Hot on the heels of the release of the remake of Dahl’s tale “The Witches” featuring Anne Hathaway the Concierge team from The George started to contemplate all the movies over the last century that have been set in a hotel (real or imaginary) or featured a famous hotel in them. Hotels have long held an era of mystique and romance and many of our bucket list experiences involve famous (or infamous) hotels.
Of course, no list of movies set in hotels would be complete without a James Bond Movie. Sir Ian Flemings dashing hero sauntered about in many hotel lobbies, enjoyed many a martini (shaken not stirred of course) in a hotel bar or three and seduced his leading ladies in the hotel suites. If you aren’t a Bond fan there’s plenty of other recommendations and genres to keep you entertained.
One of the hotels - the Hotel Fontainebleau is one of the most historically and architecturally significant hotels on Miami Beach, Florida and features in three of the films on our list!
We’ve broken down our list into decades – here is our cinematic century for your viewing pleasure.
A decade often referred to as the ‘Roaring Twenties’ the 20s were typified with glamour, elegance, art deco décor, beaded dresses, jazz, the Charleston and gangsters.
1928 The Cardboard Lover (Comedy/Romance) featuring Marion Davies disguised as a bellhop at the Hotel Venitien on the French Riviera. The storyline is a naive American girl visiting Monte Carlo is hired by a tennis champ to be his "cardboard lover"--to pretend to be in love with him so he can teach his two-timing fiancé a lesson and win her back.
1929 The Cocoanuts (Comedy/Musical) where Groucho Marx and brothers are the Concierge, or not, in a Florida Hotel. What could possibly go wrong as they try to run the hotel, auction off some land and thwart a jewel heist?
The decade called the ‘Thirties’ that brought us the Great Depression, Amelia Earhart became an icon in the aviation world when she flew solo across the Atlantic, Germany invaded Poland which started World War II but also an abundance of technological developments in aviation, radio and film.
1932 Grand Hotel (Drama/Romance) Greta Garbo at the Grand Hotel in Berlin, delivers the immortal line – “I want to be alone”.
1937 Easy Living (Comedy/Romance) Hotel owner Mr Louis Louis (Luis Alberni) installs Jean Arthur in a luxury suite.
1937 A Day at the Races (Comedy/Musical/Sport) The Marx brothers show little respect for the hotel or each other.
1938 Room Service (Comedy) The Marx brothers fictional Whiteway hotel, skipping the hotel bill is only half of it.
The 1940s in film were dominated with double-crossing villains, star-crossed lovers and the genius of artistic duos like Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. This decade brought us cinematic favourites like the original Miracle on 34th Street and It’s a Wonderful Life.
1948 Key Largo (Action/Crime/Drama) Featuring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall the storyline sees a man (Bogart) visiting his war buddy’s family hotel to find a gangster running things. As a hurricane approaches the region tensions rise and the two end up confronting one another.
The 1950s was a decade marked by Elvis Presley, the post World War II boom, the dawn of the Cold War, the discovery of the DNA double helix, NATO was formed and the biggest fad of the decade was the hula hoop.
1956 L’Homme aux Clefs d’Or (Drama) A French movie also known as ‘The Man with the Golden Keys’ set in a luxury Monte Carlo Hotel in which an English teacher, played by Pierre Fresnay, is falsely accused of a hideous crime by three teenagers.
Did you know? The George has two Clefs d’Or members who are available to assist with dinner reservations, activity recommendations, show tickets during your stay here The George in Christchurch.
1959 Some Like It Hot (Comedy/Music/Roman) After witnessing a mob hit two male musicians, played by Jack Lemon and Tony Curtis, join an all-female Florida hotel band with Marilyn Monroe as the band’s vocalist.
1959 A Hole in the Head (Comedy/Drama) Starring Frank Sinatra as widower Tony Manetta trying to keep a small Miami hotel afloat while raising his 12-year-old son. The hotel is set in Miami’s South Beach district at the Cardozo Hotel – an art deco gem that was restored in the 1980s. The Fontainebleau Miami Beach also appears in some of the scenes. The Cardozo also features in the 1988 comedy/romance 'There’s Something About Mary'.
The decade that brought us the lava lamp, free love, flower power, fondue, psychedelic drugs and political mayhem. The Vietnam War dominated, political assassinations seemed popular culture and the start of the generation gap emerged.
1960 Pyscho (Horror/Thriller) Alfred Hitchcock, the Bates Motel, the mother and that famous shower scene starring Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh.
1960 The Bellboy (Comedy) Jerry Lewis is the hotel bellhop at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida. Somehow Stanley (Lewis) gets into trouble with every step he takes.
1960 Oceans 11 (Comedy/Crime) Frank Sinatra plays Danny Ocean who plans the ultimate Las Vegas heist – including robbing the Sahara, Rivera, Desert Inn, Sand and Flamingo hotels.
1963 The Silence (Drama) a Swedish movie about emotional distance where two estranged sisters rent a two-room apartment in a once-grand European hotel in a town called Timoka.
1964 Night of the Iguana (Drama) Ava Gardner runs a hotel with guests Richard Burton, a defrocked Episcopal clergyman, and Deborah Kerr. This movie is based on the play by Tennessee Williams.
1964 Goldfinger (Action/Adventure) Sean Connery as James Bond investigates a gold smuggling ring and uncovers a plot to contaminate the Fort Knox gold reserve. This movie features the Fontainebleau Miami Beach Florida – a behemoth of a hotel appears after the opening credits in a sweeping aerial shot. In the film Bond girl, Jill Masterton is found dead at the hotel after being covered completely in gold paint.
1966 Hotel Paradiso (Comedy) At this fictional Parisian hotel a writer takes the opportunity to observe his fellow guests as inspiration for his new play. Starring Gina Lollobrigida and Alec Guinness.
1967 Hotel (Drama) A historical New Orleans hotel is struggling to survive financially, amidst the dramas of the various guests.
1967 You Only Live Twice (Action/Adventure) Sean Connery stars as James Bond while the Hotel New Otani has the starring role of being the headquarters of Osato Chemicals – the Japanese front for villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld’s SPECTRE operation.
1968 The Producers (Comedy/Music) Starring Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder in this Oscar-winning movie about a stage-play producer who constructs a plan to make money by producing a sure-fire flop.
The 1970s ushered in a decade of disco, drum machines and artists like the BeeGees and ABBA. Bell-bottomed pants and big sunglasses defined fashion while Britain got its first female Prime Minister. Technological innovation and space exploration, black holes, the Watergate scandal and an oil crisis all in the one decade.
1973 Le Concierge (Comedy) A French movie where a brilliant yet unemployed university graduate becomes the caretaker of a luxury apartment building, where he makes himself indispensable.
1974 The Night Porter (Drama) A former Nazis SS officer works in a Vienna hotel in the 1950s and encounters his former lover – a holocaust survivor. Starring Dirk Bogarde and Charlotte Rampling.
1974 The Man With the Golden Gun (Action/Adventure) Starring Roger Moore as James Bond the spectacular frontage of The Peninsula in Hong Kong, with its impressive fleet of Rolls-Royce Silver Shadows features in several scenes.
1976 The Tenant (Drama/Thriller) Roman Polanksi directs himself as the tenant and Shelly Winters as the Concierge.
1977 The Spy Who Loved Me (Action/Adventure) Roger Moore at his finest as James Bond investigating the hijacking of British and Russian submarines carrying nuclear warheads. The Hotel Cala di Volpe in Sardinia Italy is the location of the piano bar, which doubles as Bond’s hotel room.
1978 California Suite (Comedy/Drama/Romance) Jane Fonda, Maggie Smith and Michael Caine amongst a star-spangled cast list in this movie about the misadventures of guests in a luxury Beverly Hills hotel
Dominated by world events such as the first space shuttle, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of the Cold War, the Falklands War the 80s also brought us the Macintosh Computer, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince and U2 and some excellent movies.
1980 The Shining (Drama/Horror) Jack Nicholson in a giant winter resort, the Overlook hotel, with a sinister presence. Directed by Stanley Kubrick and based on the novel by Stephen King - this is sure to terrify.
1983 Octopussy (Action/Adventure) Once more Roger Moore is James Bond uncovering international jewel smuggling operations and the Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur, India as Octopussy’s lair – the hotels’ dining room, terrace, hotel barge all feature along with the hotel’s lily pond where Bond girl Octopussy enjoys a naked swim.
1984 Ghostbusters (Action/Comedy/Fantasy) A fictional Sedgewick hotel in New York City sets the scene for this movie about three former parapsychology professors and their unique ghost removal service.
1985 A Room With A View (Drama/Romance) Helena Bonham Carter and Maggie Smith star in this story set in 1907 at the Pensione Bertolini, Florence Italy. Based on the novel by E.M. Forster.
1987 Dirty Dancing (Drama/Romance/Music) Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey star in this classic movie of holiday romance set in the entertainment hall of an upscale Catskills Resort.
1989 Mystery Train (Comedy/Crime/Drama) Three separate stories connected by one Memphis hotel and the spirit of Elvis Presley
Did You Know? The George hotel in Christchurch NZ opened on 2 July 1987 – the hotel is named after the Sir George Seymour, one of the first four ships to sail to New Zealand bringing settlers to Otautahi-Christchurch, NZ.
Every cool kid who grew up in the ‘90s had a Sony Discman or a Tamagotchi, text messaging was invented, the WorldWideWeb came about and along with it Google, Sony released the PlayStation, DVDs replaced VHS and Nokia released the first mass-produced cell phone the Nokia 1011.
1990 The Witches (Adventure/Comedy/Family) This 1990 adaption of a Roald Dahl book starred Anjelica Huston as the head of the witches at a convention in a hotel where a young boy tries to stop them, even after being turned into a mouse.
1990 Pretty Woman (Comedy/Romance) Probably one of the first modern movies we think of when asked about movies set in hotels. Julia Roberts is educated by Richard Gere in the ways of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, LA while she schools him on life and love.
1991 Barton Fink (Comedy/Drama/Thriller) A famous playwright is enticed to California to write for the movies and discovers a different, darker, side of Hollywood.
1992 Home Alone 2 (Comedy/Crime/Adventure) Macaulay Culkin with Tim Curry as the Concierge at the Plaza Hotel, New York.
1992 The Bodyguard (Action/Drama/Music) With Kevin Costner as a former Secret Service agent who takes on the job of bodyguard to an R&B singer (Whitney Houston) whose lifestyle couldn’t be further from that of a President. Sparks fly, romance blooms - tissues required.
1993 The Concierge (Comedy/Romance/Drama) Also known as For Love or Money featuring Michael J. Fox as the Concierge at The Bradbury – a luxurious hotel in New York. Fox is a young man with big plans.
1995 The Four Rooms (Comedy) Four different but converging tales take place in the Mon Signor Hotel on New Year's Eve with Ted, the Bellhop, at the centre of things. Starring Antonio Banderas, Sammi Davis and Madonna.
1995 Golden Eye (Action/Adventure) Pierce Brosnan graces the silver screen in this 1995 James Bond movie features The Langham, London with the hotel masquerading as St. Petersburg’s Grand Hotel Europe.
1997 Tomorrow Never Dies (Action/Adventure) Once again we see Pierce Brosnan in the role of James Bond as he sets out to stop a media mogul’s plan to incite war between China and the UK. The Hotel Atlantic Kempinski in Hamburg Germany features throughout the film including a scene where Bond scrambles over the iconic, globe-adorned rooftop of the hotel.
1999 Notting Hill (Comedy/Drama/Romance) Julia Roberts is pampered again, this time by London Ritz’s real Les Clefs d'Or Concierge – Michael De Cozar.
Or, the 00s pronounced ‘noughties’ was dominated by flip phones, the camera phone was invented, YouTube became a thing, Facebook was launched and the first Toyota Prius drove off the assembly line. Beyonce sang to us about ‘all the single ladies’ while Lady Gaga hit the airwaves with Poker Face and Pink showed us she could ‘Get the party started’.
2001 Oceans 11 (Crime/Thriller) In this remake of the 1960 movie George Clooney plans to rob the Bellagio, Mirage, MGM and Grand Hotels with a stellar cast of friends helping.
2002 Maid in Manhattan (Comedy/Drama/Romance) A hardworking room maid, played by Jennifer Lopez, wants to get into management then meets handsome guest Ralph Fiennes.
2003 Lost in Translation (Comedy/Drama) Starring Bill Murray as a faded movie star and Scarlett Johansson as a neglected young woman – both staying in the Park Hyatt Hotel in Tokyo, Japan.
2003 Identity (Mystery/Thriller) John Cusack and Ray Liotta star in this story about ten strangers stranded at a desolate Nevada motel during a terrible storm.
2004 Hotel Rwanda (Biographical/History/Drama) The real-life story of a hotelier saving over a thousand Tutsi lives in his besieged country.
2006 Casino Royale (Action/Adventure) Featuring Daniel Craig as James Bond in Casino Royale the One & Only Ocean Club in the Bahamas appears in scenes throughout the film and Bond girl Solange checks into Villa 1085. Hotel Cipriani in Venice, Italy also appears in Casino Royale.
Did you know? The Residence at The George is a private villa style residence which can be booked for cocktail events, board meetings as well as the option to hook the 3 accommodation rooms exclusively. The Residence at The George won Australasia’s Leading Luxury Hotel Villa in the annual World Travel Awards in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and Oceania’s Leading Luxury Villa in 2020. For a full list of awards the hotel has won please visit our awards page.
2009 The Hangover (Comedy) Four buddies, one bachelor party in Caesars Palace Hotel in Las Vegas, what could possibly go wrong?
The 2010s ushered in a new era of technology into our homes and enabled a whole new way of watching our favourite movies - with the release of the first Apple iPad, 3d printing enabled us to reproduce vital organs, Smartwatches graced our wrists and the Cronut was invented (thank you 2012 for these sugary treats) and fidget spinners emerged everywhere overnight.
2010 Somewhere (Comedy/Drama) Set in the Chateau Marmont hotel, Los Angeles a Hollywood actor disappears into the hotel to contemplate his life.
2011 The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Comedy/Drama/Romance) Judi Dench travels to India to what is believed to be a newly restored hotel.
2011 Albert Nobbs (Drama/Romance) Set in 19th century Ireland a woman poses as a man, the Butler, in Dublin’s most elegant hotel where things get complicated.
2011 The Innkeepers (Drama/Horror/Mystery) In the final days of the Yankee Pedlar Inn disturbing events take place as old guests return to stay and two employees are determined to reveal the haunted past of the hotel.
2012 Hotel Transylvania (Action/Comedy/Family) The world’s monsters can take a well-deserved rest here at this high-end resort far away from human civilisation.
2012 Skyfall (Action/Adventure) Starring Daniel Craig as James Bond – the movie begins on the rooftop of the Four Seasons Hotel London in the hotel’s rooftop swimming pool. The hotel also doubles for a hotel in Shanghai in other scenes in this movie.
2014 The Grand Budapest Hotel (Adventure/Comedy/Crime) The Les Clefs d’Or Concierge “Gustave” played by Ralph Fiennes is framed for the murder of a wealthy guest.
2015 The Lobster (Comedy/Drama/Romance) This dystopian story sees single people taken to The Hotel where they must find a partner within 45 days or be turned into an animal and sent out into The Woods.
2018 Hotel Mumbai (Action/Drama/History) The true story of the terrorist attack on the Taj Hotel in Mumbai and the heroic efforts and unthinkable sacrifices of the staff to save lives.
So far the 2020s have seen some fairly memorable and historic moments and events from the Corona Virus pandemic and lockdowns all over the globe to the impeachment (and acquittal) of the US President. We're not sure what the remainder of the 2020s will bring, but we hope that we see more cinematic masterpieces featuring hotels, real or imaginary, for us all to enjoy.
2020 The Witches (Adventure/Comedy/Family) Anne Hathaway is the witch in the room below, in the Grand Orleans Imperial Island Hotel in this remake of the original film from1990.
Are there any you think we should add to our list? No doubt there will be movies we have missed, if you have any recommendations of movies we should add to this please let us know.
You may not be able to travel internationally right now, but with this array of movies set in Hotels in some exotic and dramatic locations, you’re sure to find some inspiration for your next offshore holiday. Perhaps download a few of your favourites for your next holiday in Christchurch, NZ.