Hovel sweet hovel

Home away from home in West Hollywood

Home away from home in West Hollywood


I’ve been a stranger around these parts lately, and it’s time we talked about why.

Gail’s business partner, Stan, decided to open an ice cream and cookie store, because there is one in Berkeley right next to our office that is doing a land office business–we have to fight through the lines just to get into our office.

For reasons known only to Stan, he located this store in Los Angeles, across from the Beverly Center mall in lower Beverly Hills.

It’s taking time and energy to get the store going, and I seem to have more time and more energy than anybody else around here, so I got elected.  For the last 5 weeks I have been spending most of my time here, living on cookies and Subway sandwiches.  For a while I was staying in decent hotels, but they are just too pricey, so this trip I decided to try the Alta Cienega Motel, a semi-famous establishment right on the corner of La Cienega and Santa Monica Blvd.  Jim Morrison stayed there 40 years ago, which is their claim to fame.  Room 32 is the “Jim Morrison Room”.  I’m not in it.

I’m in room 25, and it’s a dump.  A pit  A swamp.  A slum with a hotel license.  You know you’re in trouble when there is a sign in the office that says no short term rentals (which means by the hour).  I see other tenants who are getting around on their skateboards.  At least that leaves me a parking spot.

Playing bridge, I’ve lived in hotels a good part of my life. You get used to the simple amenities.  You don’t find them here.  I had to go shopping today:

The things I expect in a hotel.

The things I expect in a hotel.


There is no shampoo here.  On the other hand, Alberto VO5 is only $1.67 at CVS, which surprised me.  I get one, thin, hard, gritty sliver of soap a day, which is insufficient for the amount of me I have to wash.  The less said about the TP this joint provides, the better.  I bought some of the good stuff.

I do admit that it is at least airconditioned:

The hotel HVAC system.

The hotel HVAC system.


There is internet available, at no charge.  As always, if you stay at the Four Seasons for $500 a night, they hit you $14 for wifi  Stay at the Alta Cienega for $500 a week and it’s free.  Not great, but free.

No refrigerator in the room, of course, so I bought an ice chest to have a cold Diet Coke in the morning.  If I wanted coffee, I would have had to buy a coffee maker, they don’t have one of them, either.

If you are a lover of science experiments, there is one provided in the shower:

The ceiling is too far up for the maid to reach, I guess.

The ceiling is too far up for the maid to reach, I guess.


This is the worst place I’ve stayed in many a year, but I guess I’ll survive.  I spend most of my time at the store anyway, trying to get some customers to stop and give it a try.  Slowly, slowly, we’re growing.  It will take a considerable infusion of time and energy and money to get noticed by enough of the locals to make this place a success, but I think it’s possible.

Then, of course, Stan will want to open another store.  He already has a site picked out–again here in the Los Angeles area.  If I have to get that one started, we’re renting an apartment.  I’d like to think that this is the very bottom of my hotel experience for the rest of my life.







6 thoughts on “Hovel sweet hovel

  1. OMG! Been there, done that in my younger days when visiting LA & WeHo. Had the same reaction as you … i.e. Yikes! Tell Stan & Gail that I’ll be down there soon to help out! 🙂

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