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ROADTRIP // CHATEAU MARMONT

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Beachroad Magazine send photographer and artist Julian Castaldi to check out the the iconic Chateau Marmont on Sunset Blvd.

With exclusive access Julian walks the hallowed hallways and gardens and shares his images with us. The hotel's reputation as the place to go to misbehave, dates back to the days of 1930's Hollywood.

The iconic hotel has a legacy as a muse for generations of artists, photographers, novelists and screenwriters including Hunter S. Thompson, Annie Leibovitz, Bruce Weber, Sofia Coppola.

Jim Morrison used up what he called "the eighth of my nine lives" after he was injured dangling from a drain pipe and falling onto a shed, whilst trying to swing from the roof into the window of his hotel room. As Harry Cohn founder of Columbia Pictures once said: "If you must get in trouble, do it at Chateau Marmont."

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In 1926, Fred Horowitz, a prominent Los Angeles attorney chose the site at Marmont Lane and Sunset Boulevard to construct an apartment building. Horowitz had recently traveled to Europe for inspiration and returned to California with photos of a Gothic Chateau along the Loire River. In 1927, He commissioned his brother-in-law, European-trained architect Arnold A. Weitzman, to design the seven-story, L-shaped building based on his French photos. When deciding upon a name for the building, Chateau Sunset and Chateau Hollywood were rejected in favour of Chateau Marmont, a name conceived by the small street running across the front of the property.

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In 1931, Chateau Marmont was converted into a hotel. The apartments became suites with kitchens and living rooms. The property was also refurbished with antiques from depression-era estate sales.

Designed and constructed to be earthquake proof, Chateau Marmont survived major earthquakes in 1933, 1953, 1971, 1987 and 1994 without sustaining any major structural damage. 

During the 1930s, the hotel was managed by former silent film actress Ann Little. During the 1940s, the hotel served as an air-raid shelter for residents in the surrounding area.

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Director Sofia Coppola shot her film "Somewhere" at the hotel in 2010 and James Franco created a grand scale replica of the Chateau Marmont for his "Rebel Without a Cause" exhibit at MOCA in 2012.

The opening scene of the Indie neo-noir film The Canyon's was shot at Bar Marmont.
The hotel was also a location for Oliver Stone's "The Doors" movie. and singer Lana Del Rey alludes to the hotel in her song "Off To The Races" from her album "Born to Die". It is also the office of fictional paparazzi Patrick Immleman in the Panel Syndicate web comic "The Private Eye".

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Frequent guests to Chateau Marmont have included Billy Wilder, Hunter S. Thompson, Annie Leibovitz, Dorothy Parker, Bruce Weber, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tim Burton, Jay McInerney, Terry Richardson Led Zeppelin, Humphrey Bogart and many more.

The hotel is also mentioned in Charles Bukowski's major work "Hollywood" and is the setting of the Grateful Dead song "West L.A. Fadeaway".

Doors legend Jim Morrison took up residency at the hotel in 1970 and John Belushi died of a drug overdose in Bungalow 3 on March 5, 1982.

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Allegedly, American business tycoon, entrepreneur, investor, aviator, aerospace engineer, inventor, filmmaker and philanthropist Mr Howard Hughes would rent Room 64, a penthouse, with the perfect view for ogling at would be starlets lounging at the pool.

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