**If the photos appear fuzzy, viewing on your mobile device’s desktop version clears them up**
If only we had known what was hiding under the lights of The Ellison Suites Hotel, maybe none of this would have happened.
Have you ever had something happen in your life, that is just so far out of the “normal” category, that it doesn’t even seem real?
I’m speechless and that’s really saying something, if you know me.
In fact when it was happening, I kept saying how this was going to be the best blog ever, but now that I’m trying to actually write about it… I’ve been staring at my computer for the past three days and the only words that keep coming to my mind are “What. The. F.”
Since I don’t even know where to start, I guess I’ll start back at the beginning when Mr. Attorney Man
and I had to fly to LA for business. I had a few meetings to attend that he didn’t need to be at, so for the first few days we spent much of our time apart. But, because his (super fun) wife had traveled with him, we decided to stay an extra day, check out of the swanky hotel I had stayed in for my meetings, and check into a reasonably priced hotel by the beach that Mr. Attorney Man had found; a hotel that I looked up online and promptly decided I wasn’t staying in.
“Um, this place looks scary” I hinted.
“I’m sure it’s fine and it’s cheaper than all the other places” he assured me. And although I didn’t believe him, I was making an effort to remember that I am not always the most fun person to travel with, since my Uptight-Planner-Bossy-Bitchy side comes to the surface when I’m feeling uncomfortable being out of my daily routine.
He then reminded me that we wouldn’t be there long and it was close to the airport.
Not feeling very satisfied with that answer, I turned to the next set of ears that might listen to me. “It looks haunted!” I whined to my husband. “It looks exactly like the set of every scary movie I have ever seen in my life, and I don’t want to go!”
He laughed at me and pulled the laptop over to look for himself. “The Ellison Suites were built in 1913 and later were renovated into apartments” he read aloud while scrolling through the pictures. “Well, I mean yea they look old, but I’m sure Mr. Attorney Man wouldn’t take you anywhere unsafe,” he assured me.
“THAT IS OLD!” I exclaimed rather dramatically. “That means every person who originally stayed there, is now dead! And I won’t be safe! Mr. Attorney Man and his wife will be snuggled up in a room that probably has charm when you stay with someone else, and I’ll be left alone in my creepy old fake hotel room apartment to build a salt circle around my bed!”
He laughed at me.
I glared at him.
And a few days later, I was on a plane to LA.
The Grand Canyon
You guys, I had fears. I had ALL the fears. Not only had I never left the kids before, but I was also taking a different flight, out of a different airport than Mr. Attorney Man and his wife were. Which means that I, a person who doesn’t drive on the highway, has horrific luck with public transportation, and gets lost on my way to the mailbox, was flying across the country, completely alone.
ALL THE FEARS.
Some of which, I had discussed with Mr. Attorney Man prior to the trip.
Thankfully when I landed, Mr. Attorney Man and his wife (who I will now refer to as His Better Half), were waiting for me.
Waiting, that is, to stuff me into the back of a shiny red convertible, where I had to face my highway fears, in LA traffic, in half a car, while I am sure that I acquired about 17 different forms of skin cancer from incinerating in the California sun.
I really am a disabling level of Caucasian and it was then that I decided that I was not meant for LA; 12 minutes after leaving the airport.
The two of them were in the front seat, Mr. Attorney Man wearing a backwards hat, grinning from ear to ear, listening to his California playlist, and I was in the backseat trying not to be strangled by my own hair and bracing myself for the moment a large rock would fall off one of those scenic mountains and end me.
There were signs, people. Actual signs staked up and down the roads, alerting me to the fact that this might actually happen.
ALL OF THE FEARS.
Arriving at the hotel, and checking into my room, I was greeted by some flowers my husband had sent, congratulating me on making it there alive.
After breaking them out of the packaging with nail clippers and then putting them in the ice bucket, I found Mr. Attorney Man and His Better Half perched on some cushy chairs at the bar, where I collapsed into one next to them; Just in time to join in on the conversation about how we could smell the California fires burning down everything around us.
Oh yay. I was really hoping that we would be super close to a life hazard, and now here we were.
In thinking of that, I remembered the haunted hotel that we were supposed to check into a couple days later, and started to wonder if His Better Half had even seen it; mostly because I couldn’t imagine that if she had seen it, she would let us stay there.
“Hey, uh… so are you ready to go stay at a haunted hotel?” I asked her, praying really hard that she would respond “NO! LET’S STAY SOMEWHERE ELSE!”
But she didn’t.
Instead, she admitted that she hadn’t even looked at it, because Mr. Attorney Man is the trip planner. A trip planner, who then leaned over from his spot at the bar, and admitted that he hadn’t even looked at it, because he’d selected it off the recommendation of a friend. A friend we later found out, had simply chosen it off of it’s location on a map.
Can you see where this is going?
ALL OF THE FEARS.
And that, is how, several days later, after we googled to make sure that it wasn’t really haunted (we didn’t find any reports), we found ourselves standing outside The Ellison Suites, realizing that ghosts were actually the least of our problems.
“Uh… let’s just go inside and see what it looks like” was the only thing Mr. Attorney Man could say when we pulled up to a building that was everything I had feared it would be… and then actually, much worse.
His Better Half and I shot each other a look, where she sent the message “I have made a terrible, terrible mistake,” with her eyes.
At least I’m pretty sure that’s what it meant.
Anyway, driving up and down the block and not seeing any sign of a place to park — or even the front door of the hotel — we tried to call the front desk and promptly learned that none of us had cell service.
Eventually we parked in someone’s driveway and made our way through the front gate to the hotel.
“So, this seems like the worst idea ever” I said as we climbed the stairs to The Ellison Suites front desk. “We are going into this old place, with no cell service, where we will probably get trapped, and die.”
But did anyone hear me?
Of course not, because I was now playing the role of the lowly friend, who in every scary movie I have ever seen, walks behind the group of people who are going into some rundown ancient building, and constantly reminds them of why it’s a bad idea to be doing it without a line to the outside world.
The friend who when no one listens to them, goes into the basement with them anyway.
You know, the person who always gets killed first.
“Hey, where do we park?” was the first thing that Mr. Attorney Man asked the clerk when we arrived at the front desk. “Oh, don’t you worry about that” the clerk said through a glorious accent and much too much enthusiasm. “Let’s just get you checked in first, and then I will explain to you, how to park” he beamed.
“Yea but I don’t want to get towed” Mr. Attorney Man said, before the clerk once again told him not to worry about that.
“Well I’m worried,” His Better Half chimed in. “It’s a rental and” then the clerk cut her off, this time a bit more firmly, with “I do this everyday and I will explain it all after we get you checked in.”
Eager to get the car moved, we handed over our credit cards, signed the hotel agreement, and then were promptly told that the parking situation was that there was no parking.
**Cough** **Cough** **Scam**
“I guess I’ll go find a parking lot somewhere” Mr. Attorney Man said before leaving His Better Half and I to find our rooms. Or rather, my room, since getting the door open to their room proved to be impossible as it was bent and jammed shut.
Stepping into the elevator, we were immediately greeted with pictures of… what is this? A serial killer?
Hell if I know. Seems fitting.
“You have got to be kidding me” I said to her as the elevator doors opened and we could see the view.
“I’m not staying here” she said in response.
Looking at the rows of apartments stacked on top of each other, connected by fire escapes that I’m sure have claimed a few lives, clothes and towels drying over the railings, bicycles strewn about, and everything covered in peeling paint and dirt, you could easily envision what it had looked like in the early 1900’s as women in aprons tended to their hungry, depression era families.
Finding our room and stepping inside we were left speechless until His Better Half uttered “this has got to be a joke.”
I can’t even describe what we saw. It was about 95 degrees and the windows were propped open by box fans. Not window air conditioner units, but actual fans, which would be totally find under any circumstance where you had booked what was promised as a luxury hotel. The entire place smelled of the 1900’s and weed, and the furniture looked like it had all been purchased from Ikea, and then placed in ways that they hoped would keep us from noticing everything else that was going on. And by that, I mean the pipes that were fitted with pool noodles and signs that said “Hot! Do not touch!” The shattered kitchen tile counter tops, and a TV that hung in a way that made absolutely no sense for viewing it, unless you were standing against the wall.
We laughed, we giggled, and then we opened the bathroom door and shrieked in hysterics. There were stairs leading up to the bathroom, and it was designed that way, because the bed pulled out from underneath the bathtub.
A bathroom trundle bed, or as we began calling it after His Better Half got in it and closed herself up into the floor, a “hide-a-friend” bed.
What had initially caught us off guard, was now simply funny as hell. Why would anyone think that anyone would be OK with this as a hotel setting? It was so absurd, that it couldn’t possibly be anything other than funny. We then threw ourselves down onto the other bed and laughed even harder when we realized that instead of a mattress, we were laying on what can only be described as feeling like patio furniture cushions, under a sheet.
By the time Mr. Attorney Man got back to the room, I had laugh-cried all my makeup off.
Then we went to check out their room, which to my amusement, was entirely decorated in Jim Morrison gear.
The book on the shelf that His Better Half found, seemed rather fitting…
Laughing once again, I opened a doorway while still looking at His Better Half, and promptly tripped and fell.
Injuries were sustained.
I mean why wouldn’t a stairway be placed in the very center of the doorway? Why would it make sense to put the doorway anywhere else, other than in the middle of where the stairs start?
Agreeing that we couldn’t stay there (mostly due to how hot it was), Mr. Attorney Man went down to the front desk to tell them that we’d like to check out.
But checking out early wasn’t allowed.
Apparently once you become a resident of The Ellison Suites, you are not allowed to leave early, unless you are prepared to pay a several hundred dollar fee.
Deciding that our only recourse would be to call Hotels.com, which we had booked through, we were reminded that the cement prison of The Ellison Suites didn’t have any cell service. It was then that the reality of where we were began to really sink in, and I’m pretty sure we went through an actual grieving process.
Shock, denial, anger, and now sadness.
Defeated and desperate to get out of there, we walked down to the beach, took one look around, and froze.
Apparently Venice Beach is not where people go for a family fun beach experience. Maybe some parts are that we didn’t see, but definitely, unfortunately, not the parts that we saw, and now cannot unsee. It’s where they go to get high and join a homeless compound. Surrounded by nothing but individuals suffering from a drug addiction, panhandlers, homeless living encampments, and seemingly out of place touristy t-shirt shops as far as we could see, I was kicking myself for being so damn agreeable before the trip, even though I knew that this was a bad idea.
Isn’t it amazing, the moment when you suddenly realize how smart, and stupid, you are?
Finding a place where our phones worked, we called the booking company to let them that due to my health we couldn’t stay in the overheated oven of a room, and asked if they could help us change hotels.
But we were told that since air conditioning wasn’t listed in the amenities section, we were in the wrong. And so I turned to the only lifeline I had left, and called my husband crying, and begging him to get me a flight home asap. Any flight. A cargo flight. A hot air balloon. A stork. I didn’t care. A reserved chair at the airport until morning. JUST GET ME OUT OF HERE.
But he couldn’t, and so later that night after walking back to the hotel, past the men’s drug rehab facility that it is next to, past the men shoving-each-other-turned-fist-fight that had broken out in the street, past the barking unleashed dogs that were ready to defend, past the panhandlers that had signs reading “Don’t Fucking Look At Me Just Give Me A Dollar” and “too high to work, too honest to lie, and too lazy to be creative, give me money,” past a guy crawling down the street while wearing a skull mask, we arrived back at the hotel, where once inside, we then walked past all the residents who live there (oh yes, apparently The Ellison Suites has a large residential population, and I don’t know, maybe just functions as a hotel that traps guests duped into staying there), past the fire escapes and graffiti that said “Muck Venice,” and then we decided that the only way were were going to be able to return to our rooms, was if we weren’t sober.
We got some cheap wine, cried our way down the rickety halls, and drank it out of the Jim Morrison cups that were in the room..
A room, in which if you close the windows, you might actually suffocate.
A room, in which if you leave the windows open, you might actually be killed.
It was decided that Mr. Attorney Man would sleep with Jim Morrison, and I would sleep with his Better Half in the other room. We agreed to close one window and leave the other one open, and then I let her choose which bed she wanted; either the patio cushion bed by the window, or the hide-a-friend bed under the bathtub.
She chose the bathtub bed because it had a real mattress, but once we were laying in our beds and she was left looking at the deep, black hole that her bed had slid out from — a hole that could suck her down to hell at any moment — she climbed into my bed.
Attempting to get comfortable on the patio cushions, we snuggled with pillows that we had chilled in the refrigerator, and took note of every creak, every shadow, and every sound outside. And because we were already on edge, of course there was panicked screaming: from us. A type of screaming where whoever screamed first, would scare the other one into screaming twice as loud. Repeatedly.
This went on — the screaming and snuggling with frozen pillows — until a naked man began climbing in and out of the dumpster next to our window, and we began jumping out of bed every 28 seconds, to make sure that he wasn’t trying to get inside our room.
Because why wouldn’t that happen.
Realizing that maybe he was making noise on purpose to draw us to the window so that he could more easily kill us, we agreed that we were clearly safer under the sheets, with a box fan between us and the naked, homeless, high guy.
It was just then that a text came in from Mr. Attorney Man saying “we are leaving in the morning,” so I can only assume that he was equally unhappy, passing his time with good old Jim.
As for us, we spent the next several hours speculating as to why the fan cord was moving in a way that looked like someone was touching it (a ghost perhaps?), taking turns standing guard outside the bathroom door (there really could have been a ghost), and wondering why the people on “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant,” which was playing on the TV we couldn’t see unless we stood against the wall, didn’t know they were pregnant.
At some point close to 2 or 3 am we fell asleep, and when we woke up at 5am after my alarm went off, we realized that we were both covered in a super attractive rash.
Ecstatic that I would be leaving for the airport soon, I took a shower in what I can only describe, as a sandwich bag.
Romantic my ass. Claw foot tubs seem very charming and adorable, until you see what they were actually like in the 1920’s. Not only are they narrow (and sometimes on top of your friend’s bed), but the shower curtain completely surrounds you, giving the impression that you are inside of a large Ziploc. A Ziploc that other strangers have been in before you, and possibly left behind pieces of themselves that might touch you, and I don’t know, kill you. That is, if you aren’t first killed by any number of scenarios that I’ve seen occur in claw foot tubs, in horror movies.
If only someone had mentioned how scary this place looked before we checked in…
I then grabbed my suitcase and made my way outside to a waiting cab, where two guys on scooters whistled, pointd at us, and began to make their way over before I jumped into the cab and she went back inside the hotel.
So really, yay LA.
When all was said and done, I think that His Better Half summed it up best when she said “well, what I have learned today, is that money means something.”
Cheap is not always good.
Then I headed to the airport where I was the second to last person to board a completely full flight, flew across the country between two sleeping people, and was picked up by a car service to take me home, while the driver repeatedly told me how beautiful I was, how lucky my husband was, how excited he was for his wife to have their baby, asked if he could spend some more time with me (wtf?), and then he got sick.
In the car. Not from his mouth.
BECAUSE WHY WOULDN’T THAT HAPPEN.
Since I’ve been home, Mr. Attorney Man has sent several text messages apologizing for the hotel stay, but I haven’t responded because he’s dead to me.
Kidding, I’m honestly not mad at him because I’m suing him for emotional distress and I’m going to be rich he didn’t actually do anything wrong. Things happen, and at the end of it all, at least I was able to leave LA with a few good memories…
…and this blog.
*Edited to add, THE PLACE WAS SHUT DOWN. Apparently not long after we stayed there, they were slapped with a 26-count criminal case that included ILLEGALY operating as a hotel and substandard condition.
I mean I’m not gonna say “I told you so…” but we all know I did.
this would be a big NOPE from me! I seriously died laughing though ??!!! I'm glad you made it home alive!
oh my!! i really don’t have any words but thank goodness you made it back alive. i’m sure you will thoroughly investigate any further hotel reservations from here on out!! ?
I really kind of want to go there now. ?
Holy crap!!! I can’t believe you stayed at a place like that!!! I would have ran to the nearest Motel 6 as if it was the Ritz!!!
As I sit in the ER whilst on vacation waiting for someone to tell me that I sprained my ankle (duh, that's why I'm hear, I told you that already), this made me laugh. Thanks Eden!
I've been to LA.This is spot on!
Best post ever ??
I stayed in a hotel last night. I was kind of bummed that there was no bed under my tub. 🙁 🙁 🙁
These reviews are amazing! One had the best stay ever, the second not so much lol. I’m glad you made it out alive. Did you check for bedbugs?
The reviews online are HYSTERICAL! Half are what you described, and half make the place sound stunning. No way would there be that big of a descrepency unless the staff wasn't fluffing them.
Eden Those that know me know that I cannot step into a yucky hotel for more than a few minutes before I come down with a case of the heebie jeebies. I must immediately vacate before they turn into a case of ants in the pants, probably in this case literally. ? But, if I’m ever out there, I’ll try to get your money back. ??
As I started reading your post and saw the first pics of the hotel, I thought holy crap what did they do?Book a hotel near Venice Beach. Then you said Venice and I laughed. I grew up in Anaheim Hills, Ca and as teenagers we would venture down to Venice for people watching. It was a crazy, kind of scary place twenty years ago. Thanks to your description, I see it has only gone down hill. Yikes! A lot of places in Southern California are like that. Was the song ‘Hotel California’ running through anyone’s head? ??Glad you made it home safe!
Hollywood is not all glitz and glamour. Quite the opposite, as you have found. Thank you for warning others, even if you had to do some “research” of your own!
Thank you for sharing! What a hilarious read! Although- wow.
I laughed so hard I'm crying!!!
Oh, but look at all the “I told you so” points you have accumulated! Great pictures.
Yay photos of Mr. Attorney Man and his better half! Sorry for your experience but love the photos! 🙂
Yay!!! They are two really fun people 🙂
Next time you're coming out here, ask first! I never would recommend to stay in Venice! hahahaha I grew up and still live in Orange County … lots of great places to see and stay, Venice is not one of them! Glad you made it out alive!
That was a creepy blog. Did you ever find out what cause the rash?
? Your blog post is unbelievable! I’m speechless. And a little scared. And itchy. ?
Oh shoot, I just just getting ready to read your newest blog and then i saw this…you know I would have caught that! #spoiler
No, you aren’t being dramatic, there are so many seedy places in California backed right up to nice, posh neighborhoods. It’s kind of weird. You can drive a few blocks and be in a completely different world. I once drove into a neighborhood ( lost at 16 trying to find some store) that even the street signs were in Vietnamese or some similar language… I just u turned and went back the way I went in.
I live in Prescott, Arizona now- a lot less random weirdness.
So I missed the first post and went back now to read it. Mr Attorney Man is very handsome! I’m g lad you get along so well with his wife. It would suck if you didn’t because you guys are such good friends. It sounds like you had the trip of a lifetime! ?
How I wish I could have experienced all of this with you and your cohorts for the night!!! This really is such a prefect representation of Venice (which I would have steered you away from…its only a place you go for a few hours of people watching at most)! Next time (if there EVER IS ONE) I will show you the sights you should try and see! This is one of the best posts EVER EVER EVER!!!
Eden Strong – It Is Not My Shame To Bear Might be one of my biggest regrets in life…not being able to experience this with you 3! Literally kicking myself!!!
Slept next to. Except he was outside the building. I'm left wondering is it isn't just that u are a bit soft??
Eden Strong – It Is Not My Shame To Bear It sounds like you did! That hotel seemed crazy AF! From the hide-a-friend bed, to the crazy stairs in the middle of the doorway, to the creepy fire escapes…you had it all!
PLEASE tell me the 'rash' wasn't bedbugs!!!! OMG.
I went to Venice Beach last year, right after CrazyMom died suddenly and I figured I needed to go “find myself” or something. I stayed at the hostel there because I was poor, with all these international people who speaking in languages I couldn't identify. I didn't see that many crazy homeless people… except I'd go out and smoke weed and this SAME DUDE EVERY DAY would come over and ask me for some. I think he thought we were best friends, despite not having any conversation outside of that.Mr. Attorney Man is married now, he definitely wasn't before, right? And like, if you're going to LA for “business”… why do I suspect you have something very big on the horizon…Also it's good to know you've finally figured out what weed smells like. 😀
Haha! Funny you should mention it…. We were sitting there and I was like “ew, Venice sure does have a lot of skunks” and Mr. Attorney Man and his wife looked at me like “you are so dumb.”
So that’s how I learned what weed smells like.
And I find it hysterical that you went to Venice Beach to find yourself. Pretty sure everyone else goes there to lose themselves! haha!
And yes he is married now! Wasn’t before, but is now! I’m thrilled for them 🙂
OMG this had me laughing so hard… Reading this and hearing it in person – only you my friend ? Looking good Mr Attorney Man and good to see His Better Half again. Next time I'm tagging along. I'll bring the tequila ?
You’re definitely coming with because I no longer trust Mr. Attorney Man’s chaperoning skills.
I totally noticed and kept my opinions about changing his name to Mr. Hottie Attorney Man to myself because I’m a lady.
This. Plus, his wife is cool, so.
I fully expected him to be early 60s, pudgy, balding and short. I figured it was a “stock” image until you identified him as wearing his hat backward. And then I got all sorts of confused.
I totally agree! The backwards cap threw me for a bit!!
I also pictured an older man in a bad suit and not aging gracefully
I think we were all engrossed by the rest of the blog post! ?
Obviously he felt really guilty. I'm with the folks who pictured him as older .
You mean him being young and hot? Totally noticed. But I loved that you're good friends with his wife even more. But MOST OF ALL I love what you write. You're an old incredible storyteller! <3
no, I was going to comment he was very good looking and totally not what I pictured.
Its because you broke our hearts when you said he had a a wife.
I'm glad I'm not the only one that pictured him old and stuffy…
I think everyone was so horrified with the story everyone forgot to mention he is a cutie.
I noticed but was trying to be all casual about it lol
I'll admit I was disappointed he wasn't wearing a fedora.
I was totally not expecting him to be super hot!
I figured that was just some photo to enhance the story and not REALLY him!!!! He looks so young!
Oh I noticed, went back & looked again ?
Still giggling/horrified about your “ordeal” to have said anything about the amazing Attorney Man ??????
Eden Strong – It Is Not My Shame To Bear good read but I thought I was going to read about you doing drugs and being a whore. It was just misleading.
OMG, Eden. I am crying laughing so hard! So glad Mr. Attorney Man and his Better Half were with you. Could you imagine being alone that night? This could happen to only you! I feel a tad guilty laughing at your extreme discomfort; but, ….Jesus. I have no words. LOL Sending you hugs and love from the East CoastP.S. Mr. Attorney Man and his Better Half are a cute couple!
Ha! Well I’m happy that I could at least entertain everyone. It was insane!! And of course it would happen to me!
Yes they are!
I had figured he was going to be on the younger side and possibly, quite good looking. Eden, anyone who could swing with all the craziness you have had in your life couldn't have been some old, bald guy with a matronly wife. I just can't stop laughing at the LA trip story. That is one for the books!
First time reading this post and I was deifinitely surprised to see Mr Attorney man ����. Do you early have him listed as “Lawyer” under your contacts?
I totally do! Everyone in my phone is listed by how I know them lol.
And if you don’t mind me asking. Why do you have to approve comments first? I’ve been reading your blog for ages by the way and I really love it ?
I didn’t used to have the approval turned on, but then I got a troll that just wouldn’t let up, and quite frankly, it’s my blog. If they don’t like it, they can go elsewhere. Then when I tried turning the approval thing off, I started getting hundreds of spam comments from people selling spellcaster services. So now I leave it on so that everyone doesn’t get 800 alerts a day from spam comments. 🙂
Spellcaster services ?. I feel like they are getting more :/