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July 20, 2024

Go jet-setting to these hotels from the movies!

Ismat Tahseen
How often have you watched a TV show or a movie and sighed, ‘I so wish I was there!’ For these are shot at some the world’s most gorgeous hotels and resorts in the best locations – from the exotic Bora Bora in the Maldives to the sunset-washed Greek islands of Santorini and Crete, castles in Europe, penthouse suites in New York, Lake Como-front resorts in Italy, luxe tented stays in Kenya, and so much more. The coveted properties serve up a glamorous escape on the screen, grabbing as much attention as the juicy plots – case in point the recent OTT hit, The White Lotus. If you’re looking to go on a vacation soon, here’s a list of glam places where you can live out your cinematic fantasy…
The White Lotus
Where: The Four Seasons (Hawaii, Sicily)
Still from the show The White Lotus, season 2
Photo courtesy:
For The White Lotus fans, it was literally like a pack-your-travel-totes-and-get away as they watched HBO’s successful series based on white privilege, colonialism and yes, murder. Over two seasons of the show so far, it’s been a delicious soak of wanderlust at The Four Seasons, first at the 15-acre Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, Hawaii and then Sicily. In the former, resort manager Armond welcomes guests with a flourish. The sprawling hotel is complete eye candy and as you binge on the show, you wish you plotted that island destination on your holiday map. The fictional Pineapple Suite that Shane (actor Jake Lacy lusts after) is actually the ‘Lokelani’ Presidential Three-Bedroom Suite with a staggering 7,200 sq ft area, private garden and oceanfront views. Season two takes off to the San Domenico Palace in Taormina (a Four Seasons Hotel), Sicily, with its baroque-style villas and specialty suites overlooking Taormina Bay, another spectacular property. Buzz is, that White Lotus is headed to Thailand for Season 3. Will it be Bangkok? Fans are playing guess-where with the fancy resorts, already!

Nine Perfect Strangers

Where: Soma, Australia


Photo courtesy: Instagram/@soma.byron
Who can forget the powerful acting by Nicole Kidman (who plays wellness guru and owner Masha Dmitrichenko) and the rest of the cast in this Amazon Prime TV series set at Tranquillum House, amid a lush bamboo forest, yoga space and huge grounds. The place isn’t California as it’s shown to be, but actually a retreat and spa called Soma in Ewingsdale, Byron Bay, Australia. As the nine strangers interact and the dark, dysfunctional plot unveils, the two-story, glass-walled resort with its zen feel adds much to the character and mystique of the show. We watch them head to their detox centre, walk around and indulge in self-reflection in the luxurious retreat and it’s almost like you’re grabbing some of the tranquility of the place, as you watch Nine Perfect Strangers.
Oppenheimer, The Italian Job, Ocean’s Eleven, Glee
Where: Millennium Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles


Photo courtesy: Instagram/@thebiltmorela
The Millennium Biltmore Hotel in the heart of downtown LA will go down in the movies hall of fame as having played host to countless movie successes, the most recent Oppenheimer (Ghostbusters, Independence Day, The Italian Job, Ocean’s Eleven and more were also shot here) as well as hit TV dramas like The West Wing and Mad Men. The 70,000 square feet landmark property – first to host the Academy Awards – is opulence come to life with a huge ornate Crystal Ballroom, Gold Room, fresco ceilings, price bars and themed restaurants, adding to its grandeur. Flush with the moolah? Splurge $20,000 a night on the 3,200-square-foot Presidential Suite, where Al Capone is said to have once stayed!
The Night Manager
Where: Es Saadi Resort (Marrakech), Hotel Meister (Switzerland), Maricel Hotel and Spa (Calvià, Spain)


Photo courtesy: Instagram/@essaadimarrakech
The suave hit series The Night Manager, based on John Le Carre’s novel of the same name, was reportedly shot at a staggering budget of roughly $3.8 M per episode and showcased one uber chic location to the next. The spy-thriller scenes opened at the lavish Hotel Nefertiti in Cairo, which was actually the Es Saadi resort in Marrakech. It has gardens sprawled over 20 acres along with a spa, pool and hammam. Protagonist Tom Hiddleston who heads the concierge desk there gets caught in a deadly arms game as he learns about billionaire Richard Roper. The scenes move into another stunning location, said to be Hotel Meister, a Swiss ski resort of Zermatt (but outside footage was said to be shot at the uber chic Riffelalp Resort 2222m, offering postcard-perfect views of the Matterhorn and Zermatt village). Chalk this one up for sheer wanderlust envy!
Moden Love
Where: Arlo NoMad, NY


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The heart-warming hit anthology Amazon Prime Video series Modern Love, based on an avant-garde take on relationships, had an all-star cast of Anne Hathaway, Tina Fey, Andy Garcia, Dev Patel, Minnie Driver, etc. In one of the episodes ‘When Cupid is a Prying Journalist’, actor Dev Patel, a dating app CEO meets a journalist (played by Catherine Keener) at the lounge of the Arlo Nomad hotel. It packs style, sleek design and some of the best views of Manhattan. Want to include this urban boutique hotel in Broolyn, New York on your next bleisure break?

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Where: Ravla Khempur, Udaipur


Photo courtesy:
This movie served up a magical screenplay with an all-veteran cast Judi Dench to Maggie Smith and Tom Wilkinson. In the comedy-drama we see group of British retirees who make their way to Jaipur, India to stay at the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (after coming across an advertisement for it an ‘exotic’ retirement home). They are welcomed by actor Dev Patel who plays hotel manager Sonny Kapoor. The hotel is actually the Ravla Khempur, a 370-year-old countryside property, on the outskirts of Udaipur, which now serves as an equestrian hotel. It gives folks a taste of heritage with its beautiful architecture with domes and terraces, sprawling courtyards and gardens and surrounding rustic vibe.

The Tourist

Where: Palazzo Pisani


On the balcony at Palazzo Pisani Moretta (
Photo courtesy:
Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp’s sleek spy movie ‘The Tourist’ was filmed in Venice and the locations make you fall in love with the city. More so, for the grand Palazzo Pisani Moretta, depicted as Danieli Hotel. The actors, who play Elise and Frank have several scenes in the gorgeous Venetian-Gothic style palace originally built in the 15th century (it has also been featured in iconic adventure film, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade). The movie gave an inside look at its ornate interiors, antique furniture, art. In The Tourist, while Angelina Jolie’s (who plays the mysterious Elise Ward) gowns serve up a masterclass in gown fashion, Depp and Jolie’s balcony scene, with a sweeping look at the Grand Canal, is also unforgettable.
Out of Africa
Where: Angama Mara


Photo courtesy: Instagram/@angamasafari.jpg
Here’s where you come up close to Africa and its beauty in a glam tented accommodation. The Angama Mara, named as the Top Outdoor Adventure Hotel, is also where several scenes of Out of Africa (that won seven Oscar Awards), starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford were shot. It spells sheer luxury with its layout of two separate camps of 15 tented suites, each with floor-to-ceiling glass, spacious decks overlooking the Great Rift Valley, and a guest area with infinity pools, fitness centre and spa treatments. Go on a romantic picnic here like in the movie, take a balloon safari or just settle down and watch the highlight, the annual Great Migration of wildebeest, considered the world’s best wildlife spectacle.
Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol 
Where: Burj Khalifa, Dubai


The Burj Khalifa-
Photo courtesy:
Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol he action thriller from the well-known franchise, headed to Dubai, UAE, and one nail-biting stunt with hugely expensive logistics, was shot at the Burj Khalifa, in Dubai. It saw Tom Cruise, aka Ethan Hunt risk his life as he attempted to scale the glass façade of the world’s tallest building, even dangling 2,000 feet in the air while doing so. It then shows him and his gang of Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton and Simon Pegg move to the floors of the suave hotel to apprehend French assassin Sabine Moreau. The skyscraper, at a height of 829.8 m, has the stylish Armani Hotel Dubai located inside, which is the world’s first hotel designed and developed by veteran fashion designer Giorgio Armani.
The Hangover
Where: Caesars Palace


Photo courtesy: Instagram/@caesarspalace
Three friends, Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Justin Bartha awaken from their hangover after bachelor party revelry in Las Vegas to find one of their friends missing. And they have no memory of the night before. That sets the fun rolling in movie titled The Hangover, which has several scenes in the Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, from the grand lobby and front desk, to large rooms with marbled bathrooms, pool complexes, corridors and, of course, the roof. While the actual Hangover suite doesn’t exist, the hotel management has been quoted revealing how they still get zillion queries for it. The luxury hotel flaunts extravagant Roman aesthetics with lavish columns and statues. It’s drawn in the A-list from Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin to Rod Stewart, Tina Turner, Cher and Elton John. The hotel was also one of the first to usher in the trend of lavish casinos. When in Vegas, you might want to earmark this for an indulgent relaxation.


Ismat Tahseen


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