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Where rock royalty slept

Millionaire rock musicians spend more time on the road than even the busiest CEOs, and they tend to choose wisely — nine hotels where music stars stayed and played.
Image: The Beverly Hills Hotel, Los Angeles
Welcome to the Hotel California—while the lyric itself is merely a metaphor for the decadence of the Los Angeles music scene, the Beverly Hills Hotel is the actual location used for the cover of the Eagles' landmark album.Dorchester Collection
/ Source: Forbes

Few among us will ever trash a hotel room in the way that touring rock stars are known for—after all, given the lucrative endorsements that top acts now receive from multinational brands eager to protect their images, few performers themselves even behave that way anymore. But millionaire rock musicians spend more time on the road than even the busiest CEOs, and they tend to choose wisely.

Following in their footsteps can lead to great locations, top-notch service, and the chance to immerse yourself in some music history. Plus, you may well find yourself passing rock royalty in the lobby.

The Andaz West Hollywood, a Sunset Strip landmark for more than 40 years, is a perfect example. Now rebranded, renovated, and thoroughly upscaled, the hotel nonetheless embraces its previous incarnation as the Continental Hyatt House, dubbed the "Riot House" by touring musicians who used its hallways, balconies, and rooftops to make headlines between their shows in the various rock clubs along the street below.

"We have people who come from all over the world who know about our hotel from the 'Riot House' days," says Nancy Lorusso, director of sales and marketing.

Among the hotel's notable moments: Keith Richards hurling a TV from his tenth-floor room; Jim Morrison dangling from a window by his fingertips; Robert Plant pronouncing himself a "golden god" at high volume; Axl Rose tossing freshly seared steaks from his balcony to his fans as the fire department shut down his impromptu cookout; and many, many others.

The location has become so synonymous with the stranger moments in rock music history that the films "Almost Famous" and "This Is Spinal Tap" used the hotel as a filming location, both in an effort to add a bit of authenticity and as a wink to sophisticated music fans.

"When people stay here, of course they're still fascinated by those stories," Lorusso adds, "and a lot of our staff have been with the property for 15 or even 30 years, so your room service waiter may be able to tell you a few tales first hand." Though these days you might be taking your meal after a luxurious in-room massage facing your private solarium.

The Andaz's new, more upscale identity hasn't changed its Strip location, however. Lorusso demurs from dropping specific names, but the hotel continues to attract many of the world's top acts while they play the House of Blues (directly across the street), the Key Club, the Hollywood Bowl, and other major L.A. venues. Chances of running into world-class music talent in the lounges and elevators remain as high as ever—even if the performers themselves aren't.

Also included on our list are the Phoenix Hotel, a San Francisco favorite of Pearl Jam, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and numerous others, just steps from many of the city's top nightclubs; the Beverly Hills Hotel, whose world-famous Polo Lounge attracts pop music royalty, and whose exterior appears on the Eagles's legendary Hotel California album; and a half-dozen other properties, from world-famous to fairly obscure, where rock music royalty composes itself—and where you can, too.