Home - Ambassador Hotel
A Last Tour of :-
1st March 2005
The Ambassador Hotel has now been demolition but on 1st March a few invited guests were invited to tour this famous old hotel for the last time. Chris Kraus was one of those guests and has kindly offered to share this experience with us, including all the information gained and photographs that he took. This was the last insight into The Ambassador Hotel that the outside world ever get and I for one will be for ever in the debt of Chris for this. Below in Chris' own words and photo's is perhaps your last chance to see the most famous old hotel in Los Angeles.
I was among a handful of community people who were able to tour part of the Ambassador Hotel and Cocoanut
Grove just today. I learned about the tour simply because I work in the building
adjacent to the property. Though there are no final building plans yet, the Los Angeles Unified School District does own the property and has plans to house an
elementary school, junior high and high school -- some 4,200 students on the23-acre property.
The complex has been sadly exposed to the elements since its close, and our recent rain storms have done some serious damage of their own. Palm trees on the
property started to be removed yesterday (this is the beginning of the bird nesting season) -- some to be used for other school properties, some to be saved for replanting on this property, quite a number of them cut down. Though the property was rented out to movie production companies, its reported income of $1
million per year barely covered costs and minimal maintenance of the property.
LAUSD expects to decommission the building shortly (removing "fluids" and power from the building), turning it into a construction zone and making it harder to
tour the site.
Here are some few notes & accompanying photos from my tour of the Ambassador Hotel on March 1, 2005.
The hotel is a concrete construction, so it went up quickly. However, they are finding that the concrete now is very brittle. To restore the building, they would need to create new support walls and reinforce all the support columns by encasing each with a "concrete wrap." Simply, it's much cheaper for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) to tear down the building and rebuild rather than try to restore it.
Ballroom Corridor March 2005
This is representative of the state of much of the hotel. Buckets collecting water, pealing plaster on the ceiling.
Bungalow & Film Sign
The hotel property -- until February 28, 2005 -- has been rented out to movie production companies. The LAUSD is planning to save one of each type of bungalow on the property.
Cocoanut Grove entrance
Cocoanut grove interior
Cocoanut grove interior2
There is nothing left of the Cocoanut Grove, just a black shell of a room. It is located on the second floor of this two story addition to the hotel. This is the entrance -- and probably least attractive -- after its ninth remodeling (in its history).
Coffee shop interior
Coffee shop interior2
Coffee shop interior3
The coffee shop is located on the lower floor in the Cocoanut Grove addition, along with other shops.
Entrance & cut trees
The original entrance to the hotel was off of Seventh Street (on the east side of the hotel). Today the entrance is off of Wilshire (on the north side)
Facade from the 1970s
I understand there were three different facades to the Cocoanut Grove addition. This one was made in the 1970s.
Rules posted in the hotel for production companies.
Floor in ballroom kitchen.
This is a sample of the floor just off the ballroom kitchen. The adjacent room was the corridor where Kennedy was shot. LAUSD has plans to actually cut that whole location out of the building, but have not determined what will become of it.
Palm Bar off lobby
The lobby was also used for the Schwarzenegger scene, riding a horse in a hotel in True Lies. A tag on some of the furniture says not too sit on it because it is so old. The Palm Bar, located just off the lobby area, was also used in a number of films
North view and Cocoanut Grove addition
North view with trees cut
Warning Sign of the time dated Feb 28th 2005.
Exteriors of the building. trees were cut down because it is the beginning of bird nesting season
Text & Pictures Courtesy of Chris Krause of Los Angeles