Welcome to the Cecil Hotel!
I'm a procrastinator when it comes to taking trips. I had my travel tickets locked in, but I didn't get a hotel room till about four hours before I left Will Rogers Airport. I got frustrated trying to figure out the geography and how close hotels were to the LA Convention Center.
Finally, I called Hotels.com, refused all the exorbitant rates, and found a hotel for $71 a night in South Central L.A. I didn't know it was South Central, but I was by myself. When my wife and kids aren't along, I like to veer off the beaten path to experience real life instead of the tourist attractions.
The Cecil Hotel was built back in the 1920s. Writers like Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett could have stayed there. I liked the idea of that, and maybe the hint of danger that clung to the streets just outside.
I stayed on the 14th floor, which was really the 13th because they skipped that number on the elevator keypad. I kept flashing on Stephen King's 1408 and waited for the madness to start! Sadly, no madness. I coulda been on Oprah!
The marble floor and walls looked elegant. They had a security desk in front of the check-in desk.
Here's another view from the mezzanine level.
And another. The security desk is in the foreground.
This is from the other side of the mezzanine. Loved the stairwell!
The only place I could get an internet connection was on the mezzanine. They had glassed-in room for meetings, but there were a lot of tables and outlets around. I was reminded again of how the computer community really pulls together to make sure everyone has space and electricity! We all took care of each other up there.
This is a rooftop swimming pool just outside the hallway window.
I had to try out the zoom feature of my digtal pocket camera, don't ya know. I have to say, I was mightily impressed. And this guy struck out, for those of you who are curious.
Loved the gargoyles!
The street outside the hotel was dangerous. I was told not to go out after dark. But I went on a hot dog run to the 7-11 four blocks up the street with the security guard at midnight. You see a whole different clientele out there after dark.
I also got hit on by a wheelchair hooker my first day there when I walked up to a neighborhood cafe to eat. The hotel restaurant was closed for rennovations. I was so stunned by the approach that I didn't take her picture. I just wanted to escape. Momma never taught me how to let a wheelchair hooker down easy!
This building, a bank I believe, looks a lot like a castle turret. Don't be surprised if it turns up in a novel some time!
My room didn't have enough room to swing a cat. But I loved it. Except for the lack of internet connection and desk. I learned I could type on the laptop in bed, though. Which could be a good or bad thing, depending.
All in all, I had a good time getting to know the security guards and wandering around through the hotel. I could almost imagine I was a private detective back in the 1920s and 1930s of early LA and Hollywood!