Long before a seemingly endless stream of photos on Instagram were inspiring people to travel, there were the movies. From its earliest days, film has not only transported viewers to faraway lands, but also made those places seem accessible, and made us want to see them in person. Even when those worlds portrayed on the screen don’t actually exist—think the dramatic lairs of Bond villains or the planets of the Star Wars franchise, the latter of which were created in destinations from Tunisia to Lake Como.
In addition to sweeping panoramas and glamorous city settings, big-screen travel inspiration comes courtesy of hotels, too. Whether they are part of the storyline and mentioned by name or just provide a beautiful backdrop for the action, hotels both historic and modern have played a key role in some of our favorite films—and inspired viewers to ask, “Where is that?” Here are 15 real-life luxury hotels (so sorry—no Overlook Hotel from The Shining or pastel pretty Grand Budapest Hotel here) that you can check in to to soak up some silver-screen magic.
The Hotel: The Plaza
The Movie: Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
In the sequel to the hit comedy, young Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) is once again separated from his family and left to fend for himself—only this time, he’s alone in New York City. Before leaving Chicago, Kevin had seen a commercial for “the world-renowned Plaza Hotel,” so once in the Big Apple, he heads to the iconic, Central Park–adjacent spot with his dad’s credit card in hand. Once checked in to Suite 411, Kevin does what any of us might do if let loose in a five-star hotel—jumps in the pool, orders ice cream from room service, and snuggles into an oversize bed to watch an old movie. Today, the hotel is part of the Fairmont brand, but back when the movie was filmed, it was owned by a certain gilt-loving New York real estate developer/future U.S. president—who, the story goes, wrangled a cameo for himself in exchange for allowing the movie to film there. For the movie’s 25th anniversary in 2017, The Plaza offered a “Home Alone 2”–themed package that encouraged guests to live it up, Kevin-style.
The Hotel: Park Hyatt Tokyo
The Movie: Lost in Translation
Sofia Coppola’s award-winning 2003 film—starring Bill Murray as an aging actor and Scarlett Johansson as a discontented newlywed—was filmed in spots all over Tokyo, from karaoke bars and shabu-shabu restaurants to historic temples. But ask anyone who’s seen the movie, and chances are they will most remember the Park Hyatt Tokyo, which almost becomes another main character in the film. Fighting jet lag and different levels of malaise, Murray and Johansson’s characters spend a lot of time roaming the hotel—including late-night meet-ups in the bar and meals at the 52nd-floor restaurant—so viewers are left with a good look at the luxury high-rise. The connection between the Park Hyatt and the movie is so strong, it’s still often called “the Lost in Translation hotel,” and inspires guests to check in. Staff may even honor your request to book the same suite that was used for the filming, which served as the room for both main characters.
The Hotel: Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire
The Movie: Pretty Woman
Then known as the Regent Beverly Wilshire, the Four Seasons Hotel, Beverly Wilshire—set in a 1928 Beaux Art–style building—is name-checked plenty in the blockbuster 1990 film starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. As an escort hired to be Gere’s companion during his stay in Los Angeles, Roberts’s character Vivian spends a lot of time at the hotel, learning about proper table manners and etiquette from its good-hearted general manager (played by Hector Elizondo) and getting shopping and styling tips from its staffers. While not all of the hotel scenes in the movie were filmed there (the on-screen suite, for example, was actually on a Hollywood lot, and the ballroom scene was shot at another historic hotel), the exterior and the lobby are the real deal. These days, the Four Seasons embraces its connection to the movie, offering Pretty Woman for a Day packages and Pretty Woman–themed experiences around town, including—of course—private shopping along Rodeo Drive.
The Hotel: Bellagio Resort & Casino
The Movie: Ocean’s Eleven
While the original Rat Pack version of Ocean’s Eleven involved a take-all heist of several Las Vegas casinos, the 2001 George Clooney– and Brad Pitt–helmed remake was all about one big heist at the Bellagio. Thanks to producer Jerry Weintraub’s personal relationship with the Bellagio’s then-owner Steve Wynn, and its subsequent owner Kirk Kerkorian, the production enjoyed 24-hour access to all parts of the resort and casino for about five weeks. In fact, the hotel went above and beyond the typical filming agreement, even shutting down areas like the conservatory and botanical gardens and turning off the famous fountains to accommodate the shoot. As a result, you’ll see lots of real Bellagio settings in the final cut—though don’t go looking for the vault room, which doesn’t exist (at least not as it’s portrayed in the movie). Also, don’t look for the grand staircase where we first meet Julia Roberts’s character (it was removed in 2003), or the same Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, which has since been relocated to a location near the pool. You can, however, dine at the same table at Julian Serrano’s Picasso restaurant where Clooney and Roberts filmed their characters’ tense reunion scene–the table also offers great views of the Bellagio Fountains, and is surrounded by original works by Picasso–and check in to the high-end suites and villas where the lead cast stayed during the shoot, though, so it’s easy to feel like a high roller yourself.
The Hotel: Le Bristol Paris
The Movie: Midnight in Paris
In this 2011 Woody Allen film, main character Gil Pender (played by Owen Wilson), his fiancée (played by Rachel McAdams), and his parents are based at the Oetker Collection’s Le Bristol hotel during their Parisian vacation. On screen, viewers will spot the hotel’s façade, the elegant suites, characters wearing “Le Bristol” bathrobes, and even one of the hotel’s actual doormen (in a shot set at the entrance). Wilson’s character also mentions the hotel by name in a scene in which he’s wandering lost around Paris, and when the movie was released, the hotel celebrated the connection, offering themed packages and showing the flick on a loop on the guest-room TV channels. Re-create some of the magic yourself by checking in to one of the Panoramic Suites (you may be able to snag suites 727 and 728 on request), and lounging in the elegant lobby.
The Hotel: The Ritz London
The Movie: Notting Hill
For this 1999 “I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy” romantic comedy—in which Julia Roberts’s movie-star character falls for Hugh Grant’s London book-shop owner—the filmmakers felt that the Ritz London was the perfect hotel for an A-lister like the main character to stay. Filming took place across the iconic historic property (also chosen in part because it would be instantly recognizable to international audiences), including the exterior of the building, the main-entry staircase, a guest-floor corridor, the Trafalgar Suite (where Roberts’s character stays), and the hall porters desk. The hotel is mentioned by name in the movie, and two real Ritz team members—night porter Ray Leverett and head hall porter Michael De Cozar—made on-screen appearances, as well. (Having worked at the hotel for decades at the time of filming, De Cozar is well-known by regular guests, so he fielded lots of congratulatory calls from around the world when the movie was released.) Roberts and Grant also stayed at the Ritz during the shoot, with Grant noting that he loved the views of Royal Green Park from his suite. The Trafalgar Suite is still often requested by name by fans of the film.
The Hotel: The Dolder Grand
The Movie: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
This Oscar-winning 2011 mystery thriller features Daniel Craig as journalist Mikael Blomkvist and Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander, the titular tattooed “girl.” In a climactic section of the film, Lisbeth travels to Zurich to conduct some secret financial transactions, and checks in to the Dolder Grand—the iconic, art-filled hotel set on a hilltop above the city. Filming took place over two days in December 2010, in areas including the castle-like façade and sweeping driveway, the reception area and lobby, a guest-floor corridor, and the Masina Suite. The latter had to be transformed for the shoot, with the living room sofa and pool table taken out to make room for a bed in front of the fireplace. (As the hotel is nonsmoking, the shots of Lisbeth puffing in her suite were added digitally in postproduction.) The hotel is also mentioned by name in the film, and features several actual staff members from that time, including receptionist Vanessa Kellerhals. The Dolder offered a Tattoo-themed package at the time of the film’s release, and staffers are still happy to chat about the connection to interested guests.
The Hotel: Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
The Movie: 50 Shades of Grey
Nicknamed by locals as the “Castle in the City,” the fairy-tale-style Fairmont Hotel Vancouver has made an appearance in a host of movies and TV shows, from The X-Files to Twilight. (Plus, lots of celebs in town to film elsewhere stay at the hotel, too.) Most recently, it stood in for Portland’s Heathman Hotel in the blockbuster hit 50 Shades of Grey. In the film, the fictional Christian Grey stays in the real-life Lieutenant Governor’s Suite—a newly restored, multiroom suite on the 14th floor that features a warm, stylish decor of English black walnut paneling, polished brass, black lacquer, plush velvets, and gleaming marble. In addition to filming in the suite, the production also used a hotel elevator for—what else?—a sex scene. The property often offers 50 Shades–themed packages that include a stay in the same suite, plus extras such as a designer eye mask, Champagne, and a private shopping experience at a high-end lingerie boutique.
The Hotel: Hotel del Coronado
The Movie: Some Like it Hot
Voted the number-one comedy of all time by the American Film Institute, this 1958 romp starring Jack Lemmon, Marilyn Monroe, and Tony Curtis shot for a week at the historic Hotel del Coronado in San Diego. Built in 1888, the Del (as the hotel is affectionately known) hadn’t changed much in decades when director Billy Wilder came to check it out, so he found it perfect to “play” a resort that’s supposed to be from 1929 (and that, in the movie, is supposed to be in Florida). All 200 of the cast and crew stayed at the resort for the filming, which took place primarily outside, against a backdrop of the hotel’s Queen Anne exterior and lush grounds. Tony Curtis’s wife, Janet Leigh—then pregnant with their daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis—accompanied him for the shoot, as did Marilyn Monroe’s husband, playwright Arthur Miller. Though Monroe was rumored to have had a lot of difficulties during the filming of the movie overall, often forgetting her lines or showing up late, it’s said that she was on point during the entire shoot at the Del—perhaps thanks to the cold soufflé vanilla pudding she ordered every day from the resort’s chef.
The Hotel: Turtle Bay Resort
The Movie: Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Hawaii Five-0, Lost, Blue Crush, Along Came Polly, and many other films and TV shows have shot at the idyllic Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu, but the hotel probably gets the most recognition from its starring role in 2008’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall, in which it is referred to by name. In that “anti rom-com,” Jason Segel’s newly dumped character heads to Hawaii to get over his ex, played by Kristen Bell—only to find her vacationing at the same spot with her new boyfriend (played by Russell Brand). Shooting took place throughout the resort, starting with the driveway, entrance, and reception desk—the latter was reconstructed closer to the picture window for filming, allowing for a more dramatic effect and better views. Scenes were also shot in the glass-enclosed yoga studio (where a dark-haired Kristen Wiig leads the class), at the now-closed Ola Restaurant, and at the beachside cottages.
The Hotel: Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin
The Movie: Unknown
Based on the French novel, Out of My Head, this 2011 psycho-thriller stars Liam Neeson as a man trying to regain his identity—while also fighting a conspiracy. Because the character’s hotel plays such a prominent role in the film (the drama unfolds while Neeson’s character is attending a biotechnology summit at a hotel), the producers chose the historic Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin as the main location, both for it’s stunning interiors and its proximity to city landmarks like the Brandenburg Gate. All the main actors stayed at the hotel during filming, which took place in early 2010 all over the property, including the main lobby and reception, the elevators, the corridors, the stairways, and the Quarré restaurant. The hotel is mentioned by name in the movie and many real-life employees can be spotted in the background on screen, including the general manager. Given the action-based storyline, the hotel features heavily in stunt-filled scenes, from one depicting an emergency evacuation (which needed about 300 extras) and a critical climax in which the Presidential Suite is seen blowing up. Never fear, though: the explosion scene was safely filmed in a studio, so guests can check in to the still-intact Presidential Suite, room 512.
The Hotel: La Mamounia
The Movie: The Man Who Knew Too Much
Alfred Hitchcock’s Oscar-winning 1956 suspense film stars Jimmy Stewart as an American doctor who arrives in Marrakech with his wife (played by Doris Day) and young son—only to get entangled in a tale of spies, kidnapping, and assassination plots. At the beginning of the film, as the American family is taking a bus into town, a Moroccan man asks them where they will be staying; when Stewart’s character replies “La Mamounia,” the local replies something to the effect that “that’s where all the best people stay.” The same is true now: Though many renovations have been done since Hitchcock filmed at the hotel’s entrance and driveway, guest rooms, and main restaurant, travelers today will still find authentic touches like elaborate traditional mosaic work, and the same glamorous, Old World feel that must have welcomed Hollywood royalty like Stewart and Day.
The Hotel: Ashford Castle
The Movie: The Quiet Man
In John Ford’s Oscar-winning 1952 film, retired boxer Sean Thornton (John Wayne) returns to Ireland from America and starts a courtship with fiery local lass (played by Maureen O’Hara), which sets off a raucous chain of events and lots of interference from local townsfolk. While much of the interior shots were filmed on Hollywood stages, spots around western Ireland were also used—including the grounds of the historic Ashford Castle hotel, whose main stone bridge can be spotted at the beginning of the movie, and the nearby village of Cong, where close to 200 locals were hired as extras at a salary that was three times the regular weekly wages of the day. (Ford also changed the village forever by bringing in electrical lines and phone wires, which had not yet made it to rural areas.) None of the interiors of the Castle were used, but the cast and much of the crew did stay on property during the shoot, with John Wayne checking in to room 500 and Maureen O’Hara to room 408. To this day, the hotel—which recently emerged from a complete renovation—still welcomes fans of the film who ask to see certain locations (or stay in the actors’ rooms), and can arrange for Quiet Man–themed walking tours of the area.
The Hotel: Le Pavillon
The Movie: The Butler
Based on the real life of Eugene Allen, who served as a White House butler and maître d’ under eight presidents, this star-studded 2013 film featured everyone from Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, and Jane Fonda to the late actors Robin Williams and Alan Rickman. Operating as a hotel since 1905, Le Pavillon has—like Allen—also seen its fair share of history, and hosted many movie and TV shoots over the years. For this one, director Lee Daniels filmed in such spots as the hotel’s Gallery Lounge—which was transformed into a 1950’s-era private gentleman’s club—and the lobby. During the latter shoot, dozens of actors in formal attire made their way down the Grand Staircase for a party scene. When Daniels spotted the hotel’s legendary Chef Pat while first scouting the location, he immediately asked her to be in the movie—look out for her in a couple of scenes featuring actress Vanessa Redgrave.
The Hotel: The Biltmore
The Movie: Bad Boys
Filming for this hit 1995 Will Smith–Martin Lawrence buddy-cop movie took place all over Miami, from the Miami-Dade County Courthouse to the Biltmore, a National Historic Landmark hotel, known as the “Pink Palace.” Boasting a Mediterranean-style design with lots of Italian, Moorish, and Spanish touches, the 271-room resort is an over-the-top tropical paradise—making an ideal movie backdrop. Scenes were shot in such picturesque spots as the lobby (with its rows of dramatic columns), the upper loggia, the pool, and the Everglades Suite. The hotel was also mentioned by name: In a scene in which actresses Téa Leoni and Karen Alexander’s characters are arriving for what they think is a party, Leoni says, “A party at the Biltmore—yeah, that will really rock.” When the “party” turns out to be a drug deal gone bad—resulting in a murder scene filmed in the Everglades Suite—Leoni’s character is then seen jumping into the hotel’s pool.