Within my recent travels, I’ve been lucky enough to sample some amazing hotels and restaurants through my “Around The World In #80Stays” challenge and I’ve been asking myself what defines a “great hotel”…
Not only does a hotel bedroom need to be clean, comfortable and memorable, the service needs to be fantastic and the location needs to offer something special.
But, seeing as I am a film geek, I do often find myself thinking of the more memorable and famous movie hotels and the scenes within films that get me chuckling, smiling or even shivering and how much I would LOVE to stay within some of these hotels as part of my travel plans!
Can you imagine me renting out Leonardo DiCaprio’s Bachelor pad with my friends, partying with Quentin Tarantino “Four Rooms“-stylee or waking up in a penthouse suite in Las Vegas with an epic headache like the guys in “The Hangover“?… There are some hotels I’d love to visit simply to geek out in and these recent thoughts saw me compiling my own top ten of hotels in films, enjoy!
1) The Shining
This is the most iconic hotel portrayed in film in my mind… “The Overlook” hotel was inspired by a hotel known in “real life” as the Stanley Hotel in Colorado (USA), where it is said Stephen King stayed in 1973 and found the inspiration to write about this haunted hotel. This hotel is said to be haunted and hosts regular ghost tours and walks to entertain and spook their guests, as well as being known to play the uncut version of this film on channel 42 on repeat, should you need something to watch whilst snuggling up in bed every night. Not to be confused with this 80’s horror being filmed here, as it was in fact partly filmed using the exterior of the Timber Line Lodge in Oregon.
2) True Romance
One of my favourite films of all times, there are some fantastic film locations set within this film, not forgetting the Vista Theatre in Hollywood where Clarence meets Alabama for the first time after she dumps her popcorn on his lap “accidentally” on purpose. Remember the iconic scene for this film when James Gandolfini finds Alabama and doesn’t treat her like a lady shall we say?.. This hotel is the Safari Inn, located close to Universal Studios and is also host to scenes in other films and shows over the last few years too. Book me a bedroom here when I head to the States to explore more soon please!
If you haven’t seen this film, what are you waiting for? It’s a great indie film, a little depressing in parts due to the nature of the story (Orlando Bloom designs a shoe with a flaw that costs his company $972 million to correct, he loses his job, decides to commit suicide, gets interrupted with news that he his dad has died, he travels to Elizabethtown to pick up the body, falls in love with Kerstin Dunst, stuff goes down at the funeral)… in a nutshell. The final scene is within the ballroom of the Brown Hotel in Louisville and you will never listen to “Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd again – I love that this was filmed in a replica of the hotels’ ballroom – I wonder why!?
4) The Grand Budapest
You can’t feature a top 10 hotels in films post without mentioning this superb film, if you haven’t clapped your eyes on this masterpiece, then stop WHATEVER you are doing right now and watch it gosh darn you! This film is set in 1920’s Germany, and entertains you with the story of Mr Gustav, an ever-pleasing concierge within a decadent hotel back in its day. You’ll be getting clever with your laptop passwords (“BoyWithApple1“) and wanting to head to Germany at a moments notice. This Wes Anderson story was filmed largely around the historic town of Görlitz in Germany – the pastel-pink hotel used as the main focus for this film is in fact a model. The lobby of the hotel was, however, filmed in an empty, run down department store called the Gorlitzer Warenhaus. Now get me to “Mendl’s” for some beautifully crafted patisseries, quick sharp!
5) In Bruges
This is a City I plan to visit for my #80Stays challenge, I hear it’s like a fairytale with all the swans and canals… Unlike some films, where they aren’t actually filmed where you think they should have been, In Bruges WAS filmed in Bruges. This dark, but slightly comical tale of two hit men in hiding gives you a great insight into this picturesque location and the hotel used for their stay was the Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce Hotel. What is interesting about this venue, is that it’s actually a boutique hotel and isn’t given the credit it deserves in the film, where it is actually played down as a slightly less classy establishment for these two unlikely holidaymakers.
6) Best In Show
This is a film I have recently been introduced to, an improvisational comedy by the creators of “This Is Spinal Tap” and follows a group of dog owners and their pups as they compete in a big dog show. It’s hilarious and the memorable scene for me here is when Gerry (the dad from “American Pie“) & Cookie (the mum from “Home Alone“) check into their hotel only to find they can’t afford the room rate for the night. The receptionist takes pity on them and checks them into the most affordable room for their budget – the cleaners cupboard.
7) The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
I recently saw this fantastic film at the cinema and it really is worth watching the first, as well as this sequel. It’s a colourful, amusing emotional and feel-good film series all rolled into one – I wasn’t so sure to start with, but I love them both, the second just a little more admittedly (Dame Maggie Smith is worth watching it for alone, she’s just brilliant). I may not be the “right” age to be a resident at the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, but I still wouldn’t mind an overnight stay on my way through! Check out Castle Kanota, better known as the Viceroy Club within this film.
Again, not based or filmed on/in a real hotel, but it has to feature… the plot focusses on ten strangers who arrive at an isolated motel which becomes temporarily cut off from the rest of the world, and they are mysteriously killed off one by one… Noticing a theme when it comes to motels in films?…
9) Lost In Translation
This film was shot at the Park Hyatt Tokyo, a high-rising hotel boasting a swimming pool with a view to die for… I’d love to be able to swim in this luxury pool and look out over Japan as I relax & unwind. It’s a movie that makes me lust over the Japanese culture every time I watch it – with friends like Mai Kuraki in my filofax, I should really look into it ; )
The Bates Motel is, of course, one of the most memorable hotels when it comes to the flicks, although taking a shower in a motel doesn’t sound like the most appealing thing to do when thinking about the iconic shower/stabbing scene I must say! This was actually filmed in a studio and there is no “real” hotel to visit in order to creep yourself out in the bathroom – a shame. But it is, however, said that Edward Hopper’s “The House by the Railroad” was used as inspiration for the look of the iconic Bates house.
What’s your favourite hotel-themed film? Have you stayed in a famous hotel or motel room?
Do leave a comment below and share your thoughts, I’d love to hear from you!