No pictures. That is the rule at Chateau Marmont. We were quickly informed of the code of discretion when naively requesting a pic near the pool bar. The bartender sternly schooled us, only to come back to us later when the entire pool had cleared out and put out his hand, offering to snap a quick one. I know we've all gotten our fill of images of drunk punkass celebrities flicking ashes off balconies here, but snapping those shots is technically not allowed. The Chateau is infamous for being a respite from dirty Hollywood trolls. But I so wished I was a stealth paparazzi who was able capture it all, not the "all" that they are after, not the rockstar debauchery but the opulence and lushness of this historic gothic style faux castle...the old Hollywood.
When I need to fall out of the grind and refuel from the routines of life, I have a couple friends who are at the ready for me and vice versa. It is with one of these sisters in crime that I booked this overnight trip to Hollywood with. She had never really done tinseltown and her eyes sparkled when I served it up as an alternative to the nearby serenity of Sonoma. She felt the calling of the stars and the smut, the lights and the life. Since I had lived in L.A. for 8 years and found it to be albeit overstimulating but also undeniably alluring, I assured her that she'd get all and more out of it than she hoped for. When providing her with a couple different dwelling options, she, without hesitation, settled on a splurge for a cottage at the Chateau. My kinda girl!
It's quite easy to forget that John Belushi took in his last speedball in a nearby bungalow because our cottage was nothing but tranquil. We remarked at the peace and quiet of the private little retreat and how we had to actually get out of there to cause some trouble! We were guided there through secret passageways, past a garden-set ping pong table to our stained glass entryway. The charming Frenchman that escorted us to the cottage was nothing but gracious, conversing with us as if we were staying at his quaint B&B. The entire staff was gracious and welcoming and absolutely opposite of the aloofness and snobbery we had expected.
So you may have always believed, as I did, in the old saying "If you must get in trouble, do it at the Chateau Marmont.”. Legendary stories and smut mag photos have proven that trouble can be found within, however we were so refreshingly introduced to the softer side of the Chateau as featured in the book by Jork Weismann, Asleep at the Chateau. The book includes photos like the one below of one of my favorites, Patti Smith, taking a read and a snooze during one of her visits there.
The cottage was light-filled and lovely. The patio was private and calm. The welcome note was handwritten and accompanied by pretty peaches. The kitchen was outfitted with a vintage Gibson refrigerator stocked with welcomed amenities. The stationery was personalized. The movie and music menu was keenly curated and cool. The pool was surrounded by lush greens, a paradise amidst the Sunset Strip smog and seediness. The entire Chateau decor is glamorous and grandiose and yet subdued. It's classy but vibrant with a buzz. It's a Hollywood paradox in the very best way imaginable.
You can visit the website to see the inside of the Chateau the way that I would have loved to capture it for you. But you will have to visit in person to take in the vibe. If you are seeking the Los Angeles experience, I highly recommend you go for it in old Hollywood style at this seductive castle on the hill.
food & libations: The restaurant at the Chateau offers an experience in and of itself. A long late brunch is the way to do it right. And come back for bubbly afterhours to take in the sexy scene. Let's just say if you never left the Chateau for a weekend, you'd be satiated. But we also loved Eveleigh, just down the strip a bit.
cool for kids: Surprisingly there were families casually enjoying the pool during the day...and there are babysitters available at night if you so desire. L.A. is filled with plenty of other kid's attractions from Griffith Park to Universal Studios. All of this being said, I wouldn't recommend this as the family stay of choice.
must visit: Largo at the Coronet...check the calendar and plan around a show!