Want to head to Morocco’s luxurious La Mamounia hotel and back in just under two hours? Then play Netflix’s latest limited series, Inventing Anna, where the protagonist stays at this palatial hotel on a trip with friends. With shows increasingly catering to armchair travel, bookmark these shows and movies for when you want to step into the world of 5-star hospitality.
Where: Ahilya Fort Hotel
Shah Rukh Khan and Kareena Kapoor’s epic historical drama film was shot at a bunch of exotic locales within the country, including Panchmarhi, Maheshwar, Jaipur, Igatpuri and Bhubaneswar. Based on the life of the legendary Price Ashoka, parts of the film are shot in Ahilya Fort, which is shown as the main Magadha palace where the prince struggles to capture the throne. The Ahilya Fort in Maheshwar is a heritage hotel that sits along the banks of the river Narmada, that has 19 rooms, set in six buildings dating back to the 18th century.
Where: The Palace of the Lost City
Watch the romantic comedy Blended not only for the killer chemistry between Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler, but also the gorgeous setting in South Africa. The Palace of the Lost City sits on an extinct volcanic site in the Pilanesberg mountains and has an 18-hole desert-style golf course. The property has four large resort hotels, the most luxurious being the 5-star Palace of the Lost City with 338 rooms and suites. The Cascades Hotel has 243 rooms, the Sun City Hotel has 340 rooms, and the Cabanas have 380 rooms. Rewatch the movie before you get there and see all the sights that Sandler and Barrymore did, including giraffes and ostriches.
Where: Chomu Palace
The creepy haunted haveli shown in the hit 2007 psychological comedy film is none other than Rajasthan’s Chomu Haveli. A 300-year-old fort, the property has been turned into a heritage hotel, where one can spend a night in a royal Maharani suite or dine like a king in the Sheesh Mahal lounge bar. The 5-star hotel has been designed according to Indian Vastushastra principles and has featured in Bollywood blockbuster comedy, Bol Bachchan. Don’t worry, Manjalika’s ghost definitely won’t haunt you at this luxurious property (we hope!).
Where: La Mamounia
When fake German heiress Anna Delvey went on holiday to Morocco, she didn’t just go to any old resort, she stayed at a riad (Riads have three bedrooms, dining room, lounge, heated swimming pool, private terrace) in the most exclusive property of Marrakech. La Mamounia Hotel is a five-star hotel that faces the Atlas Mountains and is at the heart of the old city of Marrakech. It was built in 1923 on the 15-hectare palace and garden that Sultan Mohammed ben Abdallah gave to his son Moulay Mamoun in the 18th century. The hotel was also a filming location for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1956 film The Man Who Knew Too Much, starring James Stewart and Doris Day. Inventing Anna is a lens into the life of rich upper crust Manhattan society, so give it a watch if you want to know how the other half live.
Midnight in Paris
Where: Le Bristol and Le Meurice
Woody Allen’s 2011 film starring Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams takes viewers to 5-star hotel Le Bristol in Paris. Oetker Collection’s Le Bristol hotel boasts of 190 elegant rooms in the heart of the city. On screen the hotel’s façade, suites, even the doormen make an appearance. The hotel is a favourite of celebrities and is in the centre of Paris’ couture shopping destinations such as Pierre Cardin, Hermès and Lanvin. Stay in the luxurious Panoramic Suite, where the actors did, and be greeted by views of Montmartre, the Opéra Garnier, and Sacré Cœur. Luxury is never in short supply in Paris, and so the film takes us to yet another fancy hotel, Le Meurice. The destination’s rooftop suite, La Belle Étoile, overlooking the Tuileries gardens has been featured in a wine-tasting scene. The hotel has served guests like Salvador Dali, Liza Minnelli, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
Nine Perfect Strangers
Tranquillum House, the spooky but gorgeous retreat showcased in the Nicole-Kidman starrer, Nine Perfect Strangers is actually shot in Australia. Based on Liane Moriarty’s book of the same name, the show is set in an exclusive wellness resort run by a Russian guru, Masha, who has eccentric ways of making guests relax, including digging their own graves, and giving up all electronics. The series is shot in Soma, a contemporary retreat space in Byron Bay offering wellness activities stemming from Vedic philosophy. On a trip to Australia, head to the 22-acre property in Ewingsdale, near Byron Bay.
Where: Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel
You can be a Pretty Woman with the Beverly Wiltshire Hotel’s “Pretty Woman For A Day” package. Even 32 years after its release, the hotel still has kept alive this exclusive experience for those who want to be the star of their own film, Julia Roberts’ style. The romantic film starring Richard Gere and Roberts was set in this 5-star hotel in the heart of LA. The experience includes accommodation at the hotel’s Specialty Suites, a behind-the-scenes tour of Rodeo Drive’s most famous fashion houses in a private Mercedes, with a personal wardrobe consultant and stylist in tow. Dine at THEBlvd, and enjoy a romantic dinner for two in the suite or head to the spa for a couples massage accompanied by a hand-drawn aromatherapy bath.
Where: Gleneagles Hotel
In Season 2 of the show Succession, the Roy family heads to Scotland to Logan’s hometown to celebrate his 50 years in business. The family stays at the luxurious Gleneagles hotel located in the Scottish countryside where one can roam amongst 850 acres of hills, fields, streams and foliage. The resort has been frequented by celebrities including John Travolta and Sean Connery, and George Bush has held conferences at the property. The hotel is armed with fine dining options, golf courses, and even a spa.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Where: The Dolder Grand
2011 psychological thriller The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which is based on the 2005 novel by Stieg Larsson of the same name, is an Oscar-winner directed by David Fincher. Watch it not only for the performances by Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, but also the stunning Zurich hotel where its filmed. Hilltop hotel, The Dolder Grand, is showcased, especially their Masina Suite, which is named after Italian actress Giulietta Masina. 175 rooms are spread across the property, which touts original artworks by Takashi Murakami and Salvador Dalí, in addition to five tennis courts, a 9-hole golf course, a driving range, a minigolf course.
Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani
Where: The Oberoi Udaivilas and Span Resort & Spa
A film that focuses on its main character, Kabir Thapar’s (Ranbir Kapoor) love for travel must have great hotels in it. And Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani does! Starting with the Span Resort in Manali, director Ayan Mukherji takes us all the way to Oberoi’s Udaivilas hotel in Udaipur. The former is the perfect destination if you want to relax amongst the mountains in verdant surroundings. The latter was where Aditi’s (Kalki Kanmani) wedding scenes were shot in the heritage property that is situated on the banks of the Lake Pichola.