Pharos-Tribune

Online only

February 26, 2013

6 ways to tell if you're staying in a murder hotel

NEW YORK — This January, a 21-year-old Canadian tourist named Elisa Lam disappeared while visiting Los Angeles. Lam was last seen at the Cecil Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, where she had been staying.

Tuesday, her body was found at the bottom of one of the hotel's rooftop water tanks, thus solving two separate mysteries at once: "What happened to Elisa Lam?" and "Why is the water pressure so bad at the Cecil Hotel?"

The hotel's guests were horrified at the news, with good reason — nothing spoils a vacation faster than learning you may have been brushing your teeth with corpse-water.

But anyone familiar with Los Angeles' history couldn't have been too surprised. Downtown L.A. has long been seedy, and somewhat dangerous; the Cecil Hotel, for its part, has a long and sordid criminal history.

The Cecil doesn't advertise its dark past; caveat emptor and all that. But, still, many guests might balk at staying in a hotel that was once a crime scene. It's best if you do your research before embarking on your travels, not after. Here are some ways to determine whether or not you might have booked a room in a murder hotel.

The hotel is also a residential hotel.

Half the time, people who live in hotels are either eccentric millionaires or adorable, adventure-prone children. The rest of the time, they are usually creepy drifters. Sometimes it's hard to tell which is which, so corpse-wary travelers should play it safe and avoid hotels that court the long-term trade. The Hotel Chelsea, where Sid Vicious allegedly killed Nancy Spungen in 1978, was also a long-term residential hotel. The Cecil is one, too; a Los Angeles Times article about the Lam case featured quotes from an 89-year-old man who has lived in the Cecil for 32 years. A hotel like this is probably not the sort of place you want to stay, unless you are a character in a Charles Bukowski novel — in which case, congratulations on magically coming to life!

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Online only
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

The Pence administration continues to cut Indiana agency budgets despite a state surplus of $2 billion. Is this wise management of state funds?

Yes
No
Not sure
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.