You know how it is. You’re having a quiet drink at the hotel bar and Angelina Jolie asks you for a light.
What do you mean it’s never happened to you? Well, all I can say is that you’ve been staying in the wrong joints. Allow me to mark your card with a view to a bit of celebrity-spotting in some of the luxury and boutique hotels of Europe.
If you happen to be in Paris and want to catch a glimpse of Ange, try the award-winning George V or, to give it its full name, the Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris. This Paris luxury hotel is one of her favourites.
Now, if a place is good enough for George Clooney, it should do for you and me and I’m reliably informed that George and the cast and crew of Ocean’s Twelve stayed at Hotel Le Bristol.
Another classic luxury hotel in Paris is the Ritz, the last point of departure for Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed that tragic August night in 1997. The Ritz has always been a mainstay for the rich and famous – Coco Chanel lived in a luxury suite there for more than thirty years. These days, you might at any one time bump into Nicole Kidman, Gwyneth Paltrow or Uma Thurman.
Luxury Rome hotels abound. The Hassler Hotel, at the top of the Spanish Steps, has in the past welcomed everyone from Juan Peron to Audrey Hepburn and the Kennedys. Clooney likes this one too, while just recently it hosted the photocall for the movie Get Smart with Anne Hathaway and Steve Carell.
Not far away is the Hotel de Russie. This historic hotel was a favourite of Picasso and today is a popular meeting place for the bright young things from the worlds of fashion and media.
The Hotel Eden is a luxury boutique hotel in the heart of Rome which prides itself on its elegance and tact. It would never release its guest list, of course, but my source tells me that it’s welcomed the likes of Jane Fonda, Pierce Brosnan and Richard Gere.
The luxury hotels in London have names that resonate throughout the world – the Dorchester, for instance. It was here that Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton spent one of their honeymoons in 1964. Recently pictured arriving were Jerry Springer and Forest Whitaker. Michael Jackson and Tom Cruise have been guests, too.
The Ritz is the Grande Dame of London luxury hotels and has played host to any number of celebrities over the years, including Edward VII, Churchill, Chaplin and Judy Garland. It’s never lost its charm and these days is fashionable with celebrities like Julia Roberts, Johnny Depp and Hugh Grant.
One of the newer kids on the London block is The Lanesborough, a former hospital in fashionable Knightsbridge. It’s pricey, sure, but you might be lucky enough to run into Madonna, Jim Carrey or Leonardo di Caprio.
Amsterdam is one of the most laid-back capitals in Europe and a popular destination for celebrities. The Intercontinental Amstel is arguably the most beautiful and prestigious of the luxury hotels in Amsterdam and has welcomed royalty, government leaders and film stars. Jennifer Aniston took a room with a river view last month and the Rolling Stones have also pitched up there.
The Dylan Hotel in Amsterdam has also been much visited in the past by royalty. These days it’s favoured by international personalities who welcome the discretion and privacy that are the hallmarks of Anouska Hempel-designed luxury boutique hotels. It’s so discreet, in fact, that I couldn’t possibly reveal any names.
So, splash out, be a celebrity for a day, a weekend or a week – live like a star, but don’t make a habit of it. As Charlie Chaplin once said: ‘The saddest thing I can imagine is to get used to luxury.’
by Andy Moreton