The hotel that was the inspiration for American Horror Story’s hotel-themed Season 5 is the subject of Netflix’s new true crime limited series: Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel. This latest crime documentary focuses on the mysterious death of Canadian student Elisa Lam, who disappeared from the hotel the day she was about to check out.
But while Elisa's story is the most recent dark story from the Cecil Hotel, true crime buffs know that the hotel has a much longer dark history that dates back to its opening.
With its grim and violent past, viewers of Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel are clamoring to know if the Cecil Hotel is still open to visitors. Keep scrolling to find out how to book your stay at this infamous hotel.
Is the Cecil Hotel still open?
Since it first opened in the 1920s, the Cecil Hotel has been the setting of some of Los Angeles’ most violent deaths and crimes. The Cecil has such an infamous reputation that in the trailer for Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel, even the manager of the hotel asks, “Is there a room here that somebody hasn't died in?”
From robberies to murders to suicides, the Cecil Hotel has a troubling history, to say the least.
After a brief heyday in the 1920s, the hotel and its surrounding neighborhood fell into shambles when the Great Depression took hold of the country, which led the Cecil to become a hangout for questionable characters.
With rooms for $14 a night, it was popular among the transient residents of Downtown LA’s Skid Row. Even Richard Ramirez, aka the Night Stalker, allegedly lived at the hotel for a time. It was also a favorite haunt of drug users and local sex workers.
Over the years, along with its sordid reputation, the hotel also fell into physical disrepair until 2007, when it was bought by new owners for $26 million. Against the backdrop of an increasingly gentrified Downtown LA, the group that bought the building aimed to transform it into a boutique budget hotel, renamed the Stay on Main.
The poor, long-term residents of the hotel were pushed out and a $100 million renovation began.
“We are gutting the entire building,” said Matthew M. Baron, president of Simon Baron Development. “We are going to redevelop it from the doorway to the roof and everything in between.”
But despite the efforts to make the Stay on Main a fresh, new destination, the hotel continued to be plagued by mysterious incidents. In 2013, it gained worldwide notoriety when Elisa Lam went missing and was subsequently found in one of the hotel’s rooftop water tanks.
In 2016, the Cecil’s owners announced another major renovation and closed its doors once again. But up until 2019, the developers were still gathering permits and securing financing for the project.
At the time, they expected the work to be completed by October 2021, but given the delays every industry has faced in the past year, the reopening date is bound to be pushed back.
As of now, there’s no official word yet on the Cecil’s reopening.