Hotels, both real and fictional, have appeared in countless films over the years – here’s a selection of places to stay that film buffs might just recognise….
Luton Hoo Hotel
Over the years, James Bond has stayed in numerous swish hotels across the world, and if you fancy visiting one of his haunts on home soil try Stoke Park, where Sean Connery’s Bond played golf against Goldfinger (and which I mentioned in a previous Spectator Life article), or the Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf & Spa, a five-star pile on the border of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. Luton Hoo was used for Never Say Again, the 1983 film that saw Connery reclaim his ‘license to kill’ having last played Bond in 1971, and prides itself on its relaxed atmosphere despite the grandeur of its setting. The hotel also appears in The World is Not Enough (starring Pierce Brosnan) – but perhaps that’s not such a claim to fame.
Georgian House Hotel, London and The Methuen Arms, Corsham
If you’re a Harry Potter fan on a pilgrimage and aren’t content with just a quick visit to platform 9½ in King’s Cross station or the Warner Bros Studios Tour, then you might fancy an overnight stay at the Georgian House Hotel, Pimlico, which offers a 100 per cent unofficial (and presumably lawyer-proof) Potter-themed Wizard Chamber. Alternatively, head out of the capital to Lacock, in Wiltshire, a medieval village with an abbey that provided interiors for Hogwarts in The Philosopher’s Stone and The Chamber of Secrets. If you do make the trip to Lacock, stay at The Methuen Arms, an award-winning boutique inn, in nearby Corsham (a village also used in the Potter series), and while you’re there, pop next door to Corsham Court, a historic home that has it’s own (non-Harry Potter) celluloid history: it was used for a scene in The Remains of the Day, starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson, and is in Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon.
The Royal Lancaster Hotel, London
The Royal Lancaster Hotel, next to Hyde Park, is a handy choice if you’re looking to stay somewhere in central London – and it comes with an added bonus for fans of British film classics, as it’s the place where Michael Caine’s Charlie Croker is treated to a ‘coming out of prison’ party in The Italian Job. It should be pointed out that a coterie of scantily clad dolly birds of the kind that awaits Croker is not included in the room rate.
Headland Hotel, Cornwall
A new version of Roald Dahl’s The Witches is coming to the big screen in 2020, and to get yourself in the mood, spend a night or two in the spectacular Headland Hotel in Cornwall, where parts of Nicolas Roeg’s 1990 adaptation of the book was filmed. The story goes that during the shoot, Rowan Atkinson, who plays the hotel manager, left his bath running, causing a flood that wrecked much of the crew’s equipment that was being stored on the floor below. The Witches was a terrifying experience to sit through as a kid – but, luckily, the luxury of Headland, complete with swimming pools, spa and two restaurants, and the miles of stunning Cornish coast will distract you from memories of wig-wearing, child-killing women stalking the hotel’s halls.
The Wild Atlantic Way is a route down Ireland’s rugged west coast that is well worth following, and Dingle, in County Kerry, is the place to stop to take in a bit of cinema history. Just outside this popular tourist town is the tiny village of Dunquin, which was the setting for David Lean’s romantic epic, Ryan’s Daughter, starring Robert Mitchum, Sarah Miles, Trevor Howard and John Mills. Stay at Benner’s Hotel in the centre of Dingle – a large and unfussy hotel with a welcoming bar that does excellent grub and good beer. For a day trip from Dingle, or if you’re carrying on along the Wild Atlantic Way, head a couple of hours south to Portmagee, where boat trips to Skellig Michael, a remote chunk of rock eight miles off the coast, can be taken. This tiny island, home to a stone monastery (possibly built as early as the sixth century), doubled as Luke Skywalker’s hideout in the recently concluded new Star Wars trilogy.
The Ahwahnee, Yosemite
One of cinemas most famous hotels is The Overlook, the place where Jack Nicholson loses the plot in The Shining – and horror aficionados might consider a trip to Yosemite National Park, in the US, to stay at one of the hotels that inspired its look. A number of The Ahwahnee’s interiors were used as templates for the sets built for the film. Whether you are into The Shining or not, a holiday to Yosemite is highly recommended. Many of the park’s most famous landmarks, including Half Dome, Yosemite Falls and Glacier Point, can be viewed from The Ahwahnee’s grounds. It’s worth bearing in mind that Yosemite’s hotels book up very early, so don’t delay in making your booking.
Park Hyatt Hotel, Tokyo
If mooching around exquisitely designed Japanese hotels is your thing, then that probably means you’re a big fan of Sofia Coppola’s breakthrough film, Lost in Translation, one of the most memorable hotel-set movies in cinema history. Follow in Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson’s footsteps by heading to the Park Hyatt’s New York bar, and take in the sweeping views of the city and beyond, atmospheric live jazz and, of course, a Suntory whisky or two.