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Designed by architects Arnold A. Weitzman and William Douglas Lee and built in 1929 as an apartment complex, the Chateau Marmont was turned into a hotel in 1931. In total, the hotel holds 63 bungalows, rooms, and suites. Chateau Marmont quickly earned a reputation for being a get-away for Hollywood stars because of its exclusivity and privacy. Located on a hillside on the north side of Sunset Boulevard, celebrities such as Howard Hughes, Desi Arnaz, Bette Davis, Sharon Tate, Led Zeppelin, and Lindsay Lohan have been guests at the Chateau Marmont. The hotel has served as a setting for several films and books.

Chateau Marmont Hotel

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Chateau Marmont with the Players Nightclub in the foreground, ca. 1940

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Actress Jean Harlow seen by the pool at the Chateau Marmont in the early 1930s

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The cast and crew of the film "Rebel Without a Cause," starring Natalie Wood and James Dean, read the film's script in Nicholas Ray's bungalow at Chateau Marmont

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View of the Chateau Marmont's bungalows and pool with the Sunset Strip in the background

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The lobby inside the Chateau Marmont

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Chateau Marmont is a historic hotel on Los Angeles’s Sunset Strip that has served as a playground for Hollywood stars since 1931. The hotel received its name from Marmont Lane, which borders the walls of the structure. Harry Cohn, the head of Columbia Pictures in the 1930s, famously told actors Glenn Ford and William Holden, “If you must get into trouble, do it at the Marmont." These words exemplify the notorious reputation the hotel has earned since its grand opening on February 1, 1929. With its vintage, gothic look, the Marmont still has that “old Hollywood charm” and a landscape reflecting that of a European estate, complementing the antique and nostalgic look.

Chateau Marmont was designed by architects Arnold A. Weitzman and William Douglas Lee and construction began in 1926. The idea was conceived by an attorney in Los Angeles named Fred Horowitz, who had the desire to build a luxury apartment building that connected Beverly Hills and Los Angeles. The apartment complex became a hotel after the Crash of 1929. With the onset of the Great Depression, the owners were unable to keep up with the tenants, leading Horowitz to sell the building to Albert E. Smith for $750,000 in cash. This change led to major renovations over the years, with Smith adding bungalows, cottages, a swimming pool, and even making the building earthquake proof. 

These improvements led to more revenue, allowing the hotel to stay open during the difficult financial period and thrive after it. It officially became the Chateau Marmont Hotel in 1931. Not much changed structurally and culturally over the next several years, but Hollywood stars had plenty of fun. Many decades of shenanigans occurred before Andre Balazs purchased the hotel in 1990s and restored it, bringing in a fresh aura while also maintaining the trademark antique look and feel.

Chateau Marmont has seen its fair share of publicity regarding celebrities, including Jim Morrison falling off his balcony in 1971, John Belushi dying of an overdose in 1982, Jay-Z and Beyonce hosting an Oscar party in 2018, and Lindsay Lohan receiving a lifetime ban in 2012 after not paying her hefty bill. Allowing well-known names to work in peace while remaining in Hollywood is rare, making this an ideal spot to wind down and hide-out from the public.

Author Shawn Levy wrote, “The story of the Chateau Marmont parallels the story of Hollywood so thoroughly as to be inseparable from it.” He also noted that “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.” Because of this history, Hollywood and the Chateau Marmont will always be intermingled.

Owner Andre Balazs announced the plan in 2020 to make the Chateau Marmont strictly a timeshare for members-only. However, the hotel was in dispute with its workers who were wanting to unionize, and many celebrities who frequented the hotel boycotted it and stood in solidarity with employees. Eventually, hotel employees did join a union and Balazs abandoned any plan to make the Chateau Marmont a members-only establishment.

Chateau Marmont has survived the worst economic depression of all time, famous incidents involving celebrities, and even multiple major earthquakes. The beautiful architecture captures its Hollywood persona, and it will forever be a Los Angeles classic. After having stood for nearly a century, the Chateau Marmont has shown its impressive longevity and has added plenty to Hollywood history. 

Dobson, Jim. Famed Chateau Marmont Hotel In Hollywood Abandons Plans As A Members-Only Property, Forbes. August 26th, 2022. Accessed October 6th, 2022.

Cooper, Sabrina. A Historical Look at the Chateau Marmont, CR Fashionbook. November 29th, 2018. Accessed December 3rd, 2018.

Rozzo, Mark. Secrets of the Chateau Marmont, Vanity Fair. February 6th, 2019. Accessed October 7th, 2022.

Kudler, Adrian Glick. A totally incomplete history of trouble at the Chateau Marmont, Curbed Los Angeles. July 30th, 2019. Accessed October 8th, 2022.

Ponder, Jon. How Did Chateau Marmont Get Its Name?, Playground To The Stars. September 11th, 2010. Accessed October 8th, 2022.,was%20built%20on%20Marmont%20Lane..

Author, Guest. L.A. Confidential: The History of Secrecy at Chateau Marmont, The Agenda. January 24th, 2020. Accessed October 10th, 2022.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Los Angeles Times

Water and Power Associates


The Agenda from Tablet Hotels

Yahoo! Life

Los Angeles Business Journal