Every so often, I like to force Giancarlo into taking a little overnight getaway with me. It's not that he doesn't enjoy going away with me, he just has a terrible time leaving Diego behind, even though Diego is always perfectly fine while we are gone. Living in the LA area means that we have a wide assortment of interesting places from which to choose for our excursions.
This time, we stayed at the historic Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.
Built in 1923, it has been a hub of political and celebrity activity for nearly a century. It originated because Angelenos of the time wanted to have a place that represented the glamour and success of Los Angeles and Hollywood.
A few interesting facts about the Biltmore: (Thank you, Wikipedia!)
-It was the first home of the Academy Awards.
-In 1929, Germany's Graf Zeppelin airship soared over the hotel on its round-the-world voyage, sponsored by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. Crew and passengers were fed by Biltmore culinary staff, who also replenished their on-board supplies.
-The Biltmore Theater was situated at the corner of 5th and Grand from 1924–1967, now the Biltmore Court & Tower location. Will Rogers emceed the opening of the theater in 1924, which then ran plays starring luminaries such as Katharine Hepburn, Henry Fonda, and Mae West until its closure in 1967.
-During World War II, the Biltmore served as a military rest and recreation facility, with the entire second floor set up with cots for military personnel on leave.
-The 1960 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles chose John F. Kennedy as the party's presidential nominee, and his acceptance speech was given at the Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel. He set up his campaign headquarters in the Music Room (now the Lobby), with running mate Lyndon B. Johnson across the hall in the Emerald Room. Their press conferences in the Crystal Ballroom were heavily photographed and documented.
-The Beatles paid a visit to the Presidential Suite in August 1964 during their first U.S. tour. Due to the overwhelming number of fans crowding the sidewalks in front of the hotel, the "Fab Four" were forced to access their room by landing atop the hotel in a helicopter.
The Biltmore hotel is rumored to be haunted by the ghost of Elizabeth Short, otherwise known as the
"Elizabeth Short was born on July 29th, 1924 in Hyde Park, Massachusetts. At a young age, Elizabeth knew that she was destined for fame. As a result, at 19 years old, she packed her bags for Los Angeles. However, she would never achieve her dream of becoming a famous Hollywood star. Her life consisted of short relationships and bad jobs. Elizabeth was nicknamed by her friends as the Black Dahlia because she always wore black clothing and had jet black hair.
On January 8th, 1947, Elizabeth and her boyfriend Red Manley went out for the night. The following morning, Elizabeth told Manley that she intended on moving back home, but first she wanted to meet her sister at the Biltmore Hotel. When he dropped her off, Elizabeth was found making phone calls in the lobby of the hotel (pictured in the photographs above and below). The employees of the hotel were the last to see her alive. Six days later, her body was found in an abandoned lot near the hotel. She was cut in half from the waist by a butcher knife. To this day, the murder case has never been solved. The ghost of Elizabeth has been spotted roaming the halls of the Biltmore and is also found in the lobby with a black dress waiting by the telephone. She has even taken elevator rides with visitors of the hotel."
(Found on this website. And by the way, don't Google images of the Black Dahlia unless you want to see some very gory photographs! My eyes! Quick, let me look at something to replace the awful images! Ahhh, here we go...me...with my handsome and lawfully wedded husband, Giancarlo.)
This is where our "magic" happened.
Incidentally, I learned afterwards that this floor is haunted more frequently than the others.
Our time in Downtown Los Angeles included a visit to the Disney Concert Hall. We had been wanting to attend an event there since it was built a few years back, and we finally took the opportunity. We heard the renowned L.A. Philharmonic play Wagner and Hindemith. I personally had only ever heard of Wagner, and I only recognized two of his pieces. I didn't really care for the Hindemith pieces at all, and frankly, some of it made me squirmy and sleepy all at the same time. But like we both kept saying, "We came for the experience of the Concert Hall, not necessarily the performance."
And we were glad we did!
Giancarlo took this photo from our seats at the very top of the balcony. Although ultra-modern, it is quite an impressive place. The tipsy English teacher who sat next to me shouted out that the organ looked like a bunch of sweet potato fries!
The Biltmore is adjacent to the tallest building in Los Angeles, the "library tower," seen above, and below, you can get some perspective as to where all of this is located.