Hotels are a common fixture in almost any society. Since before the birth of Christ, and, come to think of it, even for the specific occasion of the birth of Christ, people have been hoping to find some room at the inn. But serving society’s weary travelers or playing host to out-of-towners away for both business and pleasure is only the beginning of functions hotels perform. Is there something to the idea that at some hotels you can check any time you like, but you can never leave? The Eagles styled a fictional inn as a purgatory of sorts in their classic song, “Hotel California”, and maybe that’s not as fantastical as it sounds. We take a look at the things that go on behind those ‘do not disturb’ signs, and see if there’s anything to the idea that hotels are beacons of the underworld. Using the Hotel Cecil, a real-life Hotel California if ever there was one, as a case study we work our way through the vices that draw people, such as Robert Ramirez and Elisa Lam, to these intersections of public and private life and the privacy and anonymity they provide.
Elisa Lam Elevator Footage