Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.
Today (July 20, 2020): Top 10 luxury hotels made famous by movies.
Whether it is the romantic bath scene of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman or Nicholas Cage’s and Sean Connery’s memorable terrace performance in The Rock, luxury hotels have always inspired Hollywood. Some hotels that served as a backdrop for blockbuster movies have become celebrities in their own, and have long drawn visitors that want to step into the world of their favorite film. Here’s a round up of the 10 most luxurious hotels on the planet that have been used as a location for a famous movie.
There is more information below the slideshow. Think I missed one? Share your favorite movie hotel in the comments section, or take my poll at the bottom of the page!
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10. THE PALACE OF THE LOST CITY, SOUTH AFRICA
Set among 60 acres of remote South African wilderness, this sprawling complex built in the crater of an extinct volcano is a wonderland destination where opulence in the bush takes on new meaning. The Palace boasts interiors with hand-carved walls, bespoke furnishings and ceilings that depict a classic African landscape. Outside, the imitation sea and palm fringe beach, Valley of Waves, includes a 5,600-square-meter wave pool, waterslides, sway bridge and Botanical Garden trails. There is also a chance to see the Big Five on safari tours at the adjoining Pilanesberg National Park.
Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore’s romantic comedy Blended (2014) was filmed here.
- Hotel website: The Palace the Lost City
9. THE WALDORF ASTORIA NEW YORK, USA
The iconic, Art Deco inspired Waldorf Astoria hotel occupies an entire city block on fashionable Park Avenue in midtown Manhattan. An official New York City landmark since 1993, the Hilton Group flagship hotel has set the standard for lavish rooms and suites, exquisite dining and 5-star events for over a century. When the U.S. President travels to New York, he always stays at The Waldorf Astoria, and it’s also the first choice of heads of state and dignitaries from around the world. The property is currently closed while undergoing a complete renovation and restoration; it is planned to reopen in two to three years.
The Waldorf Astoria has been a filming location for numerous films, with the most famous ones being Serendipity (2000), Maid in Manhattan (2002), and The Pink Panther (2006).
- Hotel website: The Waldorf Astoria New York
- Other accolades: The Waldorf Astoria New York also features in my top 10 list of the world’s best luxury hotels to spot celebrities.
8. FAIRMONT SAN FRANCISCO, USA
With a panoramic view of the City and the Bay from high atop Nob Hill, Fairmont San Francisco hotel presents an unmatched blend of luxurious accommodations, elegant meeting spaces and superb services, which make for an unforgettable stay. Centrally located, this luxury San Francisco hotel is a short cable car trip from the bustling Downtown, Financial District, Union Square and Fisherman’s Wharf. In fact, Fairmont San Francisco hotel is the only spot in San Francisco where each of the City’s cable car lines meet.
The hotel’s $18,000-a-night opulent penthouse suite features in the movie The Rock (1996) with Nicholas Cage’s and Sean Connery’s memorable terrace scene performance.
- Hotel website: Fairmont San Francisco
7. THE GRITTI PALACE, VENICE, ITALY
The Gritti Palace, managed by Marriott’s The Luxury Collection, is one of Venice’s most celebrated luxury hotels. It is a place where Italian history and culture meet with renewed Venetian style, a place of exceptional art and elegance, reassuringly intimate with a homely feel. With a floating terrace on the best spot along Venice’s Canal Grande, the Gritti Palace has always attracted global influencers, celebrities and the world’s elite to socialize, draw inspiration, and celebrate during international city events such as the Biennale of Contemporary Art and the Venice Film Festival.
Woody Allen filmed Everyone Says I Love You (1996) at the Gritti Palace.
- Hotel website: The Gritti Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel
- Other accolades: the Gritti Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, also features in my top 10 lists of the most spectacular hotel rooftops, the best luxury hotels in Venice, and Europe’s best hotel rooftops.
- Review: read here my review of the Gritti Palace.
6. TAJ LAKE PALACE, UDAIPUR, INDIA
It’s hard to believe the floating vision in white marble is real when you get your first glimpse of the Taj Lake Palace hotel in Udaipur. Accommodations at Taj Lake Palace are as delightful as the exterior. Each and every one of the 66 rooms and 17 suites offer stunning views and intricate décor to envelop guests in royal mystique. Among the most compelling is The Chandra Prakash Suite, meaning Lustre of the Moon. The decorative gilt moldings, sculpted marble columns, and fine fretwork screens impressed even the Maharaja who held court in this very room in the 1930s.
In the movie Octopussy (1983) Roger Moore alias James Bond swims up to the ‘floating palace’, populated only by attractive women.
- Hotel website: Taj Lake Palace
5. BEVERLY WILSHARE, BEVERLY HILLS, USA
A landmark since opening in 1928, Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills (A Four Seasons Hotel) combines history and glamour in the heart of Beverly Hills, California, just steps from Rodeo Drive shopping and dining. For decades, the hotel has been a preferred address for Hollywood celebrities and the international elite, from Elvis Presley, John Lennon and Warren Beatty to the Aga Khan, Dalai Lama and the British royal family. The luxury hotel features 395 stylish guest rooms (including 137 spacious suites), Michelin-starred restaurants, a world-class spa, and warmly hospitable Four Seasons service.
The international smash movie hit Pretty Woman (1990) was filmed at Beverly Wilshire, and the iconic hotel has long drawn movie lovers to its doors.
- Hotel website: Beverly Wilshire, a Four Seasons Hotel
4. BELLAGIO LAS VEGAS, USA
Bellagio, an award-winning MGM resort & casino, is one of the best choices in Las Vegas for discerning travelers. It is home to a staggering 3950 rooms, award winning restaurants, the lush Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, a sumptuous spa, and salon and shopping at designer boutiques. The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art presents exhibitions of paintings, sculptures and works on paper by the world’s most influential artists (such as Picasso). Inspired by the villages of Europe, the hotel overlooks a Mediterranean-blue lake with spectacular fountains performing a magnificent ballet.
In Ocean’s Eleven (2011), the star-studded crew (George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and Andy Garcia) plans to rob the Bellagio’s vault.
- Hotel website: Bellagio
- Other accolades: Bellagio features in my top 10 list of the largest hotels in the world.
3. PARK HYATT TOKYO, JAPAN
From the moment a guest walks in and collects the room key on a sterling silver key ring, it is clear that a stay at Park Hyatt Tokyo will be an “over-the-top” experience. Perched on the top floors of a modern skyscraper that towers above one of Asia’s most thrilling cities, the legendary Park Hyatt Tokyo hotel is an elegant oasis of space and calm overlooking Tokyo and the Kanto Plain all the way to Munt Fuji. The spacious rooms feature stylishly appointed interiors, with earthy hues of deep green and brown set against ebony furnishings, and a rich warmth from the fine woodwork, hand-tufted carpets, and natural-fibre woven wall coverings.
Sofia Coppola’s beautiful movie Lost in Translation (2003) was filmed at the Park Hyatt Tokyo.
- Hotel website: Park Hyatt Tokyo
- Other accolades: Park Hyatt Tokyo also features in my top 10 lists of the best luxury hotels in Japan and the most exclusive hotels in Tokyo.
- Review: read here my review of the Park Hyatt Tokyo.
2. ST REGIS BORA BORA
Reaching out across 44 acres of lush landscaping edged by powdery white sands and a crystalline lagoon, The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort represents the epitome of carefree elegance. Its 100 exquisitely designed accommodations feature the largest over-water villas in the South Seas as well as stunning beach villas, showcases for the warm glow of exotic woods, handwoven fabrics and regional art. Rising in the distance, the towering majesty of Mount Otemanu is an ever-present symbol of the lofty luxury and impressively personalized service that are the hallmarks of St. Regis.
The resort, set against a backdrop of jaw-dropping beauty, was used as the exotic Eden Resort for filming the movie Couples Retreat (2009).
- Hotel website: St Regis Bora Bora
- Other top 10 accolades: St Regis Bora Bora also features in my top 10 lists of the most beautiful hotel beaches in the world and the best luxury resorts in French Polynesia.
1. AMANJENA, MARRAKECH, MOROCCO
Date palms and olive trees dot the grounds of Amanjena, a ultraluxurious oasis that is located outside the ancient city of Marrakech and managed by Aman (the world’s most exclusive hotel brand). The resort’s indulgent tranquillity is complemented by easy access to the medina and Morocco’s mesmerising landscape. Amanjena’s graceful arches, stone courtyards and gentle fountains reflect the region’s Moorish heritage. Its bold sun-kissed red and emerald-green colours are an echo to those of the Red City (Marrakech) and its royal heritage. Radiating out from an ancient, life-giving basin, Amanjena’s 32 Pavilions and seven Maisons are contemporary interpretations of Moroccan traditions.
The 2010 movie Sex and the City 2 was filmed at Amanjena, although it’s marketed as an Abu Dhabi hotel in the film.
- Hotel website: Amanjena
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There is one mistake in your ranking: Sex & the City 2 was not filmed at Amanjena! You can google the film credits – originally, the Hotel in the movie opened as Mandarin Oriental, then quickly changed to Taj Palace. Finally it took the individual name “Sahara Palace Marrakech” before it closed its doors completely. (The Hotel does not exit anymore)
Since the Waldorf-Astoria was sold to a Chinese business tycoon a few years back, The president of the United States no longer automatically resides there when visiting NYC. Hidden microphones and other espionage elements are of concern.
Let’s go back a few years…River of No Return, starring Marilyn Monroe and Robert Mitchum, filmed partly in Banff in 1953 and the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel was where the cast and crew stayed. Movie released in 1954.
Plaza Hotel NYC – Home Alone 2
Great list! Cable cars stop right in front of The Fairmont San Francisco is also home to the famous Tonga Room Tiki Bar visited by Anthony Bourdain as well!
Plaza has featured in quite a few films. Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego (Some like it hot), The Savoy in London (lots), The Peninsula Hong Kong (Man with the golden gun), Cala di Volpe Sardinia (Spy who loved me) – in fact most James Bond films feature great hotels. Burj Khalifa Armani Hotel (Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol, The Ritz London (Notting Hill), George V Paris (French Kiss), Four Seasons Cap ferrat Hotel (Ab Fab, Diry Rotten Scoundrels), Beverley Hills Hotel (California Suite) Ritz Carlton Krabi (Hangover Part 2)
Plaza has featured in a lot lot lot of films such as Home alone 2,… Pupp hotel Kalvory Vary in “The last holiday” is also an example.