There are certain places in the world, tucked away on anonymous city streets or in far-flung climes, where the belles and beaus of the silver screen take shelter away from the long lenses of the paparazzi, the adoring eyes of fans and the demands of a life lived in front of the camera.
Hidden right in the heart of Paris, the Hotel Lancaster once provided refuge for Marlene Dietrich, who lived here during the 1930s. Originally a 19th century mansion, it still has the feeling of an elegant private residence. Guests can slip into the world of the sultry star by staying in the Marlene Dietrich suite, complete with grand piano and 17th century antiques.
The Beverly Hills Hotel
A Hollywood haunt from 1912, it’s not surprising that The Beverly Hills Hotel has attracted its fair share of stars; Clarke Gable and Carole Lombard started their affair here and Katherine Hepburn once dived fully-clothed into the pool after a tennis match. But perhaps the most interesting resident was reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes, who lived here on and off for 30 years. He would hire four bungalows, one for him, one for his wife and two as decoys – his favourite was Number 4. Here, his every whim was met: pineapple upside-down cakes at 3:00am and roast beef sandwiches left unobtrusively by a tree in the garden.
New York’s Chelsea Hotel has been a hive of artistic activity since it opened in 1905. Each room is decorated differently, with an eclectic mix of antiques and modern pieces set around glorious, ornate fireplaces. Stars tend to take residence here and never leave: Bob Dylan composed songs and Arthur C. Clarke wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey while in residence here. However, the Chelsea is perhaps best known for its dark and tragic tales: it was here that Dylan Thomas died of alcohol poisoning in 1953 and where Sex Pistol Sid Vicious stabbed his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen, to death in 1978.
Mena House Oberoi
Since 1869, the Mena House Oberoi in Cairo has played host to kings, emperors, heads of state and stars of the screen. Charlie Chaplin visited during the age of the silent movie, while Cecil B. De Mille and Charlton Heston stayed here while filming The Ten Commandments (Heston used to ride his horse into the lobby of the palace wing after a hard days filming). Other notable guests include Agatha Christie, Roger Moore and Frank Sinatra but, perhaps most famously, Winston Churchill met Field Marshal Montgomery here to plan Operation Overlord – and the two presidential suites are named in their honour.