The Millennium Biltmore Hotel
Los Angeles, California
Photos taken by Rena Mason
A few years ago, over a weekend in late February, I traveled to Los Angeles, California to have a meeting about the next StokerCon™ with several members of the HWA L.A. Chapter: Kate Jonez, John Palisano, and Brad C. Hodson. Scrolling through Expedia, I found that the Millennium Biltmore Hotel, odd as it may have seemed, had the lowest rates, so I booked a room for the stay. At the time, I had no idea it’s considered one of the most haunted hotels in Los Angeles and that the show AMERICAN HORROR STORY: HOTEL was loosely based on the place. The hotel has also made some cameo appearances in films such as GHOSTBUSTERS and FIGHT CLUB.
Built in the early 1920s by the same architects responsible for the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, The Millennium Biltmore was erected to outshine all other hotels in the city as an upscale gathering place for the who’s who of L.A. It’s Spanish-Italian Renaissance style is both lavish and luxe compared to the sleek and modern Walt Disney Concert Hall designed by Frank Gehry that’s just down the street.
The Academy Awards were held at the Biltmore Bowl in 1931, then from 1935-1939, and in 1941 and 1942. During WWII, the hotel also served as a place for soldiers to stay during leave for R&R, explaining why some people have described seeing ghost soldiers roaming the halls.
One of the hotel’s most infamous guests was Elizabeth Short, also known as The Black Dahlia. The Millennium Biltmore Hotel was one of the last places she visited before being brutally murdered sometime later that night. It’s said that her ghost has been seen throughout the hotel by staff and guests.
People have claimed to hear children running and laughing down the halls, only to open their doors and see no one. Others have called the desk after hearing furniture moving above them then learning no guests are staying in the rooms up there.
The hotel is gorgeous and worth visiting if you’re in the area. I find it strange that I can remember what the lobby and main floor areas look like but nothing about the actual room I stayed in. The hallways are narrow and long, and the staircases, well … See the photo I took. I’m not one to get “spooked” easily, but the staircases had cold spots that were downright icy. The rest of the hotel was almost heated a bit too much, which made the temperature changes obvious. My husband, who also doesn’t “spook” easily, said that he felt like someone was walking down the steps with him, and then at one of the landings where I’d stopped to take the photo, he felt like someone was watching him while smoking a cigarette. He said that not only could he smell the smoke, he swore he saw a “wisp” of it in the air near me while I was leaning over the stairwell to get the shot.
I felt more creeped out by The Millennium Biltmore Hotel than I have staying at any other hotel, including The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, which I didn’t find spooky in the least.
To get some pictures of the exquisite main floor rooms, I snuck into them while my husband stood guard outside. Standing alone in those empty rooms, I thought I heard voices echoing from a large party or meeting taking place, but when we checked, there were no meetings or rooms full of people going on at the hotel.
I didn’t think much of it at the time, other than it was a grand old hotel, but pondering on it now, there were some odd and mysterious things about the place. I’ve yet to come across another great deal to stay there again, but if it happens, I just might think twice about it before booking. On a side note, while writing this article, I’ve felt dizzy and downright ill, so am happy to be finishing it and moving on.
If you’re ever in downtown L.A., check out The Millennium Biltmore. I hope there’s a StokerCon held there in the future. It would be eerily fantastic! For more information, visit https://www.millenniumhotels.com/en/los-angeles/millennium-biltmore-hotel-los-angeles/.