Rooms with a view: Films and their hotels — Slant

As Wes Anderson’s latest film, the Grand Budapest Hotel, opens to rave reviews, R. Kurt Osenlund takes a look at five other hotels that have made their films special.

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The Overlook Hotel in The Shining (1980)

Is there a more odious cinematic resort than the Overlook Hotel in Stanley Kubrick‘s The Shining? An oppressively vast and eerily empty getaway, this hilltop, ultimately snow-covered retreat is a literal house of horrors, with visions, apparitions, and one very famous axe always lurking around its well-manicured corners. It’s not just the ghouls and Jack Torrance’s (Jack Nicholson) madness that make this place terrifying, it’s a palpable, inescapable loneliness, apparent in the echo of a ball in a massive room, or a tidal wave of blood flooding through an abandoned hallway.

The Bellagio in Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

In the inaugural installment of Steven Soderbergh‘s all-star trilogy, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and their pals stepped into the shined shoes and sharp suits of the Danny Ocean crew, who devise an ambitious plan to rip off the vaults of Terry Benedict’s (Andy Garcia) three big casinos: The Mirage, the MGM Grand and the ever -glitzy Bellagio. The latter two resorts are good gets, but the Bellagio is expected to offer a payday of $150 million in the film, which proves mighty tempting for those eleven close-knit schemers. Shot on location, Soderbergh’s slick success captures the mischief and allure of sin city.

The Hotel Mon Signor in Four Rooms (1995)

Coming on the heels of Quentin Tarantino‘s breakthrough with Pulp Fiction, the anthology comedy Four Rooms (directed by Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Allison Anders, and Alexandre Rockwell), continue’s the filmmaker’s obsession with hard-edged chattiness, even featuring him onscreen as a verbose and foul-mouthed director. Who else is on the guest list at the fictitious Hotel mon Signor? Well, Madonna appears as a witch, Antonio Banderas shows up as a liberal father leaving his kids in the hotel’s care, and even Kathy Griffin stars as the establishment’s head honcho. The characters are linked via Tim Roth‘s bewildered bellhop, a classic, modest straight man surrounded by madness.

The Beverly Hills Hotel in California Suite (1978)

Herbert Ross‘s film version of Neil Simon‘s play fills the Beverly Hills Hotel with a motley crew of stars, including Maggie Smith, Richard Pryor, Alan Alda, Jane Fonda, and Bill Cosby. At the Sunset Boulevard landmark, visitors come from far and wide, specifically Manhattan, Chicago, London, and Philadelphia, the core characters’ native cities that denote the movie’s four plot threads. Smith is a British Oscar nominee, Fonda is a New York workaholic, Walter Matthau is a businessman, and Richard Pryor is a doctor, and their common bond is an unravelling mess of dilemmas that swirls amid room-service orders. The movie went on to do well in awards season, netting an art-mimics-life Oscar for Smith.

The Regent Beverly Wilshire in Pretty Woman (1990)

From the “carpet picnic” of champagne and strawberries” to the hot-tub lip-synching of Prince’s ‘Kiss‘, Julia Roberts‘s Vivian Ward all but moves in at the Regent Beverly Wilshire, the tony setting for Garry Marshall‘s greatest hit, Pretty Woman. Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) doesn’t give the friendly staff the time of day, but Vivian cozies up to the bellhop, Edward’s driver, and the benevolent hotel manager, memorably played by an on-point Hector Elizondo. Talk about a hooker with a heart of gold.

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