Ask a General Manager, what are the three factors in the success of a hotel and they will tell you - Location, Location, Location. True enough, for the tourists and business travelers alike. But there's another, more creative class who have adopted hotels too. Film, music, fashion and art worlds have been using hotels as a location for their work
since the advent of the "boutique" and
Hotels have long been used as locations and backdrops for some of Hollywoods biggest films too. Sophia Coppola chose the Park Hyatt Tokyo to shoot the majority of Lost In Translation and Julia Robert's most famed scenes from Pretty Woman, all take place in and around the Beverly Wiltshire hotel, LA.
Amateur film makers are in on it also. Lily Baldwin directed her witty take on an innocent tourists travels to Los Angeles in, SleepOver LA, documenting a series of unexpected events that take place overnight at the Standard LA.
The music industry are down with using hotels in music vids too, as locations for album publicity shoots and of course, legendary afterparties.
My favorite hotel music video location is the Happy Mondays rooftop shoot for Step On (pictured and in header). Though Madonna's Justify My Love, comes a close second (shot at Raffles Paris).
But it's not always so straight forward. When I worked at W Hotels, one of our marketing managers managed to unleashed quite a stir with an A$AP Rocky shoot at W London.
Purple Kisses was the shoot and they filmed in the hotel's EWOW Suite.
The result was a melange of coke, weed and bootie with the suite as a backdrop. Not really a clip the W could use in their marketing material, but at the time I remember thinking it was disruptive, unexpected and from a W that's actually quite on brand! Here's a snippet of what that marketing manager recalls from the night.
I stayed in the room next door - on guard! And got a call around 2am. "Do you have any purple liquid, or food coloring"? I said I would check. "Needs to be edible too". Why? I asked. "Rocky will be licking it off a naked butt"!
The first hotel I ever worked in was The Great Eastern Hotel (2002)in East London. One memorable weekend we had Kasabian filming All Plus One in the hotel's Masonic Temple. I remember them smoking allot between takes (in the hotels kitchen of all places!). When they wrapped we all went over to the hotels members club (the GE Club) where we partied with Paris Hilton and Jade Jagger. Can't remember much more than that....
Post social media's arrival, in this age of digital content, hotels are commissioning more and more of their own films. Collaborating with great emerging and established directors.
A few film projects I like are linked below. First off, W London and Away We Stay. Other than the fact that I commissioned it, I do like the talent we managed to pull in. The approach we took was to redefine how a hotel could promote itself online (keep in mind this was 2009). To drive awareness we developed a film that would speak to the hotels design narrative, the brand spirit and be laced with influencers. The result was a great announcement for W, heralding its arrival in Europe.
The short film spread virally versus a "Welcome to the World of WOW" print ad campaign that our U.S colleagues had become more comfortable with and a direction they favored us taking. We didn't listen though!
Around the same time, the Luxury Collection Hotels launched Here. A similar film, in its approach to marketing and focused on the Equinox hotel in Vermont. You'll see they enlisted a great line up of new acting talent, via Agness Deyn and Waris Aluwalia.
Another hotel brand I see commissioning credible creative is Sixty(formerly the team behind the Thompson brand). It's not surprising given that their owner, Jason Pomeranc, is no stranger to the film world having dabbled as producer on a number of shorts out their already.
Sixty's latest venture (see below)is a collaboration with Root Studios and Kloss Films. There's not much of a narrative but the visuals are stunning, as is of the star, aussie model Duckie Thot.
By Simon Warrington