When you’ve had enough sightseeing, peruse the halls of famous hotels – there’s a chance you’ll hear a tale about some colourful celebrity hotel guests. Follow in the footsteps of your favourite rowdy celebrity or inspired artist by sleeping in the hotels they crashed in – before they were famous, at the peaks of fame, or for a peaceful retirement – and made (in)famous.
Pera Palace Hotel Jumeirah – Istanbul, Turkey
The Pera Palace Hotel Jumeirah had an electric debut in 1892. As the first hotel in Istanbul to have electricity, its reputation as a leader in innovation was further confirmed when they were the first hotel to install an electric elevator. With the luxurious service of an elevator boy, famous guests like Josephine Baker and Greta Garbo could enjoy the thrill of riding in the floating cage up to their room. Murder mystery enthusiast Agatha Christie had a favourite room in the hotel – number 411 – which now carries her name. You can sleep in the deep red Agatha Christie Suite where she supposedly wrote Murder on the Orient Express, or dine in the equally inspired Agatha Restaurant.
Hotel Monte Vista, Flagstaff – Arizona, USA
On your next trip around Arizona, take a trip to Flagstaff, only a 2-hour drive from Phoenix, to experience sleeping in the same rooms as a multitude of legends – living and dead. The Hotel Monte Vista boasts a past drenched in drama with its prohibition era cocktail bootlegging, an array of famous guests, and ghost stories. That’s right, spirits of the dead are said to haunt the halls of the 1920s hotel, an attraction that may as well overshadow legends of celebrities that resided here. Try Room 305 for size – besides being where Jon Bon Jovi stayed, the ghost of a woman seems to sit in the rocking chair as she stares out the window. Check the names on the doors to see where other famous guests stayed, like Michael J. Fox in Room 216 and Freddie Mercury in Room 403.
Relais Hotel Du Vieux Paris – Paris, France
The Relais Hotel du Vieux Paris knew a real boom (or beat) in the 1950s when the Beat Generation lodged in this shabby joint in Paris. If only the walls could talk, they’d recall seeing authors like Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, or Jack Kerouac rummaging for ideas and inspiration. The community of artists, poets, writers, and musicians would meet and dialogue in the dingy rooms, exchanging ideas that would become some of their greatest works.
While in the past this hotel in the Latin Quarter offered modest rooms and one shared squat toilet, today the hotel has transformed into a chic 4-star establishment. Some Beat poets have returned to the hotel since its refurbishing in 1980 and signed what is now a guestbook full of very valuable signatures, tucked away for safe-keeping. Nowadays, you, too, can do some inspiration seeking of your own here without having to share any privacy with your neighbours.
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Belmond Copacabana Palace – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
For some quality celebrity ogling, head straight to Rio de Janeiro’s Belmond Copacabana Palace. You might be lucky enough to catch Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus sunbathing. Other celebs like Will Smith, Helen Mirren, and Francis Ford Coppola have shacked up at the Palace to enjoy the Brazilian lifestyle.
The Belmond Copacabana Palace might inspire you to do like movie director Orson Welles, throwing a desk out the window, or re-enact a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers scene from Flying Down to Rio that took place here. Either way, the location, right on the famous and exciting Copacabana beach will have you feeling like you’re some kind of star.
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Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans – Louisiana, USA
For literature fans visiting New Orleans, the Hotel Monteleone is probably already on the list of must-sees. The hotel has been mentioned in works by Tennessee Williams and Ernest Hemingway, whom were once guests in the French Quarter abode. Since 1999, the hotel is recognized as a literary landmark by the Friends of the Library Association. For everybody else, we recommend visiting the Hotel Monteleone for their bar decorated like a carousel and a lavish lobby to outshine any celebrity bling. Situated a block away from blues-bar clad Bourbon Street, there’s no excuse not to visit between two jazz jam sessions.
Savoy Hotel, London – UK
While in London, trade the double-deckers on the Strand for the checkered floors in the Savoy Hotel lobby. Head to the bar and feel like Frank Sinatra or Katherine Hepburn as you sip on a 1920s inspired cocktail served in vintage glassware.
In 1901, artist-in-residence at the Savoy, Claude Monet painted the Thames from his window. Nowadays, artists continue to be invited to set up their studio in the lobby. If you stayed in recent years, you might have run into actor Richard Harris (aka Dumbledore), whom called Savoy home for $11,200 a week until he passed away.
Want more info about the great things you can do in London? Download our FREE city guide for your iPhone via the App Store.
Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth – Montreal, Canada
In 1969, in Suite 1742 of Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth hotel in Montreal, John Lennon and Yoko Ono recorded the single Give Peace a Chance surrounded by flowers and photographers. The suite, now baptized the John Lennon and Yoko Ono Suite, pays homage to the late artist with black and white pictures of the couple’s recording session.
If you check in on December 8th, the anniversary of John Lennon’s death, you’ll see two dozen red and white roses sitting in front of the suite in commemoration.
Raffles – Singapore
White colonial architectural features, elegant door attendants, and dense tropical gardens – escape Singapore‘s vertiginous cityscape at Raffles hotel. Drop off your bags and head to the Long Bar for a Singapore Sling cocktail, mixed here for the first time in 1915. Ask the resident historian, Leslie Danker – who’s been part of the staff for 40 years – to tell you about the long list of the rich and famous that have made their mark at the Raffles. He’ll probably tell you the story about how during his stay in one of the suites, Rudyard Kipling wrote the children’s classic The Jungle Book. Other famous names that have recently roamed the halls include UK Royals Kate and William on their visit to Singapore.