The El Royale Motel.
Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?
A. A cheap motel
Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?
A. In Episode 2 (of season 4), "The Gringos".
Following Marissa's death, Ryan pursues Volchok to Ensenada, with Seth tagging along. Once there, they check into a cheap motel, the El Royale Motel.
Entering the room, Seth remarks: "Oh. So this is 15 bucks buys you in Ensenada."
Seth goes to use the restroom, but comments on a huge spider in there, and when he comes back out, he discovers that Ryan has already gone and left him behind.
Q. What is it actually in real life?
A. It's a small
motel, but not in Mexico.
A. This unusual collection of red-roofed bungalows, the El Royale Motel, is actually located in the San Fernando Valley, at 11117 Ventura Blvd, in Studio City.
(That's just west of Vineland Ave, about a mile northwest of Universal Studios Hollywood.)
Here is a Bird's Eye view aerial photo of the motel.
And here is a map link.
Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?
A. This one was tricky. At first, it seemed like it would be a slam dunk. The street number (11117) was right there in plain sight, the name was right there too ("El Royale Motel") and it's an unusual looking collection of bungalows. So it should have been easy to find, right? Wrong.
When I typed "El Royale Motel" into the Yellow Pages, nothing came up. When I typed "El Royale Motel and 11117" into Google, nothing came up. When I tried "El Royale Apartments", I got an upscale condo unit near Hancock Park... I switched to a map tactic, mapping 11117 addresses in an east-west line across south L.A. and looking at aerial photos to try to spot the bungalows, but found nothing down there. (Given that the other Ensenada addresses were all in south L.A., and that The OC almost never films in the south Valley, I hadn't even thought about Studio City.)
Finally, I tried another tactic. I looked for photos by Googling images under "El Royale". It turned up a page of photos on Flickr.com. It appears that more than one person had captured this unusual little motel. Unfortunately, none of them mentioned where it was located. But one person's photos included a link back to his website ( americanroadside.com ), and there I eventually found the El Royale photo again, with a caption under it this time, reading "Wonderful noir-style motel between Hollywood and Sherman Oaks on Ventura Blvd." That was all I needed. I switched to Live Local and pulled up an aerial photo of 11117 Ventura Blvd, and there it was, big as life. (But I'm still somewhat amazed that they shot it in Studio City... Oh well, I guess there's a first time for everything.)
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