Celebrity spotting is on the wish list of many visitors to Los Angeles, and there are plenty of places to catch the current A-list in action. But sometimes it’s fun to take a trip back in time to the era of Golden Age glamour. Many of LA’s historic hotels have been hot spots for decades—and in the case of one, a century. Check out these Los Angeles hotels that were frequented by the rich and famous of yesteryear.
Designated a Historic Cultural Landmark by the City of Los Angeles in 1969, the Millennium Biltmore has been a staple of LA’s skyline since it opened in 1923. In the early years, it was so popular with the Hollywood elite that voyeuristic fans used to line the benches of the Galleria in the hopes of spotting someone famous. The lookie-loos went legit when the Biltmore Theater opened a year later. Many stars regularly performed in sold out shows, including Lucille Ball, Henry Fonda, Katharine Hepburn, Will Rogers and Mae West. No doubt many stayed overnight during the long runs.
506 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, 213.624.1011
The Hollywood Roosevelt has been around since the Golden Age of Hollywood—1927, to be exact. Not only has it played host to the biggest names in the business, it was actually founded by them, too. Partners included Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Sid Grauman (as in the original Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, now TCL Chinese Theatre) and MGM studio boss Louis B. Mayer. In the years that followed, a young model named Marilyn Monroe moved in for two full years, as did Montgomery Clift for three months during production on From Here to Eternity. The Roosevelt is also said to be the site of an early tryst between Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, and where they enjoyed their honeymoon in the penthouse suite that now bears their names.
7000 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, 323.466.7000
Beverly Hills Hotel
The beloved “Pink Palace” turned 100 in 2012, and it’s seen more than its share of famous faces in residence here over the years. Though the rooms in the main building are quite luxurious as well, the more spacious bungalows are the preferred place for the biggest stars. Marilyn Monroe stayed so often she had a favorite bungalow (No. 7, though she evidently spent the most time in No. 1). Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were regulars, along with Marlene Dietrich, Howard Hughes and Orson Welles. Warren Beatty was also a big fan, back in his bachelor days.
9641 Sunset Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310.276.2251
Sportsmen’s Lodge Hotel
This iconic property located in the heart of Studio City was at one time a magnet for Hollywood’s heavy hitters, thanks to its proximity to Republic Pictures (now CBS’ Radford lot). The hotel has been operated in its current incarnation as the Sportsmen’s Lodge Hotel since 1962, but its history as a lodge dates all the way back to 1886. Long gone now, its trout ponds were a favorite of Hollywood’s most famous cowboy, John Wayne (Republic Pictures specialized in Westerns), not to mention Tallulah Bankhead, Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart and Bette Davis.
12825 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, 818.769.4700
The R.M.S. Queen Mary set sail from Southampton, England on her maiden voyage in the spring of 1936. Up until WWII, and until her eventual retirement in the 1960s, she hosted the greats of the Golden Era. Among the many notable names appearing in the ship’s passenger manifest are Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby, Greta Garbo, Bob Hope and Audrey Hepburn.
1126 Queens Hwy., Long Beach, 562.435.3511