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LUXURY TRAVEL: Hotels as Movie Stars

Luxury hotels have always been used as a backdrop in the movies, recent examples include The Peninsula Shanghai  in Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, the St. Regis Princeville Resort Hawaii in The Descendants and Le Bristol in Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris. Not to mention and of course the classic starring role of the Beverly Wilshire in Richard Gere's Pretty Woman (although the suite in the film wasn't really in the hotel at all).

Now however, luxury hotels are more actively marketing their hotels through film. Take the starring role of the newly-refurbish Savoy Hotel in Duran Duran's comeback video Girl Panic late last year. The beauty of the hotel took our attention even more than the presence of the five 1990s supermodels; Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Helena Christensen, Eva Herzigová and Yasmin Le Bon), playing a girl-band.
In the video the models wake up in an elegant suite, give interviews by windows with views of The Thames, drink in the bar and rock out in the ballroom;all  ensuring lot of interior shots of the hotel. A scene where the 'band' arrive at the iconic hotel entrance and an end scene where one of the models is wheeled across the lobby by a Savoy bell boy in a luggage cart means we are left in no doubt they are at the Savoy.
The video, directed by Jonas Åkerlun has had over 5 million you Tube hits. No wonder Fairmont Hotels & Resorts were willing to let 300 film crew have the run of its exclusive five star hotel for a full 48-hour shoot.
Starwood Hotels and Resorts are also very film-aware. Last year the group launched the new W London Leicester Square with a specially-made move Starring super model-turned photographer Helena Christensen, and David Gandy. The short film, 'Away We Stay' was written and directed by Edoardo Ponti in homage to the 1966 British Film classic Blow Up produced by Carlo Ponti (Edoardo's father).
Starwood's The Luxury Collection also made a short film earlier this year which highighted a number of the group's hotels at once: 'Here' was directed by Luca Guadagnino and conceived by actor Waris Ahluwalia (along with friend actress Tilda Swinton) after he became the Luxury Collection's brand ambassador.
The 15-minute film stars another supermodal, Agyness Deyn. Styled like a Hitchcock  mystery, the story follows the blonde heroine as she's led by a series of clues on an treasure hunt through three of the Starwood's most luxurious properties, the Equinox in Vermont, the Phoenician in Arizona and the Royal Hawaiian on the island of Oahu.
During the film we see the Equinox's School of Falconry, the Phoenician's pearly pool and views of the Camelback Mountain; and the Royal Hawaiian's lush tropical grounds.

"I picked three properties that seemed intriguing, that seemed to tell a story, that seemed to cover the landscape," says Ah uluwalia in the film's behind-the-scenes video.

Luxury Collection offered Starwood Preferred Guests the chance to bid on a chance to see the exclusive premiere and stay at the Chatwal, a Luxury Collection hotel in New York. Fashion and writers then blogged and tweeted trailers ahead of the film release. The result was increased brand awareness for Starwood's most luxurious properties and as way for Starwood to engage with a younger, more art-savvy audience -t he next generation of five star hotel guests.

Now Starwood has come up with yet another film-based concept - the chance for guest to make their own movie. Read more here.
Hilary Doling 20/8/12
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