Rocking Out With the Stars
We visit L.A.'s famed Riot House, avoid tossing any TVs.
Web2Carz Senior Writer
Published: August 29th, 2012
Those big rock stars went big while staying at the hotel.
erhaps the coolest nickname a hotel has ever received is "Riot House." That's the name that the hotel currently known as the Andaz West Hollywood (we also like "Riot Hyatt," since it rhymes, but according to a Google search, few people call it that) was once given, due to a history of hijinks that occurred in the 1960s and '70s as famous rock stars rolled through town.
Opened in 1963 as the Gene Autry Hotel, the hotel was sold in 1966 and became the Continental Hyatt House. That's where the "House" in "Riot House" came from, of course. Bands like Led Zeppelin and The Who provided the "Riot" part.
In 1976 the hotel became the Hyatt on Sunset, and in 1997 it changed names again, becoming the Hyatt West Hollywood. It took its current name after a renovation in 2009.
As always in real estate, location is important, and the Andaz once drew the biggest acts in rock because of its Sunset Strip location, which placed it near clubs like the Whisky A Go Go and The Roxy.
And those big rock stars went big while staying at the hotel. Room 1015 is where the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards dropped a TV out of a window. Led Zeppelin once rented out as many as six floors for the band and entourage during the '70s, and rumors abound of John Bonham (or tour manager Richard Cole) riding a motorcycle through the hallways.
Little Richard lived in a room on the third floor for much of the '80s and '90s, and Jim Morrison lived in the hotel too, until he was allegedly kicked out for dangling out of a window, holding on by his fingertips. The song "Motorhead" by Lemmy was written on a balcony in the middle of the night (the balconies have since been converted into enclosed sunrooms), and the hotel is featured prominently in the film Almost Famous (scenes set in the hotel were shot on site). When Billy Crudup's character, Russell Hammond, screams "I am a golden god!" that's an alleged reference to Robert Plant, who is reported to have actually yelled that in real life from one of the hotel's balconies. The late Keith Moon, drummer for The Who, once climbed up a balcony and served Plant a cocktail.
There's more. Slipknot lead singer Corey Taylor was stopped from committing suicide at the hotel in 2003, and Warren Zevon name-checked the place in his hit "Poor Poor Pitiful Me." Kiss' "Rock and Roll All Nite" was also written at the hotel.
Perhaps the greatest piece of the hotel's history is this: the tour's-end party scene from This is Spinal Tap was filmed there, on the roof. We've had cocktails on that roof, right by the pool, overlooking downtown L.A. to the southeast and the Hollywood hills to the north. As cool as that was, next time, we'll remember to crank it to 11.