The Beverly Hilton will once again host Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammy Awards party Saturday.
But as A-list stars cram the ballroom for a night of music and festivities — chairman and chief executive of Epic Records Antonio “L.A.” Reid is this year’s honoree — the gala will also serve as a sobering reminder of Whitney Houston’s death.
Last year’s soiree turned out to be a somber event, because the singer died in her hotel room less than 24 hours before she was scheduled to attend the party.
In town to appear at Davis’ annual soiree, she was found in the bathtub of her hotel room. Her assistant had left to pick up a package and laid out the gown Houston was to wear that night.
With a who’s who of the music industry descending upon the hotel for what’s become a revered Grammy ritual, the night quickly turned surreal as news of her death spread.
As the scene at Hilton became a circus with media flocking the already frenzied hotel to cover her death, Davis — the man who discovered Houston — struggled to eulogize the singer as her body remained in her suite a few floors above the ballroom.
While the circumstances of her death and the events leading to it have been thoroughly reported, one question remains: What will happen to Room 434?
Since Houston’s death, the room where she died has been taken off rotation and the number was removed from the door to discourage gawkers.
“The anniversary of Whitney Houston’s death is a sad reminder to us all that we have lost an iconic and well-loved entertainer. Out of respect to the family and fans of Whitney, the guest room where she stayed was immediately taken out of inventory and all contents were removed,” reads a statement issued by the Hilton. “Hotel management is considering options to repurpose the space but has made no final decisions at this time.”
Although the statement says a final decision has yet to be made, the room will quietly be placed back into rotation, according to a source with the famous hotel.
As for the more macabre guests hoping to book the room the singer died in, it’s unlikely it will have the same number. And since the Beverly Hills Police Department stripped the scene of most of its furniture a year ago, including the tub where the singer drowned, the room will undoubtedly receive a makeover before it’s reassigned a new number on its door.