From tragic Hollywood deaths to decadent behavior from rock music’s elite, luxury hotels have been the scenes of several unfortunate incidents. Some may recall the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards famously tossing a TV out a window at the Andaz West Hollywood, while others may recall Janis Joplin’s heroin overdose at Hollywood’s Landmark Hotel or Anna Nicole Smith’s untimely drug overdose at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino, strangely, in Hollywood, Florida. Although the notion of spending a night in a room with a twisted past might not seem appealing, many hotels reap bigger rewards with hefty price tags due to the notoriety. The following are five of the most notorious rooms in America, all but one still open for overnight reservations.
Beverly Hilton, Room 434
9876 Wilshire Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
The music world lost one of its greatest singers when Whitney Houston was found dead in room 434 at the Beverly Hilton on February 11, 2012. The former gospel singer discovered by legendary record producer Clive Davis skyrocketed to fame in 1985 with her eponymous debut album, earning her a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Performance for “Saving All My Love for You.” She went on to become the most awarded female acts of all time, with more than 400 music awards and over 200 million albums sold worldwide. In later years, her voice deteriorated from drug and alcohol abuse, eventually leading to her death the night before she was scheduled to attend a pre-Grammy Awards party hosted by Davis. The Beverly Hilton immediately stopped taking reservations for room 434 and the number was removed from the door. At this time, the Beverly Hilton has no plans to rent the room in the foreseeable future.
Chateau Marmont, Bungalow 3
8221 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90046
John Belushi was just 33 years old when he was found dead in the infamous Bungalow 3 at the Chateau Marmont. One of the most popular entertainers of his time, Belushi gained enormous fame as an original cast member of “Saturday Night Live” and in movies, most notably “Animal House” and “The Blues Brothers.” The highly publicized death of the popular comedian was attributed to an injection of cocaine and heroin known as a “speedball.” The mixture of an “upper” and “downer” also contributed to the deaths of several other well-known celebrities, such as actor-comedian Chris Farley and actor River Phoenix, who died on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip in front of the Viper Room nightclub. Actress Lindsay Lohan was temporarily banned from Chateau Marmont for trashing Suite 33 and leaving behind a $46,000 unpaid bill.
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Edgewater Hotel, Room 342
2411 Alaskan Way, Pier 67
Seattle, WA 98121
Classic rock stars have a long history of completely ruining hotel rooms, most notably the Rolling Stones, the Who and Led Zeppelin. Unquestionably, the most infamous of all hotel incidents from Led Zeppelin allegedly occurred in room 342 of the Edgewater Hotel on July 28, 1969. Years earlier, The Beatles made the Seattle hotel world famous when the group stayed in room 272 during the Fab Four’s 1964 tour of America. The historic room is now known as The Beatles Suite filled with memorabilia and open for reservations, but it was what occurred the night before Led Zeppelin was scheduled to appear at the Seattle Pop Festival that gave the hotel instant notoriety. Now known as the “Shark episode,” the supposedly X-rated affair is widely considered the most bizarre event ever by a rock group. Led Zeppelin’s hard partying lifestyle eventually led to the death of drummer John Bonham in 1980, prompting the remaining members to break up the legendary English rock band.
Plaza Hotel, Eloise Suite
768 5th Ave.
New York, NY 10019
Charlie Sheen’s wild escapades of drug, alcohol and sex have been widely publicized and chronicled, including at one of New York City’s most iconic luxury hotels. Fueled by $12,000 worth of wine over dinner with escort Capri Anderson at the acclaimed Daniel restaurant and freebasing cocaine in his room, Sheen went on a maniacal rampage accusing his date of stealing his wallet. Police responded to a call about an “emotionally disturbed individual” in the Eloise Suite and the actor voluntarily admitted himself to a hospital. His ex-wife Denise Richards was also staying in a separate room at the Plaza Hotel with their two daughters. Damage to the Eloise Suite was estimated at $7,000 and Sheen is banned for life from the Plaza Hotel. However recent news suggests Capri Anderson has made up with Sheen and the pair are living together at his mansion in Los Angeles.
Shutters, Suite 645
1 Pico Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90405
From rising young actress to fallen starlet and now possibly to a life of sobriety, Lindsay Lohan’s scandals have been well documented in tabloids. Well before she was banned from Chateau Marmont and months after another meltdown at the Mondrian Los Angeles Hotel, Lohan trashed a high-end suite at the exclusive oceanside hotel, Shutters. Spending three days with then-boyfriend Riley Giles in December 2007, the cleaning crew discovered the room littered with cigarette butts, dirty towels and trash, then claimed a bloody syringe was found. More recently, Shutters gained a measure of revenge by refusing to allow Ms. Lohan and her mother stay at the swanky hotel, just hours before the actress was scheduled to appear in an L.A. court.
Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he was awarded a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on Examiner.com Examiner.com.