Hotels on the Big Screen

Hotels for decades have played starring roles on the big screen. For road warriors who are relaxing this holiday week and looking for a movie rental involving their homes away from home, here's a list of some in which hotels -- real and imaginary -- play prominently. It's an informal compilation done in consultation with frequent travelers and people who work in the hotel business. Movie information comes from the Internet Movie Database,

Grand Hotel

Drama/romance, 1932.

An all-star cast plays out the soap opera inside Berlin's most luxurious hotel. Greta Garbo, playing an eccentric dancer, utters her famous line, "I want to be alone." John Barrymore plays an upper-crust jewel thief. "The good cast of characters makes it a classic," says frequent traveler Marc Hall of Seattle.

Room Service

Comedy, 1938.

The Marx Brothers send a hotel manager into apoplexy as they do whatever it takes to keep from getting thrown out. One memorable line: "Hello? Room Service. Bring up enough ice to cool a warm body."

Hotel Rwanda

Drama/history/thriller, 2004.

True story about a hotel manager in Kigali who saved Tutsi refugees by putting them up as guests during the genocide in Rwanda. The manager's heroism makes it the best hotel movie ever for Vijay Dandapani, COO of Apple Core Hotels, he says.


Horror/thriller, 1960.

A Phoenix office worker goes on the run after stealing money from her employer's client. She checks into the empty Bates Motel on a forgotten highway. She never checks out. "After seeing the gruesome occurrences at the Bates Motel as a child, I don't think I've ever looked at an out-on-the-skirts-of-town motel the same again," says frequent traveler Dan Dement of Carlsbad, Calif.

Pretty Woman

Comedy/romance, 1990.

The Regent Beverly Wilshire in Los Angeles serves as the backdrop for this Cinderella-style movie that pairs a business tycoon (Richard Gere) with a congenial prostitute (Julia Roberts) whom he hired for reasons other than the obvious. Emmanuel Gardinier, general manager at Little Palm Island Resort in the Florida Keys, especially likes the compassionate general manager character (Hector Elizondo) who's "concerned about the details" of providing guest service. Lisa Grossberg, general manager of Manhattan's Buckingham Hotel, also likes the movie for the same character and just because "it's a good romantic story."

Lost in Translation

Comedy/drama/romance, 2003.

An aging movie star (Bill Murray) doing a commercial for whiskey and a bored newlywed (Scarlett Johansson) tagging along with her photographer-husband form a friendship during a stay at the luxurious Park Hyatt Hotel in Tokyo. "The plot is easy for us business travelers to embrace -- a lonely guy who is in a foreign city by himself working on a project he is less than thrilled about," says Hall, the Seattle business traveler.

The Shining

Horror/thriller, 1980.

Based on a Stephen King novel, the movie shows a family spending a winter looking after the snowbound, haunted Overlook Hotel. Frequent traveler Kenneth Morgan of Bridgeport, W.Va., says that there's "no better movie in terms of a hotel coming to life in a very sinister way."

Dirty Pretty Things

Crime/drama/thriller, 2002.

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