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Whenever you check into a hotel room, you hand over your credit card as a sort of insurance policy against damages — and chances are the most havoc you’ve ever wreaked has been raiding the hotel mini-bar. That’s not how celebrities roll. From legendary Surrealists to ‘70s rock icons to kid actors-turned-troublemakers, the hotel industry is full of cautionary tales of what can happen when a boldface name books a room. Here are just a few of them.
1. Keith Moon
Keith Moon, drummer for The Who, served as a sort of pioneer in the whole “rock star trashes hotel room” cliché, as the people of Flint, Michigan, well remember. The band was in town on August 23, 1967, Moon’s 21st birthday, and the band decided to host a wild party for him at the Holiday Inn, where they were staying. After the group made a mess of the hotel’s interior — furniture was ruined and a girl jumping out of a cake eventually led to a food fight — the police were called. But Moon was not about to call it a night, so he did what any quick-thinking rock star would do: stripped naked, ran through the lobby and drove a Lincoln Continental into the hotel’s pool. The cost of Moon’s antics? A night in jail, a $24,000 hotel damage bill and a ban on ever staying at another Holiday Inn.
2. Keith Richards
Moon wasn’t the only hard-partying “Keith” who was known for behaving badly while on the road. In 1972, Rolling Stones’ guitarist Keith Richards became a model of misbehavior while staying at what was then known as the Hyatt West Hollywood in Los Angeles (today it’s the Andaz West Hollywood). From the hotel’s tenth floor — Room 1015 to be exact — Richards decided to throw the hotel’s television set out the window. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but the hotel did later become a haven for rockers in the 1970s; Led Zeppelin once took over an entire floor, Jim Morrison took up residence there (until he was later thrown out) and it was used as a shooting location for This is Spinal Tap and Almost Famous.
3. Johnny Depp
Since the Pirates of the Caribbean film series first made its debut in 2003, Johnny Depp has never been shy about citing Keith Richards as one inspiration for how he plays his character, Captain Jack Sparrow — in 2007, the film series’ producer even managed to convince Richards to come on board and star in two of the films. So it stands to reason that Depp could have possibly modeled other behaviors after the Stones rocker — like the time in 1994 that he obliterated a $1,200 per night room he was sharing with then-girlfriend Kate Moss at The Mark Hotel in New York.
Eileen Perez, the police officer who responded to a call about the disturbance, explained to The New York Times that when she and her colleagues opened the hotel room door, “There was Depp sitting there, smoking a cigarette, cool and calm.” Moss was with him, Perez said, and “There was glass all over the place and furniture upside down and broken table legs.” Though it’s believed that the damage was the result of a drunken argument between the two, Depp had another explanation: an angry armadillo had been hiding in the closet and he was the real culprit — amazingly, the armadillo was never found. Depp was hauled to jail, where he spent a few hours in custody before being released — then was slapped with nearly $10,000 in damages. For his part, The Who’s Roger Daltrey — who knew a thing or two about ruining a hotel room — wasn’t impressed by Depp’s skills, telling People Magazine, “On a scale of 1 to 10, I give him a 1. It took him so bloody long. The Who could have done the job in one minute flat.”
4. Lindsay Lohan
Notorious actress-turned-troublemaker Lindsay Lohan is also a serial hotel-wrecker. In 2012, she was banned from LA’s swank Chateau Marmont — where she had been living — after racking up a whopping $46,350.04 in unpaid hotel charges. For her part, Lohan said she thought the producers of Liz and Dick, the movie she was filming at the time, were footing the bill, and as she has been spotted there in the years since, we’re guessing her name has since been erased from their blacklist. Just a few months later, the actress caused a reported $50,000 in damage at the W New York Union Square, with an insider claiming that she wouldn’t be allowed back. And those are just two incidents — she’s allegedly not welcome at Santa Monica’s Shutters on the Beach Hotel either.
In December of 1993, MTV News anchor Kurt Loder interviewed Nirvana in Saint Paul, Minnesota. With the interview completed, Loder headed upstairs with band members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, “and they just got really, really drunk,” Loder recounted in 2011. “Not that I was trying not to get drunk, but I didn’t get as drunk as they did. And at one point, Krist just took this picture off the wall and just broke it against the wall, and then they started destroying everything in this room. And it’s, like, four in the morning, and we hear that hotel security is coming up, so I said, ‘Well, it’s really time for me to leave.’ So I’m leaving, going to the elevator, they’re behind me, because they want to go down to my room; they don’t want to get in trouble either.” Thinking they would just wait it out, Loder let them into his room — and the destruction continued. Chairs and tables were broken, resulting in a $19,000 damage bill. “They were just out of their minds,” Loder said. “It was fabulous in a way and yet wrong… Don’t do that at home.” For the record, Loder’s not sure who covered the bill.
6. Michael Jackson
The King of Pop was the author of many an odd hotel incident — most famously the time he dangled his nine-month-old son, Blanket, from the balcony of Berlin’s Hotel Adlon Kempinski in 2002. Onlookers — and anyone else who saw the pictures — were outraged, and Jackson quickly issued an apology, calling the incident a “terrible mistake” and saying that he had no excuse for behaving in such a way, that he’d just been caught up in the moment and would never purposely try to endanger his kids. A few years later, in 2005, Jackson reportedly frightened a member of the housekeeping staff at London’s Dorchester hotel when he answered the door dressed in a Mickey Mouse costume — he was apparently in the midst of having a food fight with his kids, who were dressed up as Tinkerbell and Peter Pan. Fed up with his antics, the hotel reportedly banned him.
7. Russell Crowe
Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe made his own headlines in 2005 when he got so frustrated by his inability to successfully complete a phone call to Australia to his then-wife that he threw the phone in question at the head of Nestor Estrada, an employee of New York City’s Mercer Hotel. Not long after, Crowe was arrested and charged with two felonies: assault in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree. Crowe blamed the incident on extreme jet lag and the two eventually settled the case for a nice six-figure sum.
8. Florence Welch
In 2012, Florence Welch — of Florence and the Machine — admitted that vodka, Kanye West and hotel rooms do not mix. “I think I must have had about 17 dirty martinis,” she told Q Magazine about an evening she spent partying with Kanye West. “I lost my phone and ripped my dress very badly. I accidentally set fire to The Bowery Hotel because I’d left a cinnamon tea light burning. I came back to the hotel, passed out in my ripped dress — no phone, chipped tooth — came ‘round and there was black stuff all over the wall, my book had melted on the bedside table and there was a bucket of water on the floor. Actually the last scene you want to wake up to with a hangover. Half the room was singed.” Amazingly, she said that the damage bill was only a couple of hundred dollars, but the pre-fire drinks with West and Lykke Li cost more.
9. Marilyn Manson
Shock rocker Marilyn Manson must have been in the mood to cause some mayhem. In 1998, while in Poughkeepsie, New York, he finished off a concert and went on what can only be described as a rampage of ruin. After performing at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center, MTV reported that Manson and his entourage had a food fight, broke a blender, cracked a countertop, tried putting holes in the wall, disassembled the heating system and covered the carpet in bananas and mustard, then burnt it when they set a T-shirt on fire — as you can imagine, the carpet had to be replaced. The destruction continued back at the Poughkeepsie Sheraton, where the group destroyed not one but four hotel rooms, setting fire to the carpets, covering the bathroom fixtures in hair dye and causing an all-around headache for the hotel’s other guests. It added up to one unforgettable hotel thrashing — and more than $25,000 in fees.
10. Salvador Dalí
Actors and rock stars aren’t the only ones who know how to give a hotel room a good thrashing. In what must have been an appropriately surreal scene, Salvador Dalí would check into the Suite Royal at Paris’ Le Meurice hotel for at least a month every year, with his two favorite companions: Babou and Bouba, his pet ocelots. In the “Pet-Friendly” section of the hotel’s website, it notes that whenever the legendary artist checked out, “the hotel staff had to completely repaint the Suite Royale because his two tame ocelots particularly loved the carpets!” Still, they let him come back every year — and even named their restaurant after him — probably because he was known to be a good tipper and would often gift people with autographed lithographs, which seems like a worthy trade-off.
Featured image of a trashed hotel room courtesy of Donato Sardella via Getty Images.
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