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The 3 best hotel movies

Movie review

Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray sitting side by side and looking at each other scene from the Lost in Translation movie

The 3 best hotel movies

As the year comes to an end, we take a look back at some of Penta’s favourite hotel movies.

 

With many of you planning a well-deserved break from work or study during the festive period, chances are you will try and catch up on some flicks (in-between baking Christmas cookies and wrapping gifts). Before you end up watching “Friends” again for 12th time, you might want to check out our list – you may discover something new, and we sure hope it will inspire you to book your next trip to a Pentahotel.

 

A disclaimer before we get started. This list has no scientific basis, we are no film critics or cinema scholars (although we DO binge watch films like there’s no tomorrow), and we applied the label “hotel movie” pretty loosely. Anyway, let’s crack on!

 

#3 “WHAT’S UP, DOC?” (1972)

We start off with a ridiculous and hilarious movie from exactly 50 years ago – “What’s Up, Doc?”, directed by Peter Bogdanovich and starring Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neal. Although (exquisitely) vintage by now, this movie was already looking further back in time when it came out – the screwball comedy format was a quirky homage to similar movies from the 1930s. According to many, this is Streisand’s finest hour, and if her magnetic and relentless screen presence was not enough to keep you glued, the absurdist plot will be. Look – we are not even going to try and explain what happens here, figuring it out with every twist of events is half of the fun in watching “What’s Up, Doc?”. What you need to know: Dr Howard Bannister is a musicologist currently in San Francisco to compete for a research grant. He’s staying at the Hotel Bristol, where all sorts of oddballs are at play, trying to steal top-secret government papers and precious jewels. Identical bags are mixed up, divas faint, rooms catch fire, and so on. Add to the mix mysterious and charming Judy Maxwell (Barbra Streisand), and you are guaranteed an hour and a half of laughter and confusion.

HOTELIER’S TIP: Look out for those 70s carpets, the infinitely long corridors, the massive conference rooms, that cavernous lobby. This is peak mega-hotel, and although interior design has luckily moved on, there’s a strange pleasure in stepping back to a very different era of hospitality.

 

#2 “FOUR ROOMS” (1995)

Let’s dial up the chaos and check in to Hotel Mon Signor. It’s New Year’s Eve, we are in L.A., and this is *not* the place to stay the night if you are looking for blissful sleep. This anthology is comprised of four mini films, each directed by a different person. Hang around and you will run into: very liberated young witches casting spells in “The Missing Ingredient” (by Allison Anders); the kind of married couple you don’t want to mess with in “The Wrong Man” (by Alexandre Rockwell); the ultimate children from hell – left alone of course – in “The Misbehavers” (by Robert Rodriguez) and finally a bunch of crazy friends up to no good in the penthouse, in “The Man from Hollywood” (by Quentin Tarantino”. You can read our full review HERE.

HOTELIER’S TIP: Anyone who has worked in a hotel can see all their worst night shift fears materialised in this movie. There’s something cathartic in watching the events unravel before dawn, while having a laugh at the jokes, and realising that, actually ‘I have it quite easy at my hotel’.

 

#1 “LOST IN TRANSLATION” (2003)

‘Bob: I don't want to leave.’

‘Charlotte: So don't. Stay here with me. We'll start a jazz band.’

In the top spot on our (short) list, we had no other choice than to put “Lost in Translation”. This masterpiece from Sofia Coppola carries a potent mix of dry humour, melancholia, sweetness and realism. It’s delicate when dealing with powerful emotions, but peppered with explosions of joy, freedom, and affirmations of life. Bob is an aging movie star who is in Japan to appear in lucrative whisky adverts. Charlotte is a young newly wed graduate travelling with her celebrity photographer husband. Both stay at the Park Hyatt Tokyo, both are alone for most of the day, both immensely bored and re-evaluating their life choices. But then – they meet, randomly, in the hotel lobby. From then on, they develop much more than a friendship, progressively building up with every late-night drink at the bar, with every secret confided, with every escapade into the alien and sprawling Tokyo outside the reassuring hotel doors.

HOTELIER’S TIP: This is it. This is why 24/7 hotel lounges are magical. They exist in a liminal space between day and night, between rowdy locals popping in for a drink and jet-lagged businessmen fleeting past as fast and as quiet as possible. There is no judgement in the hotel lounge, no expectations. Have a coffee at 3am, have a full meal with red wine at 3pm, nobody minds. Or just chill on the sofa and listen to the music, without being rushed, while waiting for something magical and unusual to happen.

 

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

If you haven’t heard enough, or if you already watched our top 3, then you should check out:

·       “The Grand Budapest Hotel”: Because Wes Anderson has basically reinvented the theory of colour, and it looks splendid. Also, this is possibly the only movie where the hotel itself matters more than the characters.

·       “Somewhere”: Another little gem by Sofia Coppola, shot at the famed Chateau Marmont on Sunset Boulevard. Thanks to his super smart and sweet 11-year-old daughter, a disenchanted actor slowly realises that there is more to life than money, girls and parties.

 

 

 

Still credits: “Lost in Translation | Scarlett Johansson & Bill Murray's Wild Night in Tokyo”, uploaded to YouTube by Universal Pictures

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