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The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel: what happened after Elisa Lam's death?

The hotel has a grisly history

cecil hotel history
Eve Crosbie
TV & Film Writer
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Netflix's latest true crime documentary Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel was released this week. The four-part series tells the story of 21-year-old student Elisa Lam who mysteriously died in 2013 while staying at the hotel.

MORE: Viewers are saying the same thing about The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel

However, even before Elisa' tragic death, the hotel located in downtown Los Angeles already had something of a reputation due to its number of untimely deaths and notorious guests. Keep reading for everything you need to know about the horrifying hotel...

WATCH: Have you watched The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel yet?

What happened at the Cecil Hotel?

In the documentary, Amy Price, who worked as a general manager at the hotel, claimed she had seen over 80 deaths at the hotel during the ten years she worked there between 2007 and 2017 - including the death of the 21-year-old college student. Elisa was eventually discovered in one of the hotel's water tanks after guests complained about the water turning an odd colour.

cecil hotel amy

Amy said she had seen multiple deaths while working at the hotel between 2007 and 2017

However, the hotel's dark history extends all the way back to the early days. After it opened in 1927, the hotel quickly developed a reputation and was dubbed "The Suicide" and "The Death Hotel" by locals as deaths connected to the hotel began to reach considerable numbers.

What other crimes are associated with the Cecil Hotel?

In 1947, the hotel became embroiled in what is today one of America's most famous unsolved murder cases as it was reported that Elizabeth Short, who later became known as the Black Dahlia, had been seen drinking in the hotel's bar shortly before her grisly death.

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It's also well documented that Richard Ramirez, the notorious Night Stalkerresided at the Cecil during his horrific killing spree in the summer of 1985. He wasn't the only infamous murderer who checked into the hotel. In the 1990s, international serial killer Jack Unterweger stayed there while on the run.

night stalker

Notorious killer Richard Ramirez stayed at the hotel in the mid-1980s

It was even the inspiration for the fifth season of American Horror Story which took place in a creepy and haunted hotel.

Is the Cecil Hotel still open today?

In 2007 - six years before Elisa's ill-fated trip - the hotel was sold for $26million and, in an attempt to escape the hotel's notorious history, was partly rebranded as a budget-friendly hostel for tourists named the Stay On Main.

cecil hotel

The hotel was rebranded as the Stay On Main

Not all of the hotel was converted, however, and the Cecil Hotel continued to house long-term tenants from the surrounding 'skid row' area. While guests of the newer, hip Stay on Main had their own entrance and lobby, they still had to use the same two lifts as those staying at the Cecil.

In 2014, the hotel was sold again and three years later closed its door for a complete renovation. The hotel remains officially closed today, but according to reports, should be ready to reopen in late 2021.

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