Style News

The Travel File: Hotels Of The Stars

The Travel File: Hotels Of The Stars

Tessa Williams, author of Hotels of the Stars, is no stranger to fashionable culture and haute luxury. She plies her trade as a journalist for such prestigious titles as Elle and Vogue and her new book documents the most superior suites in the most iconic hotels across the globe. This begs the question: What makes a hotel truly A-list?

Perhaps the answer is in the hotel’s originality, the personalised service, the lavish interiors, or simply in the price tag attached to the rooms. Those that command the highest prices often do so for a reason. Of course, all of this helps, but it’s in the hotel’s history, full of celebrity debauchery and decadence, that it’s A-list accolades lie.

From Salvador Dalí walking his pet ocelots (as you do) in the corridors of Le Meurice, Paris, to the $10,000 Martini served on a diamond in The Algonquin, Hotels of the Stars explores the weird and the wonderful, the rich and the radical, and the downright extravagance of A-list retreats. Here are our five favourite A-list escapes from the book.

Hotels Of The Stars is published by ROADS Luxury Group in November 2017.

Adlon Kempinski, Berlin

Berlin’s mayor recently described the city as ‘poor but sexy’, and, whilst you don’t have to be rich to enjoy its countless indulgences, in some cases it helps.
Set in the beating heart of one of Europe’s top all-night party destinations, the Adlon Kempinski defies its ‘poor’ provenance whilst maintaining that all-important ‘sexy’ appeal. The hotel attracts a myriad of statesmen and superstars, from Obama to Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, who come to enjoy a calming respite from the city’s enduring energy. That’s not to say that the Adlon is short of a scandal or two. We all remember Michael Jackson’s infamous balcony scene, right?

Chateau Marmont, Los Angeles

The Head of Colombia Pictures during Hollywood’s Golden Age once said, ‘If you must get in trouble, do it at the Chateau Marmont.’ Since then the legendary hotel has maintained a without-the-frills ‘shabby-chic’ approach to the luxury aesthetic, becoming a ‘hush-hush’ haven for havoc tucked away from the watchful eye of law and order just above Sunset Boulevard.
Musicians, writers and movie stars rub shoulders in this pleasure palace without fear of prying eyes and paparazzi exposure, with many taking up almost semi-permanent residence. Wild behavior and unpaid bills have resulted in the both Britney Spears and Lindsey Lohan allegedly being banned, whilst James Dean is rumored to have secured his role in Rebel Without a Cause by leaping through the hotel’s window. Few establishments can claim to have had such a lasting influence on the movie industry as this, the Chateau Marmont.

Claridge’s, London

A by-word for British luxury, Claridge’s combines contemporary charm with a long and elegant heritage. Forget the miniature shampoos, at Claridge’s each guest is supplied with a Burberry trench coat to use throughout their stay. And they don’t just stop at Burberry – each Christmas a designer is invited to curate a winter wonderland in the hotel’s lobby. John Galliano and Dolce & Gabbana have been some of the hotel’s most feted collaborators.
A favourite amongst both royalty and celebrity, the hotel has at times been affectionately referred to as ‘the annex to the palace.’ Fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg loves it so much she designed 20 of the hotel’s newest suites. Nowadays the hotel is frequented by the likes of Brad Pitt, Bono, and Lady Gaga, and played host to Kate Moss’s legendary 30th birthday party.

The Chelsea Hotel, New York

The Chelsea is a hotel unlike others. For over seven decades it was an epicenter of creativity and chaos, its unique bohemian sensibility attracting writers and musicians from all over the world to live and work there. Tenancies ranged from the short to the long term, and rooms from the palatial to the squalid. A spirit of creativity pervaded, and guests from Alexander McQueen to Jack Kerouac, Leonard Cohen to Frida Kahlo frequented the hotel, drawn by the rock ‘n’ roll heritage and cheap rents that contributed to its rich cultural mythology.
Musicians including Joni Mitchell, Lou Reed, Patti Smith and Leonard Cohen were inspired by the hotel to write some of their most iconic songs. Andy Warhol filmed his famous film ‘Chelsea Girls’ within its cosmic confines, and, it was said, Edie Sedgwick, one of Warhol’s superstars, inadvertently set fire to her room when she fell asleep surrounded by burning candles.

The Ritz Paris, Paris

Romantic and iconic in equal measure, The Ritz Paris occupies a special place in the hotel canon. When one thinks of luxury hotels, one often thinks first of The Ritz. ‘When I dream of an afterlife in heaven’, wrote Ernest Hemingway, ‘the action always takes place in the Paris Ritz’. Whilst the hotel had a lasting effect on Hemingway, Hemingway, likewise, had a lasting effect on The Ritz. Its famous Hemingway bar is named after him and is the perfect Parisian spot in which to enjoy a martini or two. The most stylish guest in the hotel’s history has to be Coco Chanel. She moved into a suite there in 1937 and stayed until her death more than 30 years later, she was so enamoured with the hotel. She personalized the room with her own photographs and sketches, and today guests can stay in her luxurious world for a mere €18,000.