Chateau Marmont Architecture

Château Marmont - West Hollywood, CA

“If you must get in trouble, do it at the Chateau Marmont.” – Harry Cohn, founder of Columbia Pictures (1939)

Chateau Marmont, the infamous hotel situated in the hills of West Hollywood just off Sunset Strip, is drama, plain and simple. Looking very much like a castle (it is after all modeled after Chateau Amboise, a royal residence in France) and serving as a refuge for celebrities to behave very badly (John Belushi died in Bungalow 3 after injecting a lethal combination of heroin and cocaine), Chateau Marmont has the kind of allure that few other works of architecture have ever had. It’s little wonder that on any given day or night, the hotel plays host to an array of highly discriminating and extremely wealthy international clientele.

Originally built in 1929 as an apartment complex, Chateau Marmont features 63 rooms, cottages and bungalows. Built in a Norman architectural style, its turrets and towers are designed to make you stop, look and desire to enter. Upon entrance into the reception area, it’s impossible not to feel like you’ve just arrived at a charming European hotel. Just past the reception is a spacious living room filled with couches, lamps and sconces that look like they’ve been scavenged from high end thrift stores. While the suites are all well designed and true to their old Hollywood-by-way-of-France heritage, it is the outside Spanish-style bungalows on the hillside that are most impressive. Designed in a way that is equally minimalist and modernist in a postwar sort of way, they feature flat roof canopies at their entrance, terraces, loads of sliding glass doors, intricate moldings and simple but beautiful Spanish furnishings. The pool cottages recall the Craftsman era and feature fine fabrics and rattan chairs, and they also feature kitchens that are outfitted with vintage refrigerators and stoves. The seductive mood created by the overall architectural and interior design stylings of the hotel is one that could clearly never be duplicated anywhere else; after all, this is Hollywood at its finest.

One of the best things about Chateau Marmont is that for the architecturally curious (or the celebrity curious), it’s a fairly easy place to gain access, especially during the day before they place a checkpoint at the end of the driveway and bust out the guest list for those who want to dine in and/or party in the courtyard. When we sent our Styleture reporter, he hung out in the hotel’s impeccably groomed courtyard and spotted a cast member from “Californication” and maybe Clint Eastwood, but he’s not 100% sure about that.