Hotelier Andre Balazs reveals plans to turn his decadent Chateau Marmont hotel into a private members club by the end of this year
- Balazs let go of all of Chateau Marmont’s hotel staff in June this year
- He had been working on plans to turn the L.A. hotspot into a members club for three years
- The COVID-19 pandemic sped up his plan, he said, because his well-heeled customers want to be around people they know
- He hopes to have transformed the model to start taking members this year
- Balazs said he may also build new locations in Paris, Milan and Tokyo
- There are no plans yet to change Chiltern Firehouse in London or the Mercer Hotel in New York City
- It’s not yet known how much Balazs will charge in dues or how members will be vetted
Hotelier Andre Balazs in May 2019
Andre Balazs is turning his famous Chateau Marmont hotel in Los Angeles into a private members club and may do the same to some of his other glitzy properties.
The hotelier told The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that he had been working on the member-only model for the last three years but that the COVID-19 pandemic sped it up.
He noticed his well-heeled guests preferred to be among people they knew because they would then also know where they had been.
‘There is something to be said for knowing people.
‘You can chat with them; you know where they have been,’ he said.
It’s unclear how much annual dues will be or how the club will differ from Soho House, the most well-known members club with locations in Manhattan, London and Miami among others.
Balazs said guests are already vetted at the hotel.
‘We have always screened our guests. Guests are never more than one degree of separation away,’ he said.
Balazs also owns the Mercer Hotel in Manhattan and Chiltern Firehouse in London. He has not yet revealed whether he will adopt a members-only model there too.
The famous L.A. institute has been closed for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Balazs says he hopes to turn it into a members club by the end of the year
The hotel has been a Hollywood institution for decades. Above, John Belushi’s body is removed from the famous hotel after he overdosed in 1982
A portrait of Iggy Pop in one of the paved areas of the hotel in 1996
Elton John and Elizabeth Taylor at a surprise birthday party for John at the hotel in 2000
Supermodel Janice Dickinson (left) at the hotel in 2004 and Helmut Newton (right) in an undated image in the hotel’s grounds
Balazs with Joan Collins and Lady Victoria Hervey at Chateau Marmont in 2010. The hotel is already a notorious hotspot for celebrities
All of Chateau Marmont’s hotel employees were laid off in June as a result of the lockdown-imposed closure.
Most were let go without severance and instead had access to a $250,000 fund set up by Balazs and donors.
It’s unclear how Balazs’ members club will differ from Soho House, which is owned by Nick Jones (the pair are pictured together)
Now, there will be fewer staff at the members club but Balazs said he wants them to be trained to a higher standard.
Balaz and his father made their fortune by selling their biotech company in 1981 for $750million.
He bought Chateau Marmont in 1990.
It had by then cemented its reputation as a Hollywood institution where musicians and film stars parties in peace and privacy.
Balazs has for decades rubbed shoulders with celebrities.
In 2017, he was among public male figures to be accused of sexual misconduct amid the growing MeToo movement.
He was accused of groping Amanda Anka, Jason Bateman’s wife, after the premiere of Horrible Bosses in 2017.
She said he convinced her to climb up a fireman’s ladder at Chiltern Firehouse, and that he groped her as she climbed.
Bateman was there and is said to have confronted Balazs about the incident. Balazs never commented on the accusations.
Balazs also owns Chiltern Firehouse in London which is notoriously exclusive