There are some hotel names you just know, whether you’ve ever stayed at the hotel or not. These iconic spots can be famous for a variety of reasons: they are super luxe or popular among the stars, they figure prominently in films or were the sites of important historic events…the possibilities are numerous, and once a hotel has reached iconic status, its celebrity continues to grow. Which is perhaps why many of the world’s most iconic hotels have inspired, or at least been mentioned in, beloved songs. And in some cases, beloved songs have even led to the increased popularity – or even existence – of various hotels. Here we bring you eight iconic hotels that have inspired equally iconic songs.
1. Holiday Inn
A list about hotels in songs of course must mention the Holiday Inn chain, which has likely appeared in more lyrics than any other property. The two most famous songs are perhaps “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugarhill Gang, and “Holidae In” performed by Chingy featuring Snoop Dogg and Ludacris. Both songs reference partying at the hotel, and we’d recommend one of the chain’s properties in Paris, the Holiday Inn Paris – Notre Dame.
2. Hotel Pennsylvania
One of the largest hotels in New York City, Hotel Pennsylvania sits (not surprisingly) right by Penn Station. Which is also probably why it not-so-surprisingly has seen plenty of famous faces come through – if just simply because it’s seen so many people in general come through! Head of the Glenn Miller Orchestra, known for its swing compositions, musician Glenn Miller refers to the historic hotel in “Pennsylvania 6-5000.”
3. The Beverly Hills Hotel
“Hotel California” is one of the most famous songs in the world, and The Beverly Hills Hotel is one of the most famous hotels in the world, so it all makes sense. Though the Eagles never mention it by name, most believe the Grammy-winning single was inspired by the BHH. Others, however, argue it was instead the equally hot, but perhaps a bit more rocker-friendly, Chateau Marmont that was the muse.
4. Chateau Marmont
Fortunately, Chateau Marmont need not feel left out, whether it inspired the Eagles or not. This L.A. hotel has verifiably inspired countless other songs; a celebrity hangout since its opening in 1929, the property has welcomed everyone from Greta Garbo (in fact a former resident of the hotel) to John Mayer. Popular songs that mention the hotel include Scott Weiland’s “Chateau Marmont” and “Heavy Hitter,” a leaked single by Lana Del Rey.
5. GoldenEye Hotel & Resort
It’s hard to determine the chicken and the egg in this circumstance. GoldenEye didn’t officially open as a hotel until Chris Blackwell, the founder of Island Records and Island Outpost, purchased the property. Still, many say it was called GoldenEye as far back as 1946, when James Bond creator Ian Fleming purchased the land and built his home here so he could focus on his novels. The hotel shares its name not only with the 1995 James Bond film (the first to star Pierce Brosnan), but also the film’s theme song performed by Tina Turner.
6. The Ritz
The Ritz-Carlton brand has long been synonymous with top-notch luxury, even inspiring the slang phrase “putting on the Ritz.” This phrase, in turn, was the inspiration behind iconic songwriter Irving Berlin’s “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” which was the lead song in the same-named film, released in 1930. Though the phrase likely came about thanks to the London and Paris locations of the chain, we have a particular fondness for The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown.
7. Copacabana Palace
Rio’s Copacabana Palace, which dates back to 1923, is an historic Art Deco hotel just off the beach. Perhaps Barry Manilow’s most famous song, “Copacabana” was first thought up by Manilow and fellow songwriter Bruce Sussman when they were both staying at the hotel, which has a striking, all-white palatial facade. The song was released in 1978.
8. Elvis Presley's Heartbreak Hotel
In the Grammy Hall of Fame for over two decades now, Elvis’s “Heartbreak Hotel” was actually inspired by a real-life event; songwriters Tommy Durden and Mae Boren Axton based the lyrics on a newspaper article reporting a man’s suicide by jumping from a hotel window; he left behind a note that simply read “I walk a lonely street.” While that unnamed hotel was located in Miami, the song inspired the opening of Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel, an Elvis-themed property appropriately located across the street from Graceland.
Since this article's publish date, this hotel has closed.Check out other hotels in Memphis.