Hotels love to push the aura of movie-star glamor as part of their mystique, listing on their websites Hollywood royalty that have stayed in — and sometimes trashed — their rooms.
At times, though, the hotels play a leading role, providing memorable settings that are characters unto themselves.
Naturally, California has many such hotels, but movie star hotels are scattered all over the world. In honor of Oscar season, here are a handful of hotels that make for award winning, star-kissed vacations.
“Some Like It Hot”
Hotel del Coronado, San Diego
One of America’s most beloved comedies, 1959’s zany “Some Like It Hot,” starring Marilyn Monroe and drag-bedecked Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, used the Hotel del Coronado as a main location. Set in 1929, the comedy’s plot centers around two musicians escaping from the mob by dressing up as women to join an all-female band. The film was nominated for several Oscars, but didn’t get a nomination for best picture.
The hotel turns 125 this year, and completed an $8 million renovation in 2012. Over its long history, the Victorian hotel, noted for its wraparound porches (highlighted in the film where rows of men wait to watch for Monroe’s character, Sugar, to return to the hotel), has been the site of many films, including 1915’s “Pearl of the Pacific” and 1924’s “My Husband’s Wives.”
Timberline Lodge, Oregon
Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado
The Timberline Lodge was used as the exterior of the Overlook Hotel for the 1980 Stephen King and Stanley Kubrick movie “The Shining,” starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall. The plot centers on a couple and their son, the hotel’s winter caretakers. It turns out the hotel is haunted, driving the father (Nicholson’s character, Jack Torrance) insane.
Many of the outdoor scenes were shot at the Timberline, a ski resort in the shadows of Mount Hood. Creepy indoor scenes, including endless hallways, along with the hedge maze scene, were sets created in the United Kingdom at Elstree Studios.
The movie is based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, inspired by King’s stay at Colorado’s Stanley Hotel. The hotel, just outside Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, is considered haunted and is routinely surveyed for paranormal activity. The hotel was used in 1994’s “Dumb and Dumber” and called Hotel Danbury.
“Lawrence of Arabia”
Hotel Alfonso XIII, Seville, Spain
Several scenes from “Lawrence of Arabia,” the 1962 British film about T.E. Lawrence’s World War I exploits, starring Peter O’Toole, were filmed at this 1929 Moorish style Seville property. 2012 marked the 50th anniversary of the film, which was released in a digitally remastered version.
The hotel went through a similar renewal, with a $25 million renovation completed in 2012 that included a new restaurant, bar and guest rooms. The decor in the hotel’s rooms captures different eras of Spain’s past with Andalusian, Castilian and Moorish elements.
The Beverly Hilton, Beverly Hills, California
This midcentury Beverly Hills classic was opened in 1955 by Conrad Hilton, great grandfather to blond socialite Paris Hilton. The Aqua Star Pool, the largest heated pool in Beverly Hills, is surrounded by cabana guest rooms for easy access to the Southern California sunshine.
Some of the hotel’s pool level area, where restaurants Circa 55 and Trader Vic’s Lounge are located, have retained the original 1950s “Mad Men”-style color schemes.
The hotel’s eighth-floor Stardust Room was featured in “Argo,” the Iran hostage drama that is one of this year’s best picture nominees. Ben Affleck’s character, Tony Mendez (based on a real CIA operative), heads to the hotel to mingle with Hollywood’s elite as part of a farfetched rescue scheme for American hostages.
The hotel has hosted the Golden Globe Awards for 35 consecutive years
Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills, California
Another Beverly Hills hotel featured in movies is the Beverly Wilshire, just around the corner from Rodeo Drive.
The 1928 Italian Renaissance style hotel, now part of the Four Seasons, has a big role in 1990’s “Pretty Woman,” starring Richard Gere as a ruthless businessman and Julia Roberts as a prostitute who softens his heart. Roberts’ scantily clad character is frowned upon by hotel staff, but eventually wins them over with her personality and wardrobe transformation. The hotel is so associated with the film that many Los Angelenos simply point it out as the “Pretty Woman” hotel.
The nearly 400-room hotel includes 137 luxury suites and a Mediterranean-style pool with cabana packages starting at $180.
“Lost in Translation”
Park Hyatt Tokyo, Tokyo
“Lost in Translation,” a 2003 movie starring Bill Murray as a fading actor and Scarlett Johansson as a lonely young American newlywed whose husband is busy working, uses the Park Hyatt Tokyo to tremendous effect. Occupying the top 14 floors of the Shinjuku Park Tower, the sleek Park Hyatt Tokyo boasts commanding views and was a hotel of choice for director Sofia Coppola before the film. The vast, chaotic neon-lit view from the serene hotel emphasizes the loneliness of both main characters.
“Ten years have passed since the film’s release, yet it continues to be a catalyst for people to discover both Park Hyatt Tokyo and the city of Tokyo,” said Philippe Roux-Dessarps, Park Hyatt Tokyo’s general manager.
“How Stella Got Her Groove Back”
Round Hill Hotel and Villas, Montego Bay, Jamaica
Get your groove back at the Round Hill Hotel and Villas, set on a lush 100-acre peninsula in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The hotel was the setting for 1998’s “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” starring Angela Bassett as workaholic divorcee Stella Payne, Taye Diggs as much-younger love interest Winston Shakespeare and Whoopi Goldberg as sidekick Delilah Abraham.
The movie uses the hotel’s rooms and views beautifully, with vistas of the verdant landscape and beach.
The resort has 36 Ralph Lauren-designed rooms in its main building, called the Pineapple House, along with 27 private villas, the type of room Stella stayed in. Other highlights are an open-air dining terrace, a double infinity pool, five all-weather tennis courts and a spa housed in a restored 18th century plantation house.
“On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”
Hotel Palacio, Estoril, Portugal
Plenty of hotels have been used as James Bond locations, yet few are said to have helped inspire the character. The 1930 Hotel Palacio reportedly did just that for author Ian Fleming. As a neutral country during World War II, Portugal played host to spies, deposed royalty, black marketers and many others who came to stay at the hotel and play in the casino on the Estoril Coast outside Lisbon. As a British Naval Intelligence officer, young Fleming rubbed elbows with some of those colorful characters at the hotel.
While many remember dramatic Swiss Alps ski scenes with machine guns setting off avalanches, “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” opens on the beaches of Portugal, with James Bond staying at the Hotel Palacio overlooking the Bay of Cascais. To this day, the hotel’s bar is renowned for its very strong martinis, which you can order shaken, stirred or however you like.