For a movie to become truly iconic, many elements of the production have to be excellent. The actors, the story, and the dialogue are all important, and one of the most critical pieces can be the location. The set of a film often becomes a character of its own, and that seems to be especially true for movies that take place within the walls of a hotel. Whether fictional resorts or real-life venues, these properties can define a plot and garner fanfare for decades after the film's release. Here are some of the most iconic movie hotels of all time.
The Plaza Hotel
The Plaza Hotel is an icon all on its own. Opened in 1907 at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Central Park South in Manhattan, the French château–style building is well known for regularly welcoming celebrities and dignitaries, and it received some extra attention after appearing in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York in 1992. In the flick, Kevin McCallister (played by Macaulay Culkin) cons his way into a room at the luxury hotel, leaving a path of hilarious destruction behind. The property first made its film debut in Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest and was also used in The Great Gatsby, American Hustle, and, of course, Eloise at the Plaza.
Park Hyatt Tokyo
This stunning five-star hotel is more than an architectural masterpiece by Kenzo Tange. It also happens to be the primary setting for Sofia Coppola's Oscar-winning 2003 movie, Lost in Translation. In the flick, Bill Murray's and Scarlett Johansson's characters develop an interesting companionship at the property's New York Bar, pool, and contemporary rooms. The sky-high views also make several appearances, adding to the lighthearted drama of the film.
The Overlook Hotel
Thanks to Jack Nicholson's homicidal turn as Jack Torrance in The Shining, you most likely wouldn't want to stay at the Overlook Hotel—even if it was a real place. The interiors in the 1980 horror flick were all filmed on a soundstage near London, though the eerie exterior shots come from the Timberline Lodge in Oregon. That hotel leans in to its connection to the film, hosting themed dinner-and-a-movie screenings complete with Torrance's typewriter and an ax.
Located on Las Vegas's famous Strip, Caesar's Palace doesn't need a movie to make it iconic. But this venue certainly played a pivotal role in the 2009 hit The Hangover starring Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis. "The Wolfpack" got into a whole host of problems at the ancient Roman–themed property, and the movie was actually filmed onsite at the front desk, lobby, entry driveway, pools, and elevators. The cast and crew even utilized the rooftop where the characters finally found their missing pal Doug at the end of the movie. And The Hangover is just one famous flick to feature the hotel and casino: Rain Man, Iron Man, The Big Short, and Dreamgirls were also filmed there.
Grand Budapest Hotel
When the name of the lodging is in the title of the movie, you know it's bound to make an impact. This stunning guesthouse where concierge Gustave H. and his assistant Zero Moustafa get tangled in a murder mystery is sadly not real, but the 2014 Wes Anderson comedy The Grand Budapest Hotel gained critical acclaim for its cinematography and set design. The film was shot in a real location, the town of Görlitz, Germany, but a department store was used for the hotel interior. It's also believed that the Grand Budapest Hotel was inspired by a combination of two actual inns where guests can stay: the Bristol Hotel in the Czech Republic and the Gellert Hotel in Budapest, Hungary.
Seminole Ritz Hotel
In Marylin Monroe's 1958 film Some Like It Hot, she portrays a ditzy blonde who is part of an all-female band performing at the Seminole Ritz Hotel in Miami. Although that hotel is fictional, the filming was done at the historic Hotel del Coronado in San Diego. During her stay there, Monroe apparently requested the same dessert each day: a chilled vanilla soufflé with meringue on top.
This luxury hotel, now a Four Seasons property, held a prominent role in the 1990 romantic comedy Pretty Woman. The love story featuring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts played out there, and some exterior filming was done on location at the Beaux-Arts–style building. The interior shots were filmed on a soundstage, but the sets were based on the actual design of the hotel at the time. In the years since, the hotel has embraced its cinematic history, and it even offers a "Pretty Woman for the Day" package where guests can go shopping on Rodeo Drive with a stylist, enjoy a special menu, and more.
Thankfully, this hotel from Alfred Hitchcock's renowned horror film Psycho is entirely fictional. But fans who do want to pay a visit to the site of one of the most iconic murder scenes in history (while Marion Crane is in the shower, a shadowy figure enters the room wielding a knife), can safely do so at Universal Studios in Hollywood, where the hotel set and the creepy Bates family home still stand.
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest