The first Academy Awards presentation took place at the brand-new Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, California, in the Blossom Room on May 16, 1929.

Today that same hotel, albeit with a recent multi-million dollar restoration, is the only historic hotel in Hollywood still serving travelers, and one of only three such properties in the Los Angeles area. This year marks the Roosevelt's 75th Anniversary.

Amenities that those original Hollywood movie celebrities missed are the new nightclub, Feinstein's at the Cinegrill, with state-of-the-art sound and lighting, top entertainment and cuisine. We wonder what Janet Gaynor, Emil Jennings, and Clara Bow would have thought of the Precor elliptical trainers, Star Trac treadmills, and free weights in the multi-gym fitness center?

The Hollywood Roosevelt was the dream of local real estate baron, Charles E. Toberman, who wanted to create a hotel befitting the rapidly growing film world and its attendant social circles. The name of the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, was chosen to convey the buoyant optimism of the Hollywood throng at the time. Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford were on the committee that formulated the hotel because they, too, wanted a showplace in Hollywood.




The biggest Hollywood legends
have walked through the
Hollywood Roosevelt lobby
.

Across from Grauman's Chinese Theatre on legendary Hollywood Boulevard, the Hollywood Roosevelt is now on the National Register of Historic Places. One step into the lobby lounge area, with its massive European brass chandelier - originally holding candles - and high, ornately carved and painted ceilings and one can see why. The same intricate ceiling work dominates the Blossom Room, which also has Mexican tile wainscoting and three original seven-foot double entry doors of carved oak. Public area floors combine saltillo and Mexican pottery tiles, stained oak and thick, deco-patterned carpets. The balcony wall features historic black and white Hollywood photography, and soft piano jazz wafts throughout.

Inside the Hollywood Boulevard entrance, with its leaded glass doors, rests a life-size bronze by sculptor Emmanuil Snitkovsky of a seated Charlie Chaplin, who lived to be 100.

The Olympic-sized swimming pool, lined with a design by David Hockney, is surrounded by teak pool furniture and lush landscaping, a perfect setting for you to experience true Hollywood glamour.




The ornate ceiling at
The Historic
Hollywood Roosevelt.

That glamour is what the Hollywood Roosevelt is all about. On the Spanish tile steps leading from the lobby to the mezzanine, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson taught child star Shirley Temple to do the staircase dance for her movie, "The Little Colonel". Marilyn Monroe posed for her first print ad on the diving board of the pool. Rudy Vallee made the hotel his home during his first trip to Hollywood. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Salvador Dali gathered at the Cinegrill to talk shop. Room 928 is where Montgomery Clift stayed during the filming of "From Here to Eternity".

The Hollywood Roosevelt has always been a popular place for TV and movies to shoot "on location." Most recently filmed here were scenes for "Catch Me if You Can", "Charlie's Angeles", "Full Throttle", "Hollywood Homicide", and "Italian Job".




The historic Hollywood
Roosevelt offers
modern amenities.

To connect the past to the present, concrete elements adorn each bathroom, and artwork containing celebrity handprints and autographs decorate each guest room to "cement" the Roosevel's relationship with Hollywood.

That relationship is also "alive" in the form of ghostly occurrences reported in the hotel since it was reopened after restoration in 1985. Most notable is a cold spot in the Blossom Room that has never been explained, roughly 30 inches in diameter and 10 degrees cooler than the rest of the room. A maid reported seeing the "ghost" of Marilyn Monroe in a mirror that once belonged to her, and psychics who have "read" the mirror talk of feeling much sadness. According to the Director of Security, who has logged each unusual event, a man in a white suit, seen by three different people on two different days, walked through a door and vanished!




Book a holiday into a
poolside cabana room.

Now meticulously restored to its original Spanish Colonial splendor, among the tower rooms and poolside cabana rooms there are luxury themed suites, two-story "celebrity suites", and nine three-room "star suites."

In addition to the fitness center and Olympic-sized pool, there's a hot tub, the Tropicana Bar, the non-smoking cabaret showroom - where Lorna Luft and Margaret Bernstein have appeared - and Theodore's Restaurant.

Naturally the restaurant is dominated by a large oil painting of Theodore Roosevelt. Besides eggs and omelets, specialty breakfast items include waffles and Pain Perdu, French toast made with their own homemade brioche. There's also a fresh fruit plate with cottage cheese or lowfat yogurt and a Fitness Breakfast: orange juice, granola bran muffin and tea. Breakfast Buffet choices are scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage, and an ample assortment of cold cereals, breads and fruits.




Custom-made furniture give the
rooms an Asian-fusion design.

Guest rooms are large and luxurious. Furnished with new custom made furniture in an Asian-fusion design, they're "very feng shui," says Corporate Sales Manager George Keushgerian. Bath products are by Davies Gate, the seeds & grains line sold at Sephora. Bed and bath linens are Frette; beds have goose-feather duvets. Complimentary coffee is by Seattle's Best Coffee. You'll also find bathrobes, hairdryer, iron & ironing board, in-roof safe and mini-bar, cable TV, CD stereo system and high-speed Internet access.

Book The HOllywood RooseveltA number of services mark the Hollywood tradition of luxury and elegance. In addition to valet parking, dry cleaning/valet, late night room service, and a gift shop for Hollywood memorabilia, you can also book discounted theatre tickets, baby sitting services, tours to area attractions, and limousine services from the hotel concierge.

The personal touch: our automated wake-up call was followed ten minutes later by a friendly voice from the front desk confirming that we received it all right and reporting that we were not to worry about that overcast fog outside. "It'll burn off and be eighty and sunny this afternoon at the Hollywood Roosevelt."

— By Carolyn Proctor, Las Vegas Jetsetters Magazine Correspondent.