Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel has snagged a suite-full of Oscar nominations this year, among them Best Picture. The film's evocative imagery of a palatial, Belle Epoch hotel in mittle Europe has film-goers searching Expedia for "the real" hotel seen in the film.
Thankfully, many of these wonderful reminders of the elan of the past remain. I've had the luck to have stayed in some of them. The Atlantic (above) in Hamburg served steamship passengers so its massive room doors open out rather than in--to accustom travelers to ship's doors that do the same. The Atlantic is something like a friendlier version of The Shining's Overlook. No ghosts but a lot of Grand Budapest-like spirit.
Other hotels in the same tradition would have to include Istanbul's Pera Palace (Agatha Christie stayed here and it's recently been renovated), Marrakesh's La Mamounia, The Palais Jamais in Fez and closer to home, The Waldorf Astoria, here in New York, whose lobby is still a grand plaisir to cross and whose chiming clocks and gleaming surfaces continue to charm. Let's hope these wonders won't go the way of The Plaza and be turned into semi-condos.
For more set-jetting go to my piece this week on Frommers.com and read about the hotel that most inspired the set designers of The Grand Budapest Hotel.