How To Stay At The 'AHS' Hotel Cortez's Inspiration: One Of The Most Famous Abodes In LA

When it comes to scary movies, I am a big chicken. When it comes to real life scary stories, I am an even bigger chicken. Which is why American Horror Story: Hotel is almost too much for me to handle. And, this season, the AHS franchise is taking it to a new level, drawing on inspiration from mysterious activity at the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles. If you’re not afraid of ghost stories, you can stay at the Hotel Cortez — I mean Cecil Hotel.

Though the Hotel Cortez is fictional, AHS creator Ryan Murphy has confirmed that the Cecil Hotel was his inspiration. The Cecil Hotel, like Hotel Cortez, housed two serial killers. Richard Ramirez moved into the top floor of the hotel, for $14 a night, and murdered at least a dozen people in the 1980s. And, Jack Unterweger was a serial killer who murdered prostitutes in the hotel. Mysterious events were often reported at the hotel. But, the strangest event was the 2013 death of Canadian student Elisa Lam, which Murphy specifically cited as a source of inspiration.

Lam was caught in security footage behaving bizarrely in an elevator — the footage has been circulated and is really disturbing. She is seen pressing buttons and gesturing as though people are with her. After the curious elevator ride, Lam went missing. Weeks later, the hotel investigated a contaminated water supply, only to find Lam’s body in the water tank.

After this incident, and a dark, storied past, the Cecil Hotel at 640 S. Main Street in Los Angeles rebranded as Stay on Main at 636 S. Main Street. Though the hotel technically rebranded in 2011, they kept a connection to the old name in their website,, until the end of 2013. Now, when you look into a stay at Stay on Main, there is no connection to the Cecil Hotel mentioned on the website.

Visitors can stay at the revamped boutique hotel and choose between several room options. You can do a traditional private hotel room (with either queen or twin beds), a private room with bunk beds, or a shared bunk room where you are placed with someone of the same gender. If you were to plan a trip to Stay on Main in the next month, a shared bunk would cost about $48 a night and a private room with a queen bed would go for $120, for a three night stay.

Though a visit to the hotel for voyeuristic purposes is tempting to those looking for a fright. Keep in mind that Stay on Main is not in the business of spooky stories or sensational scares, but is just a regular old business with a storied past.

Images: Frank Ockenfels/FX,