It’s a French-castle–esque hotel on the Sunset Strip known for its legendary parties, celebrity clientele and a promise of privacy—and apparently it’s about to get a whole lot more private.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, hotelier André Balazs is considering flipping his boutique hotels into private residential clubs. The report specifically cites plans for Chateau Marmont to be converted into a private club by the end of the year.
Balazs has apparently been eyeing such a switch for the past three years now, but the state of the global economy has moved up that timeline. In addition, Balazs is reportedly looking to expand into new cities with members-only properties and possibly sell ownership stakes to members.
For most Angelenos, Chateau Marmont has already been fairly inaccessible for a few years now. The on-site restaurant requires reservations or a room key. And Bar Marmont, the more approachable spot next door where us commoners would go to feel fancy, went down for a renovation in 2017, and, well, here were are in 2020 still waiting (though sushi spot Chateau Hanare opened in a bungalow on the edge of the property in 2018).
Even before this transition to a private club, the Chateau’s air of exclusivity was by design. The Wall Street Journal notes that reservations are handled directly through the hotel instead of booking sites, and that securing one can sometimes be tough without a recommendation from a regular. “We have always screened our guests,” Balazs said. “Guests are never more than one degree of separation away.”
As for who’ll be handling those reservations? Not one of the 200 non-union Chateau Marmont employees who were laid off in March sans severance or extended healthcare benefits. According to WSJ writer Craig Karmin, Balazs likely won’t hire many of them back and will instead opt for fewer staff members with “a different skill set for his private club properties.” (Balazs did, however, donate $100,000 to an ex-employee fund.) UPDATE: A spokesperson for Chateau Marmont has clarified to Time Out that, per L.A.’s recent Right of Recall and Worker Retention ordinances, the hotel will rehire from the pool of its qualified laid-off staff members, in order of seniority (two positions have already been filled this way). Given the plans for a smaller staff, though, it’s unlikely that all former employees will be rehired.Share the story