Top 10 'Movie' Hotels

Top 10 'Movie' Hotels

Vacation News » Great Destinations | By Steve Winston | September 19, 2014 10:00 AM ET

Who knew?

Who knew that some of the finest hotels in the world have been the sites of filming for some of the finest movies in the world (and, perhaps, some of the worst, as well!)?

Here are my Top Ten hotels around the world that have been in the movies over the decades...

# 10: GRAND HOTEL, TAIPEI, TAIWAN - Ang Lee, a Taiwan native, has become one of the film industry's most-decorated directors. And with good reason. His movies - among them "The Ice Storm," "Life of Pi," "Brokeback Mountain," "Hulk," and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" - have helped define the modern cinema. One of his best films, however, was not made in Hollywood, but in Taiwan. "Eat, Drink, Man, Woman" focuses - warmly and sweetly - on the family interplay of a chef at the Grand Hotel and his three daughters. And it's warmed the hearts of audiences all over the world.

#9: MOUNTAIN LAKE LODGE, PEMBROKE, VIRGINIA, USA - Only one movie was ever made here - but it's a classic. This is where Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey pachanga-ed and mambo-ed and swirled across the dance floor in 1987's "Dirty Dancing." Nestled in the Appalachian Mountains, the hotel stages occasional "Dirty Dancing" weekends, with dance lessons and tours of the film sites. Close by is the scenic Roanoke Valley, where 1991's "What About Bob," with Richard Dreyfuss and Bill Murray, was filmed at Smith Mountain Lake.

#8: THE STANLEY HOTEL, ESTES PARK, COLORADO, USA - Remember the Danbury Hotel in "Dumb and Dumber?" Well, in actuality, it was the Stanley Hotel, in the picturesque Rocky Mountain town of Estes Park. But that movie's not the only reason the Stanley's gained cinematic fame. It's known to have a number of ghosts roaming the halls...and many well-documented encounters with them. Accordingly, it's where Stephen King was inspired to write "The Shining." And where he shot a made-for-TV version of it after the movie (which was filmed elsewhere) came out.    

#7: HOTEL RAPHAEL, PARIS, FRANCE - This hotel was built during the Roaring 20's...and it definitely has the cache associated with that between-the-wars period. 

This luxury hotel gained fame in movies such as "Hotel Chevalier" (and a little less fame in movies such as "Grandpa Is In the Resistance"). But it gained fame, as well, for the endless procession of movie stars who stayed here, among them Steve McQueen, Marlon Brando, Charles Bronson, Katherine Hepburn, Clark Gable, and Kirk Douglas

#6: THE FAIRMONT SAN FRANCISCO, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, USA - From the moment you pull up, it's easy to see that The Fairmont fits the definition of a "Grand" hotel. For one thing, it's set - very appropriately - atop Nob Hill. It first achieved silver-screen stardom in 1958, when the legendary Alfred Hitchcock chose it to shot "Vertigo." And it hasn't stopped achieving it since. Among the roster of films made here - "Towering Inferno," "Sudden Impact," and "The Rock," in which Sean Connery's character enjoyed a suite with all the trimmings.  

#5: BEVERLY WILSHIRE, BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA, USA - This was where Richard Gere's room was, and where Julia Roberts became not only "Pretty Woman" but also his girlfriend. But this hotel didn't only appear in "chick flicks." It was also the star of the "Beverly Hills Cop" films, as well as "Bulworth." And plenty of non-cinematic celebrities have stayed here, too, among them President Barack Obama, Emperor Hirohito of Japan, Elton John, John Lennon, and Elvis Presley.

#4: ROYAL STATION HOTEL, CARNFORTH, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM - David Lean made himself into a cinematic legend with his production of "Lawrence of Arabia." But he also made another magnificent - although less well-known - film, called "Brief Encounter," which starred Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard. And he made part of it here, in this hotel, in this pretty little town in the north of England.

If you like some action with your scenic shots of a European capital, you probably saw "The Bourne Identity," in which Matt Damon chased various assassins around Paris landmarks such as the Gare du Nord, Pont Neuf, the Jardin de Tuileries, and, of course, the Hotel Regina. And if you like glamorous movie stars in cinematic flops, you may have seen 2009's "Cheri," with Michelle Pfeiffer, in which this hotel also played a prominent part.

#2: DEGLI ORAFI, FLORENCE, ITALY - Florence, of course, is one of Europe's most beautiful cities. And if you ask for Room 414 when you check in to the Degli Orafi - and you get it - you'll see the beauty of Florence stretching out right in front of you in a memorable panorama. You'll also be in the room - the only one in the hotel with a balcony - that made this view famous. This was the site of the classic Merchant-Ivory film we know as "A Room With A View."

And now, my pick for the Number 1 "movie" hotel on Earth...

#1: THE PLAZA HOTEL, NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, USA - This luxurious New York landmark has been one of the biggest stars in Hollywood - some 25 films have been shot here!  If you're a Hitchcock fan, you'll remember the Oak Room from "North By Northwest." If you're a film aficionado of the 80's, you'll remember that "Crocodile Dundee" stayed here. And those two films are just the tip of the iceberg. Other movies such as "The Way We Were," "The Great Gatsby" (this year's version), "Home Alone 2," and "Bride Wars" were also filmed here. And, in a most ironic departure from character, this luxurious old hotel - The Grande Dame of New York City hotels - was even used for "Grand Theft Auto IV!"

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