Officers responded at about 12:50 a.m. to a report of a person with a gun at a Holiday Inn in the 2600 block of Lakewood Boulevard, said Nancy Pratt, spokeswoman for the Long Beach Police Department.
The shooting took place in the lobby of the hotel, located just south of Long Beach Airport. The suspect was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Pratt said. He was not immediately identified.
No civilians or officers were injured.
Authorities said the suspect entered the lobby of the hotel shortly after midnight and took the worker hostage. The police response was prompted by a 911 call from the employee.
"The occupants of the hotel are safely tucked away in their rooms at this time," Pratt said as an investigation got underway at the scene. "They are not allowed to come down through the elevators; there are other arrangements being made for them."
A publicly released photo shows the gun that was recovered in the lobby, police said.
The motive for the incident was unknown. Investigators said the suspect did not have any connection with anyone staying at the hotel.