They have starred in movies, boast stunning architecture, hosted royalty and witnessed historic events. These hotels are not just your home away from home, but a destination in itself. The travel experts over at Kayak.sg give us the lowdown on some of the most iconic hotels they've encountered on their list.
Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur, India
This stunning hotel, built as a winter palace for Rajasthan royalty in the mid-1700s, is set on a private island in a lake and operates a speed boat to transport guests to the hotel from a jetty at the City Palace. The Taj Lake Palace played a starring role in a Bond film as Octopussy's lair with the dining room, terrace and hotel barge all appearing in scenes. Given its beautifully appointed rooms and beautiful setting, it's not surprising that the property was voted the most romantic hotel in India in 2013.
The Waldorf Astoria, New York, USA
When the current Waldorf-Astoria opened on Park Avenue in Manhattan in 1931, it was the world's tallest hotel. Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra and US president Herbert Hoover all called the Art Deco landmark home for periods of their lives. The hotel is certainly secure enough for such esteemed guests; the Presidential Suite boasts bulletproof windows and there's a secret train platform underneath the hotel for transporting them to and from the hotel safely. While the platform is generally not open to the public, Andy Warhol held an exhibit there in 1965. Today, foodies flock to the The Waldorf Astoria to dine on Eggs Benedict (it is said to be the birthplace of the dish) and of course its eponymous apple, celery and walnut salad.
Raffles Hotel, Singapore
Singapore is full of stunning architecture, much of it incredibly modern. However one of its most iconic buildings is a remnant of Singapore's colonial past. The white marble colonnades, teak verandas and central courtyard of the Raffles Hotel are as impressive today as when it first opened its doors in 1887. The Singapore Sling was invented in the hotel's Long Bar in 1915 and was said to be a favourite of literary greats Ernest Hemingway, Rudyard Kipling, and Joseph Conrad.
The Beverly Hills Hotel, Los Angeles, USA
The legendary Beverly Hills Hotel — also known as the 'Pink Palace' — takes up a prime location on Sunset Boulevard in sunny Los Angeles. Despite being so central, the hotel maintains an air of mystique, helped by the greenery which surrounds its bungalows and which has granted seclusion over the years for famous guests like Marilyn Monroe, John Lennon and the Kardashians. The hotel was even featured on the cover of the Eagles' enigmatic hit single, 'Hotel California'. The hotel's concierge is legendary and can reportedly procure tickets to sold-out events and parties for guests.
The Ritz London, London, United Kingdom
This Grade II-listed, five-star property in central London near Piccadilly Circus was the city's first steel-frame structure. Charlie Chaplin stayed in The Ritz London in 1921, throwing carnations to the great crowds of fans gathered outside from the balcony of the Regal Suite, while more recently the hotel appeared in the romantic comedy Notting Hill starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts. On a serious note, Eisenhower, Churchill, and de Gaulle met at the hotel to discuss operations during World War II. To date, the Ritz's best known venue is the Palm Court tea room, an opulently decorated, neo-classically styled peach and cream room, where everyone who's anyone — from Queen Elizabeth to Judy Garland — has taken afternoon tea.