Ben has never been to such a star-studded hotel before. Here, he checks into a Hollywood celebrity hotel.
8221 Sunset Strip, Hollywood, California holds many stories and secrets of screen stars, producers, musicians and wannabes. It is the Chateau Marmont, a replica of a Loire Valley castle. It has porticos, arches, priceless paintings and bits of history everywhere.
The chateau was built in 1929 as an apartment block for stylish New Yorkers visiting Los Angeles, but the stockmarket crash forced the owners to sell to a wealthy man in the silent film business and the legend began.
Reading the list of visitors is like reading a who's who of the film world. Charlie Chaplin, Errol Flynn, the shadowy Greta Garbo, Robert Mitchum, Marlon Brando, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe … Clark Gable and Jean Harlow carried on their affair there while she was on her honeymoon. Jim Morrison jumped off its roof and John Belushi died from a drug overdose there. Howard Hughes hid himself in the penthouse but wasn't so reclusive he didn't enjoy watching the bathing beauties beside the hotel pool through his binoculars.
The 18th-century replica has fluted pillars graced by ivy and a perfect swimming pool. The lobby has Gothic vaulted ceilings and lots of dark wood. The restaurant seats only around 12 and is always quiet.
Rooms are Hollywood at its most cheerful. Each one is different in size and décor. There are deco rooms, Latin bungalows and frilly Doris Day rooms. Poolside bungalows are popular and you never know who is under that big hat and dark glasses.
Apart from the glamour, history, beauty and service, the thing that attracts people to the Chateau Marmont is its total discretion. Stories are born there and die there.
There are many quotes stemming from the hotel, but one of the most famous came from Harry Cohn, founder of Columbia Pictures. He said, "If you must get into trouble, do it at the Chateau Marmont."
Los Angeles, California in the USA.
Chateau Marmont rooms start at around $500 a double a night.
Qantas flies daily to Los Angeles. Return economy airfares start at $2013 ex- Melbourne; $2030 ex-Sydney; $2113 ex-Brisbane; $2329 ex-Adelaide; $2666 ex-Perth and $2776 ex-Darwin per person. Prices include charges/taxes and are current at time of writing but may vary at time of booking. Seasonal surcharges and conditions apply.
8221 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, California 90046
Ph: 0011 1 323 656 1010www.chateaumarmont.com
Qantas: 13 13 13