By :AJ S.
Date :August 28, 2020
1-Alexandria-Hotel_sd42_1.jpg Los Angeles, the filming capital of the world, is full of picture-perfect locations used in the production of movies, television and music videos. Many of these locations are among the city’s oldest and they’re full of history! Some have been restored, and some have been abandoned for years. One such site features a mix of both restored and abandoned spaces within a single structure: the Alexandria Hotel, located at the intersection of 5th Street and Spring Street in Downtown LA.

The Alexandria Hotel was the height of luxury in LA – the city’s first 5-star hotel! - from its completion in 1906 until 1923, when the Biltmore Hotel opened a few blocks away. The eight-story Beaux-Arts Alexandria Hotel was designed by John Parkinson, also known for LA City Hall and Union Station. In 1911, a twelve-story structure next door was incorporated into the building, including its most luxurious ballroom: the Palm Court, featuring Tiffany stained-glass skylights. 
2-Alexandria-Hotel-Palm-Court_sd43_2.jpg Celebrities and dignitaries regularly stayed at the Alexandria, including former U.S. Presidents William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt; and even former Prime Minister of the U.K. Winston Churchill! Some movie studios had offices at the hotel, as well. The “Latin Lover” of silent films, Rudolph Valentino, lived at the hotel between 1917 and 1921 (room 1202). A dinner meeting in 1919 attended by Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, Bill Hart and D.W. Griffith led to the creation of the United Artists Corporation studio.

The Tiffany stained-glass skylights of Palm Court were once covered with black paint, during WWII; and a second floor was constructed for soldiers from the upper section of the lobby of the Alexandria Hotel, during the war as well. Palm Court was designated as a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 1971 along with the rest of the hotel in 2013.

3-Alexandria-Hotel-Happy_sd44_3.png The Alexandria Hotel is still a popular filming location, including the movies Se7en (1995), Constantine (2005)and Rush Hour 3 (2007); and music videos for artists such as Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Backstreet Boys, Hilary Duff, Simple Plan, Rachel Platten, Nick Jonas, Diplo, MØ, David Guetta, Flo Rida, and Nicki Minaj. A few of the hotel’s spaces are used frequently and appear in many of these productions. The most common areas used are the exteriors, the Palm Court ballroom, and the King Edward ballroom. A few notable music videos were “Happy” (2013) by Pharrell Williams where he is seen singing and dancing in the Palm Court ballroom, and Christina Aguilera’s “Ain’t No Other Man” (2006) as she happens to use the second floor constructed from the upper section of the hotel’s lobby as a nightclub.
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Tupac Shakur’s “Temptations” (1995) music video, in particular, features a cast of celebrities including Coolio, Ice-T, Jada Pinkett Smith, also Salt and DJ Spinderella from Salt-N-Pepa, to mention a few. Tupac actually does not appear at all in the video! The hotel’s exteriors, lobby, some rooms and corridors were used in the music video.

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Today, the Alexandria Hotel currently offers mixed-income housing, commercial business spaces, and its restored ballrooms are available for special event bookings. The hotel is located at 501 S Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013 and its website is https://www.alexandriaballrooms.com/ if you are interested in hosting an event at its famous ballrooms, or perhaps creating another popular dance video?

There is a lot more to learn about the historic Alexandria Hotel too. Did you know there is a "phantom wing" to the building? Why does the former "Latin Lover" haunt this building? For those stories, and more, join us on Haunted Tales.