Nobody puts these hotels in the corner…
The 1980s is a glorious time capsule that combines bangles, legwarmers, Morrissey, and Madonna. From style to culture, the 80s is a decade unlike any other. And when it comes to movies, there’s nothing quite like the cavalcade of classic flicks filled with totally politically incorrect humor, dated social mores, and now-problematic actors. But if you want to relive your favorite films and actually visit some of the classic hotels within them—this is the article for you.
Mountain Lake Resort in Pembroke, Virginia – ‘Dirty Dancing’
While the movie takes place in the Catskills, Baby and Johnny Castle (yes, Patrick Swayze’s character name was Johnny Castle) actually got their dancing dirty on at the Mountain Lake Resort in Pembroke, Virginia. The hotel does it up with a full Dirty Dancing-themed package which includes staying in the same lodgings, a dance party costume contest, getting dance lessons, and then having a second dance party. All of this can be yours so you can officially say you had “the time of your life” while wiping out practicing the famous dance lift.
Timberline Lodge in Oregon – ‘The Shining’
No one will be writing “redrum” in your mirror, the elevators won’t be filled with blood, and there aren’t any creepy twins following you around (well, guest-depending). But “all work and no play” is the antithesis of this ski and bike-lovers hotel that was famously featured in Stanley Kubrick’s chilling adaptation of Stephen King’s book The Shining. Fun fact, Kubrick was asked to change Jack Nicholson’s famous room from 217 to 237 so guests of the Timberline Lodge wouldn’t be afraid to book it—but as it turns out, 217 is still one of the most requested rooms in the hotel.
The Plaza Hotel in New York – ‘Crocodile Dundee’
The Plaza Hotel in New York City generally frowns upon bringing large bowie knives into the hotel and wants guests to know that there are no bidets. It’s also (thankfully) no longer owned by Donald Trump. Despite the caveats, the landmark hotel in Manhattan became even more iconic when Crocodile Dundee wielded his 10-inch blade and got confused about high-end toilet etiquette while making the property his home in one of the biggest movies of the 1980s.
Caesars Palace in Las Vegas – ‘Rain Man’
Before Jenny McCarthy falsely accused vaccines of causing autism and created a measles crisis around the world, the brain disorder was first introduced to wide-spread audiences through Dustin Hoffman’s character in the hit movie Rain Man. One of the movie’s most iconic scenes is when Hoffman and his character’s brother (played by Tom Cruise), use his unique abilities to count cards at Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The scheme works and the brothers earn thousands of dollars. But seriously people, vaccinate your kids.
Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles – ‘Lethal Weapon 2,’ ‘This is Spinal Tap’
Danny Glover was already “too old for this shit” when he and co-star (and very problematic) Mel Gibson crash their car just outside the Westin Bonaventure in the opening scene in Lethal Weapon 2. The hotel itself was opened in 1976, and its futuristic façade has starred in numerous movies ever since. Another classic 80s hit, This Is Spinal Tap, used the building as its recording studio in Atlanta.
Millennium Biltmore in LA – ‘Pretty in Pink,’ ‘Ghostbusters,’ ‘Splash’
The Millennium Biltmore is a Renaissance Revival hotel that opened in downtown L.A. in 1923. It has been home to everything from the Academy Awards to JFK’s 1960 DNC acceptance speech. You’ll probably know it more for its lobby where original Ghostbuster Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) declared “we came, we saw, we kicked its ass” while trashing the hotel for the team’s first paid gig. It’s also home to the prom where Mollie’s Ringwald’s self-made pink dress makes its big reveal in Pretty in Pink. Fans of Tom Hanks will recognize the front entrance from when he finds out Darryl Hannah is a mermaid in Splash and also where his pals bring a donkey into an elevator in Bachelor Party.
Grand Hotel in Mackinac Island, Michigan – ‘Somewhere in Time’
The Grand Hotel in Michigan is a storied property with a history that dates to 1887. That’s why it’s fitting when Christopher Reeve goes back in time to woo Jane Seymour in the 1980 classic Somewhere in Time. The hotel is prominently featured in the movie and today offers special packages based on the movie during its annual Somewhere in Time Weekend. The package includes a screening of the film, appearances from the actual cast (RIP Christopher), cocktail reception, free golf, and special discounts. Time machine not included.
Taj Lake Palace – ‘Octopussy’
If you like your martinis shaken-not-stirred, then the Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur, India will probably be up your alley. The lush five-star lake-island resort was home to Maud Adams who played the titular Octopussy in the 1983 James Bond classic. The hotel itself is set on four acres in the middle of Lake Pichola with stunning colonnades, endless vistas, and the absolute lap of luxury. The Octopus Cult of lethal female assassins are not on the tour, but no one will stop you from calling yourself 007.
Waldorf-Astoria New York – ‘Coming to America’
When Eddie Murphy’s character in Coming to America arrives in the U.S. he pretends to be poor and stays in a dicey area in Queens. But when his father, played by James Earl Jones, comes to visit, the scenes shift to the iconic Waldorf-Astoria in New York. Fittingly, the regal family stays in the Waldorf’s Royal Suite which is currently in the middle of a massive renovation.
Beverly Hills Hotel – ‘Beverly Hills Cop’
Beverly Hills Cop is the ultimate fish-out-of-water movie from the decade and features Eddie Murphy as he plays a Detroit cop who winds up in Beverly Hills on a case. Upon reaching Los Angeles, Murphy drives the streets of Beverly Hills while “The Heat is On” blares from 80s bass-deficient speakers and where iconic landmarks flash across the screen. One of the most iconic is the Beverly Hills Hotel, the most famous lodging spot in L.A. that was opened in 1912 and is responsible for turning Beverly Hills into the luxury destination it is today.