Forget Disney World, as some of the world’s most stunning and authentic hotels to rest, unwind and imagine you are available, if you have the cash for it. These are real-life locations where royalty, world leaders and the Hollywood elite are actually known to have stayed. It won’t be hard to imagine you are starring in your very own fantasy, fairy tale, romantic comedy or drama when resting your head in these beautiful hotels.
Here are 12 surreal vacation destinations!
12. Palais Coburg – Vienna, Austria
The stunning, neoclassical Palais Coburg was built in the 19th century and its last private owner was Princess Aurelia of Saxe-Coburg. Today, guests can spend their vacation in this luxury hotel that still looks like a palace fit for royalty. Its impressive architecture and beautiful décor are worthy of a movie set.
11. The Plaza – New York, NY
The iconic Midtown Manhattan hotel and condo building features elite restaurants and halls and terraces that cater to high end events. The hotel has hosted “modern royalty” in the form of everyone from the Beatles, who played there during their first visit to the U.S. in 1964, as well as politicians, celebrities, and even royalty throughout the years. The Plaza because the hotel has featured in endless Hollywood films, including the 2013 movie, The Great Gatsby.
10. Château Monfort – Milan, Italy
The Château Monfort not only looks like a palace fit for royalty, but it actually takes its inspiration from fairy tale and romantic stories. If guests want to be immersed in a fairy tale, it won’t be hard if they are staying here: located in central Milan, the Chateau Monfort is a boutique luxury hotel and each of its uniquely-designed rooms were inspired by different fairy tales and nursery rhymes.
9. Grandhotel Pupp – Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic
This stunning and imposing hotel located in the Czech Republic has been featured in several Hollywood films. In fact, it is rumored that the exterior was one of the inspirations for Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel. The hotel has also been featured in the James Bond movies: in Casino Royale, Daniel Craig filmed scenes for the movie inside this hotel.
8. Ravla Khempur – Rajasthan, India
In the movie “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” the film’s characters find a new lease on life and discover many special things about a new way of life in charming rural India. The hotel featured in the movie was inspired by the real-life Ravla Khempur hotel in Rajasthan, India. This picturesque and traditional hotel dates back to the early 17th century and was once known for its famous performing dancing stallions.
7. Four Seasons Hotel – Lion Palace, St. Petersburg, Russia
This stunning neoclassical palace is certainly fit for royalty: its architecture and art is breathtaking, including its sculptures on granite pedestals that were made by a famous sculptor. In the 1800s, Princess Cleopatra Lobanova-Rostovskaya lived in the magnificent building. In the 19th century, the Ministry of War of the Russian Empire rented part of the building.
6. Bellagio Hotel – Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas might spend a lot more time imitating royalty and creating an illusion of a fairy tale than actually being anything very authentic, but the Bellagio Hotel is one exception to this general rule of thumb. This truly swanky hotel is also one of Las Vegas’ most recognizable locations, as it has been featured in many films, including Oceans Eleven.
5. Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat – The French Riviera
Originally, King Leopold II of Belgium purchased the land where this hotel was built. The King began construction on the property that would become the Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat, and in the decades since, this hotel has become one of the most luxurious hotels on the French Riviera. Throughout the 20th century, it hosted some of the world’s most elite figures, from royalty to politicians to movie stars.
4. Gritti Palace – San Marco, Venice
In Renaissance times, the Doge was the highest political ruler in the city of Venice. The Gritti Palace was built for the Doge of Venice’s family in the 16th century. Its namesake, the Gritti family, lived there for many years. In the 19th century, the Gritti Palace was repurposed into a hotel. Visitors can still stay at this powerful location that was once home to the most important man in Venice.
3. Pestana Palace – Lisbon, Portugal
This 19th century palace happens to be both a National Monument and a luxury hotel. It was constructed by the Marquis de Valle Flôr. Today, it is surrounded by tropical gardens with paths and a lake. The Marquis also had a palace in Paris and was inspired by his residence in France when constructing this place.
2. Ice Palace Hotels – Norway
Following the success of Frozen, who doesn’t want to stay in an Ice Palace reminiscent of the one Queen Elsa created in the movie? Visitors can pretend to be living in an ice palace like Elsa when spending a few nights in an Ice Palace Hotel. The most authentic experience would be at a Norwegian Ice Palace Hotel. Kirkenes Snow Hotel, Ice Lodge, Alta Igloo Hotel are all ice hotels located in the country of Norway that are open to visitors in winter months.
1. Le Bristol Hotel – Paris, France
Nothing evokes romantic stories quite like the city of Paris. For decades, celebrities and royalty have flocked to Paris to escape it all and live in their own fantasy. Marilyn Monroe, Ava Gardner, Charlie Chaplin and Josephine Baker all stayed at Le Bristol Hotel in Paris, one of the most exclusive hotels in the city. Film fans will also recognize that Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” was filmed in this hotel.