The Checklist: Hotels to Stay in Before You Die

by Ondine Cohane

CHATEAU MARMONT, Hollywood, California

In Los Angeles, a town whose raison d'être is the manufacture of hipness, the idiosyncratic Chateau Marmont remains the epitome of cool. From its hillside perch in Hollywood, it oozes the same understated glamour that has drawn generation after generation of hopeful ingénues to this town. Throughout its venerable history—built in 1927, it was modeled on the Château d'Amboise in the Loire Valley—it has served as a home away from home, crash pad, liaison spot, and even final scene for a legion of Hollywood legends. Vivian Leigh nursed a Laurence Olivier–broken heart here; John Belushi had a fatal drug overdose in a garden bungalow; and Lindsay Lohan rode out her DWI furor on the grounds.

Nonetheless, even more mortal guests are made to feel at home—which is why you should visit, too (okay, that and the star sightings). In fact, it's a distinct lack of flashiness that most distinguishes the Marmont from its L.A. competitors. Rooms come with stove tops and refrigerators that seem plucked out of the 1950s, and the slightly rickety plumbing system might not appeal to the flat-screen-in-the-bathroom set. Splurge on Room 64, the two-bedroom penthouse with a grand piano and huge terrace overlooking the city, or one of the Bauhaus-style bungalows with their own gardens. For those star sightings, try the terrace restaurant, which is reserved for hotel guests and visiting stars, the Ping-Pong table (where Kirsten Dunst has been seen wielding a racket), and the small elevator that can bypass the lobby from the underground garage.

Chateau Marmont
Tel: 323 656 1010
Doubles from $370

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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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