Holidays

Deadly Hotels

by Ralph Martin

CECIL HOTEL, Los Angeles

Take a deteriorating building, a skid row neighborhood, proximity to a clinic for sex offenders, and serial killers as long-term guests, and you come close to describing the magic of the Cecil Hotel in the 1980s. The hotel is now a boutique establishment that plays on its access to the nearby Staples Center, but in its glory years it hosted a ghoulish assortment of losers and killers, including "Night Stalker" Richard Ramirez (pictured) and Austrian journalist-cum-murderer Jack Unterweger. Ramirez, who was found guilty of 14 murders in the 1980s, stayed on the 14th floor for several months in 1985, paying (creepy coincidence alert) $14 a night. And Unterweger, a writer and prostitute-killer released by Austrian authorities for good behavior and then sent to America on a high-profile journalistic junket, also used the hotel as a base to pick up at least three prostitutes who were later found murdered. The two may have been feeling the vibes from Pauline Otten, who jumped out a window in 1962 and killed a pedestrian, as well as herself, in her fall; or from the still unsolved murder of Goldie Osgood, the "pigeon lady" of Pershing Square, who was found strangled in her Cecil room in 1964. But you have to give the new management some respect: At least they haven't named a drink after Ramirez or done up Unterweger's room in period decor.

Cecil Hotel
Tel: 213 624 4545

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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