The Cecil Hotel in downtown Los Angeles has a dark and mysterious past, so it’s no surprise it has inspired spine-chilling films and TV shows. Most notably, it was the setting for the 2021 American Horror Story season entitled Hotel.

But was this twisted FX series actually filmed at the real-life Cecil Hotel? In this deep dive, we’ll investigate the connections between American Horror Story: Hotel and the infamous hotel that helped inspire it.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: While exterior shots of the Cecil Hotel were used, American Horror Story: Hotel was primarily filmed on detailed sets built to recreate the Cecil, but not inside the actual hotel itself.

About the Cecil Hotel

The Cecil Hotel, located in downtown Los Angeles, is a historic hotel with a dark and intriguing past. It has gained notoriety over the years for its association with crime, mysterious deaths, and paranormal activity.

The hotel’s eerie atmosphere and unsettling history have made it a subject of fascination for many, including fans of the popular TV show American Horror Story.

History and Notoriety of the Cecil

The Cecil Hotel was built in 1924 and originally designed as a luxurious destination for business travelers and tourists. However, over the years, it gained a reputation for being a place of tragedy and despair.

The hotel’s location in the Skid Row area of Los Angeles, known for its high crime rate and homelessness, contributed to its dark reputation.

Throughout its history, the Cecil Hotel has been associated with several notable events that have only added to its notoriety. In the 1930s, during the Great Depression, the hotel became a place where people struggling financially sought refuge.

Sadly, it also became a location for suicides, with numerous individuals taking their own lives by jumping from the hotel’s upper floors.

One of the most infamous events associated with the Cecil Hotel is the case of the “Black Dahlia.” In 1947, the body of Elizabeth Short, a young aspiring actress, was found brutally murdered and mutilated in a vacant lot near the hotel.

The case remains unsolved to this day and has become one of the most enduring mysteries in American crime history.

Notable Events and Guests

Over the years, the Cecil Hotel has been a temporary home to many notorious figures. In the 1980s, the hotel became a residence for serial killers Richard Ramirez, also known as the “Night Stalker,” and Jack Unterweger, an Austrian journalist and convicted murderer.

Their presence in the hotel only added to its dark reputation.

The Cecil has also been a subject of interest for paranormal enthusiasts. Numerous reports of ghostly apparitions, strange noises, and unexplained phenomena have been documented by both guests and staff. These stories have only fueled the hotel’s reputation as a haunted location.

It is important to note that although the Cecil Hotel has a dark history, it does not have a direct connection to the TV show American Horror Story. The show is known for taking inspiration from various real-life events and locations, but it did not film any episodes at the Cecil Hotel.

However, the hotel’s disturbing history and its association with crime and tragedy make it a fitting subject for a show like American Horror Story.

If you are interested in learning more about the Cecil Hotel and its dark past, you can visit the official website for more information.

Connections Between AHS and the Cecil

American Horror Story, the popular TV series known for its chilling and captivating storylines, has captivated audiences with its unique blend of horror and drama. One of the most intriguing aspects of the show is its connection to real-life locations and events.

One such location that has sparked much speculation is the infamous Cecil Hotel. While the show has not explicitly stated that it was filmed at the Cecil, there are several connections and parallels that have led fans to believe otherwise.

Story Setting and Parallels

The setting of American Horror Story often plays a crucial role in creating a haunting atmosphere, and the choice of the Cecil Hotel as a backdrop would certainly fit the bill. The hotel, located in downtown Los Angeles, has a dark and troubled history, with numerous tragic events occurring within its walls.

This aligns perfectly with the eerie and macabre themes that the show is known for.

Furthermore, the Cecil Hotel shares several similarities with the fictional hotels depicted in American Horror Story. Both are notorious for their association with mysterious deaths, disappearances, and paranormal activity.

The hotel’s eerie atmosphere and its history as a hotspot for criminal activity make it an ideal setting for the show’s twisted narratives.

References to Real Cecil History

Throughout the various seasons of American Horror Story, there have been subtle references to the real history of the Cecil Hotel. These nods to the hotel’s dark past serve as breadcrumbs for eagle-eyed fans who are familiar with its infamous reputation.

From mentions of mysterious guests staying in the hotel to subtle nods to the infamous serial killer Richard Ramirez, the show creators have cleverly incorporated elements of the Cecil’s history into their storylines.

Additionally, the Cecil Hotel’s connection to the Black Dahlia murder, one of Hollywood’s most infamous unsolved crimes, has also been explored in American Horror Story. The show’s ability to intertwine real-life events with its fictional narratives adds an extra layer of intrigue and authenticity to the storylines.

Characters and Storylines Inspired by the Hotel

Another compelling piece of evidence that suggests a connection between American Horror Story and the Cecil Hotel is the presence of characters and storylines that bear striking similarities to the hotel’s history.

From disturbed hotel guests to malevolent spirits haunting the halls, the show often explores themes and situations that mirror the dark and disturbing incidents associated with the Cecil.

Moreover, the show’s creators have been known to draw inspiration from real-life events and locations, infusing them with their own unique twist. This approach adds an extra layer of authenticity to the show and allows viewers to delve deeper into the dark history of the Cecil Hotel.

While there is no concrete evidence to confirm that American Horror Story was filmed at the Cecil Hotel, the connections and parallels between the show and the hotel’s history are undeniably compelling.

Whether intentional or coincidental, these connections have only added to the mystique and intrigue surrounding both the show and the infamous hotel.

Filming Locations for AHS: Hotel

American Horror Story: Hotel, the fifth season of the popular horror anthology series, captivated audiences with its dark and eerie storyline. One question that fans often ask is whether the infamous Cecil Hotel served as the filming location for the show.

Let’s dive into the various filming locations used in AHS: Hotel.

Indoor Scenes Filmed on Detailed Sets

While the Cecil Hotel did not serve as the actual filming location for American Horror Story: Hotel, the show’s creators meticulously recreated the eerie atmosphere of a haunted hotel on detailed sets.

The production team spared no expense in replicating the haunting and macabre vibes of the Cecil Hotel, ensuring that viewers were fully immersed in the terrifying world of the show.

The sets were designed with meticulous attention to detail, from the dark and mysterious hallways to the lavish and sinister hotel rooms. These elaborate sets allowed the cast and crew to bring the eerie atmosphere of the show to life, while also providing a controlled environment for filming.

Exterior Cecil Hotel Shots Used

Although the interior scenes were filmed on sets, the exterior shots of the Cecil Hotel were indeed used in American Horror Story: Hotel. The iconic facade of the hotel, with its vintage charm and eerie presence, added an extra layer of authenticity to the show.

The Cecil Hotel, located in downtown Los Angeles, has a long and dark history that includes mysterious deaths and notorious guests. Its association with real-life horror stories made it the perfect backdrop for a show like American Horror Story: Hotel.

Other Los Angeles Locations

In addition to the Cecil Hotel, American Horror Story: Hotel utilized various other locations in Los Angeles to bring the story to life. These locations provided a diverse range of settings, including other hotels, nightclubs, and even a murder house.

Los Angeles, with its rich history and diverse architecture, offered a plethora of options for the show’s creators. From the eerie ambiance of the Cecil Hotel to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, the city provided a perfect backdrop for the dark and twisted world of American Horror Story: Hotel.

Similarities and Differences from the Real Hotel

When it comes to the hit TV show “American Horror Story,” fans often wonder if the eerie setting of the Cecil Hotel was based on a real place. While the show did draw inspiration from the infamous hotel, there are both similarities and differences between the fictional portrayal and the actual establishment.

Matching Decor and Period Details

One of the striking similarities between the show and the real hotel is the matching decor and period details. The Cecil Hotel, located in downtown Los Angeles, has a history dating back to the 1920s, and its architecture and interior design reflect that era.

Similarly, “American Horror Story” captures the essence of the time period with its attention to detail in set design and costume choices. This creates an immersive experience for viewers and adds to the overall atmosphere of the show.

Fictional Storylines and Murders

While the Cecil Hotel has a dark and disturbing history, including several murders and suicides, the specific storylines depicted in “American Horror Story” are purely fictional. The show takes creative liberties to create a thrilling and suspenseful narrative, incorporating elements of horror and supernatural phenomena.

However, it is worth noting that the writers might have drawn inspiration from real-life events and urban legends associated with the Cecil Hotel.

Homages to Real-Life Cecil Lore

“American Horror Story” often pays homage to real-life events and lore associated with the Cecil Hotel. While the show doesn’t directly depict the actual events that took place, it cleverly incorporates elements and references that fans of the hotel’s history will appreciate.

These subtle nods add an extra layer of intrigue for those familiar with the dark past of the Cecil Hotel.


While American Horror Story didn’t actually film inside the Cecil Hotel, the show’s production team took care to accurately recreate the hotel’s infamous atmosphere and unsettling history. With a mix of real locations and meticulously designed sets, AHS: Hotel pays creepy homage to the hotel that inspired it while taking viewers even deeper into madness and murder.

So even if it wasn’t shot within the Cecil’s actual walls, the series captures the hotel’s undeniable dark essence.

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