September 24, 2017

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel Review – A Wonderful Visit after Sixty Years

Sixty years ago, I could never have imagined that my husband and I would find ourselves in the same hotel where we began our marriage. At the time we were married, both of us lived in LA and we thought that the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel would be the perfect place to begin our honeymoon and it was. A few years later, we moved to Minnesota where my husband eventually obtained a Ph.D. We never returned to LA to live.

In our Nash Rambler on the way to the hotel
In our Nash Rambler on the way to the hotel

We did, however, return to the LA area, Pasadena, in fact so that my husband could attend his sixtieth Cal Tech reunion. We decided to extend out time to see family in LA and thought it would be great fun to return to the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

How times have changed. Though the exterior of the hotel looks the same as I remember it, nothing inside was familiar. The sedate, traditional and glamorous hotel of my memory was completely transformed and instead there is an historic hotel that boasts the feel of the 1920’s. Another section of the hotel that was added later has the look of the 1950’s in the cabana rooms.

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

Until our current stay, I had no idea of the role this hotel that was built in 1927 played in the history of LA and it movie culture. Named after United States president Theodore Roosevelt and financed by a group including Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and Louis B. Mayer, it first opened its doors on May 15, 1927. The first Academy Awards took place in the ballroom here in 1929.

There is a special room where the ballots for the Academy Awards were counted. Marilyn Monroe lived in the hotel for two years before she was discovered. Clark Gable and Carole Lombard were scandalous in their penthouse hide-away. It is the go to place for parties following movie launched. There is constant action, exciting events taking place continuously. On our arrival there was the first pool party of the year. The next night there was an after party for the opening of “Alice Through the Looking Glass”.

 

Our suite provided us with a wonderfully comfortable four-poster bed, a fabulous shower, and a large living room-dining room where we visited with guests. The view was fascinating. There was Hollywood Boulevard below, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre across the street and in the background the beautiful Hollywood Hills with the Hollywood sign nestled in place.

 

Our delightful room was the result of a 25milliondollar renovation with rooms designed by Yabu Pushelberg. The 1920’s and the movies influence the rooms in the tower. Changes are continuing – David Chang and Goodwin Gaw, owners of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, have appointed longtime hotel collaborator Brett Blass as their Chief Operating Officer to lead the repositioning efforts of the new look property and their new management company to be announced later in 2016.

From our window - Hollywood Blvd

I met a couple on the elevator who live in LA but stayed at the Hollywood Roosevelt to get to the Hollywood Bowl more easily. Then, I was bowled over to learn that light rail is alive and well in LA and one can take a train from Grand Central Station right to the hotel and from the hotel just one stop to Universal Studios. This is amazing and thrilling to me as one who grew up in this city when a car was the only way to get around.

My favorite things:

I loved the pool located in the newer section of the hotel and surrounded by cabanas and 250 palm trees. Just one block from the frenzy of Hollywood Boulevard, it is a calm and beautiful.

Our room – the space and furnishing, the comfortable bed, fabulous shower, absorbent towels and the view.

The main lobby- beautiful and grand restored to its original beauty when false ceiling was removed as well as layers of false flooring.

The restaurants- breakfast was surprising, huge and delicious in 25 Degrees Restaurant, which is open 24 hours http://25degreesrestaurant.com/los-angeles/

We had a delicious dinner at Public Kitchen & Barhttps://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=hollywood+roosevelt+hotel+restaurants, the best of the new culinary scene in Hollywood.

Restaurant

The location- like Times Square- in the middle of lots of action, near a train stop. Now a light rail will take one from Grand Central Station, downtown LA to the beach at Santa Monica.
The fitness Center, bowling alley, old time bar- move back in time.

Charlie Chaplin the consummate icon for the movies of the 1920’s guards the parking lot.

Charlie Chaplin in the parking lot
Charlie Chaplin in the parking lot

Check out this HISTORY:
“The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel has built a legendary reputation on history and fame in just under a century. Its rich history began in 1929 when the hotel hosted the inaugural Academy Awards, and over its almost 100 years it has welcomed illustrious icons through its doors, from Clark Gable, Carol Lombard, Shirley Temple, Charlie Chaplin and Marilyn Monroe who resided there, to Prince, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Today, the hotel is still buzzing with industry executives and talent, and stands as a landmark attraction (Both the hotel and the pool have been designated Historic Cultural Monuments by the City’s Cultural Heritage Commission) and popular destination for locals and tourists from around the world. Offering 298 guest rooms and suites, guests can choose from a variety of accommodations ranging from poolside cabanas to the new look Tower Rooms with stunning views of the city and Hollywood Hills. To top it off, the hotel’s heated outdoor swimming pool provides guests the only locale in the world where they can swim in a million dollar work of art painted by acclaimed artist David Hockney.”

Photos: B. Keer unless otherwise noted

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