Can You Visit Hotel Cortez? The ‘AHS: Hotel’ Setting Is A Super Spooky Place
On Wednesday, Oct. 7 FX will premiere American Horror Story: Hotel, bringing the scary series to its new fright-filled location: Hotel Cortez in Los Angeles. And, it seems like there's way more to be scared of at this hotel than dirty room-service dishes in the hallway. Can you visit the hotel in American Horror Story: Hotel and have a truly haunting vacation? Well, I have good news and bad news for you. The bad news: Hotel Cortez is totally fictional and, according to serval sources, the hotel it's based on in LA, The Cecil, has closed. It's now a hotel called Stay On Main. The good news: AHS is building its own Hotel Cortez on the Fox lot. So, in a way, it really exists, but since Fox no longer offers tours of the lot to the public, you can only visit if you or someone you know has access to the studio lot.
According to several sources, the inspiration behind this hotel-set season of American Horror Story is most likely the Elisa Lam mystery. In 2013, Lam turned up dead in a water supply tank on the roof of The Cecil in Downtown Los Angeles. Hotel surveillance footage showed Lam acting very strange in an elevator before her death. Since then, The Cecil has ceased operations and has been replaced by a hotel called Stay On Main, which you could visit if you're in Los Angeles, but I'm not sure if it would have the same je ne sais quoi.
And, though you might not be able to visit it. Here's what I can tell you about the Hotel Cortez set being built for AHS.
1. It Has 6 Floors
And two of those floors are an exquisite lobby with a large staircase and a second-floor bar. "Every year in the main big set we have a staircase," production designer Mark Worthington told Entertainment Weekly. "Ryan [Murphy] loves a staircase, and so do I. So the genesis of any staircase has to do with avoiding what has been done in the past."
2. It Has A Working Elevator
According to EW, the elevator will be a key location for this season's cast and story. So the case for AHS: Hotel grabbing inspiration from the Lam mystery just grew stronger.
3. Fans Got A Preview Of It At Comic Con
In the summer, FX gave fans a preview of the soon-to-be famous hotel at San Diego Comic Con. Simply called "AHS: Hotel" on the model, the Los Angeles Times' Meredith Woerner was impressed with what she saw, calling it "downright gorgeous ... Staffers even had adorable little bellhop hats," Woerner wrote. "Inside the hotel were keys, a lovely check-in booth and a weird cash-grab machine."
4. It's Filled With Art Deco Design
Worthington told EW that he drew inspiration from art deco architects like William Van Alen and Timothy Pflueger for the Hotel Cortez. because it's both weird and lovely at the same time. "Tonally, I thought [art deco] would make sense for the horror genre because it can be dark and spiky and odd and the composition is strange," he said. "It’s beautiful, but it isn’t necessarily inviting."
5. It Will Have A Dark History
According to EW, the Hotel Cortez was built by a murderer James March (played by Evan Peters) in 1930, but who he killed and why still remains a mystery.
6. It's Named For An Explorer
Hotel Cortez takes its name from explorer Hernán Cortés and a big portrait of him hangs in the hotel by the staircase, according to EW. "He’s a great image for the hotel because he was sort of a brutal and nasty, venal conquistador," Worthington said.
Check out the hotel for yourself on Wednesday night... just maybe don't go checking in.
Images: Suzanne Tenner, Frank Ockenfels/FX