For those of us who grew up reading the adventures of Eloise, the mischievous little girl who grew up at The Plaza, living in a hotel -- with daily maid service and pampering -- represents the ultimate fantasy. But it's been a reality for many notables over the years, from the starving, not-yet-famous artists who stayed at flophouse dives to bona fide stars like Marilyn Monroe, who shacked up at one of Beverly Hills' nicest hotels.
Built in 1902, the Washington Square Hotel used to be the
Hotel Earle, a rundown residential hotel in Greenwich Village offering cheap
shelter for famous writers and musicians during their struggling years.
Long-term guests have included Bo Diddley(who loved room 107), Bob
Dylan(who lived in room 305), and Dylan
Thomas. Rates were around $3 to $5 a night in the 1960s (or $22
to $37 in today’s dollars) and $10 to $15 in the 1970s ($56 to $84 in today’s
dollars); that’s when the bohemian Village was home to beatnik coffee houses,
not today’s luxury residences. Today, the low-key, B&B-style property
attracts NYU parents and tourists.
Perched on a hill overlooking L.A.’s Sunset Boulevard, the
Chateau Marmont has been a bastion of Old Hollywood — and a way of life for
many a celebrity — since it opened in 1929. Roman Polanskilived here after directing Rosemary’s
Baby in 1968 —
the year before his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, was murdered. In 1982, John
Belushi moved into Bungalow 3, where he later overdosed on heroin. Other
permanent residents have included Greta Garbo, Robert De Niro, Keanu Reeves, Josh Hartnett and
Quiet, luxurious, and steeped in Hollywood history, the
Fairmont Miramar is one of Santa Monica’s best hotels. Thanks to its secluded
bungalows and head-high hedges that shield it from the street, it has long been
a coastal retreat for Los Angeles’ entertainment-industry heavyweights. Blonde
bombshell Jean Harlowe rented
one of the bungalows in the early 1930s, actress Jean
Simmonslived in a bungalow for seven months, and Faye
Dunawaykept a permanent suite here in the 1970s.
Although this small, elegant New York City hotel is better
known for its literary pedigree — this is the home of the infamous Round Table
— it has a colorful Hollywood history as well. Douglas Fairbanks lived in the
hotel from 1907 to 1915, and other movie-industry residents included Audrey Hepburn, Billy Wilder, andSir Laurence Olivier.
Built in midtown Manhattan in 1926, and named for one of the
finest French restaurants of the era, the Elysee became a long-term residence
for movie stars, authors, and musicians. Marlon Brandohad a suite, now named
“Sayonara” after his role in Teahouse of the August Moon. In 1983, writer Tennessee
Williams died in
the Sunset suite, having written much of his late material while living in the
hotel. World-renowned pianist Vladimir Horowitz moved a Steinway baby grand
piano into the hotel when he took up temporary residence. Upon checkout, he
famously shrugged at the hotel’s manager and said, “Keep it.” (The
piano remains in the Presidential suite to this day.)
The St. Regis is one of D.C.’s most luxurious hotels — and
it has been since it opened its doors in 1926 as the Carlton Hotel. Back then,
room rates started at $5 a night, and suites started at $15 a night — worth
about $61 and $184 in today’s dollars. Howard
Hugheskept a permanent suite at the Carlton during World War
II, and let soldiers stay in it free of charge whenever the hotel was full.
With 12 acres of lush grounds, this historic hotel — opened
in 1912 — is a serene, luxurious escape five minutes from Rodeo Drive.
Eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes kept
four permanent bungalows at the hotel (two were decoys) where he lived on and
off through the ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s, and during his residency he made the kind
of demanding requests you’d expect from an eccentric billionaire — pineapple
upside-down cakes at 3 a.m., and roast beef sandwiches left at the trunk of the
tree in his garden (so he wouldn’t have to interact with anyone). Marilyn
Monroeand Yves Montand lived
in bungalows 20 and 21 during the filming of Let’s Make Love at the end of the 1950s (and the two were
reportedly taking the film’s title to heart).
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