The Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles has long been shrouded in mystery and intrigue, with rumors of paranormal activity and unexplained deaths circulating for decades.

If you’re one of the many people curious about the history of this iconic hotel and the stories behind its alleged hauntings, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we’ll delve into the fascinating history of the Biltmore Hotel and explore some of the most famous deaths and ghostly sightings associated with this landmark location.

The History of the Biltmore Hotel

The Biltmore Hotel, located in downtown Los Angeles, has a long and storied history. It was built in 1923 by the prominent architect Schultze & Weaver and was originally conceived as a grand hotel that would rival any in Europe. Over the years, it has been a hub for Hollywood celebrities, a military hospital during World War II, and a location for numerous films and TV shows.

Early Beginnings

The Biltmore Hotel was an immediate success when it opened in 1923. It was considered one of the most luxurious hotels in the world at the time, with opulent decorations and amenities that were unheard of in other hotels. The hotel had 1500 rooms, a ballroom that could accommodate 1500 guests, a bowling alley, a barber shop, and even a private railway siding for guests who arrived by train.

During its early years, the Biltmore Hotel hosted many high-profile events, including political conventions, charity balls, and Hollywood galas. It quickly became a favorite spot for Hollywood celebrities, who would often stay at the hotel when they were in town for premieres and other events.

The Golden Age of Hollywood

The Biltmore Hotel was at the height of its popularity during the Golden Age of Hollywood. Many famous actors and actresses stayed at the hotel over the years, including Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, and Clark Gable.

In addition to being a popular spot for celebrities, the Biltmore Hotel was also used as a filming location for many movies and TV shows. Some of the most famous films shot at the hotel include “Ghostbusters” and “The Sting.”

Decline and Restoration

Unfortunately, the Biltmore Hotel fell into decline in the latter part of the 20th century. The hotel was purchased by the city of Los Angeles in 1969 and was used as an office building for many years.

However, the hotel was eventually restored to its former glory in the 1990s. The restoration project was a massive undertaking that took several years to complete, but it was worth it in the end. Today, the Biltmore Hotel is once again a stunning example of luxury and elegance, and it continues to attract visitors from all over the world.

Famous Deaths at the Biltmore Hotel

The Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles has had its share of famous guests, but it is also known for some of the mysterious deaths that have occurred within its walls. Here are some of the most famous deaths:

  • Elizabeth Short: Also known as the Black Dahlia, Short was found murdered in 1947. Her body was discovered in a vacant lot, but it is believed that she was last seen at the Biltmore Hotel. Her murder remains unsolved to this day.
  • Virginia Rappe: In 1921, actress Virginia Rappe died at the Biltmore Hotel. Her death was caused by a ruptured bladder, and it was rumored that she was raped by actor Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, who was staying in the same hotel. Arbuckle was later acquitted of the crime, but his career was ruined.
  • Thomas Ince: In 1924, film producer Thomas Ince died after attending a party on William Randolph Hearst’s yacht. The party was held at the Biltmore Hotel, and it is rumored that Ince was shot by Hearst, who mistook him for Charlie Chaplin. However, this theory has been largely debunked.

While there is no concrete evidence linking these deaths to the Biltmore Hotel, they have certainly added to the hotel’s mystique and reputation as a haunted destination. It is worth mentioning that the hotel has been featured in numerous films and TV shows, including “Ghostbusters” and “American Horror Story.”

Ghostly Sightings and Paranormal Activity

Located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, the Biltmore Hotel has been a landmark since its opening in 1923. The luxurious hotel was a popular destination for many celebrities, politicians, and dignitaries, but it is also known for its dark history and paranormal activity. Over the years, guests and staff have reported numerous ghostly sightings and unexplained phenomena, making the Biltmore Hotel one of the most haunted places in Los Angeles.

Many believe that the Biltmore Hotel is haunted by the spirits of those who died there under mysterious circumstances. Three of the most famous ghosts that are said to haunt the hotel are:

  • The Black Dahlia Ghost: The spirit of Elizabeth Short, also known as the Black Dahlia, is said to haunt the Biltmore Hotel. Short was a young actress who was brutally murdered in 1947. Her body was found in a vacant lot in Los Angeles, and her murder remains unsolved to this day. Some guests and staff have reported seeing her ghostly figure in the hallways and lobby of the hotel.
  • The Lady in Black: Another famous ghost at the Biltmore Hotel is the Lady in Black. Legend has it that she was a wealthy woman who threw herself off the roof of the hotel after her husband died in World War II. Her ghost has been seen wandering the halls and staircases of the hotel, dressed in a long black gown.
  • The Drowned Woman: The third ghost that is said to haunt the Biltmore Hotel is the Drowned Woman. According to legend, she was a young woman who drowned in the hotel’s swimming pool in the 1930s. Her ghost has been seen walking near the pool area, dripping wet and leaving behind a trail of water.

Many guests and staff members have reported other strange occurrences at the Biltmore Hotel, including doors opening and closing on their own, lights turning on and off, and unexplained noises. Some have even claimed to feel a cold breeze or a ghostly presence in their rooms.

While there is no scientific evidence to support these claims, many people believe that the Biltmore Hotel is truly haunted. If you’re brave enough, you can book a room and see for yourself if you encounter any of these ghostly sightings and paranormal activity.

The Biltmore Hotel in Popular Culture

As one of the most iconic hotels in the world, the Biltmore Hotel has made numerous appearances in popular culture, including film and television, literature, and music.

Film and Television

The Biltmore Hotel has been featured in several movies and TV shows, including the classic film “The Bellboy” starring Jerry Lewis and the popular TV series “Mad Men”. It has also been the location for many film shoots, including “Bad Boys II” and “Miami Vice”. The hotel’s luxurious and elegant interior has made it a popular choice for filmmakers looking for a grand setting.


Many books have been written about the Biltmore Hotel, including “The Biltmore Hotel: An Enduring Legacy” by local historian Seth Bramson. The hotel has also been featured in several novels, including “The Last Train to Key West” by Chanel Cleeton and “Hotel Scarface” by Roben Farzad. The hotel’s rich history and grandeur have made it a popular setting for many fictional stories.


The Biltmore Hotel has also been mentioned in several popular songs, including “Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)” by Billy Joel and “Biltmore Blues” by Jack Teagarden. The hotel’s luxurious reputation has made it a symbol of wealth and success in popular music.


Whether you believe in ghosts or not, there’s no denying the allure of the Biltmore Hotel and the fascinating stories that surround it.

From its glamorous history to its tragic deaths and alleged hauntings, the Biltmore Hotel has captured the imagination of people around the world for generations.

We hope this article has shed some light on the mysteries of this iconic landmark and inspired you to learn more about its rich history and enduring legacy.

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