The making of this West German classic is almost as interesting as the film itself; for Werner Herzog, getting Klaus Kinski to behave himself long enough to get the picture made proved to be almost as difficult as hauling a steam ship over the Andes. A little travel tip for Uncle Werner: find a nice boutique hotel that’s already located where you want to be — in the Belmond Hotel Rio Sagrado’s case, a perfectly nice spot by the river — and stay there without all the fuss.
Jean Renoir’s 1939 masterpiece was roundly rejected in its own time by critics and audiences. In retrospect, it’s possible that it hit a little too close to home as a final warning about a decadent society about to be plunged into chaos. Have a luxe French country getaway of your own at Domaine des Hauts de Loire, and hope that when history repeats itself it’s in the form of Renoir’s light comic touch, and not the film’s tragic final act.
Fans of sharp-edged realistic dialogue are already aware that Glengarry Glen Ross, based on the Pulitzer-winning play of the same name, showcases David Mamet at the height of his powers. The show is stolen by Alec Baldwin’s awesomely abusive “Always Be Closing” monologue, a scene that was written just for the film version. Put on your best suit and your most expensive watch and check in at the Beekman, a modern classic just off Wall Street. Coffee is for closers, and so is the Beekman.
It wouldn’t be a best-films list without a little Cassavetes, and his second film starring Ben Gazzara is a sort of West Coast cousin to the classic New York mafia movies. It’s also a time capsule, preserving for all time a very Seventies vision of Los Angeles — which makes an omnivorously retro boutique hotel like Palihouse West Hollywood a perfect choice for a pairing.
Rome has come a long way since the lean years of the postwar reconstruction, and it’s shocking to compare the city you see in Bicycle Thieves and other Italian neorealist films with the city as it is today. Safe to say that a hotel like G-Rough, for all its untamed edges and unfinished textures, is more opulent than anything Romans in the late Forties might have imagined.
This one is a cult favorite, featuring not just career-defining performances from Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck, but brilliant photography by Roger Deakins, masterful directing by Andrew Dominik, and a unique soundtrack by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. As the title may indicate, things don’t end up working out all that well for Jesse James or for Robert Ford. We’re not aware of too many bank robbery–themed boutique hotels, but we do know the James boys would have felt at home in the Iron Horse, with its salvaged timbers and retro Americana aesthetic.
A collaboration between the filmmaker Alain Resnais and the writer Alain Robbe-Grillet, Last Year at Marienbad is either a very late example of cinematic surrealism, or a very early example of the sort of puzzling anti-realism for which David Lynch is now well known. We can’t definitively say what happens in this film’s story, but it’s unforgettable — and while it was actually filmed at a succession of German palaces, we think Trianon Palace in Versailles offers a suitably majestic setting.
Kubrick at his most serious and deliberate is, to some people, Kubrick at his most soporific. But for insiders, Barry Lyndon is a highlight, showcasing masterfully detailed art direction and production design, and some feats of low-light cinematography that have rarely been equaled. Make your own stately Irish country-house memories at County Kerry’s Sheen Falls Lodge.
Terrence Malick’s first feature is full of the lyrical moments and breathtaking landscapes for which his more recent work is well known. Here they’re balanced by plenty of action in the form of a Fifties crime story, featuring a young Martin Sheen as an ill-fated James Dean type. Keep the lyricism and landscapes, ditch the crime and violence, and make your own latter-day Malick moments in the Big Sky Country of Montana at Triple Creek Ranch.
You can argue with the placement of some of the other films on this list, but any scientific process that doesn’t end up with The Color of Money at #1 isn’t worthy of the name. Paul Newman and Tom Cruise star in this Martin Scorsese picture, possibly the director’s best, which picks up 25 years after The Hustler left off. And with no Tablet hotels in Atlantic City, you’re going to have to go all the way to Vegas, where the third film in the series surely would have been set.