Look, we all do it – don’t even try and pretend you don’t sometimes wish your life was a movie. Fade-outs to black when things get too awkward, private jet planes to exotic locations and crisp, clean hotel rooms at all times: what more could you want? Well, it’s your lucky day. We’ve done some snooping to locate those dream hotels from the sets of your favourite movies. Sleep like a star in these hallowed halls – and see some of the most photogenic parts of Europe while you’re at it. Lights, camera, ACTION.
Location: Paris, France
As seen in: Midnight in Paris
The film industry has been in love with Paris since the dawn of cinema, so it should come as no surprise that the City of Light features in more than one entry in our top ten list. In Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen’s 2011 romantic comedy, the five-star Hotel Le Bristol is the setting for American couple Gil and Inez’s luxurious stay in the French capital. Located in the 8th arrondissement, many of the film’s major scenes were shot at the hotel, including Gil (Owen Wilson) trying to explain away his increasingly dapper 1920s-style fashion to suspicious fiancée Inez (Rachel McAdams) – little does she know of his time travelling exploits with Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Cole Porter…
Location: Paris, France
As seen in: The Bourne Identity
In 2002, Hôtel Regina was chosen as one of the Paris locations for spy thriller, The Bourne Identity. Slap bang in the centre of the first arrondissement, close to the Jardin des Tuileries and the Louvre, the hotel makes its scene-stealing appearance when Matt Damon sends Franka Potente to get Mr Kane’s bill. There are stunning views of the Eiffel Tower and famous French department stores, as well as the Opéra right on your doorstep – that is, if you dare to leave your plush Parisian suite.
Location: Florence, Italy
As seen in: A Room with a View
A Room with a View, the beautifully shot romantic period drama from 1985 sees Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham Carter) leaving the stuffy confines of Victorian England for a tour of Italy where she falls in love with the free-spirited George Emerson (Julian Sands) while staying at a hotel in Florence.
In case you’re wondering, the famous room with the spectacular view of the city is room 414 in the four-star Hotel degli Orafi.
You’ll stumble upon most of the locations that appear in the film simply by walking around the centre of the historic old town or you can take a short drive to the rolling hills of Fiesole, (around 8km from the city), which provided the backdrop for Lucy and George’s first kiss.
Location: Maynooth, Ireland
As seen in: Leap Year
When filming 2010’s romantic comedy Leap Year, movie producers played fast and loose with Ireland’s geography, meaning lead character Anna (Amy Adams) certainly gets around. While Galway’s Aran Islands double up as Dingle in Co. Kerry, Carton House in Maynooth, Co. Kildare takes on the role of the fancy Dublin hotel where Anna’s boyfriend Jeremy finally pops the question.
As well as its good looks and Irish charm, the four-star Carton House is renowned for its luxury spa and two world class championship golf courses that attract golfers from all over the world.
Location: Estoril, Portugal
As seen in: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Hotel Palácio Estoril is not only Bond’s hotel in 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, but 007 writer Ian Fleming himself stayed here during World War II. Some say the hotel’s location on the Lisbon coastline inspired him to write his first James Bond novel, Casino Royale.
In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Bond (played by George Lazenby) checks into room 516, while Contessa Teresa de Vincenzo (Diana Rigg) stays in room 423.
The Portuguese action doesn’t end there. The film’s dramatic opening sequence showing Bond rescuing Teresa from the sea, was shot on Guincho Beach near Cascais, just a short drive west of Estoril.
Location: Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic
As seen in: Casino Royale
This one’s another Bond hotel, but a bit of a sneaky entry. In Casino Royale, when Daniel Craig’s Bond checks into the Hotel Splendide in Montenegro it’s actually the Grandhotel Pupp in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic. Karlovy Vary is a spa town known for its relaxation and therapeutic tourism – from swanky spa days to state of the art medical centres, all nestled in a beautiful valley – it even made our top detox destinations list.
Location: Cabourg, France
As seen in: Coco Before Chanel
Fashion fan? Remember the beautiful biopic of Coco Chanel’s life before she was…well…Coco Chanel? The historic Grand Hôtel Cabourg in the northern Normandy region of France was a major set for the film starring Audrey Tautou. With its pretty-as-a-picture seaside location, it’s easy to see why.
When you finally pull yourself out of your bed, the perfect day trip from Cabourg is the nearby ancient monastery island of Mont Saint-Michel. Less than two hours away by road, a world of cobbled hills is waiting to be explored – although it’s probably a good idea to leave your designer heels at the hotel.
Location: Luton, London, UK
As seen in: Four Weddings and a Funeral
Several scenes from 1994’s Four Weddings and a Funeral, that quintessentially English rom-com with Hugh Grant in full-on foppish mode, were filmed at the five star Luton Hoo Hotel Golf & Spa. Eagle-eyed viewers will recognise the hotel’s Mansion House and ballroom, as well as one of the bedroom suites as memorable backdrops from the movie.
Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
As seen in: The Fault in Our Stars
The film version of John Green’s weepy bestseller The Fault In Our Stars is partially set in Amsterdam where lead characters Hazel and Gus spend a couple of romantic days in the city before… a genuinely heartbreaking ending. Although Hotel De Filosoof is named in the movie, it is actually portrayed by the American Hotel, the elegant art-deco hotel that’s located in the centre of busy Leidseplein. The real Hotel De Filosoof is well worth a visit too – it’s just around the corner from the house of the movie’s fictional writer Peter van Houten. While you’re on the trail of must-see locations from the film, check out the famous canal-side bench at Leidsegracht 4.
Location: Salzburg, Austria
As seen in: The Sound of Music
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens? Before long, another one of your favourite things will be Villa Trapp in Salzburg, Austria, where the real Von Trapp family lived before their story was turned into one of the most popular musicals of all time, The Sound Of Music. Rooms have been carefully maintained to preserve their original features so that a stay here is just like stepping back in time.
Still in Salzburg, the glass gazebo in the gardens of the four-star Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron formed the backdrop for two of The Sound of Music’s most romantic scenes, one between Liesl and Rolf (featuring the song Sixteen Going on Seventeen) and another between Maria and the Captain. Spoiler alert: Interior shots of the gazebo were filmed in Hollywood – only long shots of the Austrian gazebo are seen in the film. The gazebo was later moved to the other side of the lake to allow tourists to visit it, but due to overcrowding, it was again relocated and can now be found at the city’s Hellbrun Palace. Outbursts of Edelweiss optional.