- Played February 2017
- Los Angeles
- 60 minutes
- 3-8 players
- What People Say
Escape Hotel. By now, its advertising and marketing has captured the attention of every Los Angelite with access to the Internet. They have full-on movie trailers adorning a beautifully haunting website. Their headquarters and armada of escape rooms dominate a quarter block on the famous Hollywood Boulevard. Even when you first enter the Hotel, your jaw will drop, because their lobby is a two-story work of art fitted with comfortable sofas, classic wooden board games, and somewhat unsettling decor. It is by far the largest and most extravagant room in Los Angeles.
But you have to wonder, if the Hotel is so prominent, why is the lobby so empty on a Sunday afternoon, when Hollywood is crawling with tourists and visitors? And if I’m dropping $40+ on a single escape room, it better be vying for a top spot on the extensive list of escape rooms in Los Angeles.
First off is the rather tedious process of “checking in.” It’s a nice touch — they take your picture and make you a little passport to mark which of the 10 rooms you’ve done — but there’s a reason why they tell you to come 15-30 minutes before your appointed time. Because checking in takes longer than it would at a real hotel. Sometimes you just want to start the escape room right away, but you won’t get that here. Thankfully, you only have to check in once; once you’ve got your passport, you’ll circumvent the opening process on future visits.
But after struggling through Slaughter, you might wonder if the Escape Hotel is worth a return visit. Though they boast of Slaughter’s steep difficulty level, there is still a fat line between “difficult” and “impossible”, and this room easily crosses into the realm of the latter.
Instructions on how to operate things are confusing or outright incorrect, yet dismissed at the end as “red herrings”. Literally every puzzle and hidden clue is designed to waste time for no reason at all. You will be forced to guess at certain locks and combos. The lighting system is so infuriating to operate that one of our teammates was punching things in frustration. Oh, and just like nearly every escape room, you’ll be told that you don’t have to move anything more than ten pounds or mess with exposed wires… right before being thrust into a room full of these things. Unless you’re practically chewing on the walkie-talkie for help the entire time, good luck; you’ll literally need it.
It’s a shame, because the room itself is beautifully designed and gives off the proper “horror” atmosphere. Your heart will begin to race as soon as you enter the room. But there’s no plot to the puzzles (besides “get out or die”), no backstory, nothing really to immerse you in the experience besides the horror theme. And we just can’t get over the fact that Slaughter has one of the most poorly designed puzzle sets out of all the escape rooms we’ve done in Los Angeles County; the feeling of deep frustration alone was enough to pull us out of the experience entirely. We entered excited; we left exhausted and disappointed, and with no fanfare at all, as the Escape Hotel doesn’t commemorate your victory (or console you upon losing) afterward.
Though Slaughter whispers of promise, it suffers massively in the one area which is the indisputable cornerstone of escape rooms. Even if this was not the most expensive escape room in Los Angeles County, we cannot recommend a visit to Slaughter unless a major overhaul is performed on the working of the puzzles.