If these walls could speak: Famous hotel rooms and their legendary guests
These stunning hotels, spread across six continents, are a glimpse into the past of luxurious celebrity culture
There is a certain mystique around a classic hotel experience, a true feeling that the property has catered to the needs of guests for many years.
In some of the world’s most impressive properties, many of the rooms have also had their fair share of brushes with fame.
That’s what we’d like to take a look at today: hotel properties spread across all six continents that can provide a glimpse into celebrity culture or the past or in rare instances, both.
Let’s take a look!
The Savoy, London
A true titan of the art world, French Impressionist Claude Monet began his series of paintings of London while staying at The Savoy in the fall of 1899. He took two rooms on the sixth floor of the historic hotel, clearing the furniture out of one to act as his studio.
Together, they are better known today as Suite 618 — The Monet Suite — and feature copies of his famous depictions of Waterloo and Charing Cross bridges as well as the Houses of Parliament. Butler service is included, as are extensive amenities and facilities in the only luxury hotel on the River Thames.
The suite starts at $2,460 per night.
The Savoy, Strand, London WC2R 0EU; +44 (0)20 7836 4343
The Hotel Windsor, Melbourne, Victoria
At 135 years and counting, the Hotel Windsor in the Australian city of Melbourne has hosted more than its fair share of distinguished guests over the years.
Cinema legends Lauren Bacall, Katharine Hepburn, Sir Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh were some of those to grace the hotel’s crown jewel: the 120-square-meter Royal Suite.
More recently, guests have included Muhammad Ali, George Harrison, Meryl Streep and Sir Richard Branson. With a dining room and drawing room featuring marble fireplaces and antiques, the Royal Suite offers immense comfort, while also providing the perfect vantage point for looking out over Treasury Gardens below.
Rates start at $981 for the Royal Suite.
The Hotel Windsor, 111 Spring Street, Melbourne 3000, Victoria, Australia; +61 3 9633 6000
The Drake, Chicago
The Drake, a Hilton Hotel in Chicago, is another to boast ties to the British royal family. The Presidential Suite was home to Princess Diana back in June 1996.
She was visiting the Windy City following an invitation from Northwestern University — the same school attended just a few years later by Meghan Markle, now The Duchess of Sussex.
Guests today can stay in the suite — since renamed The Princess Diana Suite — left largely as it was designed and decorated for her, although upgrades have included photos of her time spent in Chicago.
Rates for the suite start at $1,200.
The Drake, a Hilton Hotel, 140 East Walton Place, Chicago, IL 60611; +1 312 787 2200
The Galle Face Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka
In business since 1864 when it was founded by four British merchants, the Galle Face Hotel in southern Sri Lanka has long held ties with the United Kingdom. As a result, it has hosted guests including Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and James Bond — at least in the form of British actor Roger Moore.
On a 1954 visit, Her Majesty the Queen enjoyed Galle Face hospitality, while a museum on the property proudly boasts the first car bought by her husband, Prince Philip. British traditions kept alive to this day include croquet matches and bagpipe performances.
Room rates start from $230.
The Galle Face Hotel, 2 Galle Road, Colombo 3, Sri Lanka; +94 11 254 1010
The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai
Another grande dame of hotels, this time in India, is Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Palace. Underneath the famous red-tiled dome, guests since 1903 have ranged from the Dalai Lama to Gregory Peck and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.
George Harrison was a superstar musical guest who, in 1966, checked in and ended up taking sitar lessons with Indian music legend Ravi Shankar. The 2,400 square feet of rooms where this happened are now called the Ravi Shankar Suite, overlooking the iconic Gateway of India.
Rates for the Ravi Shankar Suite start from $7,000.
Taj Mahal Palace, Apollo Bunder, Colaba, Mumbai, MH 400001, India +91-22-66653366
Round Hill Hotel and Villas, Montego Bay, Jamaica
A classic Caribbean getaway since it opened in 1953, Round Hill Hotel and Villas sits in a verdant 110-acre peninsula west of Jamaica’s Montego Bay. Their most renowned repeat visitors were John F. and Jackie Kennedy, who stayed in Villa 25.
Not only that, but the tranquil spot was where JFK edited and practiced his famed inauguration speech and guests staying in the luxury villa today can see artifacts both from the speech and his stay. Views of Round Hill Bay and a private pool complete the experience.
Rates start at $950.
Round Hill Hotel and Villas, John Pringle Drive, P.O. Box 64, Montego Bay, Jamaica; +1 876 956 7050
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