The Cecil Hotel is not known for giving its guests the most peaceful night’s sleep.
Its 600 rooms in downtown Los Angeles have hosted two serial killers as well as dozens of suicides, grizzly murders and mysterious deaths since it was built in the 1920s.
The building’s notoriously gruesome past has inspired movies, plays, podcasts and even Netflix’s new series, Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel, which premiered earlier this month and focused on the 2013 disappearance and death of 21-year-old Canadian college student Elisa Lam, whose naked body was found in the hotel’s water tank.
But soon it may be possible to book a room at one of America’s most notorious ‘haunted’ hotels again after luxury hotel developers submitted fresh documents to Los Angeles City Council as part of long-delayed plans to refurbish and re-open, potentially by the end of 2021.
Despite several years of delays and the arrival of the pandemic, new documents were filed in June last year, noting an application for an alcohol license for 299 in-room mini bars, a roof top bar and restaurant in the 14-story, 150,753sqft hotel.
Spooky subject: The Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles is the focus of Netflix’s new true-crime series Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel
The Cecil, which was re-branded as Stay on Main in 2011, was bought for $30million in 2014 by New York-based developers, Simon Baron Development, who own the Bowery, the Maritime, the Ludlow, and the Greenwich hotels in New York City.
In 2016 the company, which purchased a 99-year lease, announced a grand refurbishment of its 299 hotel rooms and 301 longer-term apartments, as reported by LA Curbed. The hotel closed in 2017.
After a lengthy delay they resurfaced again in 2019 with more detailed plans, including restoring some of the historical interiors of the hotel, which is a City of Los Angeles Historical Monument. At the time, the hotel said it would open in October 2021.
Then on June 24 last year, developers filed a further notice to be exempt from The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), in which they mentioned an application for a license for ‘a full-line of alcoholic beverages…with 299 in-room mini-bars, ground floor restaurant, lobby bar and roof top bar with 349 indoor seats and 312 outdoor seats.’
It added: ‘Hours of operation of the restaurant, lobby bar and roof top bar are from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m., daily.’
Simon Baron Development and the Los Angeles Planning Department didn’t respond to multiple requests from DailyMail.com for additional comment or for any updates on the hotel’s opening date.
The hotel was built in 1924 by William Banks Hanner, Robert H. Schops, and Charles L. Dix, costing $1.5 million to complete.
Its 600 rooms and marble lobby were designed with tourists and business travelers in mind, but it was only open a few years before the county was rocked by the Great Depression.
The blocks surrounding the Cecil Hotel became known as ‘Skid Row’ after an influx of homeless people inundated the area. The hotel became associated with transients, sex workers, and criminals, but it was already plagued by untimely deaths.
Yikes: There have been at least 16 deaths at the Cecil Hotel since it opened in 1927
Haunted history: Six people reportedly committed suicide in the hotel in the 1930s alone, while a teen mom threw her newborn baby out of the window after giving birth in 1944
Murder: ‘Pigeon’ Goldie Osgood, a retired telephone operator, was found raped, strangled, and fatally stabbed at the Cecil Hotel in 1964
At least six people committed suicide in the hotel in the 1930s alone. Two ingested poison, one shot himself in the head, and others jumped from the building itself.
In July 1934, Army Medical Corps Sergeant Louis D. Borden was found dead in his room at age 53 after he slashed his throat with a razor.
The hotel’s following decades boast an equally violent history, with a teenage mother throwing her newborn baby out her window in September 1944.
Questionable: Elizabeth Short, also known as the Black Dahlia, was allegedly spotted having a drink at the Cecil hotel days before her murder in 1947, though the claim remains heavily disputed
Dorothy Jean Purcell, 19, had no idea she was pregnant when she woke up with stomach pains while staying at the hotel with her boyfriend Ben Levine, 38.
She gave birth to a baby boy in the bathroom and threw the live infant out the window onto the roof of the building next door, thinking he was dead. She was charged with murder but was found not guilty by reason of insanity.
Elizabeth Short, also known as the Black Dahlia, was allegedly spotted having a drink at the Cecil hotel days before her murder in 1947, though the claim remains heavily disputed.
The aspiring starlet’s body was found beside a sidewalk in a vacant lot in a southern Los Angeles suburb. The 22-year-old had been viciously mutilated, with the trunk of her body completely severed, and a satanic smile cut into her face.
Short’s gruesome murder case has never been solved.
Reputation: ‘Throughout its history, the Hotel Cecil has always had a dark persona,’ one woman explains in the trailer to the new Netflix series
Infamous guests: Serial killers Richard Ramirez, better known as ‘The Night Stalker,’ (left) and Jack Unterweger (right) lived in the hotel in 1985 and 1991, respectively
Chaos: Ramirez would reportedly dump his bloody clothes in the hotel’s dumpster and walk through the lobby after murdering someone
Changes: The Cecil, which the series American Horror Story: Hotel is based on, was rebranded as the Stay on Main in 2011, though it’s still often referred to as its original name
Nearly two decades later, ‘Pigeon’ Goldie Osgood, a retired telephone operator, was found murdered in her room at the Cecil Hotel on June 4, 1964.
Osgood, who earned her nickname by feeding the pigeons at nearby Pershing Square, was raped, strangled, and fatally stabbed to death. A suspect was found walking nearby in bloodstained clothes, but he was later cleared. The crime remains unsolved.
Focus: The show investigates the hotel’s most recent mystery, the 2013 disappearance and death of Canadian college student Elisa Lam
Two of the hotel’s most infamous guests were Richard Ramirez, better known as ‘The Night Stalker,’ and Austrian serial killer Jack Unterweger, who once called the Cecil home.
‘Throughout its history, the Hotel Cecil has always had a dark persona,’ one woman explains in the trailer to the new Netflix series.
‘This is a place where serial killers let their hair down, like Richard Ramirez, who had come back covered in blood, and no one’s got a problem with that.’
Ramirez killed 13 people in California in the mid-1980s, and he lived in a room on the hotel’s 14th floor in 1985 before he was caught.
Richard Schave, who runs Esotouric bus tours in Los Angeles with his partner Kim Cooper, told CNN in 2013 that while Ramirez was staying at the Cecil, he was ‘just dumping his bloody clothes in the dumpster at the end of his evening and going in the back entrance.’
Meanwhile, Unterweger was working as a journalist covering LA crime for an Austrian magazine when he checked into the hotel in 1991. He killed three sex workers in the city while staying there.
Vanished: The bulk of the trailer for Crime Scene focuses on Lam’s disappearance and the puzzling CCTV footage of her last moments
Confusing: The 21-year-old was last seen in surveillance footage on February 1, 2013, behaving strangely in the hotel elevator, appearing to hide from someone or something
‘We believe he was living at the Cecil in homage to Ramirez,’ Schave said.
The Cecil, which the series American Horror Story: Hotel is based on, was rebranded as the Stay on Main in 2011, though it’s still often referred to as its original name.
The bulk of the trailer for Crime Scene focuses on Lam’s disappearance and the puzzling CCTV footage of her last moments.
She checked into the hotel on January 26, 2013, after traveling from British Columbia, Canada, where she was studying, on her way to Santa Cruz.
On January 31, Lam stopped using her phone. She was last seen in surveillance footage on February 1, behaving strangely in the hotel elevator, appearing to hide from someone or something.
Mystery: Lam’s naked body was found float in the hotel’s water tank on the roof on February 19, 2013, after hotel guests complained the water tasted and smelled bad
No clues: Lam’s death was officially ruled accidental but how she died and the details leading up to it remain a mystery. Firefighters are pictured leaving the hotel after removing her body
Eerie: In the show’s trailer, a former Cecil Hotel manager recalls being asked: ‘Is there a room here that maybe somebody hasn’t died in?’ She admits: ‘I never got used to that that’
‘The last footage we have of her was inside the elevator,’ one man explains in the trailer. ‘That’s where the case starts to go askew.’
Lam’s naked body was found float in the hotel’s water tank on the roof on February 19, 2013, after hotel guests complained the water tasted and smelled bad.
Police believe Lam, who was bipolar and had been staying at the hotel, had been there for two weeks by the time she was found.
No other information about her final movements — including how she got onto the roof and into the tank — has been confirmed. Lam’s death was officially ruled accidental but how she died and the details leading up to it remain a mystery.
‘Bad things keep happening here, over and over again,’ someone says of the hotel towards the end of the trailer, while another adds: ‘This hotel is hiding something.’