LEGENDARY HOTELS

Chateau Marmont: The Hotel that knows how to Keep things Quiet
By Pablo Burgués

 

If a celebrity hasn’t overdosed in your hotel; if a rock star hasn’t sashayed around your lobby in the buff; if no one has used one of your rooms to stage an orgy of biblical proportions… then I feel morally obliged to say that yours is not a decent hotel, but a sad campsite with doors. Or worse still, a resort.

And if the homo sapiens were a trustworthy animal, a hotel’s category would not be measured by anodyne TripAdvisor reviews, but by the quantity and quality of the debauchery that goes on behind its walls. If this was so, the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles would have more stars than Orion’s belt.

 

One of these shameful (as well as wonderful) events featured Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham. One hot summer night the band’s manager was in a meeting in the Marmont’s lobby with the lawyers from a major record company. After months of tough negotiations, a new multi-million dollar contract was about to be finalised between the two parties. Well, good old Sir Bonham couldn’t think of a better way to show his appreciation and respect for the label than to ride around the hotel lobby on his Harley, stark naked. According to the story, nobody was hurt, but I hope the bike’s saddle was made of quality leather, because the combination of “ fake leather” + “summer sweat” + “bareback sphincter” can generate a vacuum effect of more than 7 atmospheres and they wouldn’t be able to remove the bike from your arse with a circular saw.

And while we’re on the subject of skin and drums, another famous episode had Keith Moon (the uncool one from The Who) as its star. After seeing a television fly out of Keith Richards’ (the uncool Rolling Stone) bedroom window, he decided to up the ante and threw his sofa out of the window and into the swimming pool. In his own words, he did it “to see if it could float”, an existential crisis that has accompanied man since his origins.

As far as fucking goes, rumour has it that Johnny Depp and his then girlfriend (the always discreet and restrained Kate Moss) got down and dirty on each and every single bed in the Marmont. Not bad going considering that there are 63 rooms in the hotel, many of them with extra beds… but personally I find Dennis Hopper’s numbers way more interesting, who instead of wasting time and money jumping from room to room decided to get just one room and put 50 Playboy bunnies in there for himself. Undoubtedly two very different, though equally respectable, ways of finding oneself.

However, it wasn’t all laughs at 8221 Sunset Boulevard… one night in March 1982, three dudes with real bad reputations met up there to do suitably bad things. They were Robert de Niro, Robin Williams and John Belushi. At dawn, the first two went home, but the third kept going and going and ended up partying forever… 5 days later he was found dead in his room, having overdosed on a speedball (a mixture of heroin and cocaine) injection, a combination less advisable than an eye drop with Super Glue 3.

 

If you are wondering whether all this cool and crazy stuff really happened in the Marmont, and how is it possible then it’s down to the fact that one of the secrets of the hotel’s success is discretion. In fact, there are hardly any photos or videos of the things I’ve just told you about, so many of them are hover somewhere between reality and rumour. So as Harry Cohn, founder of Columbia Pictures, once said: “If must get in to trouble, always do it at the Chateau Marmont.”

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