How the Chateau Marmont Valets Became Hollywood Heroes

There's an art to parking, and these guys exemplify it

Chateau Marmont
Chateau Marmont's valets are among the world's most beloved.
Tony Hisgett/Creative Commons
By Tobias Carroll / February 15, 2020 9:13 am

What’s not to like about a good story about people doing essential behind the scenes work? At The Hollywood Reporter, Gary Baum explored a quartet of men who actor Michael Madsen called “the unsung heroes, the unknown stars of the place.” They’ve been at their jobs for decades — the one with the shortest tenure there has worked at the same place for 30 years.

What do they do, you might ask? They’re the valets at the Chateau Marmont, the Hollywood hotel known for its impressive clientele and long history. Baum’s article features glowing testimonials from the likes of Alfonso Cuarón and Sam Rockwell.

The article also notes that the art of valet parking requires skill above and beyond an extensive knowledge of a range of vehicles and the ability to park in tight spots. Baum writes that the hotel’s policy is for seats and mirrors to be left unadjusted by the valets unless the car’s driver has given permission.

So they’ve taught themselves to stretch into impossible positions while making many-point turns under quick timetables in several-hundred-thousand-dollar luxury automobiles.

As for what types of cars the valets do and don’t enjoy driving — well, there are some surprises to be found there. Hummers are a concern due to their size; Lamborghinis are as well, owing to visibility issues. Teslas, on the other hand, are highly regarded, with valet Raymundo Romero singing them out for praise. “They’re magnificent, so easy to deal with,” he told Baum.

It might not be what you’d expect from a star-studded piece of journalism, but it’s a reminder that valet parking is a skill like any other — and the subjects of Baum’s article are the equivalent of the chef at a Michelin-starred restaurant for their vocation.

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