“Riot House” – Legend of the Hollywood Hyatt Hotel

The Andaz West Hollywood is a 257-room Hyatt hotel located at 8401 Sunset BoulevardWest Hollywood, California (at Kings Road).

The hotel opened in 1963 as the Gene Autry Hotel. Sold in 1966, it was renamed the Continental Hyatt House. In 1976 it became the Hyatt on Sunset until February 1997 when the hotel was renamed the Hyatt West Hollywood. In January 2009 the hotel was renovated and renamed the Andaz West Hollywood.

In the late 1960s and 1970s the hotel became the preferred accommodation in Los Angeles for travelingrock bands, due largely to its close proximity to popular clubs such as the Whisky a Go Go. It was during this time that it was given the nickname Riot House on account of the wild antics carried out by band members there, most notably those of English rock groups such as Led ZeppelinThe Who and the Rolling Stones.

Notable Events at the hotel:

  • Led Zeppelin rented as many as six floors of the hotel in the mid-to-late 1970s for the band members and entourage. Drummer John Bonham was reported to have driven a motorcycle along the hallways (some say it was tour manager Richard Cole). In the film Rock Star, the character Izzy Cole does this.
  • Room 1015 bears the distinction of being where Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards dropped a TV out the window. The Who’s Keith Moon was also reported to have dropped a TV out of one of the hotel’s windows. In the film Rock Star also, the character “A.C.”, played by Jason Bonham, son of Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, throws a T.V. off the window in rage, after he is told that his wife ran off with Peter Gabriel.
  • Lemmy wrote the song “Motorhead” on one of the hotel balconies in the middle of the night, using Roy Wood‘s Ovation acoustic guitar.
  • Scenes in the film Almost Famous which depict the hotel were filmed at the actual hotel. Parts of the hotel were refurbished with exactly the same decor as existed there in the 1970s.
  • The scene from Almost Famous in which Russell Hammond cries out, “I am a Golden God!” is a reference to Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant who allegedly said the same thing while looking over Sunset Strip from one of the hotel’s balconies in 1975.
  • The two-part pilot episode of The Rockford Files, Backlash of the Hunter, had a scene where character Sarah Hunter (Lindsay Wagner) lured the killer of her father into room 1426.
  • The end-of-tour party scene in the film This is Spinal Tap was filmed on the roof of the hotel.
  • Slipknot Frontman Corey Taylor attempted suicide by jumping from an eighth floor balcony on November 14, 2003, but was stopped.
  • Little Richard lived in room 319 at the hotel through much of the 1980s and 1990s
  • Jim Morrison lived there until he was reportedly evicted by management for hanging out a window by his fingertips, dangling over the pavement.
  • Warren Zevon references this place in his song “Poor Poor Pitiful Me“.

Robert Plant, probably imagining all the groupies in L.A.

The hotel at dusk