(credit: Randy Yagi)

(credit: Randy Yagi)


Everyone who visits or plans to visit Los Angeles typically wants to experience Hollywood. Specifically, Old Hollywood. That time when all was swell in the City of Angels, when movie stars were in evidence all over the place, even in the local five and dime, and when studio heads were constantly searching out new stars for their own galaxies. The hotels of that magical era were certainly a big part of the action back in old school Tinseltown, with some of these charmed properties making their marks in the most distinctive ways. Consider the following five as fine examples of just that.
(credit: Erik Oginski/CBS)

(credit: Erik Oginski/CBS)


Hollywood Roosevelt
7000 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA
(323) 856-1970
www.thompsonhotels.com

Ever since the Hollywood Roosevelt opened in 1927, this regal space has been the go-to spot for celebrities where movers, shakers, and the curious gathered. In fact, some of these high profile guests from back in the day are still rumored to roam this Tinseltown favorite. For instance, Marilyn Monroe once lived in a suite by the pool and allegedly appeared in a mirror that was still there until a recent renovation. When the hotel bowed, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks were on the scene as this celebrity couple was among the founders of this treasured estate. Also on hand, almost 90 years ago, were Charlie Chaplin and Greta Garbo. Talk about a hot ticket, back then and right now, too!

(credit: Chateau Marmont)

(credit: Chateau Marmont)


Chateau Marmont
8221 Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90046
(323) 656-1010
www.chateaumarmont.com

If ever there was a hotel that could talk and tell lots of salacious stories of old Hollywood and beyond, that would be the Chateau Marmont. This storied property that overlooks the Sunset Strip bowed back in 1929 and since, some strange, sad, and wonderful things have occurred here. In fact, Columbia Pictures chief and founder Henry Cohn really knocked it out of the park when he pronounced, “If you must get into trouble, do it at the Chateau Marmont.” Well, the stars listened. Greta Garbo was said to have gone into seclusion here, John Belushi allegedly overdosed in one of the bungalows, Jim Morrison reportedly dangled himself from the hotel’s drain pipe in order to lower himself from the roof to his room, and James Dean was said to have made a similar entrance, only he went through the window of Natalie Wood’s accommodation in a cry for the pretty brunette star’s attention. Then there was the group Led Zeppelin. These rocker rascals reportedly hopped on their motorcycles and sped through the lobby one time back in their heyday. Not nearly enough can be said about this historic hotel, as these are just some of the tales from the Chateau Marmont, all of which helped to put this almighty hotel on the list of top old Hollywood hotels.

(credit: Charley Gallay/Getty Images)

(credit: Charley Gallay/Getty Images)


Sunset Tower Hotel
8358 Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(323) 654-7100
www.sunsettowerhotel.com

Howard Hughes once slept here. So did Marilyn Monroe, Errol Flynn, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, and Bugsy Siegel (yes, the gangster who once ruled the Las Vegas Strip). This early Art Deco outpost, with all the expected flourishes, formerly The Argyle and The St. James’ Club, is a Sunset Strip marvel designed by Leland Bryant in 1931. These days, this fancy ode to an earlier era, which has appeared in a number of flicks like “Get Shorty” and “The Player,” attracts the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Sean Penn, Tom Cruise and Jennifer Lopez; just to name a few of its A-list guests. Welcome to the real Hollywood!

Related: Best Boutique Hotels in Los Angeles

(credit: Beverly Hills Hotel)

(credit: Beverly Hills Hotel)


The Beverly Hills Hotel
9641 Sunset Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 276-2251
www.dorchestercollection.com 

The hotel known as “The Pink Palace” may not be in Hollywood proper (in fact, the Beverly Hills Hotel is in, surprise!, Beverly Hills), but this outlet rocks Old Hollywood at its finest. Born in 1912, The Beverly Hills Hotel was the place to go back then and has been since. Former overnight guests include Charlie Chaplin, Henry Fonda, and Elizabeth Taylor. Marilyn Monroe lived here, too, for two years in the late 1950’s (she was on location at the property for “Lets Make Love”), while Whitney Houston liked to stay in one of the best bungalows when she was married to Bobby Brown. The Rat Pack, including Frank Sinatra and his famous buddies, were often found chewing the fat and drinking the brews in the Polo Lounge, with the movers and shakers of today doing the same. If you’re not sure what this place looks like, simply refer to 1976 iconic album cover of “Hotel California,” the Eagles classic. That’s the facade of the Beverly Hills Hotel, a swell place boasting a dozen acres of tropical flora and close enough to Rodeo Drive and its legendary shops that you could hoof it if you had to.

(credit: Jeff Z./Yelp)

(credit: Jeff Z./Yelp)


Hollywood Hotel
1160 N Vermont Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90029
(323) 315-1800
www.hollywoodhotel.net

The Hollywood Hotel has so much Hollywood staying power that the property actually has lived in two different places. The first opened in 1903 on Hollywood Boulevard and became known as the top hotel in town during the silent film era. Hollywood’s head honchos were said to be in constant pursuit of each other’s attention here. The big stars were around as well, with Rudolph Valentino actually residing full time in room 264. He met Jean Acker in the Hollywood Hotel and they married there. Today, stars still shine at this enthralling outpost, especially in the in-house< Comedy Clubs where open mic nights attract the attention of such current stars as Kristen Wiig, Drew Barrymore, and John Krasinski, all there to watch and listen to the likes of Hugh Moore, Nick Swardsen, Leah Kayajanian, Katie Merriam and Jonny Pemberton. To be sure, these folks will tickle your funny bone too, so do stop by.

Related: Best Luxury Hotels in Los Angeles

Los Angeles freelance travel writer Jane Lasky, contributes to publications such as Travel + Leisure, Vogue and Esquire. Her weekly sojourning column ran in 40 newspapers for 20 years. Jane is anything but an accidental tourist. Check out her articles on Examiner.com.