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Hollywood Spa

1650 Ivar Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028
1974 2014

Hollywood Spa opened in 1974 and, before the advent of HIV and AIDS, was a major destination for gay men who had few other places to meet one another. It had 100 private rooms, a DJ, a steam room and jacuzzi, an “adult video” lounge, a gym and a cafe. The spa boasted on its website that it hosted over 100,000 visitors a year.

"At the upscale Hollywood Spa on Ivar Avenue, towel-wrapped patrons can look each other over while working out on gym equipment or sipping freshly squeezed orange juice from the cafe. Vintage Hollywood posters cover the walls, strobe lights flicker, and DJs spin the latest club music." (L.A. Times, 27 Oct, 1997)

The spa was ordered to close in 1988, as part of an enforcement of stringent regulations restricting sexual activity at gay bathhouses. “I don’t plan to close,” said Scott D.R. Goulet, owner of Hollywood Spa, 1650 Ivar Ave. “We adjudicated this issue two years ago. We won it then. The county was wrong,” he said. Co-owner and spa manager John Ferry told the LA Times: “We’re going to fight this thing. As far as we’re concerned, we’re the good guys. We consider the Hollywood Spa to be an important asset in terms of being a place for gay men to socialize, be educated about health issues and be free from homophobic attacks such as this lawsuit.” Goulet died of AIDS-related complications in 1993.

Peter Sykes, who owns the North Hollywood Spa, another gay bathhouse, took over Hollywood Spa after Goulet's death. In 2014, Sykes said Denley Companies, the real estate firm controlled by Mehdi Bolour, wanted to double the nearly $30,000 in rent he paid each month for the Ivar location. As of 2014, Sykes confirmed that Hollywood Spa was six months behind in payment of its rent.

The Spa finally closed its doors after a 5-day celebration over Easter weekend, 2014. As of today, the building is unrented.