If you are the type of person who buys a certain brand of car, not for how much you like it, but what others think when they see you driving it ... the Chateau is where you want to stay. The people who frequent this old school Hollywood Haunt (self included unfortunately) are snobs pure and simple. Any hotel in any other location with rooms that look like those in the Chateau would be the category 2 priceline deal that you bid on. Add a cashmere throw and a reputation like NO other hotel has and you have the Chateau Marmont.
In the past, it was the place where celebrities went to evade the lenses of the paparazzi. They came for the privacy within the hotel which became policy within the hotel. No cameras inside, staff who are brainwashed to pretend not to care they are waiting on the most famous actor in modern cinema and a 'you just threw a tray of glasses against the wall in the lobby? no problem miss Lohan we will just add those to your bill. Have a nice night.' sort of attitude.
How ironic that today most of the people who stay here are staying here because society today not only idolizes celebrity but it believes that you CAN be celebrity. The uber ranks of facebook models and the dozens of free (and not bad) photograpers on sites like modelmayhem give average everyday schmoes the idea that in their own facebook circles ... they are famous and should thus belong at the Chateau.
The crowd at the Chateau on a Thursday through Sunday is almost unbearable to be around. This is why I stay there only on the nights that the wanna be celeb crowd and hipster groups aren't there. Occasionally, I will dine there one a night where you are likely to see paparazzi camped outside waiting for the chance to take a few photos of a celebrity jumping into a cab while ignoring B listers like Andy Dick asking them to interview him.
Outside of 'all that' ... its actually a nice concept for a hotel. It has sort of a resort feel inside the walled gate where the pool is because nobody can get through that gate unless they have a key. Except for the young hipsters who casually wait next to the door for a guest to go through the gate and then sneak in behind them. The gate leads to Shangri La. A shady looking and small pool surrounded by expensive chez lounge chairs ... the occasional Moroccan themed sitting area that I always try to reconstruct in my back yard but never can ... and the stairways to the infamous bungalows. Well worth the thousand dollar splurge when you are in 'baller mode'.
If you are a 'be seen' person ... you'll want to do it here. But ... not just anyone can get in. Unless you've stayed here a few times and spent some paper at the Marmont (or are uber goodlooking or uber connected) ... you won't get past the paper of the guest list. Not even for a drink. You will be directed to the Bar Marmont a few doors down which the hotel owns. This is a bar for those not quite cool enough, famous enough or loyal enough to get a reservation for dinner in the fabled patio area. I've been on the receiving end of the 'try the Bar Marmont' comment a few times before staying here whenever I am in town on business. Since then, its really nice to be able to get a reservation for dinner in the courtyard (especially on a quiet night) but honestly, I hate to admit that I like the vibe in the Bar Marmont a tiny bit better.
You pay for the experience here ... before hotel genius (or scene genius) Andres Balizar took this property over ... the rooms were less expensive but other than the luxurious grey cashmere throws on the beds, they didn't change much. In fact, the whole hotel hasn't changed much except for the price. Yet it still does sell out frequently much to my chagrin. Part of that is Balizar's public relations genius ... and part of that is people believe themselves to be in celebrities these days and will pony up to feel that they belong in the category as such. As a result, I have heard many of the very famous celebs who used to use the Chateau as a sanctuary are now going to the much more under the radar Sunset Towers Hotel who is glad to take the business and operates under a completely opposite atmosphere when it comes to parties and noise.
I will say on non-stay nights at the Chateau ... you will spend as much in an evening at the Marmont as you would to stay at even a somewhat comparable hotel in West Hollywood. (if there is such a thing) The last time I was passing through and decided to have dinner there the parking fee alone was $50 for 4.5 hours. (They will charge $15 for anything up to 3 hours) And when I asked for a glass of Merlot the waitstaff gladly chose the most expensive of the two for me without asking at $22 per glass. That is $72 spent even before the $100 for food, $12 on bottled water and $20 for tip (which 15% of is always automatically added in due to the high amount of European tourists who have started to frequent the Chateau). In fact the last times I've been there the whole place had an Austrailian accent. Go figure. But the attitude here by the staff isn't really 'you should be famous if you are staying here?' in my experience it's 'you shouldn't care what we charge for that if you are going to be staying here'.
But overall, if you are ready to open your wallet ... you should be ready to have a good time because there really is noplace like the Chateau at all. Anything goes here pretty much. Although I will say that the last time I stayed there room service could only offer me 6 cold choices from the menu at 3:40 a.m. I never thought I'd ever hear myself complaining about that but a hot item would have been nice over a game of ping pong at almost 4 a.m. And I'm only sort of kidding.
One of these days I am going to rent the penthouse suite. I've slept in the bungalows, slept in the standard rooms, I've even slept in the bushes by the pool (from what I've been told) ... but that will be something I aspire to at the Chateau and where do you go from there? So hopefully it never happens.