STRANGER THAN FICTION
10 Celebrity-Trashed Hotel Rooms
There are so many creative ways to trash a perfectly good hotel room--it's come naturally to rockers and divas like these for decades.
Have you ever noticed that your hotel room's television set has been bolted into the armoire? This story may explain why. At the L.A. stop of the Rolling Stones' 1972 North American tour, guitarist Keith Richards—and musician Bobby Keyes—grabbed the TV set from Room 1015 at the Continental Hyatt House, carried it out on the balcony 10 stories above the parking lot, and pitched it over the side. Richards remains an edgy rock icon in part because of his keen sense of self-mythology. He waited to make sure documentarian Robert Frank's camera was rolling before condemning the TV to its cruel fate. "O.K., you can tell us when," Richards croaked, then let the TV fly into legend. The footage (available in Frank's documentary and on YouTube) inspired dozens of copycats looking for a quick conduit to achieving Keith-hood. Hyatt West Hollywood (formerly the Continental Hyatt House), 8401 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, Calif., 323/656-1234, westhollywood.hyatt.com, rooms from $240.
What happens in Bangkok...
In 1989, as the decade that made him a superstar drew to a close, Billy Idol found himself in Bangkok, Thailand. His plan for prolonging the party just a little more (more, more) was hatched in the Oriental hotel, but Idol allegedly soaked the carpets with some kind of fluid, and was quickly asked to vacate. From there, as with most urban myths based in Thailand, details get fuzzy. If rumor is to be believed, he embarked on a three-week drug-fueled orgy with an outrageous tab in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. It, too, ended with flustered staff. Idol is said to have refused to leave the penthouse of another hotel, forcing local military officials to tranquilize him and carry him out on a stretcher. The room was then occupied by a visiting dignitary with a long-standing reservation—and no demonic sneer. The Oriental, 48 Oriental Ave., Bangkok, Thailand, 011-66/2-659-9000, mandarinoriental.com/bangkok, rooms from $349.
The proto-Paris Hilton
Edie Sedgwick was the It Girl of the Swinging '60s art and fashion set, and a muse to both Andy Warhol and Bob Dylan. Yet the hard-partying socialite was also reportedly afraid of the dark. Her habit of falling asleep surrounded by lit candles resulted in an apartment fire in October 1966. After moving into Manhattan's bohemian enclave, Hotel Chelsea, she ignored both recent history and a cryptic warning by fellow denizen Leonard Cohen. (The songwriter insisted Sedgwick's candle arrangements were "casting a bad spell.") Soon another rug was on fire, and shortly thereafter, the entire room was too. Luckily none of the hotel's guests were seriously injured, but Sedgwick's cat perished in the blaze. Its name? Smoke. Hotel Chelsea, 222 W. 23rd. St., New York, N.Y., 212/243-3700, hotelchelsea.com, rooms from $209.
While you were out
On March 24, 1997, French thespian Juliette Binoche accepted a Best Supporting Actress statuette for The English Patient as part of the 69th Annual Academy Awards ceremony at the Shrine Auditorium. Simultaneously, at her hotel just a short drive away, bass player Mike Dirnt of Green Day allegedly accepted the notion of defecating on her balcony as part of, well, nobody knows for sure. In fact, Dirnt strongly denies that this even happened, and considers the (fecal) matter closed. Yet he remains, at least in the minds of scatological crime enthusiasts, forever dangled over that balcony. The band was indeed staying in the rock-and-movie-star haunt, the Sunset Marquis, while recording their Nimrod album. One can't help but wonder about Binoche's first thought upon returning home from the after parties and spotting the now-fabled dookie. Sunset Marquis Hotel and Villas, 1200 N. Alta Loma Rd., West Hollywood, Calif., 310/657-1333, sunsetmarquishotel.com, rooms from $450.
43 is the new 23
In London to test out new material at a small Shepherd's Bush gig, recidivist hotel trasher Courtney Love celebrated her 43rd birthday with an impromptu room party at the Covent Garden Hotel on July 9, 2007. While reflecting among revelers and well-wishers like British TV star Noel Fielding (of The Mighty Boosh), the voice in her head might have gently suggested "Gee, I'm older now, more mature, wiser...do I still have it in me to completely freakin' destroy this perfectly charming rented space?" The cleaning staff discovered the answer to that question the following morning. "The room was left in a right state like a wild animal had been let loose in there," an unnamed witness later told the Daily Mirror. There were reportedly cigarette burns in the carpet, the sofa, and the bed—not just the bedding, but the actual four-poster bed. Love's rep played down the extent of the damage by claiming that one of the guests was "leaning on a table." Hotel management insisted that "what our guests do in here is between them and us," leaving open a window of possibility for her 44th. Covent Garden Hotel, 10 Monmouth St., London, England, 011-44/20-7806-1000, firmdale.com, rooms from£250 ($513).