Hotel Vertigo – San Francisco, California - Atlas Obscura
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San Francisco, California

Hotel Vertigo

A historic hotel that made a cameo in Hitchcock's classic film has no intention of letting guests forget its fame. 

Alfred Hitchcock was known for, among other things, his iconic location shooting. Many of these sites can be visited around San Francisco, if you know where to look, including the hotel that played a role in (and later, took the name of) one of the director’s most iconic films, “Vertigo.”

Originally called the Empire Hotel, the renamed Hotel Vertigo now takes pride (and tourist dollars) from its former fame. When Hitchcock was filming his 1958 suspense classiche chose the exterior of the Empire Hotel as the location for character Judy Barton’s home. He was particularly interested in the hotel’s neon green sign, which could be seen from outside the window of her room. (Sadly, the sign did not survive the hotel’s redesign.)

After changing its name first to the York Hotel, the central San Franciscan lodging was eventually rechristened the Hotel Vertigo. To drive the selling point home, the lobby has been decked out in a stark orange and white ’60s decor that invokes the film’s famous movie poster. In addition, the film itself plays on a loop in the lobby at all times. The amount of references to the film that briefly used the space is enough to make one’s head spin.