Hotels made Famous by Celebrity Deaths…


Given the nature of the hotel business it is only normal to expect that we might have the discomforting experience to occasionally come into contact with death…

Deaths in hotels occur for a variety of reasons and largely go unnoticed, but once in a while a celebrity is involved, it hits the headlines and forever that hotel is associated with that person and how they met their maker…

So, in no particular order, here are some the most infamous celebrity deaths and the hotels made famous as a result.


The London Hilton on Park Lane
Dolores O’Riordan, the lead singer of the pop group The Cranberries, was found dead in the bathtub of her hotel room at the London Hilton on Park Lane on 15th January 2018. Whilst initially thought of as a suicide, an inquest later concluded that she died of accidental drowning as a result of alcohol intoxication. Her blood alcohol level was 0.33, almost 7 times over the legal limit for driving in most countries.

The Beverley Hilton, Los Angeles
Singer Whitney Houston was found dead aged 48 in the bath of suite 434 at the Beverley Hilton.  The official cause of death was thought to be accidental drowning with cocaine and atherosclerotic heart disease as contributing factors.

The Chateau Marmont Hotel, Hollywood
Actor and comedian John Belushi was found dead aged just 33 in Bungalow 3 of the Chateau Marmont Hotel in LA. Both Robin Williams and Robert de Niro were said to have visited him earlier in the evening at separate times but left before he died. He was found by his personal trainer around noon and apparently died from a drug overdose. This famous hotel on Sunset Boulevard has been home to many celebrities over the years and is still attracting them today.

The Lorraine Motel, Memphis
On April 4 1968, civil rights activist Dr Martin Luther King was gunned down on the balcony of his Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, aged 39. James Earl Ray was caught several months later and convicted of murder. The Motel site now houses the National Civil Rights Museum.

Le Chambard Hotel, Kaysersberg, France
On 8th June 2018, in one of the more recent shocking celebrity deaths, chef, author and travel host Anthony Bourdain was found dead in his hotel room at Le Chambard Hotel in Kayserberg, France whilst filming an episode for his TV show, Parts Unknown. Bourdain was a larger than life figure, a gifted chef and storyteller who used his books and TV shows to explore culture, cuisine and the human condition. His death was determined a suicide and an ‘impulsive act’ with no other signs of premeditation.

The Hôtel d’Alsace, Paris
On 30th November 1900, Irish author, poet & playwright Oscar Wilde died in room 16 of the Hôtel d’Alsace in Paris aged 46. Although a famous celebrity of his time, he was almost penniless at the time of his death and was reputed to have left a large unpaid hotel bill. The property is now known as L’hotel  –

The Hotel Chelsea, New York
Sid Vicious (born John Simon Ritchie) was bass guitarist for the punk rock band ‘The Sex Pistols’. He died on the 2nd February 1979 at the Chelsea Hotel in New York from a drug overdose – a later note found by his mother led to speculation as to whether his death was suicide or misadventure. The hotel is currently closed for renovations and is scheduled to reopen in 2019

The Ritz Carlton Double Bay, Sydney
Musician & lead singer of rock band INXS, Michael Hutchence was found dead in room 524 of the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Double Bay, Sydney on 22nd November 1997 aged 37. He was found completely nude and hanging from a leather belt with drugs and alcohol bottles strewn around the room. His death was officially ruled a suicide, but many people believe the death was accidental whilst participating in autoerotic asphyxiation.  The hotel was sold to the Stamford group who operated the property for several years, then tried to have it demolished to make way for apartments. This plan failed and the property was sold to the Royal Group and it reopened late 2014 as the Intercontinental Double Bay following a multi-million dollar renovation.

The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Miami
Anna Nicole – Smith was a former playboy playmate who became more famous as a result of her marriage to oil tycoon J Howard Marshall who was 89 at the time. He died 13 months later resulting in a lengthy legal battle over a share of his estate. Smith was found dead on 8th February 2007 in room 607 of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Miami, aged 39. The cause of death was as a result of an overdose of prescription drugs – nine different kinds of pharmaceutical drugs were found in her blood.

The Ritz Hotel, Paris
Fashion designer Coco Chanel was 87 when she died on 10th January 1971 at the Ritz Hotel in Paris – a hotel where she had lived for more than 30 years. This is the same hotel that Princess Diana left shortly before her tragic death in a car accident in 1997. The hotel was closed in August 2012 for a major renovation and reopened in  June 2016.

The Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles
Presidential candidate Senator Robert F Kennedy was shot as he walked through the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles on the 5th June 1968 and died 26 hours later in hospital. He was at the hotel to address his supporters following the 1968 presidential primary elections. He was cutting through the kitchen on his was to another gathering of supporters when he was shot by Sirhan Sirhan, a 24-year-old Palestinian/Jordanian immigrant. The Hotel was closed to guests in 1989 but remained open for filming and private events – scenes from Pretty Woman, Forrest Gump, LA Story and Apollo 13 were all filmed here. The hotel was demolished in 2005 and is now the site of Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools complex.

The Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel, Vancouver
Actor Cory Monteith – most famous for the hit TV series Glee, was found dead on July 13, 2013 in his room at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel, Vancouver aged 31. His death appeared to be accidental as a result of mixed drug toxicity from a combination of heroin and alcohol. He was discovered by hotel staff around noon by hotel staff.

The Boscolo Exedra Hotel, Rome
On 19th June 2013, actor James Gandolfini was in Rome staying at Boscolo Exedra Hotel. He was on vacation and was to receive an award at the Taormina Film Festival a few days later. He was found in the bathroom of his hotel room by his 13 year old son Michael, having had a heart attack – staff called an ambulance but he never regained consciousness.

For more information on these and other celebrity hotel deaths go to:-

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