Plush hotels cater to film biz players

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Making for luxe ammunition in the battle to lure offshore productions, plush hotels in major city centers now cater to the specific needs of film biz players. Several such establishments have recently sprung up in key European cities.

Gaul hosts one of the world’s most chic and sophisticated screening venues: The Royal Monceau Raffles, which recently opened in Paris, a couple of blocks from the Champs-Elysees.

With decor by Philippe Starck, an art library and high-tech infrastructure, the Royal Monceau was conceived of as the perfect base for film moguls.

Owned by the Qatari Diar Investment Fund, the hotel features the Cinema des Lumieres, a 99-seat screening room equipped with a 3D projector, a conference area and various press junket rooms equipped for screening in many formats.

“We’re offering a luxurious one-stop shop for foreign film productions who wish to reside at the hotel and have the opportunity to look at their rushes, hold press conferences, private screenings, junkets — all in one place,” says Royal Monceau’s general director Sylvain Ercoli, who previously ran the Martinez in Cannes and the Ritz in Paris.

The hotel’s management is negotiating deals with the Ile de France Film Commission to partner up on key film events and coordinate on arrangements for foreign productions. Talks also have been initiated with local film orgs Mission Cinema and Unifrance.

“The film sector is a major driver of the French economy and a place like the Royal Monceau represents an invaluable asset to attract the most demanding creators and filmmakers,” says Olivier Rene Veillon, general director of the Ile de France Film Commission. “When Martin Scorsese was shooting scenes for ‘Hugo Cabret’ in Paris, he asked to look at his rushes in 3D, and we expect to have more and more demands of that kind now that we have an attractive tax rebate.”

Blighty was a pioneer in Europe in the drive to combine top-class screening facilities with a luxury hotel.

In London, the May Fair Hotel and the Soho Hotel both sport state-of-the-art screening rooms as well as stylish adjoining suites for after-parties and receptions.

The May Fair underwent a $120 million refurbishment in 2006, complete with a 201-seat 3D-enabled theater.

The Soho Hotel, which is located at the heart of London’s film biz district, has a 100-seat 3D-enabled theater and a 45-seater. Other hotels, meanwhile, having no screening room themselves, have linked up with nearby facilities to attract film biz folk.

One such example is the five-star Athenaeum, which offers screening facilities at Eon Prods., the shingle behind the James Bond franchise. Guests who book a one-bedroom apartment at the hotel for a minimum of five nights will be able to reserve the Eon Productions Screening Room for a three-hour block at no additional cost — just ask for the hotel’s screening room package.

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