The Millennium Biltmore Hotel

One of my favorite places to visit in all of LA is the Millennium Biltmore Hotel, located in Downtown Los Angeles.  The hotel is also a favorite of film producers and it has been used in more productions than I can blog about.  The hotel was built in 1923 and at the time was simply called The Biltmore.  The building is absolutely gorgeous inside and out and definitely looks like it came out of a different era.  Besides being a popular filming location, the hotel has played host to the Academy Awards on eight separate occasions between the years of 1931 and 1942.   The hallway on the way to the hotel pool has many framed photographs of old time Hollywood celebrities who stayed at the Biltmore.

Movie buffs will probably most easily recognize the Biltmore from the first Beverly Hills Cop  movie where it was used as the hotel where Eddie Murphy sets up camp during his stay in Beverly Hills.  Molly Ringwald’s prom from Pretty in Pink  was held in the hotel’s Crystal Ballroom, a room which was also used in Rocky III, The Sting, Ghostbusters, Alien Nation  and The Fabulous Baker Boys.  The Biltmore’s indoor art deco style pool was the pool where Ryan Phillipe and Reese Witherspoon take a midnight dip in the movie Cruel Intentions.  The pool was also used in Bugsy  and The Fan.

The movie Bachelor Party  also filmed extensively at the Biltmore where it was used as the location of Tom Hanks’ wild bachelor party.  And yes, they really did put a live donkey in the hotel’s elevator during the filming!   Both Bachelor Party  and Beverly Hills Cop  were filmed in the Biltmore’s former lobby.  Currently that room is a part of the hotel’s Smeraldi’s restaurant and is used for high tea and dinner.  Today, the lobby is located in the hotel’s former Music Room, which was used in 1960 by JFK as the location of his official campaign headquarters.  The Music Room’s ornate glass and wrought-iron ceiling (pictured below next to the “Stalk It” paragraph) was the model for the dining room ceiling of the ship in The Poseidon Adventure.

Alfred Hitchcock used the Biltmore’s 11 story high back staircase for the vertigo sequences in his 1958 movie of the same name.  Hang over the ledge of the staircase on the 11th floor and you might catch a bit of vertigo yourself!  In all, over 300 productions have been filmed at the hotel, including Species, The Nutty Professor, Independence Day, Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, True Lies, The American President, In the Line of Fire, Mother, and the short lived TV show Vanished.   Britney Spear’s Overprotected video was filmed in a large hallway just off the lobby of the hotel.  You can watch that video here.  Once you’ve visited the Biltmore, you will recognize it popping up all over the big and small screens. 

The Gallery Bar is one of my favorite spots at the Biltmore.  It is dark and quiet and definitely evokes an aura of Old Time Hollywood.  The Bar was most recently used in National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets  as the location of Abigal’s date at the beginning of the movie.  But the Gallery Bar’s main claim to fame is its signature drink – the Black Dhalia Martini, named for one of LA’s most famous unsolved murder cases.  Actress Elizabeth Short, whose nickname was the Black Dhalia, walked out the Biltmore Hotel doors on January 9, 1947 at approximately 6:30pm.  She was never seen again.  Her mutilated body was found six days later in an abandoned field.  The last person to ever see the Black Dhalia alive was the Biltmore doorman who tipped his hat to her as she walked south down Olive Avenue.  Although garnering widespread media attention and public fascination that exists even to this day, the case has yet to be solved.

The last time I stayed at the Biltmore, there were FIVE separate productions being filmed in and around the hotel – a car commercial, a fitness water commercial, the TV shows Alias and Standoff, and the pilot episode of Capitol Law  with Joshua Jackson.  I was especially excited to see Josh because Pacey was always my favorite Dawson’s Creek  character.  I so heart Josh!  The grainy photo to the left is one I snapped of him during filming.  🙂 

Until next time, Happy Stalking!

Stalk It: The Millennium Biltmore Hotel is located in Downtown Los Angeles at 506 South Grand Avenue.  I highly recommend staying there if you find yourself in the LA area.  The rooms are exquisite and extremely reasonable.  Be sure to ask the hotel’s concierge about the Biltmore’s filming history – they usually have some great stories to share and they will also give you a print out of every single production ever filmed at the hotel.


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One response to “The Millennium Biltmore Hotel

  1. Hi Lindsay,

    Your blog popped up on one of my Google alerts last week since you mention the hotel – I work at the Biltmore as the PR and Marketing Manager. Just wanted to say a quick thanks for your kind words about the hotel and your accuracy on the history! It’s our 85th Anniversary this year and I think this great landmark is only getting better with time. I’m thrilled to hear you enjoyed it : ) Come back and see us again!

    Best Regards,

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