Skip to main contentSkip to footer

The Cecil Hotel: 7 chilling reviews from former guests at the Netflix show hotel

The eerie LA hotel inspired season five of American Horror Story

hotel cecil netflix
Kate Thomas
Kate ThomasLifestyle Managing Editor
Share this:

Everyone is talking about the Cecil Hotel thanks to new Netflix documentary, Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel. Focusing on the mysterious death of 21-year-old student Elisa Lam in 2013, the series recounts the bloody history of the establishment, located on 'Skid Row' in Downtown LA.

American Horror Story fans will immediately see the parallel between The Cecil (now named Stay on Main) and the mythical Hotel Cortez in series five of the horror anthology. Show creator Ryan Murphy took inspiration from the LA hotel - where serial killers Richard Ramirez famously stayed in the 80s - from the gilded Art Deco lobby to the questionable clientele and eerie occurrences.

But is the Cecil Hotel really cursed? Most guests have simply complained about a lack of aircon and booking issues, while others loved staying in a "very cool piece of LA history" and the cheap price. There are dozens more, however, who have experienced some seriously spooky goings-on. Read on for some of the most chilling reviews we found on Yelp...

DISCOVER: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel: viewers horrified by same thing in Netflix documentary 

hotel cecil 1© Netflix

The creepiest tourist reviews of The Cecil Hotel:

1. "Needless to say there was not much sleep for my daughter and I, it takes a lot to freak me out but this place did me in. And I did not know the history of this hotel nor ever heard of it before I stayed there."

2. "Lot of murder and crime here. Do not stay here. U will be disappointed and scared."

3. "The moment [the clerk] mentioned things I must agree on & sign before being handed the room key, such as: 'No drugs allowed in room or in the hotel', I thought to myself, 'You in danger girl!'."

4. "My advice, pick somewhere else to stay for a little more money. This place is scary."

5. "As we make our trip down the hall things get scarier, the paint's peeling and there are people SCREAMING at one another… Our room DID have a bathroom which was a nice surprise but honestly it didn't make a bit of difference, because we were living a god**n nightmare."

6. "There is little to love here beyond its lavish lobby… Not to mention they found a dead girl in the water tower not long after we stayed there."

7. "My room was on the 14th floor…. Soon as I entered the room there was a presence, it felt like nothing I have ever felt before. It was not a good feeling, it felt cold, alone and that I gave up on love and happiness."

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

the cecil hotel downtown la© Photo: Getty Images

The Cecil Hotel was built in 1924

What is the history of The Cecil hotel?

The establishment was built in 1924 by hoteliers William Banks Hanner, Charles L Dix and Robert H Schops. Boasting 700 rooms and a grand marble lobby, the hotel was the place to be until the Great Depression hit and it became a meeting point for sex workers and criminals.

The hotel has since become famous for its association with serial killers. The Black Dahlia (the unsolved murder of Elizabeth Short) is the first killing linked to The Cecil Hotel.

Richard Ramirez, known as The Night Stalker, resided on the top floor of the hotel in the 80s during one of his most deadly killing sprees and Austrian serial killer Jack Unterweger also stayed in the hotel in the 90s.

Aside from the curious case of Canadian student Elisa Lam, whose body was found dumped in the water tower on the roof of the building, there have also been several high-profile suicides and crimes committed in the hotel.

cecil hotel© Photo: Getty Images

The Cecil Hotel has been rebranded as Stay on Main

Is The Cecil Hotel still open?

The Cecil Hotel was rebranded as Stay on Main after being sold in 2007. It was then bought by hotelier Richard Born in 2014, before shutting in 2017 in order to undergo a $100 million renovation.

A fully-equipped gym, lounge and rooftop pool were being constructed, with the grand reopening scheduled for 2021. It is likely the pandemic has delayed building work, however, with no reopening date yet confirmed. Are you brave enough to stay there? 

DISCOVER: 6 ways COVID-19 will change travel in 2021 – expert predictions


More Travel

See more