FORGET the actors — these hotels have serious star power of their own.
After capturing the eye of Hollywood filmmakers, these properties have become part and parcel of cinematic history — and you can stay in them too!
Whether it be a vintage classic, a much-loved rom-com, or a hair-raising horror, few things inspire travel like a good movie, and making a pilgrimage to the locations of your favourite flick is more popular than ever.
In fact, these days “set-jetting” is a bona fide travel phenomenon.
From Julia Roberts’ and Richard Gere’s bathing scene in Pretty Woman, to Jack Nicholson’s snowbound psychotic breakdown in The Shining, check into one of these scene-stealing hotels to have your very own celluloid encounter.
THE PLAZA, NEW YORK, USA
A go-to for New York’s high society types for more than a century, the 282-room Plaza has appeared in well over 30 different movies.
First making its debut in Hitchcock’s 1959 spy thriller, North by Northwest, the landmark building went on to also have starring appearances in The Way We Were, Almost Famous, Barefoot in the Park, Funny Girl, Crocodile Dundee and — most recently — The Great Gatsby.
But it was the hotel’s role in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York that most of us remember it best for.
It was here where Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) ends up after being separated from his parents (yet again) and checks in to an opulent suite using his father’s credit card. Smart kid.
PARK HYATT, TOKYO, JAPAN
The main stage for Sofia Coppola’s Oscar-winning Lost In Translation, the Park Hyatt, Tokyo is where both of the leading characters, Bob (Bill Murray) and Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) stay.
Situated among the bright lights of the city’s Shinjuku area, the hotel is one of the best in town. However, if you want to retrace their footsteps, you don’t necessarily need to dig deep into your wallet for the five-star hotel price tag.
Instead, head to its top-floor New York Bar and Grill and all you’ll need to cough up is the cost of a drink or two.
The setting of several scenes in the film, the bar is packed every night. Hardcore fans can even opt for the specially created ‘LIT’ (Lost in Translation) cocktail.
THE TIMBERLINE LODGE, OREGON, US
You’ve already shuddered at the big screen adaptation of Stephen King’s spooky chiller, The Shining. So how about taking it one step further and staying at the hotel from the movie?
The ski resort of Timberline Lodge was used as the fictional Overlook Hotel in the 1980 horror.
While only its exterior was filmed, fans who come to stay at the hotel make a beeline for Room 217 — the most haunted room, according to the novel.
And if that’s not enough to raise the fear-factor, you can even borrow a copy of the movie from the hotel library to watch in your room. Here’s Johnny!
ONE & ONLY OCEAN CLUB RESORT, BAHAMAS
Get a taste of James Bond’s life — without the life-threatening danger bit — at the ultra-luxurious One & Only Ocean Club Resort in the Bahamas.
Used extensively in Casino Royale, scenes filmed in and around the club included Bond’s arrival by seaplane, his poker game against baddie, Dimitrios, in the hotel’s library, and of course, his seduction of Dimitrios’ girlfriend in his sea-view villa.
The exact villa in which Bond stayed is available (#108) but it comes at a hefty price.
Bond girl not included.
BEVERLY WILSHIRE, LOS ANGELES, US
Despite the fact that everyone from Elvis Presley and Mick Jagger, to Elton John and Obama has checked in to the Beverly Wilshire, this Beverly Hills hotel was only really put on the worldwide radar after being featured in the 1990 blockbuster, Pretty Woman.
It was here where the unlikely relationship between working gal, Vivian (Julia Roberts) and cashed-up businessman, Edward (Richard Gere) developed.
If money is no object then the plush presidential suite is where much of the action in the movie took place — including the bathtub scene.
But if you want to follow in Julia’s shoes for nix, then duck into hotel lobby (laden with shopping bags from the nearby Rodeo Drive, of course) and strut your stuff while recalling her classic put down: “big mistake!”
PALACE HOTEL, BROKEN HILL, AUSTRALIA
Located in the heart of Broken Hill — an iconic outback mining town more than 1000km west of Sydney — the Palace Hotel is the star of one of Australia’s homegrown cinema success stories: The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
In the cult 1994 movie the “girls” (Guy Pearce, Hugo Weaving and Terence Stamp) enjoy a colourful stopover at the hotel during their cross-country adventure from Sydney to Alice Springs.
Numerous scenes were filmed at the hotel and its mural-covered walls are instantly recognisable. Accommodation these days ranges from dorms and family rooms through to the famous “Priscilla Suite”.
RAVLA KHEMPUR, RAJASTHAN, INDIA
The original The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel flick followed an all-star cast of British acting greats — including Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Bill Nighy — who played a bunch of aged misfits moving to a retirement hotel in India.
Raking in a whopping $150 million-plus at the box office, its success lured Hollywood heavyweight Richard Gere for a 2014 hit sequel.
In real-life however, the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is actually the Ravla Khempur, a 17th-century former-palace in the northern Indian state of Rajasthan.
Every bit as charming and quaint as its big screen alter-ego, since the release of the first movie in 2012, bookings have doubled and nowadays the hotel also offers set-jetters tours of the various filming locations, both in the hotel and nearby.
THE HOTEL DEL CORONADO, SAN DIEGO, US
Released in 1959, the Billy Wilder classic Some Like It Hot has been voted the #1 comedy of all time by the American Film Institute and sits at #14 on its list of the 100 Greatest Movies of all time.
So, unsurprisingly cinephiles have long been making a pilgrimage to the Diego’s Hotel Del Coronado, which provided a backdrop to the now legendary film.
Used for both its exterior onscreen, and by its cast — namely Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis — off-screen.
These days fans can make like Marilyn by lingering on its sweeping Victorian porch or by walking along the adjacent beach.
Originally from the UK, Paul has lived and worked in three different continents: from the heady metropolis of Dubai, to North America and — as of seven years ago — Sydney, Australia; a place he now calls home. You can find out more about Paul here.