I read with interest news of the recent opening of hip new hostelry Hotel Ziggy. Located in the heart of the legendary Sunset Strip, this hotel is billed as the ultimate in rock ‘n’ roll chic. The reason for my interest was the fact that this building at 8462 Sunset Blvd. was my very first home when I moved to the L.A. area in 1971.
Back then, the hotel was known as the Park Sunset, and while not nearly as luxurious as its current incarnation, was a favorite stopover for touring musicians including legendary blues man Bo Diddley, who I saw in the lobby one day as he and his band were checking out. Future Alice Cooper band member Whitey Glan spent time at the Park Sunset while he was performing in the band of the rock opera “Tommy,” which was running at the Aquarius Theatre.
The Park Sunset was popular with the record industry types going back to the 1950s when rock pioneer Eddie Cochran was a frequent visitor since his manager Jerry Capehart had his offices in the building. In the 1970s, Warren Lanier’s PR firm on the street floor handled artists like Barry White, Johnnie “Disco Lady” Taylor, and blaxploitation producer/star Fred Williamson.
The Park Sunset had daily, weekly and monthly rates, making it an ideal place to start a new life in a new city. Back then, I paid $125 a month for a corner bachelor apartment with a panoramic view of the L.A. basin with its pattern of bright lights. A fridge was included but no microwave since we didn’t have them yet, but I did have a hot plate. Since I ate most of my meals at work or from takeout, I wasn’t particularly interested in cooking at the time. There was a nicely-maintained pool and parking was free.
The property later became the Grafton Hotel for a few years before getting revamped into Hotel Ziggy in 2022. According to their website, rooms at Hotel Ziggy start at $219 a night plus $55 for parking. I know that big bucks have been spent to renovate this place and inflation is crazy but it still makes me sad that today’s young folks who are California Dreaming can’t just toss their bell-bottomed jeans and favorite records into the trunk of their cars, drive a few days and find reasonably-priced accommodations waiting for them while they sort out what they want to do with their lives.
The Covid-related demise of the Alta Cienega and Holloway motels leaves West Hollywood with an impressive array of shiny new luxury hotels aimed at well-heeled out-of-towners but little or none for ordinary folks that are new in town and hoping to put down roots. That makes me sad but I guess it’s progress, WeHo style.