Offbeat: 10 of the world’s most infamous luxury hotels

Luxury Travel Beat is in the business of highlighting some of the world’s best hotels. Today, however, we’d like to highlight those hotels that have provided the luxurious backdrops for some seriously salacious going-ons.Enjoy!

 1.The Chateau Marmont, Los Angeles

The Chateau Marmont

We begin this list with the mother of all infamous hotels. If walls could talk, the walls of the Chateau Marmont would be singing like a canary perched atop a shrink’s couch. From Howard Hughes spying on sunbathing guests, to Led Zeppelin groupies riding motorbikes through the lobby, Jim Morrison falling out of a window onto a shed below after valiantly trying to swing from the hotel’s roof to the window of his room, to Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears’ various meltdown ‘episodes’,  the Chateau Marmont has seen more scandals than the archives of The National Enquirer. But it’s the tragic death of actor John Belushi – who was found dead from a drug overdose in one of the hotel’s bungalows in 1982 – which is most notorious.

2. The Beverly Hills Hilton

A suite bathroom at the Beverly Hills Hilton. Photo courtesy of the hotel’s website.

From one tragic drug-related celebrity death to another, The Beverly Hills Hilton hit the headlines earlier this year when it emerged that singer Whitney Houston had been found dead in a bath-tub in room 434 of the hotel. Later that evening, some of her fellow musicians attended a Grammy Party hosted by Whitney Houston’s mentor Clive Davis a few floors above the room where Whitney Houston’s body still lay, in the process demonstrating just how callous we human beings have the capacity to be.

3. The Sofitel, New York

Photo by AFP/Getty Images

In May 2011, the then head of the International Monetary Fund Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was arrested  after allegedly committing a heinous sex attack on a housekeeper at the Sofitel New York. He escaped charges but was forced to give up his job at the IMF, and publicity surrounding the case ended his career as a Socialist Party politician in France.

4. The Hotel Carlton de Lille

Dominique Strauss-Kahn is responsible for bringing yet another hotel fame and notoriety, this time in his native France. The Hotel Carlton de Lille, which is situated on a street lined with children’s stores, a church and a marriage counselor was the scene of the crime when DSK was charged last month with “aggravated procurement in an organized gang,” – the legal term for pimping – over his alleged involvement in a prostitution ring. Eight others were charged last October, including the Carlton’s owner, director and head of public relations.

The hotel boasts of its ‘charm  ‘discretion’ and ‘soundproof apartments’ in its brochure.

5. The Hotel Ritz, Paris: In 1997, Princess Diana and her boyfriend Dodi Al-Faye were chased to their deaths on the roads of Paris. Immediately prior to getting into the car that would be the instrumental in their untimely deaths, the couple dined together for the last time at The Ritz . It is also here that Coco Chanel died   in 1971 at the age of 87 after having lived at the hotel for three decades.

6. Hotel Kamp, Helsinki: In January this year, A New York business woman — Alison Fournier — brought proceedings against tarwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, claiming staff at one of their hotels – the Hotel Kamp Helsinki, gave her room key to a drunken man who allegedly sexually assaulted her in her bed. The man, who was “visibly intoxicated,” was able to get into her room after he was issued with a key to the room when he told staff he was the woman’s husband. Once inside the room, he undressed, slipped into her bed, and proceeded to grope her naked body. 

7. The Hotel Caribe: Last month, the world was abuzz with news that 11 Secret Service agents were suspended following a massive prostitution scandal ahead of President Obama’s visit to Colombia. The events took place in the Hotel Caribe, a five-star beachfront resort in Cartagena’s Bocagrande district. The events of that night would probably only ever have reached pitch among the local ladies of the night union had one of the bodyguards not decided to…um….stiff a callgirl called Dania Suarez.

8. Cadogan Hotel, London

Oscar Wilde

On April 6, 1895, Oscar Wilde was arrested in room 118 of this Knightsbridge hotel and charged with ‘committing acts of gross indecency with other male persons’. The Irish playwright was found guilty and served two years’ hard labour.

9. L’Hôtel: On 30 November 1900, Oscar Wilde died in Room 16 of the Parisian L’Hotel, which was then known as the Hôtel d’Alsace. Gazing at the awful wallpaper, Wilde supposedly uttered his last words, ‘well one of us had to go’. He was reputed to have left a large bill at the hotel and the comment  ‘I’m dying as I have lived… beyond my means’. Wilde was 46 years old, his health broken after a spell in Reading jail; his death was caused by cerebral meningitis, after an operation for an ear infection.

10.The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Sydney: Michael Hutchence, the lead singer from Australian rock band INXS, hanged himself with a leather belt in Room 524 of Sydney’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel on 22 November 1997. The room cleaner found the body of the 37-year-old hanging behind the door the next morning.


  1. Inspired by the Australian band named Hoodoo Gurus, and friends of Michael Hutchence, I wrote the song “Hoodoo Voodoo Medicine Man” performed by Aerosmith released in 1989. I was involved with Hutchence from the age of 15 in 1983. The lyrics of the ’89 song include ” Masturbatin’ with a noose”. Hutchence died when? Oh! That’s right 1997.


  2. This is breathtaking!!! No words can debricse the feeling, thanks for sharing!You may love the Bulgarian folk music from Rhodope Mountains to go with it. The famous antique singer Orpheus was born there, and till now there is a feeling of immense space, vertical orientation and love in those songs. I think both Voyagers are carrying two songs of Rhodope to represent the music of our planet Earth in the cosmos.Good luck from the bottom of my heart,Saint LouisValia


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