Movies and Travel

There’s something so cozy about watching a movie, both solo and with a crew. If you don’t want to hole up in your room with pay-per-view while on vacation, there are many hotels where you can still catch a flick without leaving the property. Some hotels offer movie nights for their guests – whether it’s curled up on a comfy couch indoors or outside lounging by the pool — giving vacationers a chance to unwind in front of a big screen. Many are geared toward little ones so that parents can enjoy some alone time, while others are a chance for travelers to meet and participate in activities together. No matter if you’re away on business or having a family vacation, grab some popcorn, sit back, relax, and watch the show. We definitely give the following 10 hotels two thumbs up!

Bitter End Yacht Club, British Virgin Islands

Bitter End Yacht Club

The Bitter End Yacht Club, snuggled into a steep hill on the scenic North Sound, is a relaxed, family-friendly resort. The tech-free rooms (no TVs or Wi-Fi here) feature stunning views from the balconies, and the sliding doors allows breezes to sweep through; some rooms do not have air-conditioning but most guests find they don’t miss it. While some rooms could use renovations, guests are here for the white-sand beaches that offer plenty of water sports and relatively calm waters. Although popular among couples, the hotel also caters toward families; each night two movies are screened at The Sand Palace, next to the lobby. The movies are all rated G, PG, or PG-13 and popcorn is provided. Adults may want to send their kids to watch the movie while they enjoy a meal at the Clubhouse Grille next door.

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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 Golden Age of Hollywood has come and gone. While Los Angeles once had a firm grip on all film-related business — movie and television alike — the industry has expanded well beyond the Hollywood Hills. In the last forty years especially, we’ve seen emerging markets in Louisiana, Toronto, and Atlanta increasingly cut into La-La Land’s share of the filming world. Where Hollywood once hosted a commanding 64 percent of the live-action films being made in the early 2000s, today that figure has dropped to around eight percent, according to a study by FilmLA. It’s a big departure from the norm — and it is only good news for people looking to get their fifteen minutes in front of the camera. We’ve rounded up the top six destinations outside of Los Angeles for aspiring actors to book their first gig, or adoring fans to potentially score some time as an extra. And we’ve included some movie star-worthy accommodations in each spot as well.

1. New York City 

nyc

This may seem like a no-brainer, but in reality NYC only became a film industry hot spot in the 1970s when prolific directors Martin Scorcese and Woody Allen shifted their films’ focus to the Big Apple. Since then, NYC has become the clear challenger to Los Angeles’ filming supremacy. Just this year, NYC officially surpassed Hollywood for the number of TV pilots filmed in town, with Vancouver, Toronto, and Atlanta slowly creeping up behind the two industry giants. This week alone HBO’s Martin Scorcese-directed drama The Long Play begins filming its pilot in the city, as do over sixty other returning network programs. USA’s White Collar, CBS’s Person of Interest, Netflix’s Orange is the New Black, and HBO’s Girls are just some of the projects currently in play across the five boroughs. Plus, NYC has one thing Los Angeles doesn’t when it comes to acting: the Great White Way. For actors looking to pursue a career on stage, there is nowhere else to be but Broadway. Daniel Radcliffe and Neil Patrick Harris are both currently headlining shows, and Breaking Bad’s Brian Cranston just wrapped All the Way, for which he won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Lead Actor in a Play.

Stay: Mercer Hotel

The Mercer‘s 75 loft-style guest rooms, beautiful staff, personalized service and swanky SoHo location make it a go-to choice for celebrities and other fashionable members of the entertainment industry — from Leonardo DiCaprio, to fashion designer Calvin Klein, to oddball rock star Marilyn Manson, to Russell Crowe (who made headlines in 2005 for allegedly throwing a telephone at a Mercer check-in clerk). If you want to stay in a movie star-approved hotel, you can’t do much better. 

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The notorious Chateau Marmont has seen its share of celebrity scandals -- especially during awards season!

The 85th annual Academy Awards is taking place this Sunday at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles. And despite some serious snubs and surprises, we are all too excited for the Oscars this year. Rubbing shoulders with the stars is relatively common in Tinsel Town, and particularly with those golden statuettes up for grabs, you can be sure to stumble across some of your favorite celebs this weekend. But if you want to make your stalking stumbling more of a sure thing, then there are a few celebrity hideaways you should definitely visit — and Oyster has the scoop on every one of them. So get your cameras and autograph books ready, it’s time to nab your own award. Meet the nominees at these celeb hot spots in LA »

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Lights, camera, action: The Golden Globes take place Sunday in The Beverly Hilton's International Ballroom.

Roll out the red carpet: The 70th annual Golden Globes is kicking off this years’ awards season with a bang this Sunday, January 13th, at one of Oyster’s favorite hotels. The Beverly Hilton has played host to Hollywood’s favorite awards night since 1961 — and with good reason. This 569-room bastion of Hollywood glamour oozes luxury, but at prices that won’t bust the budgets of fans looking to sneak a peak at their favorite nominees (if they can snag a room, of course). And this year’s crop of acclaimed actors and actresses is seriously stalker-worthy. Helen Mirren, Ben Affleck, Meryl Streep (obviously — the woman is still the leader in number of Golden Globes ever won), Steve Buscemi, and Zoey Deshanel are just a handful of the lucky few to garner praise from the Hollywood Foreign Press this time around.  And the show’s new hosts, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, seem ready to lead all of them through a night of celeb-studded hilarity — something tells us even the Dowager Countess won’t be able to suppress a smile at their antics.

And, thanks to Oyster, you might be able to get in on the laughs as well. Whether you’re looking to crash a pre-party awards campaign à la Weinstein & Co. or are dreaming about after-party shenanigans, we’ve got the low down on the best Beverly Hills hotels to rub shoulders with the stars. Check out the details here » 

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Credit from left to right: Kyle Rover/startraksphoto.com; Michael Williams/startraksphoto.com; Kiera Fyles/startraksphoto.com

Celeb gossip is always buzzing — whether it be for a make-up, a break-up, a scandal, or a surprise, stars are making the headlines daily. And often their breaking news is in some ways linked to a hotel. That’s where we come in. Not only does Oyster have all the celeb news fit for print (and some that’s technically not — we’re a blog, after all!), but we have all the deets on where everything went down. Check out the latest celeb and hotel gossip after the jump.

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Foto Friday: Drink It In

by Rachel on March 30, 2012

This week’s Foto Friday couldn’t help but be inspired by the announcement of Anchorman 2, a film sequel we’ve been waiting about a decade for now. Set in San Diego, the original Anchorman follows a local news team through their triumphs and their plights — with a ton of laughs along the way. But our favorite line in the first flick had to have been when star Will Ferrell, playing Ron Burgundy, likens his city to a whale’s, errrr, lady parts, then reminds us to soak up the city’s scenery. Or as he says, “Drink it in.” Thanks Will, we’ll do just that.

HotelDelCoronado_SanDiego_FotoFriday

The view from a suite at the Hotel Del Coronado; San Diego, CA

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The grounds at the Flamingo Las Vegas; Las Vegas, NV

1. FACT OR FAKEOUT: Gangster and original owner of the Flamingo Las Vegas, Bugsy Siegel, named the property after his favorite bird — he had 15 of them living at his own mansion.

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT: Purchasing a lounge chair from Brown Jordan — the exact ones bought for the pool at The Venetian Resort and Casino in Las Vegas- is more expensive than one weekend night in one of the hotel’s Luxury Suites.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT: Since the late 1950s, more movies have been filmed at the Millennium Biltmore Los Angeles than at any other hotel in the Los Angeles area.

Check out the answers after the jump!

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We’ve been counting down the seconds to the 84th Academy Awards since the nominees were announced last month. And now that the big day is less than a week away, we’re beside ourselves with excitement. We can list off all the nominees — and even make a few well-educated predictions. But if you haven’t been as attentive to the details, no worries — we’ll give you the low-down. Not only will we tell you some of our favorite nominees, but more importantly, we’ll show you how to live like the characters or real-life actors in these Oscar-nominated films. Who wouldn’t want to live like George Clooney, right? Unless, of course, it’s George Clooney in The Descendants, with a wife in a coma and an unruly teenage daughter. Silver lining? He lived in Hawaii, so things must not have been all bad…

THE FILM: The Descendants

THE NOMINATIONS: Best Picture, Best Actor (George Clooney), Best Directing (Alexander Payne), Best Film Editing

Dolphin Quest at The Kahala Hotel and Resort; Oahu, HI

Dolphin Quest at The Kahala Hotel and Resort; Oahu, HI

THE HOTEL: The Kahala Hotel and Resort; Oahu, HI

The heart-warming and heart-wrenching film tells the story of Matt King, a successful Honolulu-based lawyer dealing with difficult family truths after his wife has fallen into a coma. So while you may not want to trade places with his character, the real-life Clooney leads an envy-worthy, glam life — he and the rest of the crew stayed at the luxurious Kahala Resort during filming. A celebrity retreat since 1964, the Kahala is one of the only quiet luxury options on Oahu, and offers amenities such as the renowned Dolphin Quest, a quiet, beautiful beach, and large rooms with enormous bathrooms.

Check out more Hollywood-approved hotels after the jump!

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The oversize pool at the Beverly Hilton; Los Angeles, CA

It should come as little surprise that we’re highlighting one of our favorite hotels that also happens to be hosting the 69th annual Golden Globe Awards this Sunday night. The Beverly Hilton, which underwent serious renovations in 2006, plays host to the awards show every year — and its not hard to see why: The Beverly Hilton simply exudes affordable luxury. Two business centers and fast Internet in the elegant rooms make it a top pick for business travelers; the huge pool and fancy fitness center are comprable to the Hilton’s more expensive counterparts, even if its restaurants fall a bit short. While stars like Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara and George Clooney grace the red carpet (while crossing their fingers for a statuette), we’ll be hunkered on the couch watching them in all their black-tie glory — but now we’ll have more insight into the property’s glittering Hollywood history. Check out more amazing photos of the hotel after the jump or read the full review here >>

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