Tag Archives: Sunset Tower Hotel

The Sunset Tower Hotel

One of my favorite places to visit in all of LA is the Sunset Tower Hotel, located on the legendary Sunset Strip in Hollywood.  The Sunset Tower Hotel was built in 1931 by architect Leland A. Bryant for owner E.M. Fleming.  The Art Deco building, which originally functioned as an upscale apartment house, was the very first earthquake proof property to be built in Los Angeles.   While the hotel enjoyed some glory years during the hey dey of Hollywood, in the 1980s it fell into serious disrepair and was saved from demolition when it was purchased by London’s St. James Hotel chain.  Peter de Savary, owner of the St. James chain, poured $46 million into restoring the Sunset Tower and renamed it the St. James Club.  Since that time, the hotel has undergone several more renovations and name changes, until 2005 when it was purchased by New Yorker Jeff Klein, who restored the hotel to its original name and former grandeur.

During the hotel’s glory years numerous celebs called the Sunset Tower home, including Howard Hughes, Ava Gardner, Truman Capote, John Wayne, Jean Harlow, Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Errol Flynn, Billie Burke aka Glinda the Good Witch, Mae West, Elizabeth Taylor, Conrad Hilton, gangster Bugsy Siegel – who was eventually evicted for running a gambling center out of his room, Frank Sinatra, Diana Ross, Tim Curry, my fave Marilyn Monroe, and Iggy Pop, who made a habit of jumping into the hotel pool from his apartment window.  Today, the Tower is still popular with celebs.  The hotel’s restaurant, the Tower Bar, is a favorite of Jen Aniston, who dines there regularly.  Tom Cruise, Sean Penn, Posh Spice, Brian Grazer and Barbara Walters have also all been spotted at the Tower Bar grabbing a bite to eat.  According to Wikipedia, during her pink-wig-wearing days, Britney Spears tried to book some rooms at the Tower.  Hotel owner Jeff Klein reportedly said to the hotel manager “If that piece of trailer trash so much as enters my driveway, you are fired!  She can’t come here with all my chic guests, she’ll ruin the place!”  LOL  Love it!  It  was during that same time period that the Bel Air Hotel also reportedly refused to rent rooms to BritBrit. 


The hotel’s poolside Terrace Bar, my fave place to grab a drink in all of LA, is also quite popular with the celebs.  The first time I visited the Terrace, Kate Bosworth was there with her model boyfriend James Rousseau. I just had to go up to her, too, to tell her how much I loved Win A Date With Tad Hamilton.    She ended up signing an autograph for me and seemed genuinely thrilled that I had such good things to say about Win A Date.  Kate truly could not have been nicer and I can honestly say she was hands down the kindest out of all the celebs I have ever met.  And her boyfriend was a total cutie, too!!!! 🙂  I took the above pic of her with my blackberry, but it didn’t come out very well.  LOL

The legendary hotel has also been featured in countless television and movie productions, including The Player, Spinal Tap Goes to 20, Shadow Hours, Freaky Friday, Murder My Sweet, Get Shorty, Wayne’s World II , Strange Days, The Italian Job,  and  Rich Girls.  In The O.C., the hotel stood in for Newport Beach’s Four Seasons Hotel which was owned by Ryan’s rival, Oliver, on the show.  Only the exterior of the Tower Hotel was shown in The O.C.  For the interior shots of the lobby and Oliver’s penthouse suite, a different hotel was used – one which I am still trying to locate.

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: The Sunset Tower Hotel is located at 8358 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.  I highly recommend stalking the Sunset Tower – the poolside Terrace Bar is a great place to grab a drink while enjoying one of the best views in all of LA. 

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Oscar Weekend Stalking – Part II

handlercagmj9es.jpgOn Oscar Weekend, after stalking the red carpet, I recommend hotel-hopping your way through Hollywood and Beverly Hills for optimal star viewing!  The Chateau Marmont, the Mondrian, the Sunset Tower Hotel, the Regent Beverly Wilshire, and the Beverly Hills Hotel are all prime celebrity viewing locations – and most have extremely friendly staff – except for the Chateau Marmont.  The Chateau is a notorious celebrity hangout and was home to Lindsay Lohan for a few years, but the staff there seems to go out of their way to make non-famous guests feel unwelcome.  That’s probably why celebs like the place so much.  🙂

The Mondrian, on the other hand, is a great place to star gaze.  Last year, while driving on Sunset Boulevard the day before the Oscars, we noticed a huge crowd of paparazzi standing outside the Philippe Starck designed hotel.  It turns out Posh Spice was having lunch inside!  We went in and, sure enough, there was Victoria Beckham, much taller than I expected and a whole lot better looking.  She didn’t have that robotic look in person that she usually has in all her paparazzi photos.  She seemed really friendly and was giggling with a friend and hotel security over the pandemonium she had caused outside.   We also saw Spike Lee, who is a frequent guest of the Mondrian’s Asia de Cuba restaurant.  The Mondrian staff could not have been nicer – the gift shop attendant told us a really long story about Britney Spears, who had just recently shaved her head and had shown up at the hotel in her infamous pink wig, sans credit card, cash or an ID, demanding a room and a free bathing suit!  Ah, Britney!

handlercao2e7dh.jpgThe final stop on your Oscar tour must be the Beverly Hills Hotel, as every Saturday night before the Oscars, the famous “Night Before” party is held by the hotel’s pool.  Without a room, the hotel staff will not allow you to hang out in the lobby when the stars start arriving for the big shindig, but don’t worry – most of them venture into the hotel’s Polo Lounge for a drink beforehand.  So just park yourself on a bar-stool and you’re virtually guaranteed a star sighting!  Last year, dining among us were Paris Hilton, Reese Witherspoon, Russell Simmons, Elle Macpherson and billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, owner of the MGM Grand Hotel.

handler.jpgA Few Oscar Weekend Stalking Tips:

1. Book your hotels early!  Anyone who is anyone will be in town for Oscar Weekend, so hotels book up quickly.  I would suggest staying at the Beverly Hills Hotel or the Mondrian.  The staff at both are extremely friendly, the restaurants and bars are exceptional, and both hotels are beautiful.  If you can’t stay at these hotels, or don’t want to spend the money, be sure to at least visit both on your stalking adventures! 

2. Drive around Hollywood and Beverly Hills as much as you can and keep your eyes peeled for paparazzi. If you notice a large group of people standing outside the entrance to a hotel or restaurant, stop and go in!  There is most definitely a celeb inside!  Paparazzi, on the whole, are not very nice people, but if you smile, they will usually tell you who they are waiting around for.

3. Get your hair or nails done at a ritzy Beverly Hills salon – but be prepared to drop some coins!  Everyone gets gussied up for Oscar Weekend, so if you are lucky, you just might be getting your French Manicure next to Jennifer Aniston.

4. Whatever you do, don’t forget your camera!!  This is one occasion where you will NOT want to miss out on taking pictures!  You just never know who you are going to run into! 🙂

5. Don’t be afraid to ask hotel staff and security about celebs.  Most are extremely friendly and love to share their stories.

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: While hotel-hopping, be sure to hit up Chateau Marmont (8221 Sunset Blvd.), Sunset Tower Hotel (8358 Sunset Blvd.), The Mondrian Hotel (8440 Sunset Blvd.) and The Beverly Hills Hotel (9641 Sunset Blvd.) – the site of the annual “Night Before” party.  This year the “Night Before The Night Before” party is scheduled to take place on Friday, February 22nd, at Wolfgang Puck’s eatery Cut, located inside the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel – the very same hotel where Richard Gere wooed Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman.  The Regent Beverly Wilshire is located at 9500 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. 

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