The Guesthouse Hotel from “National Lampoon’s Vacation”Dec 17th, 2013 | By Lindsay | Category: Movie Locations
Once fellow stalker Owen, of the When Write Is Wrong blog, tracked down the Town House Motel from National Lampoon’s Vacation (which I blogged about here) a couple of weeks back, he set about trying to find the hexagon-shaped pool where Clark W. Griswold (Chevy Chase) went skinny dipping with The Girl in the Ferrari (Christie Brinkley) in the 1983 flick. After, as he said, “putting in more Google search permutations and combinations than I can count,” he came across the locale right in the heart of Norwalk, of all places. As you can imagine, I was absolutely chomping at the bit to stalk it as soon as he gave me the address (I was thisclose to driving from Palm Springs to Norwalk for the day), but did not manage to make it out there until last week when the Grim Cheaper and I were in L.A. for a brief visit.
While sleuthing – and only after looking at a lot of results pages – Owen was led to this Panoramio photograph of a phone booth in Norwalk, on which a commenter named Joe Gattuso happened to mention that he was fairly certain a nearby hotel named the Guesthouse International was used in the filming of National Lampoon’s Vacation. So Owen did a Google search for images of the Guesthouse pool and, sure enough, it was the spot where Clark had skinny dipped. Woot woot!
The Griswold clan – Clark and his wife Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo), son Rusty (Anthony Michael Hall) and daughter Audrey (Dana Barron) – check into the Guesthouse International, which is said to be located about ten hours outside of Los Angeles, towards the end of National Lampoon’s Vacation. While there, Clark and Ellen get into a fight and Clark winds up heading to the hotel bar alone, where he encounters The Girl in the Ferrari. Sadly, the Guesthouse’s lounge area has been completely remodeled in recent years, according to the super nice hotel employee that I spoke with, and no longer looks anything at all like it did in Vacation. Boo! (It was closed at the time that I was stalking the hotel, so I was not able to get any photographs of it in its current state.)
After a few drinks, Clark and The Girl in the Ferrari decide to go skinny dipping in the hotel’s pool (“This is crazy! This is crazy! This is crazy!”) and end up waking up all of the guests, including Clark’s family, while doing so.
I am fairly certain that the area where the scene took place is right about where the Jacuzzi (which was not there when the movie was filmed) is today.
At the time of the filming, the hotel was known as the Saddleback Inn. You can see a photograph of it from that era here. Amazingly enough, despite a name change (that resulted from what I am guessing was a change of ownership), the place still looks pretty much exactly the same today as it did in 1982 when Vacation was filmed. Seriously, how cool is that? Over three decades later and the place is still completely recognizable! LOVE IT!
I am fairly certain that one of the hotel’s actual rooms was also used in the filming, but because the hotel interiors have since been updated, it is impossible to tell. You can see some photographs of what the rooms currently look like here.
Today, the Guesthouse International Hotel boasts 230 rooms, 8 acres, 6 buildings, 2 pools, 1 Jacuzzi – and a partridge in a pear tree. According to the Desert USA website, President Ronald Reagan even stayed there at one point in time.
I was absolutely floored to see the pride that the Guesthouse takes in its cinematic history. Signs stating that Vacation was filmed on the premises are posted throughout the lobby and by the pool. I so wish more hotels would do this sort of thing!
The super nice employee that I spoke with also informed me that the lobby area was used in the filming of the Lifetime movie Drew Peterson: Untouchable. Unfortunately though, I could not find a copy of the production with which to make screen captures for this post.
For more stalking fun, be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Los Angeles magazine online. And you can check out my other blog, The Well-Heeled Diabetic, here.
Big THANK YOU to fellow stalker Owen, of the When Write Is Wrong blog, for finding this location!
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: The Guesthouse International Hotel, where Clark skinny dipped in National Lampoon’s Vacation, is located at 12500 Firestone Boulevard in Norwalk. You can visit the hotel’s official website here. There are two pools located on the premises – the one that appeared in Vacation is the larger of the two, located on the eastern side of the property, closest to the lobby.