Los Angeles: Hollywood | 3

Tim Burton, Hollywood Boulevard

Tim Burton attends the premiere of A Nightmare Before Christmas 3-D at El Capitan on Hollywood Boulevard

If the Roosevelt is out of the price range you’ve set yourself (its rates went up after a recent designer makeover), there’s no shortage of motels in the area. The Days Inn Hollywood, 7023 Sunset Boulevard, lacks screen credentials but is only two minutes away from the Roosevelt.

To the west, the old-style Saharan Motor Hotel, 7212 Sunset Boulevard, has its moment of screen fame in the enjoyably daft sci-fi Species. It’s the hotel of choice for newly-arrived and broody alien Sil (Natasha Henstridge), and is also featured in the TV movie LA Takedown, Michael Mann’s 1989 dry run for Heat. The Saharan is conveniently opposite the huge late-night Ralph’s Grocery, 7257 West Sunset Boulevard – a great place to stock up on fresh fruit and veg.

Ralph’s – affectionately known as Rock’n’Roll Ralph’s – is the place to grab that bottle of JD while pretending you’re not star-spotting. This particular branch was the inspiration for the supermarket in Doug Liman’s excellent Go.

Hollywood Center Motel, Sunset Boulevard

Hollywood Center Motel on Sunset Boulevard, where Jack Vincennes finds the murdered actor

The classic Fifties styling of Hollywood Center Motel, 6720 Sunset Boulevard, east of Days Inn Hollywood, is showcased in L.A. Confidential, when Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey) finds the body of murdered actor Matt Reynolds (Simon Baker) in Room 203. This place looks like it’s seen better days and, frankly, is more a place to look at than to stay in.

Back on Hollywood Boulevard, directly opposite the Roosevelt Hotel, grab your breakfast at Shelly Café, 7013 Hollywood Boulevard. Not only cheap and hearty, it also happens to be the café in where Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) visits waitress Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank) in Million Dollar Baby.

Don’t forget to look down. Immediately in front of Shelly is the Walk of Fame star commemorating Alfred Hitchcock.

Shelly Cafe, Hollywood Boulevard

Shelly Cafe – good for a cheap and hearty breakfast – and featured in Million Dollar Baby

Looking north from Hollywood Boulevard up Orange Avenue, you can make out the elegant lines of Yamashiro, 1999 Sycamore Avenue. A cedar and teak replica of a Kyoto palace, complete with teahouse, gardens and an imported 600-year-old pagoda, it was built in 1914 by hundreds of Japanese craftsmen.

After falling into disrepair for many years, It was restored and opened as a restaurant. Yamashiro’s position on a single track road in the Hollywood Hills gives it spectacular views over Hollywood itself.

Naturally, the movies couldn’t resist the opportunity to use this ready-made Oriental backdrop. It became the ‘American Officers’ Club’ in Joshua Logan’s Oscar-winning 1957 drama Sayonara, with Marlon Brando, and – more recently – the ‘Kyoto’ tearoom in Rob Marshall’s Memoirs of a Geisha.

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Visit the locations


  • Days Inn Hollywood, 7023 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, CA 90028 (tel: 323.464.8344)
  • Saharan Motor Hotel, 7212 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, CA 90046 (tel: 866.211.6431)
  • Shelly Café, 7013 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, CA 90028
  • Yamashiro, 1999 Sycamore Avenue, Hollywood, CA 90068 (tel: 323.466.5125)