No, it is not the building on the cover of the "Hotel California" album.
That hotel's in Beverly Hills (although someone recently told us Camarillo). But we can all be forgiven for thinking that Castle Green in Pasadena is a bit Hotel California-ish, at least by its seen-from-the-outside looks.
That's how special this is. Willy Wonka-like, in fact. Just four hours. Don't dawdle if you want to go.
It is true that the whimsical, straight-from-a-storybook former hotel that sits just south of Old Town Pasadena doesn't open its doors very often to non-residents. So when it does it definitely is a treat.
In attendance: lookie-loos, people who dig the arts scene, fans of old buildings, and anyone obsessed with places that have been used in a ton of famous films, from "Bugsy" to David Lynch's "Wild at Heart" (all the red drapery around the lobby is very Lynchian to us).
The Castle's site reports that Tim Burton lived here -- we can see that -- and Marcel Duchamp visited. While we can't guarantee you'll see any famous faces on the tour, you will see artists' apartments -- because many artists live there -- and beautiful salons done up for the season. Boughs of greenery, ribbons and pretty holiday things are all a part of the day, but we like eyeballing how the lucky and highly creative people who call Castle Green home live.
One last thing. If you really, really, really love it, and you probably will, there's a place for sale in the building right now. Oh, the high ceilings. The prim corner fireplace. We're dreaming.