Elizabeth Taylor, resting comfortably now in that luxury suite in the sky, knew a thing or two about upscale traveling. Even before marrying Nicky Hilton, heir to the Hilton Hotel chain and the first of seven husbands, Liz booked accommodations with panache.
In honor of last week’s passing of the always-radiant star, we’ve decided to recap some of her favorite haunts:
Hotel Splendido, Portofino, Italy. To this day, if you call this luxury hotel overlooking the harbor in Portofino and get put on hold, you’ll listen to the soundtrack of “I found my love in Portofino,” a song written by Fred Buscaglione, a famous Italian singer, to honor Liz and Richard Burton who got engaged in this very hotel. While on break from filming the movie, Cleopatra, in Rome, the star-crossed couple committed to marry, even though they were both hitched to others. According to legend, the proposal took place on the wisteria-covered terrace of the hotel’s first floor suite.
The Gresham, a landmark Dublin hotel, still has a two-bedroom suite named after the illustrious American actress. She and Richard Burton visited twice, once with a pet monkey who created quite a hullabaloo. In 1965, while Burton was in Ireland filming The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Richabeth, as they’d have been known if they were together today, took over a whole floor of the hotel to accommodate their entourage of four kids, nanny, maid and Elizabeth’s pet monkey, a small African primate that knocked over vases and lights, ripped curtains and was clinging to the water pipes when Franco Zefferelli flew to Dublin to discuss production of the Taming of the Shrew. On St. Patty’s Day, Taylor gave each of the Gresham staff a baby bottle of Power’s Whisky and a green carnation.
Ritz-Carlton, Montreal. On March 15, 1964, just a year after meeting on the set of Cleopatra, Taylor and Burton checked into this iconic Montreal hotel for what was to be their first wedding. The bride wore yellow chiffon and an $180,000 diamond and emerald necklace while a Unitarian minister did the honors. Located smack dab on Montreal’s Golden Square Mile, this hotel, that has also hosted Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, is within walking distance of many of this historic city’s high end boutiques, galleries and museums.
The Dorchester, London. Even before hooking up with Burton, Liz practically called this five-star hotel a second home. The largest of the hotel’s three rooftop suites, the Harlequin, still has the original pink marble bathroom installed for Taylor. According to legend, Richabeth carved ‘RB xxx ET’ into the marble after a night of partying.
Once while the famous couple was enjoying the Dorchester, Liz decided to surprise her new-found beau with a van Gogh she bought at Sotheby’s for 92,000 pounds. She loaded it into a taxi, carried it up to the penthouse suite where she hammered a nail above the fireplace to hang it for Burton’s return.
This famous hotel has also hosted Britney Spears, Julie Andrews, Kim Basinger, Warren Beatty, Tom Cruise, Judy Garland, Johnny Depp, Russell Crowe, Jack Black, Nicole Kidman, Michael Jackson, Peter Sellers, the Beatles and Lady Gaga.
Hotel Imperial, Vienna. In 1972, on a wild weekend getaway to Vienna, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton checked in to the Hotel Imperial on Vienna’s Ringstrasse. As the hotel of choice of the Austrian emperor, it was known for hosting distinguished guests from Richard Wagner, who wrote parts of his operas here, to Charlie Chaplin to the less illustrious, Adolf You-know-who, who worked here as a day laborer before before returning as a conquering hero after Germany annexed Austria in 1938.
Hotel de Crillon. When the violet-eyed star stayed at this famous Parisian hotel, you could smell her signature White Diamonds perfume from Champs-Elysees and Faubourg St-Honore, the mecca of fashion shopping streets. Located on one of the world’s most beautiful squares, this 18th century masterpiece was commissioned by Louis XV and you know what that means. Its sumptuous marble, moldings and crystal chandeliers were converted into a 147-room, five star hotel in 1909. Others besides Liz who have stayed in this palatial hotel on Place de la Concorde: Marie (“Let them eat cake”) Antoinette, Jackie O, Mariah Carey, Madonna, Arnold Schwazenegger and King George V.