Meet THE Original "Hotel California"

Every once and awhile, we have the honor of representing a location with fascinating local history. Our new Lido Apartments site is one of those deeply interesting properties with significant ties to Hollywood. Built during the roaring 20’s and likely named after the famous Lido Hotel in Venice, this 90 year-old darling has had her close up many times throughout the years. Built as one of the most expensive apartments for its time, the entertainment industry flocked to this Spanish Colonial beauty when it opened in 1928 for rentals beginning at $60 a month. Early residents included “The Phantom Of The Opera” silent film director Ernest Laemmle, Warner Brothers studio executive/director/actor Frank McHugh, and filmmaker Edward D. Wood Jr. known for his kitschy cult classics like “Plan 9 From Outer Space”. In its early years, the Lido boasted a pool, a solarium, “The Lido Terrace” restaurant and bar, and even a beauty salon. Those were its glamour years indeed, and it was first mentioned on the silver screen in 1950 when William Holden’s “Sunset Boulevard” character told Gloria Swanson that he lived at the Lido.

Unfortunately, turn of the century glamour gave way to graffiti and crime as Hollywood as a city experienced several decades of decline. Ironically, this was seemingly the environment that the music industry was drawn to. Sky Saxon, lead singer of the garage punk band “The Seeds” became the Lido’s next notorious resident, and soon after, Frank Zappa released his album “Hot Rats” which included the song “Willie The Pimp” referencing the Lido in its lyrics. By the 70’s the Lido drew more rock and roll attention when The Eagles selected its lobby for the iconic “Hotel California” album back cover and gatefold.

Fast forward several decades, and the Lido has once again been restored to its beautiful classic Moorish roots. A film friendly location, the Lido has recently hosted shoots for major television studios and commercial productions.

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Photo credits: Tomas Muscionico & California State Library

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