Escape the Sanatorium!

From the moment you step into the lobby of Escape Hotel in Hollywood, you are transported into a creepy, ‘50s hotel: a plethora of leather couches are adorned with elements of the macabre; cracked and faded retro board games are available to spice up the wait for your room; a cotton-candy maker (and a menu of treats) is available for snacks.

Greeted by a pale concierge, my friends and I were asked for our tickets and IDs, then posed for passport photos. We were given our passports with our room stamped in them: Sanatorium, my first 90-minute escape-room challenge. After handing over all our belongings, which were secured in a locker with a key we held onto, a dead-eyed bellhop led us to our room and went over the rules.

Sanatorium is located in the basement of the facility. Given individual lanterns, we headed down into the eerie darkness and awaited our task. Years ago, in Edwin Hills Sanatorium, patients were tortured and killed. Now, we were stuck there. In order to escape, we needed to purge the evil and release the patients’ ghosts – if we didn’t go insane first!

There were multiple rooms, all full of props and creepy details. There was also an actress in the room to add to the ambiance and give clues if requested, or if we were on the wrong track (which happened a few times). Her name was Lizzie, and she was the last patient left in the facility, and a little unhinged. The place had plenty of puzzles to solve, but this room was less of a “searching” room; the puzzles were quite straight-forward, once we found the elements needed. The tricky part was that several puzzles were VERY dependent on placement. If the pieces weren’t properly aligned, the puzzle was not considered complete.

For the most part, our group was able to split up and work on puzzles simultaneously, coming back together when a new area opened. The thrill of hearing something unlock or a door open created a stir among my group, as we would all hurry in anticipation to see what had happened. There was a handful of puzzles where only one or two people were needed – including, sadly, the very last one, which we only needed one person to figure out. I think it would have been a more celebratory feat if the last puzzle was a bigger group effort. Once we escaped the Sanatorium – with three minutes left, and with lots of help from Lizzie – we took pictures in the photo booth, got our passports stamped again – this time with a red seal meaning we made it – retrieved our belongings and were on our way.

Sanatorium is the largest escape room I’ve done, and has arguably the best production value. The set and props were thorough, but not gross or morbid. The hydraulics utilized in the room combined with the sounds were a lot of fun and added to the suspense and pressure once the timer got closer to the end. I liked the passport aspect of the Hotel, especially since they have a multitude of rooms to see and experience. I can’t wait to go back and collect more completion stamps!

Escape Hotel currently has a total of 9 experiences, with 2 more coming soon, including a Pirate room!

Escape Hotel Hollywood
6633 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
TUE – FRI: 11:00am-12:00 am (Midnight)
SAT & SUN: 10:30am – 12:00 am (Midnight)


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