Our homes away from home aren’t merely a place to lay your head at the end of the day. For those among us whose singing doesn’t frighten migrating birds to rapidly alter their course, the hotel has been the muse, the setting or the main character in many songs. Whether it’s bringing back your lover or throwing a mad bash (please note, this is not encouraged by your fellow guests), but the hotel has been mentioned in many epic jams…or maybe that’s just us being utterly besotted with hotels.
Go forth and swing your way through these hotels & songs — maybe your next hotel stay will be the catalyst for writing the next hit hotel song!
Hotel California – The Eagles
Palm Springs, CA
“Welcome to the Hotel California, Such a lovely place (such a lovely place), Such a lovely face
Plenty of room at the Hotel California, Any time of year (any time of year) you can find it here”
Rumors more often than not reference the Beverly Hills Hotel or the Chateau Marmont as inspiration for the epic Eagles song about a hotel where you can never leave. We would be more inclined to believe that the song sees its hero heading on the “dark desert highway” towards Palm Springs and straight to check-in at the Colony Palms. The former hideaway for gamblers and gangsters escaping LA drama was built in 1936.
The Colony Palm’s lush pool courtyard is surrounded by exotic flora and could very well be the setting for the song’s, “dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat. Some dance to remember, some dance to forget”. Fireplaces and patios are key features of many of the rooms which are decked out in a Moroccan-cum-SoCal Mission style. It’s truly a place to tuck away into a quiet corner and perhaps check out– but never leave.
Hotel Yorba – The White Stripes
“Well its one, two, three, four, Take the elevator
At the Hotel Yorba, I’ll be glad to see you later
All they got inside is vacancy”
Detroit’s real Hotel Yorba may have been severely lacking in guests but its empty rooms and incidental lack of noise complaints from fellow hotel guests saw the White Stripes record their 2001 single Hotel Yorba deep inside room #206. The hotel, which had been leaning slightly on the side of decrepit, has since been converted into government subsidized housing. The hotel and the band are now both defunct but the spirit of Detroit lives on in the Trumbull & Porter Hotel, which was rebuilt utilizing the best Detroit resources and talents including contractors, artists, suppliers and staff. Spacious rooms feature custom furniture from Michigan artists in this hotel ode to Detroit.
Chelsea Hotel #2 – Leonard Cohen
New York City, NY
“I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel
You were famous, your heart was a legend”
Possibly the biggest music epic of all our hotels, the Chelsea Hotel was not only home to some of the most prolific musical artists of the last century but also inspired countless songs, stories and art. The hotel, which is a designated NYC landmark, closed for renovations a few years back with plans to reopen in 2017. Musical hotel alumni include Bob Dylan, Patti Smith and the recently departed Leonard Cohen who all penned odes to their encounters with the legendary hotel and its former tenants.
If you’re wandering in search for your own NYC hotel home and muse, a mere skip away from the original Chelsea Hotel lays the Townhouse Inn of Chelsea. This intimate 14 room space is cozy and full of the kind of character that would be spotlighted in a Leonard Cohen tune. Some rooms are flooded with natural light from the skylights and the exposed brick walls and vintage furniture call to mind the spirit of New York’s dense artistic history.
Off to the Races – Lana Del Rey
Los Angeles, CA
“He likes to watch me in the glass room, bathroom, Chateau Marmont
Slippin’ on my red dress, puttin’ on my makeup, Glass room, perfume, cognac, lilac fumes”
Lana Del Rey is not the only artist who has been stung by Chateau’s mysticism. She alludes directly to the hotel in her Lolita-esque ballad about a decadent relationship set against the backdrop of the property’s 63 luxurious rooms, cottages and bungalows. Its Gothic Fortress exterior hides the secrets of guests like The Doors singer Jim Morrison who lived at the property and Led Zeppelin who famously ravaged the lobby carpets with some motorcycle wheelies in the 1960s. Other musical celebs catching some Zzz’s (or not) include Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Yoko Ono and Mick Jagger. Scott Weiland also penned his appreciation for the hotel in his aptly named tune, Chateau Marmont.
Luckily for you, should you dare to step straight into Lana’s dreams, you can check straight into the Chateau yourself. Order a bottle of the Roederer, “Cristal” 2005 that Lana name drops for a cool $500 if you want to get into the mood and drink it poolside to bring up all the appropriate Off To The Races imagery.
Hotel Room Service – Pitbull
“Forget about your boyfriend and meet me at the hotel room,
You can bring your girlfriends and meet me at the hotel room”
Pitbull’s 2009 jam Hotel Room Service references the almighty and gargantuan Holiday Inn chain with samples from the classic Holiday Inn reference Rapper’s Delight by the Sugarhill Gang. Filming of the song’s video actually took place at the Epic Hotel in Pitbull’s original downtown Miami stomping grounds.
The urban resort perches you high above Biscayne Bay, has marina docking should you come via yacht and a lobby glittering with crystal Buddha statues and colorful pop art. Much like the song which invites you to forget your partner and meet Pitbull in the hotel room, guests staying at the Epic hotel will be delighted by the room views of the Miami skyline and decadent linens. Plus, the hotel is pet-friendly if you want to bring your own pitbull along.
Pennsylvania 6-5000 – Glen Miller
New York City, NY
“When I’m away from my honey, Here’s what I do with my money
Pennsylvania Six, Five Thousand”
Jazz legend Glenn Miller was more than just inspired by the legendary mid-century Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City. His song, Pennsylvania 6-5000, is actually the real phone number of the hotel, and the longest running phone number in the city. These days, you have to add on the modern 212 area code, but you can still reach the hotel via that same PE6-5000 number to book your stay.
However, if you’re looking for something a touch more luxurious and peppered with classic New York elements we suggest you head to the Archer Hotel New York. Located in the same bustling Midtown Manhattan neighborhood as the Penn, rooms are made up of fabrics that invite you to touch in contrasting shades black and white. White subway tiled bathrooms take the hat for iconic New York representation and floor to ceiling windows bring in postcard-worthy views of the Big Apple.
Ignition Remix – R. Kelly
“Then after the show its the (after party), And after the party its the (hotel lobby)
Around about 4 you gotta (clear the lobby) Then head take it to your room and freak somebody”
Chicago native R. Kelly could have been singing about bringing the afterparty to the hotel lobby of any of Chicago’s premiere hotels but when we hear the famous Remix, we’re picturing the Renaissance Blackstone. The Chicago skyline landmark has been featured in movies like My Best Friend’s Wedding, The Color of Money and The Untouchables. Antique chandeliers, banquette sofas and lighting fixtures inspired by another Chicago landmark, the Bean dot the spacious lobby. R. Kelly could have easily been breaking it down on the jazzy carpets here or sliding down the grand staircase bannister while sippin’ on coke and rum.
Once the bell struck 4 a.m. as the verse goes, he would inevitably get ushered upstairs to the privacy of the Heavens Suite with a private access on the 23rd floor. R. Kelly would continue the party bounce with room to jump up to the 17-foot vaulted ceilings and skylights. Or, perhaps he would simply tuck into King size bed and drift away with dreams of his next chart-topping hit.
It’s your turn to listen!
Did we forget your favorite hotel jam? Or have you penned the next classic in a particular hotel? Let us know in the comments!