Seven luxury hotels famed for their celebrity scandals
For most of us, hotels are anonymous zones: Nobody knows us, and we prefer to keep it that way. But for celebrities, a hotel stay can come with plenty of unwanted baggage. Richard Burton learned that the hard way when, in 1963, his overnight stays with Elizabeth Taylor at Paris’ Hotel Lancaster were made public to everyone—including his wife.
More than 50 years later, it seems A-listers still haven’t learned. Here, we highlight seven hotels that served as backdrops for some of the greatest celebrity scandals of all time.
The Mark Hotel
In 1994, Johnny Depp and Kate Moss got into an epic fight at New York City’s Mark Hotel, where Moss accused Depp of cheating on her. Police were called, and they found a “possibly intoxicated” Depp and a disheveled Moss in the middle of their ravaged guest room. Depp was arrested, and although the charges were dropped, he was ordered to pay the hotel nearly $US10,000 ($A13,000) in damages. Depp claimed the damage was done by an armadillo that popped out of the closet. The armadillo was never found.
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton met in 1963 on the set of their epic film Cleopatra. Though both were married at the time — he to actress Sybil Williams and she to singer Eddie Fisher — the leading actors often escaped to Paris’ Hotel Lancaster together. Built in 1889 as a private mansion, the hotel was a perfect bolt-hole for lovers, and the costars often reserved two entire floors in order to ensure plenty of privacy and space for entertaining.
Carly Simon had many a public relationship, from her tryst with Warren Beatty (one alleged subject of her famous song You’re So Vain) to her marriage to James Taylor. The singer most famously fell into bed with the Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger at London’s Portobello Hotel, a posh boutique property in Notting Hill. On the eve of Simon’s wedding to Taylor, Bianca Jagger called Taylor and tried to warn him that his future wife had been unfaithful. Taylor, who couldn’t quite understand Bianca’s Nicaraguan accent, responded, “I trust Carly.” The couple divorced a decade later.
The tabloids were aflame when Meg Ryan holed up with Russell Crowe at London’s One Aldwych in 2000. The actors were in the middle of filming the romantic drama Proof of Life, and Ryan — as evidenced by her infidelity — was nearing the end of her marriage to Dennis Quaid. Walking through the hotel’s lobby, the actress famously noticed that everyone stopped talking and stared at her. When she got to the elevator, she said, “Instead of falling apart, I just started laughing ... public censure or disapproval has no power if you know yourself.” Within a year, Ryan and Quaid were divorced.
Beverly Wilshire Hotel
The Beverly Wilshire Hotel — now a Four Seasons property — has for decades been the site of A-list encounters. Warren Beatty, known for racking up one of Hollywood’s most impressive dating histories of all time, lived in the penthouse for nearly two years. Fellow Casanova Michael Douglas repeatedly cheated on his first wife, Diandra, at the hotel, reputedly carrying on affairs with his co-stars Kathleen Turner, Sharon Stone, and others. Adding insult to injury, Douglas often checked in to the hotel as “Michael Luker,” using Diandra’s maiden name.
Beverly Hills Hotel
Spencer Tracy — the Golden Age actor who starred in 1960s classics like Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and Inherit the Wind — was married (if not happily) to actress Louise Treadwell for more than 40 years. For 23 of those years, he was also in a long-term relationship with Katherine Hepburn. In what might have been the 1940s’ biggest Hollywood scandal, Tracy and Hepburn spent much of their time playing the part of a married couple in the actor’s bungalow at the Beverly Hill Hotel while his wife lived on a ranch in Encino. Hepburn rose early to take 6 am tennis lesson most mornings; Tracy spent the afternoons playing polo with the likes of Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, and Walt Disney at Will Rogers’s nearby ranch. The hotel’s Polo Lounge is rumoured to be named for this legendary group of friends who often enjoyed cocktails after their polo games.
Everyone knows that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie initially fell for each other while filming Mr. & Mrs. Smith. What they don’t know is where the couple made it official. The two actors — Pitt fresh off his separation from Jennifer Aniston — spent five days post-filming on the southern coast of Kenya at the ultra-luxurious Alfajiri Villas. The choice was an obvious one — not only for its location halfway around the world from Hollywood, but also for its promise of absolute privacy. Each of the resort’s three villas comes with its own butler, private pool, veranda, and dining room, ensuring that even the most prying eyes wouldn’t catch a glimpse of the high-profile couple.