Chateau Marmont Hotel
|Location||8225 Marmont Lane and 8221 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, California|
Chateau Marmont is a hotel located at 8221 Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. The hotel was designed by architect Arnold A. Weitzman and William Douglas Lee and completed in 1929. It was modeled loosely after the Château d'Amboise, a royal retreat in France's Loire Valley. The Chateau Marmont annex was designed by architect W. Gayle Daniel.
The hotel is notable for its history as both a long- and short-term residence for celebrities – historically "populated by people either on their way up or on their way down" – as well as a home for New Yorkers in Hollywood. The hotel has 63 rooms, suites, and bungalows priced from $575 to $3,000 per night.
Design and construction
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.
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." For the inaugural reception, over 300 people passed through the site, including local press.
Conversion to hotel
Due to the high rents and inability to keep tenants for long-term commitments during the Great Depression, Horowitz sold the apartment building in 1931 to Albert E. Smith, co-founder of Vitagraph Studios, for $750,000 in cash (equivalent to $12,360,000 in 2018). Smith converted the building into a hotel, an investment which benefitted from the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. The apartments became suites with kitchens and living rooms. The property was also refurbished with antiques from depression-era estate sales. During the 1930s, the hotel was managed by former silent film actress Ann Little.
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, as well as a swimming pool, 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.
Acquisition by Sarlot-Kantarjian
Business was good for the hotel, although by the 1960s, the building was in disrepair, and the owners attempted to sell it multiple times. News articles about the hotel from the 1960s and '70s described it as an "elderly castle", a "dowdy hotel", "rundown", and "shabby-genteel".
After sitting on the market for two years, the Chateau was sold in 1975 to Raymond R. Sarlot and Karl Kantarjian of Sarlot-Kantarjian, a real estate development firm, for $1.1 million dollars. Sarlot-Kantarjian expanded the hotel with a new wing. They also repaired and upgraded many elements of the hotel, but tried to stay true to the hotel's character and history. In 1976, after their acquisition and improvements began, the Chateau was named a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument. In The New York Times, writer Quentin Crisp praised the Chateau's "avoiding undue modernization and stayed deliberately in the romantic past."
The hotel was acquired in 1990 by André Balazs. Balazs needed to modernize the hotel, while also preserving Chateau Marmont's character. For the restoration, Balazs strove to create the illusion that the hotel had been untouched, notwithstanding renovations. The entire facility was re-carpeted, repainted, and the public spaces were upgraded.
In July 2018, Chateau Hanare, a new seasonal kaiseki restaurant, opened in a former residential building on the eastern edge of the property. Balazs had spent five years courting the restaurateur, Reika Alexander of New York City's EN Japanese Brasserie, before she and chef Abe Hiroki signed on.
Throughout the years, Chateau Marmont has gained recognition. Tim Burton, Death Grips, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Anthony Kiedis, Annie Leibovitz, Jay McInerney, Helmut Newton, Dorothy Parker, Terry Richardson, Quentin Tarantino, Hunter S. Thompson, Bruce Weber, and Billy Wilder, among others, have produced work from within the hotel's walls.
Director Sofia Coppola shot her film Somewhere at the hotel in 2010. The hotel also appears in the Academy Award-winning films La La Land (2016) and A Star Is Born (2018), as well as The Night Walker (1964), Myra Breckinridge (1970), Blume in Love (1973), The Doors (1991), Dangerous Game (1993), Laurel Canyon (2003), and Maps to the Stars (2014). The opening scene from The Canyons (2013) was shot at the now-closed Bar Marmont.
In literature and comics
The hotel features in The Big Nowhere, the second of James Ellroy's L.A. Quartet novels. It is also mentioned in Charles Bukowski's major work Hollywood. It is also the office of fictional paparazzo Patrick Immleman in the Panel Syndicate web comic The Private Eye.
Singer Lana Del Rey lived at Chateau Marmont during the beginning of her fame in 2012, and mentioned the hotel in her song "Off to the Races" from her album Born to Die, and in various unreleased tracks. The hotel is mentioned in Father John Misty's song "Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)", and is the setting of the Grateful Dead song "West L.A. Fadeaway". It is also mentioned in the song "Chateau" by Australian indie pop duo Angus & Julia Stone, and in the song "Trigger Bang" by Lily Allen.
In art and fashion
Actor James Franco created a replica of the Chateau's Bungalow 2 for his Rebel Without a Cause exhibit at MOCA in 2012. The hotel's stationery has featured in work by artists Gary Baseman, Robert Gober, Martin Kippenberger, and Claes Oldenburg, among others. The Chateau's branding was featured in a capsule collection from fashion label Gucci in 2018.
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- Virbila, S. Irene (February 4, 2004). "The Review: Romancing the castle on the hill". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 22, 2012.
- Elliott, Farley (April 5, 2017). "Bar Marmont Exits the Sunset Strip for Extended Food and Drink Overhaul". Eater.
- Kang, Matthew (July 16, 2018). "Chateau Marmont's Secret Japanese Restaurant Opens Tonight in Hollywood". Eater.
- O'Connell, Michael (May 8, 2018). "Hot NYC Restaurateur Bringing Haute Japanese Cuisine to LA's Chateau Marmont".
- Brown, Janelle (December 3, 2010). "The Chateau Marmont Is Ready for Its Close-Up". The New York Times. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
- Brannigan, Paul (July 15, 2014). "How Red Hot Chili Peppers Conquered the World with By the Way". Louder.
- Martins, Chris (January 4, 2013). "Death Grips Film Unsettling 'Come Up and Get Me' Video at Posh Chateau Marmont".
- Smith, Emily (September 19, 2016). "Quentin Tarantino retreats to Chateau Marmont to write film". Page Six.
- Chandler, Jenna (April 13, 2017). "'La La Land:' The ultimate filming location map". Curbed. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
- Sandberg, Patrik (September 10, 2018). "Lady Gaga arrives as a movie megastar in her new film". Dazed.
- Orwig, Gail; Orwig, Raymond (January 12, 2018). Where Monsters Walked: California Locations of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films, 1925–1965. McFarland. p. 212. ISBN 978-1-4766-2797-7.
- Combs, Richard (April 1, 1991). "The Doors". Monthly Film Bulletin. London. 58 (687): 103.
- Nathan, Jean (August 1, 1993). "What's Up in the Old Hotel?". The New York Times.
- Hart, Hugh (March 2003). "Production Slate: Refuge and Risk". American Cinematographer: The International Journal of Film & Digital Production Techniques. Hollywood, Calif. 84 (3): 24, 26, 28.
- Long, Camilla (September 28, 2014). "Hooray for Hollywood?: Julianne Moore gives a tour de force in the overblown satire Maps to the Stars". The Times. London (UK). p. 12.
- Pope, Braxton (August 2, 2013). "In Lindsay's Stardust Orbit". Variety.
- "The Annotated 'West L.A. Fadeaway'". Retrieved July 8, 2015.
- Vankin, Deborah (May 14, 2012). "James Franco grabs another role with MOCA show on 'Rebel Without a Cause'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
- Baseman, Gary (June 23, 2019). "Sunday Brunch at the Chateau Marmont". Facebook.
- Friedman, Vanessa (May 31, 2018). "Gucci Has a Rave in a Cemetery". New York Times. New York.
- McFadden, Robert D. (March 6, 1982). "John Belushi, Manic Comic of TV and Films Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved September 25, 2007.
John Belushi, the manic, rotund comedian whose outrageous antics and spastic impersonations on the Saturday Night Live television show propelled him to stardom in the 1970s, was found dead yesterday in a rented bungalow in Hollywood, where he had launched a film career in recent years.
- McKinley, Jesse (January 24, 2004). "Helmut Newton, Who Remade Fashion Photography, Dies at 83". The New York Times. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
Helmut Newton, the prolific, widely imitated fashion photographer whose provocative, erotically charged black-and-white photos were a mainstay of Vogue and other publications, died yesterday after a car crash in Hollywood. He was 83. The Los Angeles police told The Associated Press that Mr. Newton lost control of his Cadillac after leaving the Chateau Marmont Hotel and climbed up a wall across the street. He died at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the agency reported.
- Works cited
- Further reading
- Sarlot, Raymond R.; Basten, Fred E. (1987). Life at the Marmont: The Inside Story of Hollywood's Legendary Hotel of the Stars – Chateau Marmont. Santa Monica, Calif.: Roundtable. ISBN 978-0-915677-23-8.
- Levy, Shawn (2019). The Castle on Sunset: Life, Death, Love, and Art at Hollywood's Chateau Marmont. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 978-0-385-54316-3.