Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Pages: 384 (A large portion of the end is dedicated to footnotes, and reference information)
My Copy Came From: NetGalley & Doubleday Books
Read Via: Kindle (This really made it easy to read the footnotes! My Kindle gave me a little link that I could click from the screen and read each one)
Genres: Rich & Famous Biographies, Traveler & Explorer Biographies, Hospitality & Explorer Biographies
My Like Level: 3 out 5
Book Synopsis from Amazon:
A definitive history of Hollywood’s most iconic, storied, and scandalous hotel.
For nearly ninety years, Hollywood’s brightest stars have favored the Chateau Marmont as a home away from home. An apartment house-turned-hotel, it has been the backdrop for generations of gossip and folklore: 1930s bombshell Jean Harlow took lovers during her third honeymoon there; director Nicholas Ray slept with his sixteen-year-old Rebel Without a Cause star Natalie Wood; Anthony Perkins and Tab Hunter met poolside and began a secret affair; Jim Morrison swung from the balconies, once falling nearly to his death; John Belushi suffered a fatal overdose in a private bungalow; Lindsay Lohan got the boot after racking up nearly $50,000 in charges in less than two months.
Perched above the Sunset Strip like a fairytale castle, the Chateau seems to come from another world entirely. Its singular appearance houses an equally singular history. While a city, an industry, and a culture have changed around it, Chateau Marmont has welcomed the most iconic and iconoclastic personalities in film, music, and media. It appeals to the rich and famous not just for its European ambiance but for its seclusion: Much of what’s happened inside the Chateau’s walls has eluded the public eye.
Until now. With wit and insight, Shawn Levy recounts the wild revelries and scandalous liaisons, the creative breakthroughs and marital breakdowns, the births and deaths that the Chateau has been a party to. Vivid, salacious, and richly informed, Levy’s book is a glittering tribute to Hollywood as seen from inside the walls of its most hallowed hotel
As someone who was born and raised in California, I have spent quite bit of time in Los Angeles, Hollywood, and many other parts of Southern California. So I have seen the infamous Hollywood Chateau Marmont, in person. I wish I could say that I’ve been inside, but sadly I haven’t. I thought it would be fun to see how much it would cost to stay there for the night. So I did some research. Not surprisingly, the hotel was booked until early next year, and the very smallest room is upwards of $500 per night. While I would love the stay there for the possibility of rubbing shoulders with some of my favorite Hollywood celebrities, I just don’t think a 24 hour stay is worth that much money. Maybe if I keep playing these lottery numbers though, one day I will get lucky!
This non-fiction book tells a very extensive history of this Hollywood landmark. From its early beginning’s, through it’s current popularity, Chateau Marmont has withstood the test of time and has shared in some of Hollywood’s most well known scandals. From the death of John Belushi within its walls, to the many celebrities extended stays, this hotel has walls we all wish could talk. Fortunately for us, Shawn Levy has made this happen within the pages of his book.
The Castle on Sunset will be something that different generations of readers will each find interesting for different reasons. For example, my Mom wants to read this because she will recognize the names of actors and actresses from her generation (the 60’s & 70’s). When it comes down to it, my Grandpa would probably love this too being born in 1926. He has only been alive a few years longer than the hotel has been around, and would likely recognize all of the names listed in this book from the Golden Age of Hollywood.
I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars not because I didn’t think it was worthy of 4 or 5 stars, but for me, not all of the history was interesting. Someone like my Mom who has more knowledge of these scandals would likely rank it higher. The amount of research that had to have gone into this book is astounding. Shawn, I can only imagine the amount of sticky notes, timelines, and notes that you had in your office while writing this book. I thought the chronological order and attention to detail was incredible. The piecing together of all that information was spot on, and it was written in a way that keeps the reader interested, and not bored. Fans of Hollywood, and fans of history will both enjoy this intriguing look into Hollywood’s Castle on Sunset.
Just for fun…here are some photos of the Chateau, as well as some of the celebrities who have visited this famous hotel.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this Advanced Readers Edition of The Castle on Sunset: Life, Death, Love, Art, and Scandal at Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont, by Shawn Levy.