Celebrities Banned by Top Hotels
What does a celebrity bring when checking into a hotel? Glamour, buzz, and sometimes, a whole lot of chaos.
Sure, hosting a famous guest can translate into great PR for a hotel, but “it can also be a mixed bag,” admits Mark Plonkey, the general manager of Denver’s Hotel Teatro. “The one thing I’ve learned throughout the years is that public persona is not always the reality behind closed doors.”
With their whirlwind lifestyles, many celebrities spend a lot of time in hotel rooms—and sometimes, hotels end up turning their famous guests away, even banning them, for bad behavior. The history of celebrity-trashed hotels has its roots, of course, in rock ’n’ roll. Back in the 1960s, The Who was supposedly banned from all Holiday Inns after drummer Keith Moon backed a car into a hotel pool.
What does it take to get officially banned these days? John Travolta recently got bad press with reports of “creepy” behavior that has made him unwelcome at the spa of New York’s Peninsula. In Las Vegas, Paris Hilton was once banned from the Wynn after she got arrested there for possession of cocaine.
“We look at many celebrities as one-hit wonders—they stay once, and we may never see them again,” says David Sanford, general manager of Cape Cod’s Crowne Pointe Historic Inn and Brass Key Hotel. “But we have other guests who come every year and who don’t damage our rooms.” He’s quick to note that most celebrity guests have been nothing but gracious; Eartha Kitt even volunteered to sing in the lobby for fellow guests.
According to most hotel managers that Travel + Leisure spoke with, most conflicts with celebrities are pretty mundane, and often result from overzealous “handlers:” demands for discounts or precise requests like a bowl of single-colored M&Ms. Plonkey recalls one musician who threatened to take his 50-room entourage elsewhere if the hotel couldn’t add Turner Classic Movies to its cable offerings within a half hour.
But other hotels know that debauchery can be good for business. “We embrace the spirit of rock ’n’ roll,” says Brandon Powers, creative director of the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas. “They can trash their room or even take a donkey up there, so long as we don’t have to clean up after it in the casino. It takes a lot for us to ask someone to leave.”
The Incident: Did the Saturday Night Fever star really lose his spa privileges? According to an insider at New York City’s Peninsula Hotel, Travolta was banned for repeated “inappropriate behavior” at the spa in the early 2000s. Reportedly, after enough male employees complained about Travolta’s “creepy” antics during massages, the actor was banished to the “no-thigh zone.”
Still Unwelcome? The ban was lifted after about three years, claimed the Peninsula source, though Travolta’s representative declared the whole thing hogwash. Either way, the actor was reportedly seen back at the Peninsula’s fitness center in Spring 2012.
The Incident: It’s become a modern hotel-trashing classic: when staying at New York City’s Plaza in 2010, the actor supposedly had an adverse reaction to “medication” and went into an underwear-clad rage in his room—all while a recently acquainted porn actress hid in the bathroom out of fear. Sheen’s smashing of mirrors, TV, and furniture supposedly racked up $20,000 in damages before the authorities intervened.
Still Unwelcome? The Plaza has reportedly banned Sheen for life—and other Manhattan hotels have taken a similar stance: the Waldorf-Astoria and the Trump SoHo have supposedly refused to book Sheen. Sheen’s representative, meanwhile, told one reporter that the actor also has the travel obstacle of finding a hotel that will let him smoke.
Amanda Bynes, Lindsay Lohan
The Incident: Hollywood’s Standard Hotel found itself entangled with two former child stars in the spring of 2012. First, former Nickelodeon actress Amanda Bynes was reportedly banned from entering the hotel’s nightclub Smoke & Mirrors when she arrived just hours after she’d been arrested, and then released, on suspicion of a DUI.
Lindsay Lohan, meanwhile, opted to beat the hotel to the punch. Within days of the Bynes incident, Lohan reportedly got into a fight with another patron at Smoke & Mirrors, after which Lohan reportedly banned herself from the hotel, declaring it “a curse” for her.
Still Unwelcome? The Standard would not comment, saying only that its policy is “to create a comfortable and inviting experience for their guests,” adding that any incidents are handled on a case-by-case basis.
The Incident: In 2010 the Wynn in Las Vegas issued a preemptive ban against the rapper, who arrived at the hotel for festivities after a performance at the Hard Rock Hotel. At the time, Lil Wayne was fresh off an eight-month sentence for attempted criminal possession of a weapon, and had also been legally prohibited from having alcohol for the next three years. The Wynn, according to reports, was concerned that Wayne (and the hotel) would be asking for trouble if he came inside.
Still Unwelcome? Lil Wayne took his business to The Palms instead, without incident. The Wynn had no comment.
The Incident: In 2010, just trying to check in at the Wynn got the hotel heiress both banned and facing criminal charges. As they were pulling up at the hotel, Hilton and her then boyfriend underwent a traffic stop that quickly escalated—culminating when Hilton reached for lip balm in her purse, and a bag of cocaine fell out instead. The Wynn and Encore resorts banned Hilton from staying and fired her boyfriend, who was, at that time, manager at two of the resort’s nightclubs.
Still Unwelcome? Hilton pleaded guilty to drug possession and obstructing an officer, and served a year of probation, as well as paying a $2,000 fine and serving 200 hours of community service. By the end of 2011, the Wynn reportedly reinstated Hilton as a BFF, and she’s been spotted partying at The Encore Hotel’s Surrender nightclub (“Wynning,” as TMZ.com put it).
The Incident: The Mötley Crüe rocker apparently didn’t care for the service he received at Las Vegas’s Palms in Spring 2012. Rather than fill out a customer reply card, however, he reportedly took to Twitter to vent: “OMG RUDEST STAFF EVER!! Don’t go!!” The Palms released a statement saying that Neil was asked to leave the hotel for undisclosed “behavior” and was not welcome to return: “We would prefer that Mr. Neil put his efforts toward apologizing for his conduct.”
Still Unwelcome? According to reports, Neil replied by calling the hotel staff “liars.” This hasn’t been his first clash with a Vegas hotel, either. In 2011 he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and paid a $1,000 fine, for an expletive-laced outburst at the then–Las Vegas Hilton.
The Incident: Even though the legendary Chateau Marmont has a history of harboring wild celebrities, from Errol Flynn to Dennis Hopper and Lindsay Lohan, the Hollywood hangout reportedly banned Britney in 2007. The reason? Bad table manners: she was supposedly smearing her dinner on her face, inspiring several complaints from other guests.
Still Unwelcome? Other hotels reportedly followed suit during the pop star’s very public troubles that year: the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Beverly Hills Four Seasons both reportedly closed their doors to Spears’s antics. The Four Seasons ban was apparently not universal, as Spears has since been spotted at branches in Budapest and Buenos Aires.
The Incident: Be careful what you tweet. Jenn Hoffman—blogger, reporter, and 2007 contestant on The Apprentice—reportedly got a one-year ban from Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont for posting on Twitter about other, more famous celebrities’ bad behavior. One night in 2011, Hoffman tweeted about Rachel Hunter, alleging that the actress and model was doing the splits and trying on other guests’ glasses.
Still Unwelcome? A representative from the Marmont would not comment on any bans, but said it is the hotel’s policy to “uphold the privacy of their guests.” Hoffman, however, wrote on her blog, “Apparently when it comes to status updates, the customer isn’t always right.”
O. J. Simpson
The Incident: In 2007, the tarnished NFL Hall of Famer was charged with 10 felony charges—including kidnapping and armed robbery—after a memorabilia sale gone bad at the Palace Station Hotel in Vegas. During the ensuing trial in Nevada, Strip mainstays such as MGM Grand, the Mirage, Harrah’s, and the Palms made it clear that they would rather the Juice not stay at their properties.
Still Unwelcome? It’s a moot point now, since Simpson was convicted and is serving a 33-year sentence in a Nevada state prison.
The Incident: Late drummer Keith Moon may have been the founding father of the celebrity-trashed hotel room: he reportedly had a special fondness for blowing up hotel toilets. An August 1967 stay at a Flint, MI, Holiday Inn was even more explosive, inspiring both legend and controversy. Moon’s 21st birthday bash reportedly involved him detonating a hotel toilet, launching a food fight, and backing a Lincoln Continental into the pool.
Still Unwelcome? Moon and the rest of The Who were supposedly banned for life from Holiday Inns, but some have dismissed the story as mere folklore. (Roger Daltrey, meanwhile, has been quoted saying the story is true.) Today, a Holiday Inn representative declined to confirm or deny the tale.
The Incident: In 2005, the King of Pop reportedly startled a housemaid at London’s Dorchester when he opened the door to his room dressed in a full Mickey Mouse costume. The hotel’s sense of humor ran out in 2009, when it reportedly no longer welcomed Jacko due to the “circus” that accompanied him.
A Dorchester representative declined to comment on specific incidents, but said one reason a guest might be asked to leave is if there is considerable disruption to other guests.
The Incident: London’s Dorchester Hotel has a rich reputation for putting up with high-maintenance celebrities, from Diana Ross (who supposedly requested no eye contact from staff) to Christian Bale (who got arrested at the hotel after brawling with his own family). But in 2011 the hotel asked hip-hop star Nicky Minaj to leave after hordes of her fans crammed into the hotel looking for her, sparking fights and spraying fresh graffiti on the hotel’s elevator doors. Minaj reportedly tweeted afterward, “We've officially been kicked out of the hotel! Lmaoooooooo.”
Still Unwelcome? The Dorchester declined to comment on any ban, but a representative said the hotel will ask guests to leave if their presence poses a danger to themselves or other guests.
The Incident: In 2005, the Oscar winner reportedly lost his temper with a desk clerk at the Mercer Hotel in NYC—and threw a phone at the staffer’s face. (The actor’s frustration: being unable to complete a call to his wife in Australia). The initial charges of assault and weapons possession (the weapon being the phone) might have led to jail time, as well as a ban on working in the U.S. Crowe pleaded guilty to lower charges, paid court costs, and settled an undisclosed amount with the concierge, who suffered lacerations to his face.
Still Unwelcome? In one report, Crowe called the incident a result of “jet lag, loneliness and adrenalin,” and “possibly the most shameful situation that I've ever gotten myself in...and I've done some pretty dumb things.” The SoHo hotel officially forgave the incident.
The Incident: He may have left professional basketball in 2006, but Rodman is continuing his bad-boy status, now as a hotel guest. In 2010 staff at the Surf and Sand Resort in Laguna Beach, CA, asked police to escort Rodman out of the hotel after he got too rowdy at the bar.
Still Unwelcome? The Surf and Sand had no immediate comment on the incident, but in recent years, Rodman has also reportedly been asked to leave such hotels as L.A.’s London West Hollywood, supposedly for inappropriate behavior toward guests. He also reportedly skipped out on a bill, and then paid up, at the Park Plaza Hotel in Trier, Germany.
The Incident: The classic ’70s rockers blazed their own trails through American hotels, supposedly riding motorcycles through the Hollywood lobbies of both the Chateau Marmont and the Hyatt (nicknamed The Riot Hotel) on Sunset Boulevard. The sex-crazed band was also reportedly banned from Seattle’s Edgewater Hotel for a highly inappropriate use of fish they caught outside the bayside hotel’s windows—named the sleaziest moment in rock ’n’ roll by Spin magazine.
Still Unwelcome? Robert Plant has supposedly been back to the Edgewater, so if there was ever a ban, it seems to have been lifted. According to the hotel’s website, the “Stairway to Heaven” guys were congenial guests, once even obliging to autograph a soccer ball for a staffer and then playing a game with it in the lobby.
The Incident: It’s one thing when a hotel asks you to replace a stained couch or a bashed-in TV. But in 2009, the actor and his wife were arrested for conspiracy, burglary and defrauding the San Ysidro Ranch, outside Santa Barbara, CA, after stiffing the famed resort for a $10,000 bill.
Still Unwelcome? After extensive legal wrangling, charges against Quaid were dropped, and his wife was sentenced to three years probation and community service after the bill got settled. But due to another dispute, over a Santa Barbara rental property, the Quaids are now lying low in Canada. “Santa Barbara can sleep better tonight,” Quaid told the Associated Press in 2011, “knowing the Quaids are out of their hair.”
The Incident: Justin Bieber was apparently behaving himself while he was staying at London’s Langham in June 2012, but fans somehow found out his room number—and the legions of amped-up gals with Bieber fever calling into the hotel reportedly caused its phone system to crash. Hotel staff asked Bieber to leave.
Still Unwelcome? No ban was reported, and Bieber checked in at the Dorchester.
The Incident: Perhaps the rocker was having a welcome-to-the-jungle kind of morning. In 2006, the Guns N Roses frontman was staying at Stockholm’s Berns Hotel and, one morning, reportedly got into an argument with a woman in the lobby. A hotel security guard stepped in, and the resulting scuffle culminated in Rose supposedly throwing a vase at an antique mirror, and biting the leg of the guard.
Still Unwelcome? Rose was arrested and taken to the police station for several hours. The incident was settled after Rose paid a fine of about $6,800, including $1,300 for the bitten guard.
The Incident: Sadly, it is perhaps no surprise that the late singer was once ejected from a hotel—the Wellington Hotel on the Isle of Wight—for a drunken, raucous party in her room. But the crooner was also asked to leave the bar in London’s Savoy Hotel in 2007 for much tamer reasons. The complaint? After Winehouse joined the bar’s pianist for an impromptu free concert, other guests complained that she was singing too loudly.
A representative of the Savoy had no comment on the incident.