Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Palm Court

As some of you may have noticed on my facebook page, the other night I went to a place in downtown LA called the Alexandria Hotel, and inside of it is a room called "The Palm Court".
I was intrigued by it's strange beauty and knew that upon getting home I'd have to look into it more.

This building, and especially this room was a pinnacle of the early 1900's, most specifically the Roaring 20's with the cream of the early Hollywood crop lining up to enjoy. By 1912 the Alexandria was such an important gathering place that the Los Angeles times even wrote:

"What Union Square was to old New York, what Forty-second street is to the present metropolis, and what the vicinity of the Cort Theater is to San Francisco, the Alexandria mezzanine seems to be to theatrical Los Angeles. ... Hardly ever does the day pass in which some nationally-known actor or actress does not linger in the low settees or pause at the golden rail, looking down into the lobby below -- pausing, lingering, while in whispered tones behind rises the chatter that his or her presence has caused." (quote via wikipedia)

Unfortunately while these photos was only taken 3 years ago the hotel is getting so rundown that there are now broken panels in the glass, the wallpaper's peeling and it's in dire need of cleaning, such an unfortunate turn of events due to the hotels CONSTANT changing of ownership and the fact that it's now being used as low income housing.

The room, not the hotel are deemed a Los Angeles Historical landmark, (as of 1971) but because just the room is, it's slowly being allowed to deteriorate and only the fact that it's a true work of art allows it to shine even in it's dingy state.

"In the Alexandria's heyday, movie stars and other celebrities, including Rudolph Valentino, Mary Miles Minter, Sarah Bernhardt, Enrico Caruso and Jack Dempsey were guests. Charlie Chaplin reportedly kept a suite at the Alexandria and did improvisations in the lobby, and western star Tom Mix reportedly rode his horse through the lobby. The large oriental rug in the lobby was called the "million-dollar carpet", because there was purportedly a $1 million worth of business done there every day. It was there that D.W. Griffith, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks met in 1919 to form United Artists. U.S. Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and Woodrow Wilson,and many foreign dignitaries, also stayed at the hotel while visiting Los Angeles." (via wikipedia)

There's still photos of the aforementioned starlets in the lobby, amongst many more, but as with everything else those too are in a state of disrepair. I highly hope that someone takes the responsibility for the preservation of this beautiful room and the hotel as a whole, because the fact that it's a landmark does not seem to do so by itself.
The building and The Palm Court itself are an endless source for inspiration. As I'm sure you can tell I'm in love with just about anything Art Deco, and love interpreting it into my garments so a find like this is simply delightful and I hope that the next time I visit it will be restored to it's initial luster.

All the photos I used for this post where taken from this blog: bigorangelandmarks.blogspot.com if you click the link you can view the great post they did on the hotel which includes a bit more about it's history.

Also some information is from wikipedia, which has a really great article on the building as well.


  1. You may want to look up Bioshock on an Xbox 360 (or PC) near you. Given your interest in art deco, I have a feeling you'd love it :-).

  2. My bf played that game, I loved it, especially the music! I still haven't had a chance to play it yet (as I dont game very much) but if there was ever a game that I would be playing that would definitely be it! :D

  3. That, or possibly the sequel :). Considering the theme, I also think you'd enjoy Ghost Ship (the movie, that is). The ending has a really, really nice twist :p.