Staying ‘in character’ is the critics’ pet idea and the holy grail of writers and directors. If you describe the ornament on the protagonist's favourite mug, you'll be branded as banal and unsophisticated. That's why placing the movies's action in a hotel is the ultimate challenge. Dialoges, tightly pressed lips and trembling fingers. Move the plot, and the hotel suddenly stands out as a character in its own right.
The Stanley Hotel ESTES PARK , USA
Here’s a sound piece of advice: if you want to avoid notoriety, don’t let Stephen King into your hotel. Or any other hallucinating writer. Unless you already have ghosts in your establishment; in this case, it’s okay. The fact that The Stanley Hotel in Colorado reminds most people of Jack Nicholson’s tortured face as he voluptuously axes down the door of Room 217 in “The Shining” is no more than icing on the cake. Exorcists used to pay visits here long before King, because a certain ghost liked to play the hotel’s grand piano. The ghost was thought to be Flora, the wife of Freelan Stanley, the founder of the hotel. The horrors should not detract you from a magniﬁcent view of the Rockies, stone-and-wood interior, and Teddy Roosevelt and the Emperor of Japan on the list of past distinguished guests.
Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce BRUGES, BELGIUM
The legendary dramedy crime thriller “In Bruges” is like a Lonely Planet guidebook written by Tarantino on steroids. Pools of blood on paving stones and shots of heavy guns against the background of a lacy façade, a prime specimen of early Flemish Renaissance. Beautiful. No wonder the stream of tourists into this indubitably wonderful town grew twofold, and the boutique hotel Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce in whose rooms and lounges the hitmen were having their touching one-to-ones must now be booked well in advance. The establishment, though, set up in a house that is ancient even by local standards, deserves attention regardless of its sudden cinematic fame.
Château de Villette POIL , FRANCE
According to some critics, in his last book Dan Brown ‘hit absolute bottom’. Probably joining these same critics. And yet, he’s one of the best-selling authors in the world. The castle Château de Villette, near the famous wine region, where “Da Vinci Code” is partly set, was known long before the arrival of Tom Hanks. These days becoming a part of the vast international conspiracy is easy. An hour and a half by TGV from Paris to Autun, come to the castle, receive an old-fashioned key to the room and enjoy the classic views of grey walls covered in vine and bucolic landscapes of Burgundy with misty ﬁelds and swaths of tawny hay.
Park Hyatt Tokyo TOKYO, JAPAN
Sophia Coppola could have shot “Lost in Translation” in any other hotel — what does it matter where a strange semi-relationship forms between a little-known ageing actor who looks like Bill Murray and a very busy photographer’s very young wife who looks like Scarlett Johansson. She is bored and ready to walk the city with a nice stranger without too much reﬂection about the consequences. But Tokyo’s Park Hyatt that occupies ﬂoors 39 through 52 in one of the Shinjuku Park Towers with its views of the city and the Fuji mountain makes it a very attractive location. To fall victim of temptation, just walk to the picture window together, sigh, think about the ﬂeeting nature of life, and there you are.
The Roosevelt Hotel NEW YORK, USA
The movie “Maid in Manhattan” can be considered outstanding only thanks to Jennifer Lopez’s wide Latina smile and her bootylicious curves. The beginning is painfully similar to Arthur Hailey’s “Hotel”, but the rest is a remix of canonical “Cinderella”. The only actor who’s completely true to character is The Roosevelt Hotel, as itself.
During its 100 years on Madison Avenue it has seen many movies like that and became a veritable Manhattan ﬁxture. Opened at the height of the Jazz Age, the “Grand Dame of Madison Avenue” continues to impress ﬁ lm lovers with its prime location and glitz, and its presence on the screen is ﬂattering for the movie, not for the hotel.
The Plaza Hotel NEW YORK, USA
Even someone who’s not a movie fan would experience a déjà vu at The Plaza. Especially if one is familiar with “Stalin’s empire style”. This is where it comes from — from 1907, from the Manhattan hotels! A cinephile, indifferent to architectural inﬂuences, would be at a loss, trying to pick up just one movie connected to this hotel. Would it be Hitchcock’s “North by Northwest”? “Crocodile Dundee”? No, it should be “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York”. The Plaza Hotel is a character in that movie in its own right, from the hectic beginning to the sugary end. The scene where the boy puts on the ritz using his father’s credit card is the most unadulterated version of the American Dream.
Grand Hotel Rimini RIMINI, ITALY
Press departments of many a hotel would have sold their souls to the devil, and not just the devil, for something like that. But in was only the uninventively named Grand Hotel in Rimini that was in the luck. Built in 1908, it became the symbol of a languid but posh spa, the dream of local urchins and pragmatic maidens. One of the urchins happened to be Federico Fellini, who shot here some of the scenes of “Amarcord”. In one of them, an Arabian prince arrives here with his whole harem, in another curious youths steal into the hall of the locked hotel and dance with imaginary partners. After the hotel’s renovation, the real dolce vita is 100% compliant with its ﬁ lm representation.
Four Seasons George V, PARIS , FRANCE
Strange things happen to Meg Ryan’s heroine in “French Kiss” in the reﬁned baroque lobby of George V when she ﬂ ies in to Paris to salvage her love life. Her luggage gets stolen, a handsome stranger turns out to be a crook, while the concierge is guarding the guests’ privacy with subtle haughtiness and point blank refuses to share information about the groom with the abandoned bride. The hoteliers’ irony is commendable: they turned the famous George V into a compendium of typical Anglo-Saxon clichés about France. Equally commendable is the producers’ resourcefulness: for their experiments in cultural symbolism, they chose the most Parisian of all the hotels in Paris.
Cosmos Hotel MOSCOW, RUSSIA
The Cosmos hotel near Moscow’s VDNKh neighborhood has long been perceived as part of the landscape. Small wonder: it was built during the waning Soviet years, in 1978! Today, it does not leave an architecture addict breathless, but back then it was a real piece of modern art. This was probably one of the reasons why Timur Bekmambetov chose it as one of the locations for his “Day Watch”. The atmosphere is dark and infernal, the dark forces convene and hold their headquarters in the building. You tremble and hurry to book a room.
Hotel Adlon Kempinski BERLIN, GERMANY
Here Unter den Linden runs into Brandenburg Gate, and oak trees, survivors of the war, strew the smooth German asphalt with acorns. It seems that Adlon had always been there, and the international beau monde, from the pale offspring of royal families to the corn-and-milk-fed American starlets, drank their cocktails here since time immemorial. In fact, the hotel was built in 1907 and burned to the ground in 1945. But the old fame was not for nothing: the reconstructed Adlon is now managed by the Kempinski, and the German TV series “The Glamourous World of the Adlon Hotel”, long and didactic like German philosophy, became an instant hit and attracted 8,5 million viewers.
Hotel Regina PARIS, FRANCE
“I want a reference check before we go.” — “Okay.” — “What’s the pay phone number?” — “616-2468.” — “Exits?” — “There’s three.” What is drawing all the strange people to Paris, that is the question. A former CIA hitman, amnesiac because of occupational hazards — what is his business with Hotel Regina, as aristocratic as the bourgeois’ dream about royal life? But we understand the director’s temptation: after all, putting such dialogues in the setting of languor and luxury makes for an interesting contrast at the very least. Movies like “The Bourne Identity” claim your attention for two hours, and they can’t do without contrast!
Bellagio LAS VEGAS , USA
The hotel is never mentioned by name in the movie, but it is deﬁnitely an appearance “as itself”. Its monumental skyline with singing fountains in front of the façade is well known to anyone in Vegas. The casino robbed by “Ocean’s Eleven” is right here, in the famous Bellagio hotel. Of course, in a blockbuster all the pleasures of the hotel are skimmed over, but even so it’s hard to ignore the symbols of carefree luxury as it is understood in the New World. Where else could Clooney’s character unfold his elegant robbery if not in the heart of hearts of the American dream? The mere concentration of money — it seems the walls themselves exude it — leaves you completely dumb-founded.