Celebrating Valentine’s Day like a classic movie star is a secret dream of many love birds. The influence of movies and the lives of film stars have always held aspirational value for cinegoers. Following their trail acquires a kind of legitimacy that is at once endearing and yet compelling. Many properties worldwide tap into this sentiment while promoting their offerings be it hotels, restaurants, cafes, shopping outlets or even signature drinks and delicacies from the menu card. Knowing that a leading superstar has sat in the very same restaurant and ordered the very same dish has a kind of mesmerising appeal.
Here are some of the movie star inspired hotel destinations in the Orient.
Pamper in romantic Hanoi like Chaplin
Finding the perfect honeymoon destination and venue is often an exasperating effort. There are way too many elements to balance, from comfort to aesthetics to exclusivity and novelty, it has to be well thought out. What better inspiration than Charlie Chaplin, the talented and much married genius of the silent movie era. In 1936 Charlie Chaplin, an icon of the silent film genre in the early days of Hollywood, honeymooned in Hotel Metropole Hanoi following a secret marriage in Shanghai to Paulette Goddard.
Goddard, at the time, was one of Hollywood’s leading ladies and this honeymoon destination was an expression of the romantic side of Chaplin. Today visitors to the iconic hotel can book the Charlie Chaplin suite, designed in memory to the bygone era of his stay.
It is reminiscent of that period and has his presence clearly mapped. With artwork from his movies and portraits adorning the walls, it’s a touching homage to the actor. Spending few days here as part of your honeymoon is sure to turn out a highpoint in your wedded life.
Search for the brawny Tarzan in Colombo
Not many know that the allure of Sri Lanka’s mountains, sea and jungles had a magnificent pull for many film makers who set part of their filming schedule in the calm and serene parts of the country. Many iconic stars went on record to quote their stay in Lanka as one of their most memorable ones.
Both as a backdrop and as a place of respite post-filming, Galle Face Hotel has hosted many a star over the last century and a half. In the ‘50s Vivien Leigh, who starred in Elephant Walk prior to Elizabeth Taylor taking over the role, stayed at the hotel during filming. Bo Derek also stayed during the shooting of Tarzan, the Ape Man in the ‘80s. In the same decade Harrison Ford was a guest when Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was filmed on the island.
Visitors can revel in their tales and others in the iconic hotel’s new history tours; book into one of their newly-refurbished plush suites, such as that named after former guest Empress Eugenie; and have a romantic meal for two in the alcoves of 1864, the fine-dining restaurant named for the hotel’s year of opening, whilst overlooking the Indian Ocean.
(Galle Face Hotel Exterior showing North Wing)
(Palace Hotel Tokyo - Main Lobby - View of Wadakura Moat & Japanese Maple)
(Roof-top bar - L’Appart Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit)
(Palace Hotel Tokyo Art Collection - Shikisai No Shita by Satoshi Uchiumi)
Radiate n’ Sparkle like sensuous Monroe in Tokyo
Some places have a sensuality of their own, heightened further with some hook, which in this case is that of the drop dead gorgeous Marilyn Monroe. Even after 50 years of her tragic death, a mere mention of the legendary actress evokes a sense of oomph and rawness that has an electrifying effect.
During their 1954 honeymoon in Japan, Monroe dazzled fans with a necklace of 44 Akoya pearls that were a gift from her husband, American ballplayer, Joe DiMaggio. Sixty years on, the Akoya pearl is the centrepiece of a romantic package at the Palace Hotel Tokyo, which teams the prized-pearl with chilled champagne, fresh-cut flowers and a deluxe room or executive suite overlooking the Imperial Palace gardens and moats.
Cut to the present and revel in the thought that Monroe walked these same paths, sporting the flawless pearls in a graceful swan-like pose, which now you have a chance to re-enact.
Stay in a suite worthy of Bardot in Bangkok
The mysterious appeal of someone who chooses to live an anonymous life after scaling the heights of super stardom has an enigma to it. Following the trail of Brigitte Bardot leads you to the elegant Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit which recently hosted an exhibition of rare photographs of the 1950s sex symbol.
Guests can feast on fine portraits of Bardot as she lazily settles into a nook of L’Appart, the hotel’s romantic rooftop bar and restaurant. They can also retreat to the kind of room Bardot, who was born into a wealthy Parisian family, undoubtedly would have chosen: the palatial Imperial Suite.
They can saunter through the corridors and gardens imagining the gorgeous actress as she must have done, sporting those oversized shades to shield herself from the prying gaze of the paparazzi and hysterical fans. Surely, at the Sofitel she must have enjoyed some private moments, relishing both the hospitality and privacy that the luxury property must have ensured for their celebrity guest.
Make the 2016 Valentine’s Day special by talking a walk down memory lane, indulgently sampling a slice from the multi-layered exotic Hollywood pie.
© This article was first published in Jan/Feb 2016 edition of World Travel Magazine.