Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel is the latest true-crime documentary to drop on Netflix that has us utterly gripped. The four-part series tells the story of 21-year-old Canadian student Elisa Lam who mysteriously vanished in 2013 while staying at the Cecil Hotel, a notorious downtown Los Angeles landmark that first opened in 1927.
While searching for the student, police discovered the last CCTV footage of her in one of the hotel's lifts. But rather than provide the police with clues, the video, which showed Elisa making unusual movements as she jumped in and out of the lift and appeared to speak with someone just out of shot, ignited a raft of conspiracy theories and prompted a global community of internet sleuths attempting to crack the case.
But, 19 days after Elisa went missing, her body was found in one of the hotel's water tanks after guests complained about the water turning an odd colour. Guests were moved out of the hotel and given accommodation elsewhere. But what happened to the Cecil Hotel after that?
Is the Cecil Hotel still open today?
Before Elisa's death the Cecil Hotel was well-known for notorious activity, from untimely deaths to housing serial killers Richard Ramirez and Jack Unterweger. In the documentary, general manager Amy Price - who worked at the hotel from 2007 to 2017 - claimed she had seen 80 deaths alone in those 10 years.
As well as being a budget place for tourists to stay, part of the hotel was rented out to long-term tenants who were from the surrounding 'skid row' area.
In 2007 the hotel was sold for $26 million and a section of it was refurbished and named the Stay On Main Hotel. While the Stay On Main Hotel had its own lobby and branding, it still used the same two lifts as the Cecil Building.
In 2014 hotelier Richard Born bought the property for $30 million and it continued to stay open. However, in 2017 the building was shut in order to undergo a complete renovation with a gym, lounge and rooftop pool being added in. The same year it was named a historic-cultural monument by the Los Angeles City Council. Work on the hotel was scheduled for completion this year, but the hotel still remains closed at present.
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