Travel

Inside West Hollywood’s wild rock star haunt that’s now a super sleek hotel

Gone is ~most~ of the debauchery of the 70s but an aura of 'effortlessly cool' remains.
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If you’ve ever seen Almost Famous, you may have wondered whether the out-of-control antics of the characters on-screen were based on morsels of reality or if they were exaggerated with a bit of creative licence.

The answer? The behaviour absolutely rang true to life, and when it was happening in the 70s, it was most likely kicking off in the Andaz, West Hollywood. Back then, it was called the Continental Hyatt House but given the nickname Riot House thanks to its rep for unruly behaviour.

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Back in the days of debauchery, some of the most famous rock stars of the days terrorised the hallways. Or “upped the entertainment factor”, depending which way you look at it.

Among the stories that fill the pages of the wild rock star history are both Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards and The Who’s Keith Moon chucking TVs out the window on separate occasions, while Jim Morrison wreaked havoc by dangling off the side of a balcony.

Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin even famously screamed, “I am the Golden God” from one of the hotel’s balconies when he stayed there back in the 1970s (that fateful event took place in room 905, in case you were wondering).

Little Richard was known to call the place home for two decades in the 80s and 90s – often playing piano in the lobby, and tales of the musician tipping hotel staff over-generously at Christmas time still emanate today.

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Andaz West Hollywood hotel
The stunning Andaz, West Hollywood has a colourful rockstar past. (Credit: Andaz West Hollywood)

Much has changed since the rowdy parties of that decade. Surprisingly (and yep, the sarcasm is intended), the sound of motorcycles tearing up the hallways isn’t conducive to a restful night sleep for hotel guests.

Despite this, the hotel leans into colourful history rather than shying away from it. Ghosts of rock stars’ past still infiltrate the sleek and comfortable upscale establishment with rocker artwork and edgy décor in the lobby, befitting its storied days-gone-by.

You can stay in Little Richard’s former residence on the third floor, which has been fittingly dubbed the Tutti Frutti room in a tribute to the late “architect of rock and roll”.

And while the balconies of yesteryear are now long gone – updated with a modern spacious sunroom and floor-to-ceiling glass windows thanks to an extensive renovation in 2009 – there’s nothing stopping you from recreating that iconic image in room 905, with the Sunset Boulevard backdrop steadfastly remaining.

Little Richard
Little Richard called room 319 home for decades. (Credit: Getty)

Even though Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash was once known to find amusement within these walls by setting up a BBQ on the balcony then tossing steaks into the air and watching them cascade down below, guests these days are able to find fun in much less dramatic fashion, given its proximity to many entertainment establishments.

Bookmarked by stand-up venue The Comedy Store and the popular Saddle Ranch Chophouse as well as a host of other hotspots including Chateau Marmont and The Viper Room within walking distance, the Andaz has no shortage of entertainment around it.

Meanwhile, the rooms themselves at the Andaz are spacious, offering stunning views of either the Sunset Strip or the rolling Hollywood Hills. Even better? The hotel is pet-friendly, too!

It’s obvious the extra little touches are also appreciated by the guests; the free snacks at reception were enthusiastically seized upon by punters in the lobby waiting to check in and out or just cruising by.

If you’re wanting something more substantial to eat and don’t want to leave the premises, the Riot House has you covered, which is also named in honour of its hedonistic past.

The eatery features seasonal Southern Californian cuisine and the spectacular cocktails will have you sipping up a storm.

Andaz West Hollywood pool
The rooftop pool area offers arguably one of the best views in Hollywood. (Credit: Instagram)

Of course, you’re also surrounded by a wealth of West Hollywood’s hottest restaurants so don’t forget to get out and about to discover the surrounding culinary gems – and if you’re lucky, maybe even spot a celebrity dining out.

But one of the real shining stars when it comes to the hotel’s amenities is the rooftop pool. Recently renovated, the pool area offers 360-degree views of the surrounding locale, including the Sunset Strip and the Hollywood Hills.

Here you can soak up Los Angeles’ world-famous sunshine in one of the plush cabanas while enjoying what is arguably the best view in all of Hollywood, before heading back to your room for a comfortable night’s sleep.

To stay at this slice of rock star history, head here to view prices for your selected dates.

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