The Waldorf-Astoria is possibly New York’s most famous hotel. The 47 storey, 191 metre Art Deco building dates from 1931 and is now part of the Hilton organisation. The Waldorf-Astoria houses three restaurants, a beauty parlour and several boutiques. It is famous for being the first hotel to offer room service, for having its own railway platform (adjoining Grand Central Station) and for the Waldorf salad (which consists of apple, celery, walnuts, grapes and mayonnaise).
The Shelbourne Hotel is situated in St Stephen’s Green in Dublin and has played an important role in the founding of the Irish nation. It was here, in 1922, that the Irish constitution was drafted. The hotel has a total of 265 rooms and was founded in 1824 and designed by John McCurdy. The four statues on the building are not traditionally Irish and depict two Nubian princesses and their slave girls.
Chateau Marmont Hotel
The Chateau Marmont on Sunset Boulevard is best known for its associations with rock stars and Hollywood actors. It was here that John Belushi died of a drug overdose in 1982, where Led Zeppelin rode their motorcycles into the lobby, and it is the setting for countless stories stretching back to the golden days of Hollywood. Luckily, the hotel (built in 1927) was designed to be earthquake proof, so it’s likely to be able to withstand even the rowdiest of parties.
Jukkasjarvi Ice Hotel
There are now several seasonal ice hotels, but this one, situated near Kiruna in Sweden, was the first, opening its icy doors in 1990. The entire hotel is made from ice blocks taken from the river Torne and the interior is entirely furnished with ice, down to the glasses in the bar. The hotel began when French artist Jannot Derid held an exhibition on the site in an igloo. One night, when there were no rooms available in town, some visitors asked to stay the night, sleeping in sleeping bags on top of reindeer skin.
Burj Al Arab
The Burj Al Arab is a luxury hotel in Dubai, which stands on its own artificial island, 280 metres out from Jumeirah beach. Its iconic shape mimics the sail of a ship and it is linked to the mainland by a private curving bridge. The brief for architect Tom Wright, was a building which would become a symbolic statement for Dubai, similar to Sydney and its opera house. There would be few to argue that this had not been accomplished.
Emirates Park Towers Hotel
Not surprisingly perhaps, another entry on this list originates from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The Emirates Park Towers Hotel is a twin tower construction which is due to become the world’s tallest hotel (and the world’s second tallest building). The towers will be 77 storeys (365 metres) high and house an incredible 1612 rooms in total.
The Bellagio is possibly the most famous hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. It’s a luxury, award-winning hotel and casino complex, famed for the large lake which sits between the hotel doors and the strip, and is home to the “Fountains of Bellagio”, a large dancing water fountain show which is synchronised to music.
The Timberline Lodge is a large 1930s mountain lodge hotel situated 60 miles east of Portland Oregon. Though it boasts the magnificent scenery of the Mount Hood National Forest, it is most famous for providing the exterior shots for the Overlook Hotel in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Any guests looking for the ominous maze or gaudy interior carpet will be disappointed; these were filmed at Elstree Studios.
The Ritz is one of London’s most famous hotels, situated in Piccadilly, overlooking Green Park. The hotel is neoclassical in design and built to resemble a stylish Parisian block of apartments (not surprisingly perhaps, one of its architects also designed the Hotel Ritz Paris). Opened in 1906 by Cesar Ritz, the hotel offered the finest cuisine and a system of bells to alert staff to any impending Royal visits.
The Savoy Hotel is another top London hotel located on the Strand, in the City of Westminster. Built by Richard D’Oyly Carte with profits from his Gilbert and Sullivan operas, the hotel opened on 6 August 1889. It is renowned for an unprecedented standard of quality in hotel service, often attracting royalty and other wealthy guests. Winston Churchill frequently took his cabinet to lunch at the hotel.