make way for The Century, a high-rise condominium completed in fall 2009.
In 2006, after being managed for its entire forty-year history by Westin Hotels, the property was taken over by Hyatt Hotels and renamed Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. However, the sign above the main entrance reading The Century Plaza was left unchanged.
Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. bought the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in 2005 for US$293 million and then spent $22 million upgrading the guest rooms and common areas. On June 1, 2008, Sunstone sold the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza to Next Century Associates for $366.5 million, $505,000 per room, one of the highest paid for a hotel in California. On December 18, 2008, the new owners announced plans to demolish the hotel and build a pair of fifty-story towers in its place. On April 28, 2009, The Century Plaza Hotel was added to The National Trust for Historic Preservation's list of the 11 most endangered historic places in America. In February 2010, the developer announced that it would renovate the historic hotel building and convert some of the floors to condominiums, rather than demolishing and replacing the building as previously proposed.
The hotel closed on March 1, 2016 to begin the $2.5 billion overhaul. It ceased to be operated by Hyatt at this time. The two residential towers (named Century Plaza North Tower and Century Plaza South Tower) that were to replace the hotel were, instead, built behind it. Designed by Pei Cobb Freed, Gensler, and Marmol Radziner, they contain 268 condominiums. The original 726-room hotel tower was rebuilt with 400 much larger guest rooms and 63 condominiums. The hotel reopened on September 27, 2021 as the Fairmont Century Plaza, managed by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. The Fairmont Century Plaza was then inducted into Historic Hotels of America, a program of National Trust for Historic Preservation, in 2022.
Notable people and events
The Century Plaza has played host to various celebrities, foreign dignitaries, and presidents; among them, Marshal Josip Broz Tito, Moshe Dayan, Lyndon Johnson, Ronald Reagan, Prince Philip, and David Ben-Gurion. The hotel was the venue for the 1967 Emmy Awards, and the 1970 and 1971 Grammy Awards. It was also the venue for the 2009 and 2010 Visual Effects Society's prestigious annual awards ceremony. In early 2022 the newly re-opened Hotel hosted the Academy Awards Nominees lunch, the Critics Choice awards, and the Producers Guild Awards honouring George Lucas.
In popular culture
The Century Plaza Hotel's dramatic curved facade is seen in the 1980 film, 9 To 5, both from a distant establishing shot and from one of the balconies, when the character Missy Hart is staying in the hotel.
The Century Plaza Hotel is featured in the 2008 video game, Midnight Club: Los Angeles, and is mimicked in the 2004 video game, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
- ^ "Fairmont Century Plaza Ushers in a New Age of Glamour in Los Angeles".
- ^ Johns, Al (January 24, 1960). "Century City Project Set for Two Phases". Los Angeles TImes. p. 19. Retrieved May 12, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
- ^ a b c Vincent, Roger (3 June 2008). "Keys to Century Plaza Hotel handed over for $366.5 million". Los Angeles Times.
- ^ Vincent, Roger; Groves, Martha (18 December 2008). "Developer's plan would demolish Century Plaza". Los Angeles Times.
- ^ Groves, Martha (11 February 2010). "Deal spares Century Plaza hotel from wrecking ball". Los Angeles Times.
- ^ Rudi, Mariella (26 January 2016). "A Witness To History Checking Out At The Century Plaza Hotel". westsidetoday.com. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
- ^ King, Danny (20 January 2017). "Fairmont will take over Los Angeles' iconic Century Plaza". Travel Weekly. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
- ^ a b "Fairmont Century Plaza Los Angeles to Open In 2018". Hotel News Resource. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
- ^ Martin, Hugo (8 December 2015). "$2.5-billion makeover of Century Plaza Hotel is set to start in March". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
- ^ "Destinations - Fairmont, luxury Hotels & Resorts".
- ^ "Fairmont Century Plaza (Opening September 27, 2021)".
- ^ Vincent, Roger (19 January 2017). "Fairmont Hotels will operate the revamped Century Plaza hotel". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
- ^ "Hotel History - Fairmont Century Plaza". Historic Hotels of America. Retrieved 2022-12-14.
- Fairmont Century Plaza official website
- Fairmont Century Plaza official chain webpage
- Century Plaza condominiums official website
- Seeing-stars.com: Los Angeles Landmarks, Century Plaza Hotel
- Los Angeles Conservancy: "The Century Plaza Hotel history and its planned demolition" article
- Los Angeles Times'.com: "Century Plaza as L.A. Statement"−(June 1, 2009)
- Story of the making of the Ronald Reagan Suite at the Century Plaza Tower — with photos.
- Story of the Century Plaza Hotel, Century City — with photos, Fox back lots, and hotel's 30th anniversary exhibits (1996).