It seems everyone is jumping on the escape room bandwagon these days, so it can be hard to know which ones are worth the dough. If you’ve been following our updates, you know we’ve experienced a fair amount of escape rooms in the SoCal area, and our goal is to review them here on ScarePop.com to help you decide for yourselves which ones are worth checking out. Continuing in our series, we recently had a chance to try out the brand new and slickly-marketed Escape Hotel in Hollywood, which bills itself as the “Worlds Largest Escape Room.” Here’s what we found:
While the Escape Hotel is not an actual hotel, its overarching theme is that of a haunted, 1920’s-era hotel reminiscent of Disneyland’s Tower of Terror or FX’s American Horror Story: Hotel. As soon as you walk through the door, a ghostly bellman greets you with a deadly smile. The lobby is filled with antique furniture and tufted leather seats. At check-in, ghastly hotel clerks collect ID’s and take individual pictures. Each team member is then given a “passport” (a nice takeaway) before being guided by your ghostly host to your room of choice.
Eventually, the Escape Hotel plans to have ten different themed escape rooms to choose from at this location, which will apparently make it the largest in terms of sheer number of rooms under one roof in the U.S., if not the world. As of now, there are currently five different rooms to choose from, including Mafia, Witchcraft, Zombies, Daycare and Agent. Our room was the ‘Daycare’ room. Our game-master bellman escorted us down the long hallway and proceeded to tell us the backstory to room 1919 and all the mysterious deaths and disappearances there. We would have 60 minutes to uncover the clues or else our fate would be no different.
Now, we don’t want to spoil anything for you, so here instead is a list of Pros and Cons:
-Décor and atmosphere: The lobby gets a big thumbs up for its rich, atmospheric design. We really love the haunted hotel theme, and it’s clear they put a lot of their time and money into making sure the entrance and waiting areas look great and immerse you in the theme from the moment you enter. The fact that all the employees are in costume and in character adds to the fun and ambience. Bonus: There’s even a café with food and drinks!
Within the Daycare room, the atmosphere is fittingly spooky and it appears that the set dresser spent time on the details. That, along with the sound design, enabled us to really get engulfed in that world.
-Scares: No spoilers here but there’s a quick surprise waiting for you.
-It’s challenging. Daycare is listed on their website as three out of five stars in terms of difficulty (their easiest level). For the “easier” room, it still had us stumped on some of the riddles. Now, you don’t want a room too easy or else where’s the fun in that?
-Group photo op with fun, creepy props (see our photo above), plus a take-home passport where you earn stamps for each completed room.
-It’s hella dark. Usually rooms start out dim and you find a flashlight or lamp to turn on. Nope. Get ready to work with little to no light the entire time.
–Daycare is designed as a linear escape room, meaning it’s about solving only one puzzle at a time which then unlocks the next clue. Most of the puzzles in Daycare can really only be worked on by one or two people at once, so if you have a group of 6 (like we did), that limits the amount of teamwork and also the ability of other team members to keep occupied throughout. Also, the clues and puzzles didn’t seem quite as thought out or as fun to solve compared to other escape rooms we’ve been to, and were also missing some of the high-tech elements we’ve seen at other escape rooms.
-We struggled at times to hear or understand the game master providing the clues, in part because there’s only one intercom (and a fuzzy one at that) for two rooms and in part because the music/sound design, while atmospheric, is too loud (we also struggled to hear the video that played at the beginning). Also, it didn’t seem that the game master was able to see us, as he kept asking what clues we had found so far, and the clues we did get from him were only marginally helpful based on his descriptions. To be fair, we went during opening week, so it’s very possible things will improve in this area as they receive feedback and as the employees grow into their new roles. Sidenote: After we finished our game, a different host (not our game master) came to escort us out. She told us that the Witchcraft room (listed as the hardest level of difficulty on their site) is a better room and also an easier room – which had us wondering why their website says something different regarding the two rooms’ difficulty levels.
-Parking – An overall con is the parking situation. Escape Hotel is right in the middle of Hollywood, not far from Highland, and parking around there is not easy. There is some street parking but you’ll want to pay very close attention to the signs as we saw cars being towed away on the side street. There is a pay lot across the street for $15.
Overall, despite the cons, the ScarePop crew still had a spooky good time at the the Escape Hotel – one member of our crew even nicknamed it ‘the Disneyland of escape rooms.’ It certainly has the potential for a next-level escape room experience that could really provide a ‘wow factor’, especially for those wanting to do multiple rooms in one visit. It would be interesting to try out some of their other rooms for comparison. We appreciate Escape Hotel‘s vision, their ambition and their efforts so far, but our recommendation would be to perhaps give them some time to iron out some of the kinks first.Escape Hotel 6633 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028