According to the hotel, 70% of guests are already return visitors.

By Stacey Leasca
August 03, 2020
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It’s about to get even harder to book a room at the Chateau Marmont.

The famed Los Angeles hotel has long been a favored destination for Hollywood A-listers and the global elite. It’s a place known for both its opulence and its discretion, and now, it’s about to get even more exclusive.

In July, the hotel’s owner, André Balazs, announced plans to transform Chateau Marmont into a members-only hotel. And it’s all thanks to COVID-19.

Balazs told the Wall Street Journal, he has long thought of turning the property into a members-only hotel, but that the process became a bit more expedited in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. He noted the hotel experienced a dip in reservations and that the new safety protocols made operating a hotel potentially too difficult.

"There is something to be said for knowing people," Balazs told the Wall Street Journal as to why he believed the new plan will work. "You can chat with them; you know where they have been."

As a spokesperson for Balazs told The Los Angeles Times, members purchase shares of the property and pay regular fees, which will go to cover maintenance and management costs. The spokesperson added, the members will get use of a private dining area, a personal butler, as well as the right to leave their belongings and book extended stays. If the member chooses he or she can sell the shares back to the management team or to another approved member.

“Members will be able to sell their shares back to the management company or other approved members, as they would with any other real estate investment,” the spokesperson said.

The conversion, the team told multiple outlets, will likely be complete by the end of 2020. However, Balazs’ spokesperson noted to The Los Angeles Times, it likely won’t be a major transition considering that upward of 70 percent of the hotel’s current guests are repeat visitors.

If the new membership model works Balazs says he may consider introducing it to his other international properties, the Chiltern Firehouse in London and the Mercer in Manhattan.

This story originally appeared on travelandleisure.com.