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The Enduring Appeal Of Chateau Marmont

The Enduring Appeal Of Chateau Marmont

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9780143123118HSome thing never go out of style and Hollywood dish is one of them. Lovers of vintage gossip delight, a classic tale of glamorous misdeeds is back in print after two decades. Life At The Marmont by Raymond Sarlot and Fred Basten has a new life, partly because Aaron Sorkin has announced plans to turn the book into a miniseries.

Chateau Marmont, one of Hollywood’s most legendary hotels began as a Gothic-inspired castle built by Fred Horowitz a local attorney who had a vision of creating an apartment complex with a romantic, Continental flair. Horowitz poured heart, soul, and no small amount of cash into the lavish apartment complex. He opened in early 1929 but sold just three years later to Alfred E Smith, a movie producer turned real estate investor. It was Smith who turned it into an apartment-hotel and by trolling local antiques auctions created what became the distinctive “Marmont look.”

The 1930s-40s saw the hotel become a gathering place for Hollywood stars, writers, and producers, as well as the Hearsts, Astors, and other names in the social register. Everyone from Hedy Lamar to John Wayne found sanctuary at the castle and no small amount of affairs and rumored affairs both started and ended within its walls. The glamour of the Marmont shone through the 1950s and ’60s. The pool became one of the hottest people-watching venues in town, a place to lounge and subtly check out the goings-on while hiding behind dark glasses. As the 1960s blurred into the 1970s the rock stars arrived at the Marmont with raucous fervor. Led Zeppelin famously rode their motorcycles through the halls. All this bacchanalia was hard on the old girl, her elegance was frayed at the edges.

In 1975 Sarlot and his business partner Karl Kantarjian bought the property and embarked upon a restoration to bring the building back to its former glory. It was later sold to hotelier and man-about-town Andre Balazs. Today it welcomes everyone from modern Lotharios such as Leonardo DiCaprio and James Franco, to infamous starlets including Lindsay Lohan. It remains a must-visit destination for anyone visiting Los Angeles. Even if you don’t stay at the hotel or one of its famous bungalows you can enjoy a meal at the hotel restaurant or a drink at Bar Marmont and, if you don’t spot a celebrity you will at least feel a little like one. In a town where cool fades as quickly as the morning dew, it’s nice to have a constant.