5 Hollywood Landmarks With a Story to Tell

Hollywood is more than just a playground for the rich and famous. Its notable hotels and venues offer great event space, but also an interesting history. 

5 Hollywood Landmarks With a Story to Tell

Glitz, glamour and scandal are a few things these famous L.A. venues and hotels have in common. With Quentin Tarantino’s latest film, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” receiving 10 Oscar nominations for the 2020 Academy Awards, Connect delved into some well-know landmarks to learn about their connections to Hollywood and how they double as event spaces. Here are five famous Hollywood landmarks worthy of cinematic stardom. 

Chateau Marmont

Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears are top of mind when you think about the wild stories and heyday of Chateau Marmont, nicknamed “the Great Castle on the Hill.” But before these starlets roamed the halls, this was a Hollywood hot spot for decades. Built in 1929 to resemble a French Gothic-style castle, Chateau Marmont was the playground for the Hollywood elite during the Golden Age of Hollywood. It’s where Jim Morrison fell off the roof, balcony or terrace (nobody knows when); Howard Hughes enjoyed the penthouse; Sidney Poitier was welcomed with warm hospitality in the 1950s; and Bette Davis almost burned the whole place down when she fell asleep with a lit cigarette. Perhaps the saddest story is when beloved comedian John Belushi died in Bungalow 3 from a drug overdose.

With the wild stories in the past, the hotel is still a beautiful place to reside—though quieter. It has 63 cottages, bungalows and rooms, with many of them offering panoramic views of the city, and some have full kitchens, sitting areas, a balcony or private terrace. 

Greystone Mansion and Gardens

Edward “Ned” Laurence Doheny Jr. inherited part of the Greystone propriety from his oil tycoon father, Edward Doheny, as a wedding present in 1926. Ned and his wife, Lucy Smith, began construction on their new home in 1927 and moved into the home with their children in September 1928. What should have been a sweet start for the newlyweds, turned into a bloody nightmare on the night of Feb. 16, 1929. Close friend Hugh Plunket shot and killed Ned inside the Doheny’s home and then turned the gun on himself. No one knows the motive behind the apparent murder-suicide—just speculations. 

Smith remarried and sold the property in 1956 to Paul Trousdale Corporation, and in 1976 Greystone Estate was listed on the Registry of Historic Places. Now the lavish property plays host to events, ceremonies and is a backdrop for Hollywood movies. It also can be rented out for corporate dinners, nonprofit fundraisers, incentive events and more, with four opulent spaces to convene in. 

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

Opened May 15, 1927, the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel has lived up to its moniker as a star-studded hotel. The first Academy Awards was hosted in the hotel’s Blossom Ballroom in 1929, which was an intimate affair compared to the red carpet showcase it is now. Named after former President Theodore Roosevelt, this iconic Hollywood hotel is no stranger to press and scandals.  It’s where Clark Gable and Carol Lombard carried on their secret affair in the penthouse in the 1930s. (Now, that same penthouse—which is called The Gable & Lombard Penthouse to pay homage to the couple— is available to guests.)  Marilyn Monroe lived at the hotel for two years, and it’s rumored you can see her ghost occupy suite 1200—the same room she called home during those years. And in the mid-2000s, the hotel was a playground for Paris Hilton and other stars, with frequent cameos by LAPD and paramedics.

In 2015, the hotel underwent new management and a $25 million renovation to shed its party image, restoring it to its 1920s charm. The hotel has 300 rooms and suites as well as 25,000 square feet of flexible meeting space that includes a ballroom, eight meeting rooms, Tropicana Pool & Café and The Rooftop offering panoramic views of the city.  

Sowden House

This renovated 6,000-sq.-ft. neo-Mayan mansion in the heart of Hollywood evokes a sense of mystery and desire. Renowned architect Lloyd Wright designed the Sowden House in 1926 for his pal and photographer John Sowden. The open floor plan was perfect for the lavish and extravagant parties he and his wife, Ruth Sowden, hosted. The Sowden’s eventually sold the house to Dr. George Hodel, who would later be a suspect in the notorious Black Dahlia case. Though Hodel was never convicted of the crime, his son—a retired Los Angeles detective—claims his father murdered Elizabeth Short in the basement of the home in January 1947.   

The home is now owned by Dan Goldfarb and has been featured in “The Aviator” and most recently “I Am The Night,” which tells the story of the Black Dahlia murder and the Hodel family. The house is available to rent for charity galas, private parties and corporate retreats and features a spacious living room, formal dining room and an enclosed courtyard with a pool.

Avalon Hollywood

Hollywood powerhouses such as Bob Hope, Judy Garland, Bing Crosby, The Rolling Stones and the Jackson 5 have all graced the stage at this legendary theater. At one point during the glamorous era of the ‘70s and ‘80s, it was considered the West Coast version of Studio 54 in New York City. No wild stories have been reported at the famous venue, but if these walls could talk … they would have some great stories to tell. Entering its 10th decade, Avalon Hollywood is available for private events, movie screenings, corporate events, conferences and charity galas. It also has an impressive sound system with 40-inch subwoofers, the largest installed in a club.