Have you ever watched a film and wished you could be transported right into it? Movies evoke a sense of escapism, and it’s not just the characters you can become attached to. Sometimes, it’s the locations that fuel your imagination.
Hollywood has always had a soft spot for hotels. While some films are merely set in hotels, other films, like Lost In Translation, actually have something to say about them. And you can experience some of these hotel movie locations first-hand.
A whole host of luxury and boutique hotels have provided the idyllic setting for blockbusters from Pretty Woman to The Hangover. Some hotels have become as, if not more, famous then the films that they feature in. The Plaza Hotel in New York, for example, is no stranger to the camera, and has been featured in not only films, but television and literature.
While there are a number of memorable fictional movie hotels, from the Grand Budapest Hotel, to the Bates Motel, that you sadly can’t visit - well, because they simply do not exist - there are many more that are real, working businesses. They offer guests a chance to experience some of their favourite movie locations, while also offering a great night’s sleep.
There are also a number of famous movie hotels that have used elements from existing, real-life hotels. For example, The Shining was shot almost entirely in Elstree Studios, England, but some of the exterior was filmed at the Timberline Lodge, Oregon. So you can't really stay there, but you can, sort of, experience it.
Here’s our list of famous movie hotels that have stolen the spotlight. Some are real and you can stay there, but for others, you’ll just have to use your imagination. Lights, Camera, action.
20 (Real) Lost in Translation: The Park Hyatt Tokyo, Japan
Located in the heart of the city, the Park Hyatt Tokyo is the five-star hotel at the centre of Sofia Coppola's Oscar-winning Lost In Translation. This swanky joint was where an existential crisis-stricken Bill Murray found an unlikely companion in the equally pensive, pink wig-wearing Scarlett Johansson.
Housed in the capital’s second-tallest building, the Kenzo Tange-designed Shinjuku Park Tower, the Park Hyatt features a sky-high swimming pool with a glass ceiling, rare 2,000-year-old wood suite furnishings and unrivalled panoramic views of the city skyline. Hotel guests can even try the same Suntory Whisky that Murray’s character promotes at the hotel’s New York Bar.
19 (Fake) The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Republic of Zubrowka
Not heard of Zubrowka? Well, there’s a good reason for that. The Republic is a figment of director Wes Anderson’s colourful imagination, as is, sadly, The Grand Budapest Hotel.
It’s a shame because the fictional hotel enjoys a beautiful Alpine location, and its eccentric but welcoming staff are a real hit with guests. But while its exterior is said to be inspired by both the Bristol Hotel in the Czech Republic and Gellert Hotel in Budapest, a scale-model was used during production. However, the film was shot in the historic town of Görlitz, with a department store serving as the hotel's interior.
18 (Real) Midnight In Paris: Le Bristol Paris Hotel, France
In the Woody Allen film Midnight In Paris, Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams’ characters stay in this five-star hotel and many of the scenes were shot on location, mostly in the spectacular Panoramic Suite.
Book a stay in the suite and you too can enjoy the pretty flower-filled terrace and a suite that is decorated with French master paintings, antique mirrors and Louis XV furniture in rare woods. The hotel opened in 1925, and is located in one of the city’s most fashionable streets.
17 (Fake) The Overlook Hotel, The Shining
The Overlook Hotel is featured in Stephen King's bestselling 1977 novel The Shining, as well as the 1980 film of the same name. A grand and imposing building in the Colorado Rockies, the hotel boasts a grand, open-plan interior, plus a huge outdoor maze, no doubt popular with families.
Perhaps fortunately, you can’t actually stay there. Inspired by King's stay in The Stanley Hotel in Colorado, the majority of the film, including a lot of exterior scenes, were filmed in Elstree Studios, England. However, you can visit the Timberline Lodge at Mt. Hood in Oregon, where some of the exterior scenes were shot.
16 (Real) Home Alone, Again: The Plaza Hotel, New York
New York City's Plaza Hotel is a famed shooting location for many Hollywood movies, including Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. When he gets separated from his family over the Christmas holidays, again, Kevin McCallister checks into the landmark 20-story luxury hotel in this 1992 sequel.
The legendary hotel also served as the new Midtown Manhattan home for Mick Dundee when he came to New York from Australia in Crocodile Dundee (1986). Other movies that were filmed at The Plaza include North by Northwest (1959), Arthur (1981), and The Great Gatsby (2013).
15 (Fake) Dirty Dancing At The Kellerman's Resort, USA
Bad news: the Kellerman's Resort in New York's Catskill Mountains is fictional. If you’re into Dirty Dancing, you might already know that the movie was filmed at two locations - Lake Lure in North Carolina and the Mountain Lake Hotel in Pembroke, Virginia.
The good news, however, is that you can step into Johnny Castle and Baby’s shoes at the latter, which hosts Dirty Dancing weekends with group dance lessons, a tour of the filming locations, and a watermelon toss. The resort even features the Virginia Cottage (or “Baby’s Cabin”), where the Houseman Family stayed in the film.
14 (Real) The Hangover At Caesars Palace, Las Vegas
Comedy hit The Hangover (2009) was shot almost entirely on location at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Aside from the Wolfpack’s villa, which was a sound stage in Hollywood, much of the hotel and casino were used for filming, including the front desk, lobby, entrance driveway, pools, corridors, elevators, and the infamous rooftop, where Doug was found at the end of the film.
Other movies that were filmed at Caesars Palace include Rain Man (1988), Iron Man (2008), Dreamgirls (2006), and The Big Short (2015).
13 (Fake) Ghostbusters: The Sedgwick Hotel, New York.
One this 1984 comedy classic, the Ghostbusters get their first professional gig at the snooty Sedgwick Hotel, where they capture an apparition in the ballroom, and cause quite a commotion in the process.
If you were hoping to catch Slimer stuffing his face with room service, then you’ll actually have to head to the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, where Ghostbusters’ hotel scenes were filmed. This hotel is no stranger to the silver screen. It has appeared in dozens of films, including The Fabulous Baker Boys, Splash!, The Bodyguard, Beverly Hills Cop, and Chinatown.
12 (Real) Some Like It Hot At The Hotel Del Coronado, California
Some Like It Hot is one of the greatest comedies in US cinema history, and a number of scenes from the 1958 classic were filmed at the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, California, which stepped in as the film’s Seminole Ritz Hotel in Miami.
The film follows two musicians, played by Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, who flee town after witnessing a mob hit and later disguise themselves as women to join an all-female band, which features Marilyn Monroe.
Here’s a fun fact: Author L. Frank Baum wrote three books in the Wonderful Wizard of Oz series at the hotel during the early 20th century, designing elements of the Emerald City based on the hotel.
11 (Fake) Shark Tanks And Scream Cheese At Hotel Transylvania
Hotel Transylvania, owned by the infamous Count Dracula, enjoys a guest list that reads like a who’s who of notorious horror icons, including Frankenstein, the Mummy, and the Wolfman.
The hotel itself enjoys great views of its remote location, surrounded by the land of the undead and 400 acres of haunted forest. Which is ideal if you like privacy or fancy a scenic stroll. Amenities include a sauna and a pool, it’s own chef serving up bagels with scream cheese, and a horde of zombie bellboys and witchy housekeepers. There’s shark tank too. Who wouldn’t want to stay here?
Unfortunately, Hotel Transylvania is also 2012 American 3D computer-animated comedy, starring the vocal talents of comedian Adam Sandler, and no amount of wishing will get you a room.
10 (Real) Room With A View At Hotel Degli Orafi, Italy
The "Room with a View,” made famous by the 1985 Merchant-Ivory Oscar-winning film, is room 414 on the fourth floor of the Hotel Degli Orafi in Florence. The room offers a magnificent terrace overlooking the Arno and the Ponte Vecchio.
Set in England and Italy, Room With A View is based on the E.M. Forster novel of the same name and stars Helena Bonham Carter as a young woman named Lucy Honeychurch in the repressed culture of Edwardian England, and her developing love for a free-spirited young man. Many guests looking to relive the film’s most romantic moments can stay in the exclusive fourth floor room.
9 (Fake) Where Guests Don’t Check Out: Bates Motel, California
A solid choice for budget travellers and those on the road, the Bates Motel is a family-run business offering clean accommodation and in-room showers. The downside is, you might not leave alive.
The hotel famous featured in Alfred Hitchcock's horror masterpiece Psycho in 1960 and, thankfully, is entirely fictional. It’s where Marion Crane stays while on the run following a theft, and after dining with the motel owner, Norman Bates, she is attacked by a shadowy figure as she showers.
A reconstructed set of the motel of the Bates family home can be still be visited, however, as part of the Universal Studios Hollywood Tour.
8 (Real) Pretty Woman: Beverly Wilshire Hotel, Los Angeles, USA
Ever since the release of Pretty Woman in 1990, tourists have been flocking to the ornate front doors of the historic Beverly Wilshire Hotel, the primary filming location for the movie.
The luxury hotel features throughout the film and even offers guests a glamorous “Pretty Woman For The Day” package, which includes a stay in the “Pretty Woman Suite” (the hotel’s Presidential Suite, where many of the scenes were filmed), a personal shopper on Rodeo Drive, a couples massage, a “shoeless” picnic with cuisine inspired by the movie, plus a night at the Los Angeles Opera.
7 (Fake) Searching For The Real-Life Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, India
Charming if a little rough-around-the-edges, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel took centre stage in the 2012 British comedy of the same name - which is quite the feat considering its co-stars included Dame Maggie Smith and Dame Judy Dench.
The fictional hotel was located in Jaipur in the state of Rajasthan, and no, you can't really stay there because no such hotel exists with that name. However, many shots of the hotel's exterior were filmed at Rawla Khempur, an equestrian centre-turned-hotel in Udaipur, where guests today can go to enjoy the opulence and elegance of a bygone era.
6 (Real) Somewhere At The Chateau Marmont, Los Angeles, USA
One of Hollywood’s most iconic hotels, Chateau Marmont has long been a hotspot for A-List celebrities, and it's featured in a number of films, including Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere. This 2010 US drama follows Johnny Marco, a newly famous actor, as he recuperates from a minor injury at the hotel.
The opening scene of the indie neo-noir film The Canyons was also shot at the Bar Marmont, and the hotel was a location for Oliver Stone's The Doors. In fact, you never know who you might spot at this Hollywood landmark. Clientele through the years has included Billy Wilder, Hunter S. Thompson, Annie Leibovitz, Dorothy Parker, Bruce Weber, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
5 (Fake) Don't Plan A Stay At Hotel Artemis
The 2020s-set Hotel Artemis (2018) is a grand but run-down building in the heart of Los Angeles. Under the battle-hardened owner, The Nurse (Jodie Foster), the hotel is transformed into a safe house and hospital for deadly criminals.
In case you thought this joint looked like just the place for a weekend getaway, each to their own, but you may have to look elsewhere. Hotel Artemis does not exist. Although its aesthetic is inspired by a real-life LA hotel with a similarly checkered history - the Hotel Alexandria.
4 (Real) Goldfinger: Fontainebleau Miami Beach
The Fontainebleau Miami Beach is featured at the beginning of the classic Bond movie Goldfinger (1965). It’s where James Bond, played by Sean Connery, first meets the villainous Auric Goldfinger. It’s also the location of the iconic scene where Bond discovers the body of a woman who has been painted entirely in gold.
Opened in 1954 and designed by Morris Lapidus, it was arguably the most luxurious hotel in Miami Beach at the time and was later ranked ninety-third in the US Institute of Architects list of "America's Favorite Architecture". It's a real-life working hotel and you can still enjoy a stay today.
3 (Fake) Room 1408 at The Dolphin, New York
1408 is a supernatural hour movie in which writer Mike Enslin, played by John Cusack, is determined to check out the notorious room 1408 in a New York City hotel by personally staying as a guest in the fabled room. He believes that 1408 is just a myth perpetuated by stories and rumours. However, hotel manager Mr. Olin (Samuel L. Jackson) has strong objections to his stay and only warns him of possible danger to come.
It’s just as well The Dolphin Hotel is entirely fictional, because who would want to endure a terrifying stay there anyway? According to Cusack, the Roosevelt Hotel in New York was used for some of the exterior shots of the hotel, while the lobby scenes were filmed at the Reform Club in London.
2 (Real) The Witches: Hotel Excelsior, Cornwall, UK
It was the iconic Cornish hotel, the Headland hotel, that stood in for Hotel Excelsior in 1990 production of Roald Dahl’s The Witches, and much of the film was shot on location there.
The film starred Anjelica Houston as the terrifying Grand High Witch and, much to the excitement of the staff, there were huge flower bouquets and phone calls to the hotel from her boyfriend at the time, Jack Nicholson.
It’s also rumoured that her co-star, Rowan Atkinson, caused a Mr Bean style calamity when he left the bath taps running in his room, flooding much of the production team’s electrical equipment on the floor below. Oops.
1 (Fake) The Most Popular Guesthouse In Middle-Earth: The Prancing Pony
Conveniently located in the centre of Bree, this well-travelled inn is close to stables and various merchant stalls and is near to the major road of the Greenway. It’s hobbit-friendly, with custom made accommodation facilities to suit hobbit needs, and it makes a great base camp for day trips to Rivendell.
The Prancing Pony, as featured in The Lord Of The Rings, is where Frodo meets Aragorn for the first time, but also where Gandalf meets Thorin to discuss their quest to defeat Smaug. But no matter how raucous and comfy it looks, you’re going to have to dream on. This place is entirely a work of fiction.
References: architecturaldigest.com, wanderu.com, travelchannel.com