The Chateau Marmont
Backstory and Context
The Chateau Marmont is a historic hotel in Los Angeles and has been the playground for some of Hollywood’s biggest stars over the years. the hotel received its name from the street bordering the walls of the structure. Harry Cohn, the head of Columbia Pictures in the 1930s, famously declared, “If you must get into trouble, do it at the Marmont,” (Cooper, 2018). This quote exemplifies the notorious reputation the hotel has gained since its grand opening on February 1st, 1929, due to deadly overdoses, evections, and infamous scandals. With a vintage, gothic look, the Marmont still holds an “old Hollywood charm”, (Cooper, 2018), and has a European estate themed landscape, complementing the antique and nostalgic look.
The hotel was designed by architects Arnold A. Weitzman and William Douglas Lee, and construction was ordered in 1926 by Fred Horowitz. Originally designed as a luxury apartment building, it was later renovated into a hotel in the wake of the stock market crash of 1929. With the onset of the Great Depression, the owners were unable to keep up with the tenants because of this, leading Horowitz to decide to sell the building to Albert E. Smith for $750,000 in cash. This change led to major renovations over the years, as Smith added bungalows, cottages, a swimming pool, and even made it earthquake proof. These innovations led to more revenue, allowing the Marmont to stay open during the tough period, and to thrive after it. It officially became The Chateau Mormont Hotel in 1931. Not much changed structurally and culturally over the next twenty years, but fun was never the problem. Many years of shenanigans occurred before another owner purchased the hotel in 1990s, and restored the hotel, bringing a fresh aura, while also maintaining the almost trademark antique look and feel.
At nearly 90 years old, The Chateau Mormont has seen its fair share of mischief, including Jim Morrison falling off his balcony in 1971, lethal speedball injections in 1982, Jay-Z house parties in 2018, and lifetime bans 2012. Allowing famous people to work in peace while being in Hollywood is rare, making this spot an ideal spot to wind down and hide out from the public. Shawn Levy, a Canadian film director, producer and actor, wrote in an article that, “The story of the Chateau Marmont parallels the story of Hollywood so thoroughly as to be inseparable from it.” (Rozzo, 2019). It has also appeared in multiple movies, “the Chateau Marmont has been a muse to many, and has appeared in films including Almost Famous, Four Rooms, The Doors, Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere and recently at the end of La La Land.” (Cooper, 2018). Hollywood and the Marmont will always be intertwined, giving it one of the most unique backstories cements' it as a historical monument.
The upbringing of this hotel has survived the worst economic depression of all time, multiple deaths involving celebrities, and even multiple major earthquakes. This means this hotel has stood through major parts of US history, making it essentially part of it. The beautiful architecture captures the Hollywood persona, and will forever be a Los Angeles classic. In 10 years, the hotel will have stood for a century, showing its impressive longevity and proving it has lived through history, and added plenty to it.
Rozzo, M., & Rozzo, M. (2019, February 06). How the Chateau Marmont Became Hollywood's Glorious, Decadent Hideaway. Retrieved from https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2019/02/secrets-of-the-chateau-marmont
Chateau Marmont Hollywood. (2015, March 27). Retrieved from http://59magazine.nl/travel/chateau-marmont-hollywood/
Cooper, S. (2018, December 03). A Historical Look at the Chateau Marmont. Retrieved from https://www.crfashionbook.com/celebrity/a25336906/a-historical-look-at-the-chateau-marmont/