We all love a good movie but watching one that involves hotels and hospitality adds that little bit more interest when you live and breathe it daily in your work life.
Whether you are cringing in the corner from the unbelievable portrayal of life in hospitality or squirming in your seat since it is far too close to the truth to be fiction, there is much to enjoy about Hollywood’s portrayal of hotel and restaurant life.
So what are the best movies that feature hotels, restaurants and our industry in general, either as the background to another story or as a celluloid depiction of our daily grind?
Here are a few of the movies that come to mind – if you have other suggestions please mention in the comments or email us in the usual way.
Dunston Checks In (1996)
As I was a hotel GM, my kids spent time growing up living in hotels and this was one of their favourite films. Most of their friends believed this was an accurate picture of hotel living…
The Majestic Hotel is a luxurious 5-star establishment, and Manager, Robert Grant, is devoted to keeping his guests happy. However, his sons (Kyle and Brian) are quite the opposite – troublesome and mischievous. Robert discovers that a sixth star could be awarded to the Majestic if an undercover guest of the Hotel is impressed. But then Lord Rutledge and his well-trained monkey, Dunston, check into the hotel. Dunston is trained as a jewel thief who attempts to escape a life of crime with the help of Kyle and Brian and might just destroy the chances of the hotel becoming 6-star.
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
One that is fairly recent in the memory – the adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous fictional mountain hotel somewhere in Eastern Europe.
The adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous hotel from the fictional Republic of Zubrowka between the first and second World Wars and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.
A rat in the kitchen – what could possibly go wrong?
A rat named Remy dreams of becoming a great French chef despite his family’s wishes and the obvious problem of being a rat in a decidedly rodent-phobic profession. Remy’s passion for cooking soon sets into motion a hilarious and exciting rat race that turns the culinary world of Paris upside down.
Hotel Rwanda (2004)
The Hotel Manager in the movie seems to literally do every job in this hotel even before tragic events unfold…
Don Cheadle (in an Oscar nominated role) plays Paul Rusesabagina a Hotel Manager struggling to save the lives of refugees during the Rwandan civil war of the 1990s – Based on a heartbreaking true story.
Blame it on the Bellboy (1992)
I was in Venice when they were filming this movie, so it always has good memories for me.
Mike Lawton, Maurice Horton, and Melvin Orton are three men who come to Venice. One of them is a hit man sent to take out a mobster, another is a philanderer looking for a little action with a woman he has never met, and the third was sent by his employer to inspect a property his boss wants to buy. All three men stay at the same hotel, but when the bellboy gets their names mixed up and gives information meant for someone else all hell breaks loose…
Probably the most infamous motel in motion picture history has to be the Bates Motel in this classic thriller from Alfred Hitchcock.
A Phoenix secretary embezzles $40,000 from her employer’s client, goes on the run, and checks into a remote motel run by a young man under the domination of his mother…
The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014)
A clash of cultures lived out through competing restaurants and cuisines.
A family leave India and sets up a traditional family run Indian restaurant in the south of France, right opposite a high-end French restaurant. The rivalry creates unexpected twists, for better or worse, in the lives of both the Kadam family and Madame Mallory the owner of the Michelin star restaurant a hundred feet away.
Also on the topic of restaurants, this movie includes an interesting take on the increasing impact of social media in our business.
An acclaimed head chef quits his restaurant job after a run in with a high-profile restaurant critic and buys a food truck in an effort to reclaim his creative promise, while piecing together his estranged family.
Maid in Manhattan (2002)
Any housekeeper or room attendant who says they have never tried on clothes or perfume of the guests is probably lying…
A senatorial candidate falls for a hotel maid, thinking she is a socialite, when he sees her trying on a wealthy woman’s dress.
Fawlty Towers (1975-79)
Ok, it’s not a movie, but how could a list like this not include a classic series like Faulty Towers. John Cleese and Connie Booth not only display comic genius but great insight, as some of the scenarios and set ups are both outrageous and utterly believable for those of us in the industry.
Classic depiction of daily hotel life through the prism of the slight unhinged hotel owner Basil Fawlty, at their family run establishment near Torquay.
Mrs. Richards: “When I pay for a view, I expect something more interesting than that”.
Basil: “That is Torquay, madam”.
Mrs. Richards: “Well it’s not good enough”.
Basil: “Well, may I ask what you were expecting to see out of a Torquay hotel bedroom window? Sydney Opera House, perhaps? The Hanging Gardens of Babylon? Herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically across the plain”.
Source: Movie posters and story lines courtesy of the IMDB