Charm, good looks, charisma, style, and a little something-something you can’t quite put your finger on....the best hotels are blessed with exactly the same qualities as movie stars, which is why, when they feature in the movies, they turn heads. So much of the action on screen these days is shot on studio lots, green screened, or created via digital visual effects, which makes witnessing the tangible presence of real-life hotels in the movies so special -- at least to us. Now, you may never become a Natalie Portman or a Tom Cruise but that doesn’t mean to say you can’t make life imitate art with a stay at one of the many famous (and infamous) hotels to have blessed the big screen.
1. Corinthia Hotel, Budapest
One of a collection of buildings that inspired Wes Anderson’s fictional "Grand Budapest Hotel," the very real Corinthia Hotel in Budapest bears a striking resemblance to the movie’s eponymous star. Located near many of Budapest’s historical and cultural sights, the hotel is a stunning neoclassical giant, featuring beautiful classic rooms with marble bathrooms. We can neither confirm nor deny whether a Lobby Boy named "Zero" is currently in the hotel’s employ.
2. Stanley Hotel, Colorado
Is it the stunning views of the Rocky Mountains, the classically decorated rooms, or the on-site up-market steakhouse and whiskey bar that cause people to flock from all over the world to the famous Stanley Hotel in Colorado? Well, all of the above, but there’s also the fact that it doubled as the chilling Overlook Hotel in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 psychological horror "The Shining." Embracing its infamy, the Stanley Hotel hosts evening ghost tours, employs its own in-house psychic, and loops the movie 24/7 on select TVs. In fact, the only reason not to visit is in case you end up staying “Forever...and ever...and ever.”
3. The Headland Hotel, Cornwall
Built in 1900 and perched on a cliff overlooking the ocean, the stunning Headland Hotel in Cornwall is one of England’s most recognizable hotels. Guests have been strutting on the sprung ballroom dance floor and enjoying the elegant rooms of the Victorian hotel for over 100 years and yet its biggest claim to fame is playing host to a gathering of crones in Roald Dahl’s "The Witches." If you book a stay at the Cornish beachside hotel, chances are you won’t stumble onto a witch convention led by Anjelica Huston, although we can’t make any promises.
4. Hotel Raphael, Paris
A swanky, immaculately presented luxury hotel one block from the Arc de Triomphe, Hotel Raphael didn’t need to spruce itself up for its part in the Wes Anderson short, "Hotel Chevalier." Its stunning rooftop terrace, with views overlooking the Eiffel Tower, provided the backdrop for the heart-wrenching breakup scene between the equally stunning actors, Jason Schwartzman and Natalie Portman. A stay here is probably the chicest way to enter oneself into the world of Wes.
5. The Drake, Chicago
Not just famous for one movie but for a whole genre of movies, there’s something about The Drake hotel in Chicago that makes rom-com location scouts go weak at the knees. The hotel, located on the city’s Magnificent Mile, stole scenes in such doozies as "My Best Friend’s Wedding," "What Women Want" and "Risky Business." Besides its movie star billing, the Drake’s historic status, classic decor, and spacious rooms make it an excellent choice in the Windy City.
6. Hotel Regina, Paris
If you can handle the slim chance that you might be surveilled by Jason Bourne -- of "The Bourne Identity" fame -- during your stay, Hotel Regina is a fine luxury choice to base yourself on your next trip to Paris. Located across the street from the Louvre and Tuileries Gardens, the Hotel Regina retains a classical decor and exudes the sort of elegant ambiance that makes it exactly the sort of place a rogue CIA agent might want to bed down should he be in town to see the sights of the City of Light.
7. The Lanesborough, London
We imagine that Stanley Kubrick’s status as a cinematic legend went some way to convincing London’s super-luxurious Lanesborough Hotel to host a scene from the director’s final feature, "Eyes Wide Shut." Shot in the hotel’s exclusive Royal Suite, the scene shows Tom Cruise’s character being warned of where his attempts to infiltrate a seedy orgy of rich and powerful polygamists might get him -- perhaps six feet under in Hyde Park, just a stone’s throw away. Aside from its being known for its role in the movie, playing host to Tom and Nicole’s on-screen, ahem, "chemistry," the Lanesborough is world renowned for its palatial rooms and 24-hour butler service, available to all guests.
8. The Carlyle Hotel, New York City
The movies that hotels feature in don’t necessarily make you want to book a stay. However, the sight of a crooning Bill Murray surrounded by a cast of achingly hip night owls, makin’ whoopee in Bemelman’s Bar as the snow falls on a festive New York City, makes the iconic Carlyle Hotel a pretty attractive prospect. The setting of "A Very Murray Christmas," the Carlyle Hotel is as important to the Sofia Coppola seasonal special as Bill Murray himself. Time to book a stay for next year’s holiday season and keep those fingers crossed for a snow-in.