Old Hollywood Charm and Tranquility at The Charlie
Pressure of any kind seems distant at the Charlie – tucked into a residential neighborhood, the quiet is broken only by the soft trickle of a tranquil water fountain.
The Charlie Hotel is the kind of place that ranks as hallowed ground for Hollywood film buffs, especially Golden Age cinema geeks. Marlene Dietrich, Bette Davis, Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe are just a few of the mega-stars who spent time here, escaping the paparazzi and pressures of the day. (More recent guests reportedly include Natalie Portman and Liv Tyler.)
English Bungalow Hideaway
Secluded, stylish and sun-drenched, The Charlie calls itself an English bungalow hideaway. There is a communal garden and deck (no pool); some rooms have a private patio. Built on farm land that originally belonged to actress Ruth Gordon’s family, the cozy dwellings are the legacy of legendary screen icon Charlie Chaplin.
Having grown up in poverty in London, it must have been a dream come true for Chaplin to acquire these English country cottages with charming touches, such as stained glass, beamed ceilings and wooden doors. Chaplin owned and frequented the property from 1924 to 1936 – at that time, it was more like a country home with three bungalows, expansive grounds and stables for the horses, and he would offer it up to friends and family as a local respite.
Fittingly for Tinseltown, the property itself is no stranger to drama. In 2002, redevelopers were eyeing this landmark until Menachem Treivush stepped in and saved it, funding a multimillion-dollar renovation. The Charlie made its successful comeback in 2008. While adding 11 new bungalows and modern convenience, the renovation preserved many period details. For example, in the Charlie Suite, there are two showers – a new one and a smaller original that accommodated Chaplin’s 5’5” frame.
Make it Your Home Away from Home
The bungalows (of varying capacity) are ideal for longer-term stays, featuring fully equipped kitchens and in-unit washer/dryers. For those wanting groceries, Gelson’s Market is just down the street, on Santa Monica Boulevard.
It’s easy to imagine scribes, singers and other storytellers burning the midnight oil at the Charlie. The Lot Studios (formerly co-owned by Chaplin) is on Santa Monica Boulevard and Formosa, a walkable distance. Paramount, Fox, Warner Bros., Universal, Netflix and more are an easy drive. There are several screening rooms nearby (including the ones at Raleigh Studios named after Chaplin and after his chums and business partners, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford). Meetings in Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Downtown Los Angeles can be easily accommodated.
If a dose of revelry is in order, you can while away an evening in a world-class restaurant or a cool club. Why not see a standup comic perform on the Sunset Strip?
As Chaplin once said: “A day without laughter is a day wasted.”
Santa Monica Blvd
The Charlie Hotel
819 North Sweetzer Avenue
West Hollywood, CA 90069