Lost Los Angeles: Ambassador Hotel

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Ambassador Hotel Los Angeles
The Ambassador Hotel’s jungle-themed nightclub, the Cocoanut Grove (Los Angeles Public Library)

From its opening in 1921, the enormous Ambassador Hotel — it had 1,200 rooms, 37 shops, a threat, golf course and a bowling alley — played a central role in Los Angeles high society. Its most famous attraction: the Cocoanut Grove, a jungle-themed nightclub that hosted well-known entertainers through the years, including Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Judy Garland, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole and The Supremes.

The hotel lost its magic in the early morning of June 5, 1968, when Robert F. Kennedy, the Democratic Party presidential candidate, was shot in its pantry after winning the California primary.

Gang and illegal drug problems in the neighborhood added to hotel’s demise. It finally closed in 1989. The building was demolished between 2005 and 2006. The Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools now stand in its place.

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