Movie Stars: 9 Hotels That Set the Scene for Major Films

by Lara Grant on August 14, 2014

Lights, camera, action! Over the last several decades, hotels have played important roles in the film industry. Some iconic scenes — like Julia Roberts and Richard Gere bathing in Pretty Woman – will forever be a part of cinematic history and were actually filmed at hotels, instead of on sound stages. Most hotels that make it to the big screen are (for obvious reasons) primarily in Los Angeles and New York, but many others across the country get scouted to become shooting locations as well. So we’ve found 9 hotels all over that have been prominently featured in movies. Even if you never become a movie star yourself, you can at least visit these properties and feel like you’re walking through a film set. And sure, you’ll happily sign a few autographs.

Beverly Wilshire Beverly Hills – A Four Seasons Hotel

Beverly Wilshire

Let’s start with the iconic Beverly Wilshire – a top luxury pick for business or leisure, families or couples. With beautiful guest rooms, a Wolfgang Puck restaurant, and a great spa, pool, and fitness center — plus doting Four Seasons service, it’s a classic five-star property. The hotel was featured prominently in the 1990 film Pretty Woman and it’s certainly proud of this; you can even borrow one of the many DVD copies from the concierge’s library. In the film, Julia Roberts plays Vivian Ward, a Hollywood prostitute who’s hired by Richard Gere’s wealthy businessman character. Their relationship develops over their week-long stay in the Presidential Suite at the hotel. From the couple soaking in the suite’s luxurious tub to Vivian walking through the lobby with numerous bags from shopping on nearby Rodeo Drive, the hotel received a lot of screen time in the classic rom-com.

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The Waldorf Astoria, New York City

Waldorf Astoria

A Midtown East icon, the 1,300-room Waldorf Astoria comes with some of New York’s best spa services, fitness facilities, restaurants, and bars. Additionally, the hotel oozes history; John and Jackie Kennedy spent the first night of their honeymoon here and it has been featured in many, many movies. It was built in 1931 (then the tallest and largest hotel in the world) and has housed every President since FDR in one of its 26 Presidential Suitesl. In the 1992 film Scent of a Woman, Al Pacino dances with Gabrielle Anwar in one of the hotel’s event spaces, The Vanderbilt Room; Pacino earned an Oscar for Best Actor for his performance. In the hilarious Eddie Murphy flick Coming to America, his character Prince Akeem goes to the hotel. Other movies filmed at this famous spot include SerendipityMaid in Manhattan, The Royal Tenenbaums and Analyze This.

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Caesars Palace Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas

Caesars

Since 1966, the 2,419-room Caesars Palace has been a prominent feature in Vegas and houses one of the city’s biggest casinos. The hotel was very prominently featured in the 2009 comedy The Hangover, starring Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis. In town for Justin Bartha’s character’s bachelor party, the men checked into one of the hotel’s suites, where they find it in a state of utter devastation the next morning — oh, and there’s a live tiger. Various spots of the property were filmed, including the lobby, pools, roof, and reception, where the character Alan asks “This isn’t the real Caesar’s Palace, is it?” The hilarious film luckily didn’t cause any damage to the extravagant hotel. Other movies featuring the hotel include Rain ManRocky III and Dreamgirls.

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The Fairmont San Francisco

Fairmont

The Fairmont opened in 1907, and has since earned a spot in the National Register of Historic Places. Known as the “White House of the West” (at least to the Fairmont’s PR staff), the hotel has hosted every U.S. president since William Taft. With its luxurious decor and vast history, it’s no wonder that many movies have chosen to feature the hotel. One such film is Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 thriller Vertigo starring Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak. Other popular films showcasing the hotel are Shoot the Moon, The Rock, and Dirty Harry. The hotel takes pride in its film and political history by showcasing movie posters and photos of presidents in one of the hallways.

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The Plaza, New York City

The Plaza

The century-old, 282-room Plaza is a New York landmark. The luxury hotel has served as the setting in numerous films and works of literature, including the Eloise books, in which the mischievous title character lives at the property. It made its film debut in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 spy thriller North by Northwest starring Cary Grant; shooting at the hotel was very convenient for Grant, as he was living there at the time. The hotel can also be seen in The Way We Were, Home Alone 2, Almost Famous, The Great Gatsby and American Hustle.

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Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront

Wyndham Grand Chicago

This upscale hotel, formerly Hotel 71, is centrally located in The Loop, on the northern edge of Chicago’s Theatre District. Although it looks much different in the above picture than when it appeared on screen, the hotel’s penthouse ballroom acted as Bruce Wayne’s abode in The Dark Knight. Remember the scene showcasing the floor-to-ceiling windows when Heath Ledger’s Joker crashed Harvey Dent’s soiree? Much less glamorous and sans Christian Bale, but when those shades are pulled up, it’s easier to imagine the chic penthouse setting. You can book one of the suites to feel like Batman for a night and then head up to the ballroom on the 39th floor. The hotel was also used for numerous scenes in the third installment of Transformers.

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Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles

Millennium Biltmore

The grand Millennium Biltmore opened in 1923 and has regal decor throughout its common spaces and 683 rooms. In 1969, it was designated a Historic Cultural Landmark by the city (you can find the plaque near the side entrance). The hotel’s press packet includes an exhaustive 11-page list of every movie, TV show, miniseries, reality show, commercial, music video, and photo shoot ever filmed on the premises. In the 1984 supernatural comedy Ghostbusters, the hotel is seen in funny scenes, like when Bill Murray’s character gets slimed. The hotel can also be seen in popular films like Beverly Hills Cop, Wedding Crashers, and Spider-Man, to name a few. Since it’s such a hot spot for movies, guests will often see a “Filming in Progress” sign – and they can peruse the Historic Corridor to get a feel for the hotel’s rich cinematic history.

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St. Regis Princeville, Kauai

St Regis Princeville

The 251-room St. Regis Princeville is considered by many to be the premier luxury option in Hawaii, and given the stunning setting overlooking Hanalei Bay, it’s hard to disagree. Guests can expect warm, sophisticated decor, suites with personal butler service, world-class golf ,and gorgeous ocean views. The location on Kauai’s lush, ruggedly beautiful northern coast makes for natural beauty that’s unparalleled and an ideal setting for movies. In 2011′s comedy-drama The Descendants starring George Clooney, the hotel’s lobby and Presidential Suite appeared in the movie; it was an actual location in the original book, making it an obvious choice for a film location. The movie received the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and two Golden Globes, one for Best Actor (George Clooney) and the other for Best Picture.

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Bellagio, Las Vegas

Bellagio

This 3,933-room Italian “villa” is the embodiment of Vegas luxury. The elaborate Italian-themed courtyard is one of many highlights, with five swimming pools, elaborate sculptures, and fountains. Attractions like the indoor botanical gardens and the dancing fountains are world-famous, as are the Cirque du Soleil performances and the massive gaming floor. In the 2001 remake of Ocean’s Eleven, featuring a star-studded cast, the hotel is the spot where the group of thieves plan to conduct a vault heist. Scenes were shot at the Bellagio casino and the film ends with all the men, except for Clooney’s character, watching the Bellagio fountains and leaving one by one.

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