As a new series of Riviera begins, we discover the hotels that will transport you to your favourite shows

By Tempus | 15 Oct 2020 | Travel

From Hotel Byblos to the Beverly Hills Hotel, these destinations are the backdrop for many of our favourite television and big screen hits

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Starring Julia Stiles as an art curator immersed in a world of crime and corruption, Sky Atlantic’s hugely popular Riviera is known for bringing the opulence and glamour of the French Riviera to the small screen. But, as series three hits to our televisions, eagled eyed viewers will notice a five-star filming location that is also a real life holiday paradise. Inspired by the series, we discover six grand hotels that have been the backdrops for our favourite films and television shows. 


Featured in the third season of Riviera, Hotel Byblos is a village within a village in historic St Tropez. Byblos has been at the heart of the French Riviera landscape for over 50 years, and was originally built by Lebanese businessman Jean-Prosper Gay-Para in an attempt to woo the Riviera’s most famous muse, actress Brigitte Bardot, in 1967. Later sold to French businessman Sylvain Floirat, the family-run five-star escape is steeped in history and renowned for its heritage, location and timeless elegance. 

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A favourite of Christian Dior, who shot many of his advertising campaigns and stage shows here, Hôtel Plaza Athénée is located on Paris’ avenue Montaigne. With its high-fashion connections and buzzing bar, the hotel starred in the final two episodes of Sex and the City and made appearances in The Devil Wears Prada and Something’s Gotta Give. This year, the hotel has made headlines by becoming a star of one of the episodes of newly launched Netflix series Emily in Paris.

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No stranger to the limelight, Le Meurice hosted filming for Woody Allen’s acclaimed romantic comedy Midnight in Paris, including a key wine tasting scene in the hotel’s La Belle Etoile signature suite. This suite was recently renovated by designers Lally and Berger. Le Meurice has also featured in films including Luc Besson‘s Angel-A and Madonna’s directorial debut W.E. 

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Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere featured Hotel Principe di Savoia in many scenes, including the Presidential Suite – the only suite in Milan with a private swimming pool – into which Steven Dorff jumps with his daughter. Woody Allen also filmed his Wild Men’s Blue documentary in the Presidential Suite.

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Film crews and famous stars have long-flocked to The Beverly Hills Hotel, which opened in 1912 prior to the founding of Beverly Hills itself – the city was, in fact, built around the glamorous hotel. The hotel is shown on The Eagles’ world-famous album cover, Hotel California, and in 1957 the pool and the cabana club were the setting for Gregory Peck and Lauren Bacall in Designing Woman. The “Pink Palace” made its way into the 1973 film The Way We Were, starring Barbara Streisand and Robert Redford. Marylin Monroe and Yves Montand filmed Let’s Make Love in Bungalow 21, one of the star’s favourite places at the hotel. Three decades later, the hotel flashed across the screens in Bewitched, starring Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell, and was more recently featured in Saving Mr Banks, where a portion of the movie was filmed at the front entrance of The Beverly Hills Hotel.

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The Dorchester has enjoyed various silver screen successes. Most notably, this is where Elizabeth Taylor is reputed to have discovered she had won the starring role in the 1963 film Cleopatra – while bathing in the Harlequin Suite. The suite still features the original pink marble bathroom installed especially for her, with her initials ‘ET’ carved into the marble. The hotel also became the location for romantic comedy Wimbledon, where Kirsten Dunst and Paul Bettany’s on-screen characters fell in love.