If I were booking a vacation at a White Lotus hotel, I would simply make sure the karmic scales were balanced in my favor before checking in. I don’t know why the guests in the first two seasons of the show don’t do this. Staying at the White Lotus feels high risk and low reward these days. Best-case scenario, you have an existential crisis. Worst-case scenario, you either murder someone or you get murdered. Either way, the hotels are clearly to blame.
Personally, I find this unacceptable. I expect very little from hotels when I check in, but even a patron as low maintenance as I must draw the line somewhere. I can make do with crummy pillows, and I try not to bother anybody at the front desk for so much as a travel-size toothpaste. All I ask is that I not get murdered or find myself driven to commit the act of murder. For this, I hold some hesitation in endorsing the White Lotus chain as a viable vacation lodging. There are far better and far less bloodstained fictional hotels out there.
Now that the second season has wrapped up, it’s time we turn our attention to the Hotels Cinematic Universe and ask ourselves an important question: If I book a stay at any of these fictional hotels, how likely am I to murder someone or commit the act of murder?
You Will Not Get Murdered Here
The Grand Budapest Hotel (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel is centered around a murder, but I am not inclined to believe it is a hotel at which you are likely to be murdered. Once does not indicate a pattern. You could probably check in and enjoy lovely hospitality and impeccable interior design without having to fire a gun in self defense.
The Hotel for Dogs (Hotel for Dogs)
You are not going to get murdered at the hotel for dogs. It’s a hotel for dogs! There are no murderers there, only dogs. It seems nice.
The Bellagio (Ocean’s 11)
The first real hotel on the list (though I did search “hotel for dogs” to make sure it wasn’t based on a true story before typing this). I think there’s a good chance were I to pull up Google and do a little bit of scrolling, I’d discover that people have died at the Bellagio in real life, but this isn’t about the real-life Bellagio. This is about the Bellagio as it exists in the film Ocean’s 11, and I do not believe it to be a hotel in which you are going to get murdered. You probably aren’t even going to get conned! The Ocean gang is there to rip off only Terry Benedict, not you. Order a shrimp cocktail and relax.
Park Hyatt Tokyo (Lost In Translation)
Nobody is getting murdered at the Park Hyatt Tokyo. You might get really sad and drown yourself (proverbially speaking) in ennui, but you are not going to end up a mysterious dead body somehow connected to an ensemble of rich guests.
Hotel Transylvania (Hotel Transylvania)
A hotel full of literal monsters seems like a place in which you’d be likely to get murdered, right? Think again, idiot. You’re not gonna get murdered at the Hotel Transylvania; you’re just gonna have a silly time. I don’t know if you’re gonna get much sleep, what with all the monsters (famously nocturnal) causing a ruckus, but I bet you get into some crazy high jinks and have to, like, help the Mummy retape his bandages.
Beverly Wilshire (Pretty Woman)
Please, let’s be serious: You’re not getting murdered at the hotel from Pretty Woman. You’re going to have a very nice time despite being that close to West Hollywood.
I Do Not Think You Will Get Murdered at These Hotels
The International (Elvis)
I don’t think you’re going to get murdered at the International — not directly at least. But if you’re brought there by a German man with prosthetic jowls who insists he’s from, like, Alabama or something and says you’re just going to stay and perform for a few months, no more than that, I would try to find lodging elsewhere. You might not get murdered, but you’re never checking out. Also, for what it’s worth, I’ve stayed at the International (now known as the Westgate Las Vegas). It’s nice! It’s also allegedly haunted (by Elvis!). I doubt Elvis’s ghost is going to murder you if you stay here, though his insane gun collection is kept in the hotel’s steakhouse (I don’t think ghosts use guns to do murder, but it feels pertinent to mention).
The Overlook Hotel (The Shining, Doctor Sleep)
I need you to hear me out on this one: I think you can probably stay at the Overlook and have a lovely time without getting murdered or murdering anyone. It is absolutely a cursed building, a piece of land stained by bloodshed and evil that seeps through the building like a mold infestation. But — but! — you only have to worry about the Overlook Hotel if you’re the winter groundskeeper or if you possess the Shining. In the movie’s opening scene, when Jack Torrance arrives at the hotel for his job interview, we see plenty of happy, bustling guests in the background. When he informs a hotel employee he has an appointment with the manager, she doesn’t say, “Oh, yes, he’ll be right with you as soon as he’s done calling the police to report multiple murders, which happen here all of the time.” Everyone who stays at the Overlook as a guest or in-season employee seems to love it. There’s no reason you wouldn’t. I bet Room 237 is lovely and normal in June.
Minnie’s Haberdashery (The Hateful Eight)
We’re stretching the definition of hotel a bit here, but Minnie’s Haberdashery sort of serves as a hotel, right? It lodges travelers, there are beds at the ready — that’s a hotel if I’ve ever seen one. Now I know what you must be thinking: We see a lot of people get murdered in The Hateful Eight. Surely this constitutes a hotel you’re likely to get murdered at. But I’m zagging here: The murders that take place at Minnie’s seem very out of the ordinary. It’s established throughout the film that Minnie and Sweet Dave have been operating their business for quite some time, long enough that it holds a reputation as a reliable place to crash for bounty hunters, outlaws, and weary travelers alike. I think random bursts of violence, revenge killings, and accidental gun misfires into the chests of your friends were more common in the Old West than they are today, but there’s nothing about the Haberdashery that leads me to believe they happen more often there. No, Minnie’s is legit, which is good because I wanna get me a bowl of her stew (one day, we are going to have a discussion about how Tarantino films food better than just about any of his contemporaries).
Not Gonna Lie, There’s a Good Chance You’ll Be Murdered at These Hotels
Hotel California (“Hotel California”)
This is pointedly a hotel you cannot leave once you check into it, and while I’m sure Don Henley means that in a proverbial sense, it just feels murder-y. Don’t check in! You’ll never leave!
Taj Mahal Palace Hotel (Hotel Mumbai)
I haven’t seen this movie, but I’m not checking into the same hotel as Armie Hammer.
The Continental (John Wick)
The Continental hosts exclusively actual assassins and loves to tout its little “No business on Continental grounds” rule. That’s playing with fire right there. You can’t lodge professional murder-doers and expect them to listen when you wag your finger and say, “But not here — you’re not allowed to do that here.” That rule has never stopped anyone in a John Wick movie from doing violence in that building. It is the least-enforced house rule in the history of hotels. Do not check into the Continental. You are going to get shot in the head.
Bates Motel (Psycho)
I need you to trust me on this: Do not check into the Bates Motel. You are going to have a bad time (because of getting murdered), the owner is a weirdo, and, most important, it isn’t even that nice! Two and a half stars out of five at best and not worth any of the trouble (murder) you’re going to encounter for it.