Historical Hotels Around the World (this page)
Historical Hotels Asia (next page)
|Hotel Bristol in Vienna.
This hotel was opened 1892. The name 'Bristol' had been used for many years to define a luxury gentleman's hotel. Hotels with this name sprung up across the European and colonial middle east world. This was before 'star ratings' and if one saw the name Bristol one knew what to expect - the right sort of fellow guests old chap!! Therew are still a few remnants of the old 'Bristols', but those are not similar to the Vienna hotel. Many, outside Europe, are quite shabby, but may have some of the design features of a time long, long ago!
Steeped in regal legacy, it was in the Hotel Bristol's fanciest accommodation, the Prince of Wales Suite, that the Prince of Wales lived for a time with Wallis Simpson, the woman for whom he abdicated the throne. An artists' haven (due in part to its proximity to the city's State Opera), the Bristol has hosted pianist Arthur Rubinstein and composer Giacomo Puccini. George Gershwin stayed here to work on the score for An American in Paris. There is a painting of Bambi on one of the hotel's cellar walls, because - the story was written here. Bambi author Felix Salten also met Richard Simon (of Simon and Schuster) in the hotel's restaurant to discuss publishing the book
|The Plaza in New York
city was opened in 1907
This twenty story hotel off Central Park was recognized as a city landmark in 1969, and is as much a part of the city's fictional history as its real one. Not only did it snag a cameo in the recent film rendition of The Great Gatsby, but F. Scott Fitzgerald actually lived there once. Today, you can stay in the Art Deco-styled Fitzgerald Suite, appropriately furnished with photos of Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan. Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest (1959) was the first film to be shot there.
|The Hotel Plaza Athénée
in Paris was opened in 1911.
The Plaza Athenee occupies prime real estate near the Champs-Élysées and the Eiffel Tower (which you can see from the hotel's Eiffel Suites) and has played host to a long line of celebrity guests, from Grace Kelly, Gary Cooper, and Rudolph Valentino to Rihanna, Stevie Wonder, and Johnny Depp. In 1937 American soldiers took over Le Relais, the hotel's dining room, and used it as their cafeteria. A longtime stomping ground of the Parisian fashion industry, the Plaza Athenee was Christian Dior's spot for photo shoots. The hotel recently featured in the movie, Weekend In Paris.
|The Ritz hotel in London opened in 1906. Other than its appearance in Notting Hill with Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts, the Ritz was the first of London's steel-frame structures. Designed by architects Charles Mewés and Arthur Davis, it stands in the city's exclusive Piccadilly area. During WWII, the hotel's Marie Antoinette Suite served as a rendezvous spot for Eisenhower, Churchill, and de Gaulle. When Charlie Chaplin stayed at the Ritz, he needed an entourage of 40 policemen just to get through the huddle of fans outside. Nancy Wake aka 'The White Mouse' - famous WW2 spy and 'behind the lines operative', liked to sip G and T's at the bar!|
|The Pera Palace Hotel
Jumeirah in Istanbul opened in 1892.
There five separate suites named after Ernest Hemingway - the Pera Palace is featured in his short story The Snows of Kilimanjaro. Elsewhere in fiction, characters in Graham Greene's Travels With My Aunt stay at the hotel. On its opening, the hotel catered to passengers on the Orient Express -- inspiring loyal customer Agatha Christie to pen Murder on the Orient Express.
|The Belmond Copacabana Palace hotel in Rio de Janeiro opened in 1923 at the behest of Brazil's president Epitácio Pessoa. It was originally slated to open a year earlier, to coincide with the centennial celebration of Brazil's independence. In addition to hosting too many A-listers (Princess Di, Michael Jackson, Walt Disney), renowned musicians like Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, and Nat King Cole have played the hotel's club, The Golden Room. Orson Wells resided there while shooting, 'It's All True'. The movie Flying Down to Rio (1933) starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers was filmed on site. A chat at the Palace between Barry Manilow and his pal Bruce Sussman reportedly inspired Manilow's hit song, "Copacabana".|
|The Waldorf-Astoria in New York city opened in 1893 if you count the original hotel, which was opened by William Waldorf Astor on Fifth Avenue and 33rd Street and later demolished; the Empire State Building took its spot in 1929. When the current Waldorf-Astoria moved into its Park Avenue home in 1931, it was the world's tallest hotel; though it no longer lays claim to the title, the hotel was registered as a city landmark in 1993. Also, the hotels long been a favourite of America's power players: every president has stayed there, from Hoover to Obama, and its Presidential Suite boasts bulletproof windows. And speaking of presidents and beds, in 1955 Marilyn Monroe paid $1K a week to live in one of the hotel's suites. Most New Yorkers know about the salad named after the hotel, but few know about the "secret" train platform underneath the hotel; Track 61 was used by high-security guests such as FDR. While the platform no longer operates and remains out of bounds to the public, it has been opened under special circumstances (Andy Warhol held an exhibit there in 1965).|
|La Mamounia hotel,
Marrakesh, Morocco opened in 1923.
The guestbook at La Mamounia reads like a Who's Who of Hollywood: Marlene Dietrich, Tom Cruise, Kate Winslet, and Charlton Heston, not to mention Alfred Hitchcock -- who was reportedly something of an iconic hotel butterfly, and filmed The Man Who Knew Too Much there in the mid-'50s. Also a favourite of dignitaries, presidents, and prime ministers, La Mamounia once hosted a meeting between Franklin D Roosavelt and Winston Churchill, who referred to the hotel as the world's "most lovely spot".