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Film-Friendly Hotels Can Make Location Shooting Easier for Cast, Crew

Boutique chains such as Corinthia and large groups such as Hilton and Oakwood vie for their share of the lucrative global film trade

You’re on location and you just finished a long day’s shoot. You’re tired and hungry. It’s past midnight. You get back to the hotel only to find that room service stopped delivering an hour ago.

Luckily, there are many establishments that understand the 24/7 needs of a traveling cast and crew and can help prevent that type of frustration.

Among them: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, whose Beverly Hills property is an industry staple and whose Ko Olina location in Hawaii served as a filming location for the just-released “Snatched,” with Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn.

The Intercontinental Los Angeles Century City, adjacent to 20th Century Fox and CAA, offers special rates and amenities to entertainment industry patrons. And in Chicago, the Renaissance Blackstone Hotel, which recently rebranded to The Blackstone, Autograph Collection, provides a program for moviemakers that dates back to the days when Audrey Hepburn was a guest.

Among location-specific properties, New Mexico’s Heritage Hotels & Resorts chain has a team that handles accommodations for productions flocking to the state for its tax incentives. Overseas, at the Corinthia chain of luxury boutique hotels, showbiz stays are an integral part of branding and identity.  “Filmmakers need a hotel that’s experienced and adaptable,” says Antony Rush, head of entertainment sales at the Corinthia Hotel in London, which features 24-hour room service, a concierge, a spa and 4G Wi-Fi.

Corinthia runs more than a dozen hotels around the world, including in Lisbon, Malta and Prague, but London and Budapest are the main production hubs, and the hotels there are set up for longer stays, with larger suites and apartments, says Rush. “Last year we had the whole ‘Star Wars’ cast and crew staying with us in London for months,” he notes.

Fox’s upcoming spy thriller “Red Sparrow,” starring Jennifer Lawrence and directed by Francis Lawrence, has booked Corinthia’s Budapest property — a historic building where Wes Anderson is said to have found inspiration for “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”

Corinthia London (pictured above) has established itself as a frequent stop for press junkets and industry events. “We do about one a week,” says Rush. Among them: “The Avengers,” “Spectre” and, more recently, “La La Land.”

“The Corinthia has amazing infrastructure to service film junkets and provide comfort and quality for talent, and a worry-free experience for the studio,” says Michael Rosenberg, co-chairman of Imagine, the production company founded by director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer. Adds Howard: “I was impressed by the responsiveness of the management as well as the attentiveness of the staff.”

Other chains catering to filmmakers include global brands Hilton and Oakwood.

Hilton has a dedicated website for production clients and can even help with location scouting. “We look at the major filming hubs and the ones offering tax breaks and then line up suitable properties,” says Rebecca Cortese of Hilton Worldwide Sales, who cautions, “Not every hotel is right for a movie crew.”

Cortese and her team use a streamlined process to deal with requests, in order to identify needs. “It’s important to be adaptable, as schedules and even the scope of a production can change,” she says. Case in point: A booking at Hilton’s Boca Raton, Fla., property for “Baywatch” crew grew into a request for cast lodging and eventually into shooting the movie there.

Oakwood specializes in long-term stays and serviced apartments. Entertainment manager Maryann Udel says accommodations are more spacious than those of most hotels, typically providing homelike environments and floor plans that range from studios to three bedrooms, with separate living, dining and sleeping spaces. The chain’s team of entertainment industry specialists can place groups close to studios and shoots and “fine-tune their stay,” Udel says.

In addition to chains, some individual hotels cater to film needs. The Hollywood Roosevelt is across the street from the Chinese and Dolby theaters and often hosts premiere parties. It’s also close to Hollywood recording studios and smaller lots and not far from Burbank and Studio City.

Juan J. Pineda, the Roosevelt’s director of entertainment sales, says the property offers special amenities and rates to cast and crew, plus discounts for groups requesting 10 rooms or more. “The longer the stay, the more flexibility we have,” he says. The hotel’s 24/7 on-site burger joint, 25 Degrees, is another big draw for crews.

And perhaps no other hotel is more closely linked with showbiz history. Opened in 1927, the Roosevelt was financed by Louis B. Mayer, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and Sid Grauman, among others. Two years later it hosted the first Oscars ceremony. “Wings,” a silent war movie, won best picture. The film is largely forgotten, but the hotel endures.

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