Los Angeles for Film Fans: Downtown 5
If you actually want to stay in a screen legend, two of Downtown’s most famous hotels are movie stars.
The cylindrical glass towers of the Westin Bonaventure Hotel, 404 South Figueroa Street are unmistakable, even when they’re passed off as ‘Washington DC’ in True Lies or In The Line of Fire, or as the ‘Atlanta’ record company HQ of This Is Spinal Tap. Johnny Depp spends almost the entire running time of Nick of Time buzzing about the hotel, trying not to carry out a political assassination. The hotel’s less recognisable poolside area is seen in Rain Man as the newly-caring Charlie (Tom Cruise) turns down a hefty financial offer from Dr Bruner.
Across from the Westin, the forecourt of the bank building dotted with geometric metallic sculptures at 444 South Flower Street, is instantly recognisable as the exterior of the bank job in Heat. It’s on Flower Street that Michael Mann subsequently stages the mother of all shoot-outs. The forecourt is briefly glimpsed again in Fight Club and in William Friedkin’s To Live and Die in L.A.
The Millennium Biltmore Hotel, 506 South Grand Avenue at Pershing Square, can boast even more screen appearances. Even if you’re not staying there, pop in to gawp at the lobby of the ‘Beverly Palms’, where Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) tries to blag himself a room in Beverly Hills Cop, or the ‘Sedgwick Hotel’, where the Ghostbusters are summoned to their first full assignment.
The Biltmore’s Crystal Ballroom is seen in Splash!, The Bodyguard and even stands in for ‘Buckingham Palace’ in Goldmember. And they probably won’t thank me for saying this, but its Emerald Ballroom is the restaurant of the 'luxurious Pressman Hotel', where Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) does something unspeakable to the cream of mushroom soup in Fight Club.