THE FAMOUS FIVE.
The world's greatest landmark hotels.
Every city has the one hotel whose fortunes have run parallel to the local economy and history. The owners and operators of these hotels are merely curators as the properties pass through decades and centuries of hospitality.
Then there are the hotel properties that take centre stage in the world of art, politics and entertainment. These hotels are internationally recognized landmarks.
1. The Plaza Hotel, New York, USA.
At the very core of the 'Big Apple', right on Central Park South is the Plaza Hotel.
If a hotel could be an actor; the Plaza would be on the 'A list.' It has starred in countless movies from Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest back in 1959, to 'American Hustle.'
'Plaza Suite', 'The Way We Were' ,'Cotton Club', 'Crocodile Dundee', 'Sleepless in Seattle', 'Bride Wars', and 'The Great Gatsby' were all shot on site.
However its most memorable role was back in 1992 when Kevin made the hotel his temporary Christmas residence in 'Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.'
Of course; then there is the Eloise series of books that illustrates the life of a fictional six year old who lives in the hotel's penthouse.
2. The Savoy, London, England.
Hotelier César Ritz was the hotel's first general manager.
Composer Arthur Sullivan financed the development of the Savoy in the nineteenth century and from that point onwards it always had a strong association with the arts.
Claude Monet painted his 'Thames Landscapes' while in residence, while Oscar Wilde and Alfred 'Bosie' Douglas carried out their illicit affair in one of the hotel's suites.
The hotel played its part in the Second World War by welcoming incoming US dignitaries and military.
When Hollywood visits London, it chooses the Savoy. Everyone from John Wayne to George Clooney has stayed here.
3. Raffles Hotel, Singapore.
This grand old lady of the East has been the pioneer of colonial hospitality since it opened its doors back in 1887. An innovative barman created the Singapore sling on site. Raffles attracted the literati such as Somerset Maugham and Ernest Hemingway over the years. Rudyard Kipling penned 'Jungle Book' while he resided in one of its suites.
The story goes that Singapore's last wild tiger was shot with a rifle when he joined the guests one night in the hotel's billiard room.
4. The Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin, Ireland.
The Shelbourne Hotel is situated on St Stephen's Green in the heart of Ireland's capital city. Guests are still greeted in the traditional way with seasonal juice and cake.
As if to prove its place in Irish history, the hotel lobby has a 'Shelbourne Museum' where the hotel's collection of memorabilia associated with its 190 years of hospitality is archived. A screen outside the museum reels off a portrait slide show of dignitaries and celebrities who have stayed there.
Most significantly, Ireland's Constitution was drawn up in the Shelbourne hotel under the stewardship of Michael Collins back in 1922. The room is now known as the Constitution Suite.
Adois Hitler, the half-brother of the then unknown Adolf, worked as a waiter at the Shelbourne Hotel back in 1909 before he eloped with a local girl to England.
5. The Gritti Palace, Venice, Italy.
Home of Hemingway.
After a $50 million renovation, the Gritti Palace reopened last year. Although the building has a history dating back six hundred years, the Gritti Palace is a comparative new-comer to the world of hospitality. It opened its doors to the general public and house-hold names shortly after the end of the Second World War.
Hemingway was one of the hotel's first guests and he made it his home. He wrote large passages of his novel 'Across the River and into the Trees' while in residence. Churchill, Bogey and Bacall were amongst some of the other earlier guests. Gritti greeted much of the glitterati and literati in the following the years.
Bing Crosby, Elizabeth Taylor and Tom Cruise have all stayed in this elegant water front property.