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LAistory: The Ambassador Hotel

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As late as 2005, the Ambassador sat on twenty-four acres of land on Wilshire Boulevard in Koreatown. It was set far back from the street and had the haunted look of old castles. It drew the eye as only someplace ruined, someplace steeped in history can. Blinded, it was worn with crumbling at the edges, bound by a perimeter of chain link fences. It was a fabulous ghost and it could have been a fabulous relic.

The Ambassador Hotel was once the center of Los Angeles style. It was an ode to art deco. In its prime, it housed the fabulous Cocoanut Grove, one of the hippest restaurants in the city. It was the last place where Robert Kennedy walked this earth. Since its closing in 1989, the Ambassador Hotel has lived the mysterious half-life of a movie set to which so many grand buildings in Southern California are reduced.