Though too many locals it is known as the munchkins stayed, the Culver Hotel has many new developments to offer the community now.
The four-star hotel’s origins start with city founder, Harry Culver. Needing a centerpiece for his new city, the Culver Hotel, then named the Hunt Hotel, was founded.
“It was the skyscraper of the west-side of Los Angeles,” explains Seth Horowitz, Culver Hotel General Manager. “It was the highest building anywhere between the ocean and downtown at the time.”
The hotel’s owners have ranged from John Wayne, who won an ownership portion of the hotel in a lucky game of cards, to its present day owners, the Mallrick family.
The hotel, falling on hard times was once known as a flophouse by some Culver City resident. It was the Mallricks who brought the hotel back to its former glory.
“Maya Mallick,” said Horowitz, “fell in love with the building and wanted to buy it. Her mother said, ‘You must be out of your mind,’ but the purchase price was decided upon and Maya bought it. She continued to pour money into changing the hotel into something really amazing, and what it is today.”
The entire hotel was recently refurbished—the lobby, the restaurant, and every single room and bed. As of September 2011 the substantial renovation of the Culver Hotel was complet, though upgrades are still being made.
“Everyday I come into the office and I find a new piece of furniture,” said Horowitz. “Miss Mallrick goes out and hunts for new items and when she finds the ones she knows fits, they arrive, and then we work out what to do with them. It’s like a great, continuous treasure hunt.”
Though the interior of the hotel has been modernized the exterior remains the same, due to its landmark status.
The hotel’s beautiful and ornate architecture provides the hotel with the opportunity to remain connected to Culver City’s film history, not only through looks, but as a set in movies and TV shows.
“On one day for the TV program Touch, we had the Culver Boulevard side of the hotel shot as a scene in London, a suite on the third floor shot as an apartment in Barcelona, and in the evening the town plaza side of the hotel shot as café in Paris,” said Horowitz.
The hotel’s adaptable surface reflects much of the decorative goals of the interior. Maya Mallrick works to mix the old history of the hotel with the new and lively developed Culver City.
The rooms hint at a classical elegance with glass chandeliers, but have all the modern-day conveniences. Though with any old building there are bound to be rumors.
“There are some people that absolutely love the idea that there is a ghost in town,” said Horowitz, “but there are others who are rather troubled by the idea. I, personally, am fine with there being a ghost.”
The story goes that Harry Culver kept his money in a safe on the second floor of the hotel. After he died, the money was moved. Today the small room is used to store banquet chairs. From time to time Harry Culver’s ghost is rumored to return, looking for his money.
“Once a gentleman, a very big man, asked to see the manager,” Horowitz said. “So I went down and in a very serious manner the man says, ‘I want to let you know that the ghost is a very nice man.’ He then tells me that the ghost is very happy with what I’ve done.”
Ghost or not, the changes the Culver Hotel has seen over the years are remarkable. The nightly Jazz performances that pack the hotel bar and lobby, the brunch on weekends, and the friendly staff are just some of the hotel’s greatest developments.
Aside from a few complaints about traffic, the hotel is showered in compliments either directly to Horowitz or online. However, the hotel still is a historic landmark, and tribute, to the old Culver City and all it’s glory. The old and new history of Culver City comes through in this lively landmark.
“I got into the hotel business is because this business makes a difference in peoples lives. What I want to do is create an experience.
“You charge someone $400 a room, take their money, give them a bad experience, and they’ll never come back. You charge someone $249, which is our going rate, make them feel special and like they’ve been valued, they will come back and tell everybody. That is where we’re at right now in our history.”