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The El Royale Motel

Apr 6th, 2009 | By | Category: Movie Locations



A couple of weeks ago while doing some Valley stalking,  my boyfriend and I happened to drive by a small motel named the El Royale and I immediately recognized it from this page on the Seeing Stars website.   I didn’t watch the Fourth Season of The O.C. (even though I do love me some Benjamin McKenzie!), but apparently the El Royale Motel was used in the second episode of that season.  In the episode, entitled “The Gringos”, Ryan and Seth follow Volchok down to Ensenada, Mexico to try to avenge Marissa’s death.  While there they check into the El Royale.   




Interestingly enough, though, it appears that the El Royale was used only for establishing  shots of their motel and that no actual filming took place there.  You can see in the above screen captures that the interiors of Ryan and Seth’s room don’t match the exteriors of the El Royale.  For example, when Ryan and Seth enter the motel room, you can see an interior hallway behind them.  The El Royale does not actually have any interior hallways.  Ryan and Seth’s motel room window is also small and flat and does not match the popped out picture windows that exist at the real El Royale.  My best guess is that the interior of their room was a set that existed only on a soundstage.



The El Royale also made an appearance in the 1997 Marky-Mark film Boogie Nights  (pictured above).  It was used as the location where Duke and Reed plan the drug scam they are going to pull on Rahad.  In Boogie Nights, as with The O.C., it appears that only the exteriors of the motel were used, as once again, the interior shots don’t match up to what the motel really looks like. 


The El Royale was also featured in the movies Angel  and  Fool For Love.  But since I have not seen either of them, I am not sure whether only the El Royale exteriors were used or if some interior filming took place there, as well.





One of the few productions that did actually film inside of an El Royale Motel room, is the television series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.  In a Season 9 episode of the show entitled “Kill Me If You Can”, a woman is found dead inside of one of the El Royale bungalows, leaving behind a desert tortoise named Gareth as the only witness to the crime (pictured above).


The El Royale is a very unusual little motel, with about 15 tiny bungalows situated around an empty cement lot.  Each bungalow has its own entrance and carport.    It is easy to see why the El Royale has been used so often in film and television productions as it definitely gives off a seedy motel vibe.   I do recommend stalking it, though, as it is such a unique spot and seeing it in person will make you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time to a different era. 



Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: The El Royale Motel is located at 11117 Ventura Boulevard in Studio City.



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  1. Lemonlime says:

    Im staying here cuz my dad knows the owners of el royale

  2. Pigtails says:

    Am staying at the hotel right now my dad lives here he the white truck in the one pic, me I got my own room here it’s very cool, the place is very vintage but cool I like it

  3. Marian in Carrollton says:

    I watched Criminal Minds, Season 3, Episode 6 (About Face) which first aired October 31, 2007, and which was supposedly filmed in Carrollton, TX, a suburb of Dallas. There is a scene at El Royale Motel in “Dallas”; however, I looked the Motel up and see you located the actual location of the El Royale in Studio City. Great to know, Lindsay!

  4. andyinsdca says:

    This is also the motel where the main bad guy in “52 Pick-up” takes Ann-Margaret after kidnapping her.

  5. tony says:

    OMG, Lindsay! I instantly recognized this motel as the one featured in Bedtime Stories, the Sunny Vista. This is the motel where the whole movie starts. When I saw the movie, I knew that I had seen it somewhere before but I couldn’t put my finger on it. It was your site. Neat how some of these locations just keep popping up.
    Keep up your good work- Tony

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