Monday, December 14, 2020

The Garden of Allah remnants

There was once a fabled hotel across the street from the Chateau Marmont called The Garden of Allah. Today’s post features an envelope from the hotel, postmarked 1942.

Sadly, it did not survive and was demolished in 1959. Like the Chateau, it was a haven for artists, actors, and writers; also like its neighbor, there are many legends and tall tales that have outlived its stucco walls. Originally a 2.5-acre private estate/residence, it was purchased by silent-screen actress Alla Nazimova and converted into a hotel by adding 25 villas around the main house. The Garden of Alla Hotel had its grand opening on January 9, 1927.

Strapped for cash, the actress ended up selling it three years later; the new owners added an “h” to the end of “Alla,” which is how it was normally spelled. The actress lived in Villa 24 until her death in 1945. 

Recently, a key from the hotel surfaced on ebay:

The listing states:

Good luck and even if your not bidding you might want to watch how this one ends after all the dust has settled. 

They lost me at “your” instead of “you’re.” Oh yes...and the price: $2,000. That was a deterrent, too. Hard to believe, but an intact matchbook also came up for auction:

One of the most interesting pieces I have seen is the Garden of Allah Guest Informant book:

Interesting to see the businesses listed, most of which no longer exist:

I’m sure the “stars” appreciated having their addresses in print, encouraging all the looky-loos to ring their doorbells.

The final owner, Bart Lytton, owner of Lytton Savings & Loan, demolished the hotel in 1959 and replaced it with his bank's main branch which is now closed and part of a mini-furor by the preservationists who don’t want it replaced by a Frank Gehry monstrosity. Oh the irony. See more Garden of Allah hotel photos at my main website.


Fifthrider said...

Thanks for the postcard that shows what the whole thing looked like. Until now I never had an overview of it all. That directory is pretty spiffy as well. It could come in handy in case I need a good chiropodist or phrenologist.

beachgal said...

Like the room key, the match book and the often seen ash trays are easy to dupe today. I would never trust one to be real. Like you however, the guest information is interesting, and a little less circumspect.

DBenson said...

In the early 80s William Overgard, longtime artist on "Steve Roper", created his own comic strip titled "Rudy" (aka "Rudy in Hollywood" in trade paperback form). Rudy resided in "The Garden of Allah II", pictured as a reasonably kept up clone of the original.

Rudy was a retired talking chimp who had to go back to work; the strip followed him through 80s Hollywood and gigs in talk radio, stand up, advertising and what not. The character channeled George Burns, smoking a cigar and affably playing off the various humans and his roomie, a cockatoo with a similar show biz resume.

Worth looking up, as an old satiric view of Hollywood that references an older Hollywood.

Anonymous said...

I have a Jack Costanzo album that claims to have been recorded live at the Garden of Allah.

Did the hotel have a nightclub, or at least a bar?

Also, thanks for the postcard, very nice indeed.


Anonymous said...

An interesting history of a long gone era. I looked up the actress and found she lead quite a life and legacy. Thanks Dave! KS

Daveland said...

DBenson- Thanks for the tip on the comic strip; sounds very interesting!

JG- Yes, that was recorded at the Hotel; the year it closed in fact. It pops up on ebay fairly frequently.

JG said...

Dave, thanks for confirming. I had never heard of the hotel till I saw the album.


Nanook said...

What a wonderful collection of trinkets. Great matchbook and room key. Interesting, the bitting of the key (24242) is conveniently stamped right on it, for easier duplication without the need for an existing key. Also of note, the number of both chiropractors and chiropodists (so much nicer than podiatrists) listed. I'm uncertain what that says about human health at that time...