The notorious and reputedly cursed Los Angeles hotel that inspired a season of American Horror Story has been designated a city landmark, thanks to its bid to join LA's burgeoning boutique hotel scene.
The striking Art Deco building in Downtown LA currently houses Stay On Main Hotel, a budget option for tourists visiting the city. But the 14-storey tower is better known as the vice-ridden Cecil Hotel, which gained infamy for the litany of murders that have occurred there throughout its 93-year history.
Now undergoing a major renovation under the auspices of Simon Baron Development, with the intent of turning it into a mix of boutique hotel accommodation and longer-stay 'micro apartments', the hotel has been granted historic status by Los Angeles City Council in a bid to preserve its distinctive 1920s style.
Constructed in 1924 to the cost of $1 million, the Cecil Hotel was initially aimed at business travellers and tourists. But it suffered a sharp decline in fortunes as a result of the Great Depression, and soon found itself in the newly-emerging Skid Row.
A hole-up for more a more salacious type of guest, and a byword for drugs and prostitution, the 600-room hotel's less-than-desirable reputation was firmly sealed by the string of murders and mysterious deaths that unfolded over the subsequent years. It was famously connected to the Black Dahlia murder in 1947, and has been the residence of two serial killers: Richard Ramirez and Jack Unterweger.
Even after it was rebranded as Stay On Main in 2011, strange events continued to occur. Most famous was the case of Elisa Lam in 2013. A 21-year-old Canadian student, Lam's strange behaviour was caught on camera, prior to the discovery of her body in a water tank on the hotel's roof. The exact cause of her death remains a mystery.
Work on the new hotel is expected to start within the next couple of months, with an opening slated for 2019.