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Five Iconic Hotels to Visit Around the World

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Five Iconic Hotels to Visit Around the World

There are great hotels, and then there are the ones that hold a place in history. These legendary hotels hosted some of the most famous – and infamous – people or had a starring role as the set of a movie or TV show. They have withstood the test of time and will always rise above the rest with landmark status. We’re sharing the inside scoop on these properties (and dropping names of famous guests) below:

1. THE SAVOY

London, England

The Savoy in London opened in 1889 (just two years after Brownell was founded!) as the first luxury hotel in Great Britain. It boasted electric lights, continuous hot and cold water, and many more innovations. The Savoy’s first manager was legendary hotelier Cesar Ritz, and it set the standard for exceptional service.

Famous guests include Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Katharine Hepburn, Josephine Baker, Harry Truman, Barbra Streisand, Bob Dylan, and Coco Chanel. And for any rom-com fans, the hotel’s Lancaster room was the setting for a scene in Notting Hill.  

Exclusive Perk: Brownell guests receive a $85 GBP Food & Beverage Credit—perfect for relaxing in the famed American Bar. And don’t forget to check out the Savoy Museum while you’re there!

2. THE PLAZA

New York, New York

The Plaza is perhaps the most iconic hotel in New York City – and that’s saying a lot! It opened in 1907 and has hosted many Hollywood stars, Manhattan socialites, artists, and politicians in its 200+ year history. Famous guests include Josephine Baker, Eartha Kitt, Greta Garbo, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor, Miles Davis, The Beatles, and so many more. The Plaza was also the location of “the party of the century” aka Truman Capote’s “The Black and White Ball.” 

For children, The Plaza is the setting for Eloise, the children’s book written in the 1950s. Little girls everywhere dreamed of living in a gorgeous hotel after reading the tales of Eloise. 

In the movie world, The Plaza was the site of several key scenes in the 1959 classic North by Northwest, and it thus set the trend of shooting films in location rather than just a Hollywood soundstage. The Plaza has been the location of many other movies including, Funny Girl, The Way We Were, Sleepless in Seattle, Almost Famous, Home Alone 2, and The Great Gatsby (just to name a few!). 

Advisor Tip: Bring the pages of Eloise to life by staying in the Eloise-themed suite! 

3. THE RAFFLES HOTEL SINGAPORE

The Raffles Hotel in Singapore is the flagship property of Raffles Hotels & Resorts. Named after the founder of Singapore, Stamford Raffles, the property was originally a private beach house before becoming a 10-room hotel in 1887. Fast forward 130 years, and the hotel has expanded to 103 suites (one of which was where Rudyard Kipling penned The Jungle Book)The hotel’s Long Bar, the spot where Singapore’s national cocktail the Singapore Sling was invented (Brownell guests receive a complimentary Singapore Sling on arrival!), was a favorite spot for Ernest Hemingway.

Exclusive Perks: Brownell Travelers get an upgrade to next room category at time of booking plus a complimentary 45-minute history tour.

4. THE FAIRMONT MIRAMAR HOTEL & BUNGALOWS

Santa Monica is no stranger to celeb sightings, and the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows has been a favorite spot since it opened in 1921. Hollywood legends flocked to the hotel as a tranquil retreat away from the press and fans. The property has 32 secluded garden bungalows where starlets like Greta Garbo and Jean Harlow enjoyed longer stays. Other famous guests include Marilyn Monroe, Gloria Swanson, Eleanor Roosevelt, Charles Lindbergh, President John F. Kennedy, and Steven Spielberg.

Exclusive Perks: Brownell Travelers get an upgrade at time of booking, daily breakfast, and a $100 food & beverage or spa credit — #treatyoself! 

5. SOFITEL LEGEND METROPOLE HANOI

Opened in 1901 as the Metropole, the Sofitel Legend Metropole in Hanoi has a rich history and legendary guest list. Film legend Charlie Chaplin honeymooned at the hotel in 1936, and literary stars Somerset Maugham and Graham Greene stayed there. In the 1950s, the hotel was renamed Thong Nhat Hotel or Reunification Hotel by the Communist government. Jane Fonda stayed at the hotel in 1972 and Joan Baez visited the property during a visit with the American delegation.  It was the only hotel in Hanoi that had a bomb shelter for air raids, and the shelter is now open to the public. The hotel was restored to its full glory, and is now one of the top hotels in Vietnam and the world.

Advisor Tip: Be sure to make advance reservations for the hotel’s popular complimentary 50-minute Path of History daily tour (including the Metropole Bomb Shelter) available only to hotel guests.

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