Hollywood. There’s just something so glamorous and dirty about it at the same time. If you’ve ever lived in Los Angeles, you’re probably familiar with Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Venice. But Hollywood is a whole different monster. It’s a place I love to visit, but I’m not sure it’ll be a place that I’d live, unless I could do it 100% celebrity style. Of course I happily agreed to come along with my husband on a business trip there where we were put up at The Roosevelt Hotel.
When you walk in to the hotel it’s like you’re magically transported into some vortex where you just feel like you are somebody special. It made me want to wear oversized sunglasses inside so people would wonder who I was. I didn’t come to the hotel expecting much but a posh room and maybe some decent shopping at the mall across the street. I had no idea I was staying in such a place that had such history.
We stayed in one of the famous Cabana suites. A little section of poolside suites that reminded me of a retro-fabulous old school apartment. If things couldn’t get any cooler, I discovered Marilyn Monroe used to live in the cabana, literally right across from our balcony. How awesome is that? This must’ve been a pretty decent place.
So I started googling like crazy. I fell into an internet K-hole, and right before I fell asleep, I stupidly googled the hotel with the words “haunted” next to it. I don’t recommend doing that if you scare easily, because you’ll discover that, yes indeed, your hotel may have a few ghosts in it. But I’m fine with celebrity ghosts, especially if one of them is Marilyn Monroe.
Now, of course, The Roosevelt does not brand itself on being haunted. The haunting stuff is just an added bonus! There’s other fun stuff to know about it, too! For instance, in 1929 the very first Academy Awards were held in the hotel’s Blossom Ballroom.
The ceremony was a record breaking five minutes long. If only all award shows could be that short and sweet.
Some say that Monroe can be seen lounging around the ballroom, along with other dancing apparitions. I went in there. I didn’t see anything. I did feel a cold spot in the room, which is a sign of some kind of spiritual activity. I became very excited, then realized I was standing underneath an air vent. Damn.
At the very beginning of her career, she lived in the hotel for two months, in Cabana 229, right above the Tropicana pool.
If you’re really lucky you can stay in the very suite she resided in, which is located right above the pool’s lounge “Tropicana.” Unfortunately the room was booked when I was there, so I wasn’t able to sleep there, but I did get to see the room.
I was hoping to get goosebumps or see some ghost orbs in my pics, but nothing. Some have seen Monroe wandering around the hotel, glancing over her balcony, at the pool. At one point there was a floor length mirror in her room that a few people claimed to have “seen” Marilyn in. It was moved to the lobby. For unknown spooktacular reasons, I’m sure. The mirror was passed on to an undisclosed museum that the hotel staff is hush hush about.
One of the most interesting things about the hotel’s ghostly celeb residents, is that none of them actually died in the hotel. We all know that Marilyn Monroe struggled with a lot of personal trauma in her life. Maybe coming back to The Roosevelt reminded her of happier times while she was living.
The same could be said of the other resident ghost celeb, Montgomery Clift, who stayed at The Roosevelt when he filmed From Here to Eternity, in 1953. He loved the hotel so much, he came back even though he died in New York City. He prefers his old room 928, where occasionally guests will complain about seeing a man in a top hat gazing out of a window when they wake up in the middle of the night, and their belongings being scattered around the room. There have also been stories of a phantom trumpet being heard, Clift used to pace the halls and recite his lines and play the trumpet while doing so.
Cabana suite 213 is also rumored to be one of the most spiritually active hot spots as well. People have claimed to see a floating head of an unidentified man in that room, no one has been able to stay in the room long enough to try and identify this head. Usually people will check into the room, and then around 3:00am—the most ghostly hour of the night—the tv starts turning off and on. Even otherworldly voices being heard saying “Someone died here!”. On the upside, this particular ghost liked to make coffee. The coffee machine is known to go off and the least you’ll get out of it is a fresh cup! A ghost that makes coffee! Awesome. That’s fine, I suppose un-famous among us can haunt the hotel too, especially if they make you coffee, that’s a pretty good amenity.
In an effort to plan for my afterlife stay there, I asked every staff member I came in contact with if they had encountered anything spooky.
“No, I haven’t and I’ve been working here for over five years,” said one employee, who seemed moderately disappointed.
“I’ve only been here for three months and I want to see some ghosts! I want to stay in the haunted room!” So of course I asked this employee if he’d be willing to do that and report back to me, but he laughed and said no. I didn’t blame him, I was scared to stay in there myself.
Now, the question is: What happens if you decide to stay in a haunted room, and you become too frightened to deal with it? I called the front desk and asked.
“Well, you’ll still be charged for the room, and if we’re at full capacity there’s really not much we can do. No one really complains about room 213 though, it’s right by the pool and people are having so much fun in the hotel, they don’t really notice if anything weird happens.” So if you’re especially scared of ghosts, do not stay in those rooms!
Other Old Hollywood’s that shacked up in the hotel, Clark Gable and Carole Lombard. They rented a penthouse suite for $5.00 a night. You can stay in there too (it’s no longer $5.00 a night though, sorry!)
The Roosevelt is such a massive complex that you really don’t need to leave if you need anything. They have everything that you’d ever want, and it was the perfect oasis right off of crazy Hollywood Boulevard. You can go from living in luxury, to seeing the costumed characters hustling in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
Only one tenant currently lives at the hotel. I asked who it was, but did not get a specific answer. It is common for actors to reside at the Roosevelt long term, while they’re in town working on projects.
“It really is the perfect mix of old Hollywood and new,” said the hotel rep. “Back in the day we had Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplain, Judy Garland, Elizabeth Taylor. Now we have Paris Hilton, Scarlett Johansson, Andrew Rannells, Will Ferrell and many up and coming actors.” Of course as luck would have it, the day we checked out Javier Bardem checked in. Then opening night party for Lincoln was held literally outside of our little poolside cabana. I’m sure Marilyn was lingering close by.
But really now! Let’s focus on the things you can do there as a living human being! It has four on premise lounges. One which has a BOWLING ALLEY in it, called the Spare Room. You can also dine at three of their restaurants, my personal fave was 25 Degrees. A 24 hour burger joint that had a killer happy hour specifically featuring Onion rings, french fries and hot dogs! (I went there eight times during my four day stay). The staff was super accommodating and nice, and the PR people were kind enough to take time out of their busy schedules and give me a little tour.
Going back to the ghost stuff: I can totally see why Marilyn still hangs out there.