Sin-tillating: Checking in at The Grand Budapest Hotel

February 05, 2015
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(curious minds click here for more deets on the Sin-tillating series)

Mr. Anderson’s – “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is, undoubtedly, the most exquisite, luxurious, & grandest (like something out of a movie) hotel I’ve ever been to! It is so insanely detailed, so surreal, and so beautifully manufactured that missing out on this would be a real shame. Even for you, backpackers (at least stop by for a cup of tea when you’re in the area)! While I loved every little bitty bit of The Grand Budapest Hotel, I’ll quickly run you through my favourite details during my 100-minute stay at the gorgeous alpine countryside of Zubrowka! (just in case anyone’s interested in boring facts, the Republic of Zubrowka took its name from a Polish vodka brand, bottles of which contain a strand of grass).

Funicular

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A short ride to the hotel in a funicular train resembling an ice-cream cart with a spectacular view of the valley and snow capped peaks is a visual treat in its own right!! Got me super ecstatic- like all smiles and stuff!

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Funicular Minutiae: The oh-so-charming funicular, tram, & cliff are all miniature models, filmed with a tilt-shift lens.

Hotel Façade

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Get off the darling tram and get mesmerized by this enchanting, castle-like hotel, clad in delicious looking powdery pink with buttercream icing, making it look like a grand wedding cake! Oh, that explains those drool stains on my fur coat.

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The Hotel Facade Minutiae: Largely modeled on the Grandhotel Pupp, the façade of the hotel again is a miniature model, which is 14 feet long and 7 feet deep. This gorgeous model in chiseled in wood and decorated with etched brass.

Hotel Lobby

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 Once you get past the creamy yellow macaroony entrance doors, you discover the grandeur awaiting you within this gorgeous hotel! A lavish lobby with elaborate chandeliers, red carpeted floors, grand staircase, marble columns, colourful domes, light-filled arches, and a glistening elevator, is truly a wonder to behold! The mood is chatty and festive and relaxed (thanks to the majority of ‘senior citizen’ crowd). This decadent lobby is just the kind of a place that makes people look even more beautiful and you just can’t help warming to it, the minute you step in.

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The Hotel Lobby Minutiae: (a) An abandoned Art Nouveau department store built in 1912 in Görlitz was converted into the grandiose lobby of the Grand Budapest. (b) The German artistic style Jugendstil (popular from the mid-1890s to the early 20th century) was the primary influence for the hotel’s décor.

The Elevator

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Once you’re done checking in at the lobby, you’ll be escorted to a manually operated scarlet red elevator, which is bright as a shiny penny, and has a gorgeous brass-laden manual controller! So supremely steam-punk! Btw, I quickly snapped this picture of the hotel staff (i.e. the very serious elevator attendant, slightly stressed lobby boy, and the heavily perfumed concierge), and this elderly guest on their way out, and I must say this glossy red lacquer, makes for an attractive backdrop for staff’s rich purple velvet uniform with coordinating red edging, and gold buttons to match the brass controller! The Devil certainly lies in the details!

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The Elevator Minutiae: (a) Nine coats of lacquer were sprayed on to achieve that ultra glossy, retina-melting red. (b) L’Air de Panache, the (primarily woody and citrus) signature (& fictional) scent of Gustave H., was actually created by French perfumers Nose for the Paris premiere of the film.

The Spa

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 By the time you check into your swanky room with majestic views of the Zubrowkan Alps, the long journey to the hotel in the bone chilling weather, would have left you completely pooped! I highly recommend heading over to the hotel spa for a steamy Turkish bath! The buttery marble tub and calming white and baby blue tiles along with steaming hot water would leave you ready to head bang at a mountain trance partay!

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The Spa Minutiae: An early-1900s arch-laden bathhouse in Görlitz was used as the hotel’s pool and spa.

Mendl’s Patisserie

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Now you better hurry with your grand soak, ‘coz trust me, you simply cannot afford to miss the opportunity to have tea at The Grand Budapest! They serve the TASTIEST PASTRIES in the whole wide world! These toothsome pastel, frilly & delicious offerings from Mendl’s Patisserie are delivered in charming ribbon-wrapped boxes, which in itself are good enough to satisfy any cravings!

Courtesan au Chocolat, their signature cream-filled pastry, was so terribly good, that I ended up taking a trip to the town just to see this heavenly bakery and boy! oh boy! with every inch clad in gorgeous hand painted porcelain tiles, this ethereal, heavily frescoed, castle like bakery swept me off my feet like no other! BEST.DECISION.EVER!

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Mendl’s Patisserie Minutiae: (a) Mendl’s Patisserie was filmed in Pfunds Molkerei, a famous creamery in Dresden, Germany, founded by a farmer in 1892. (b) Having Mendl’s boxes slide from flat to a perfect cube with the tug of a ribbon apparently took forever. So much for a mere 2 second cameo.

Bar & Dining Room

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For a magical evening, head to the ‘jaw-droppingly grand’ Ristorante at the Grand Budapest! Before you relish extra fine gourmet dishes fit for royalty, sample a rare vintage port or imbibe in your favorite libation with a poker face and eyes half-closed <tricks & tips for appearing fancy & rich> and just generally waste time admiring the opulence of this convivial dining area! Btw, best place for some serious ‘people-watching’.

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Dining Room Minutiae: (a) The dining room was set in a performance space with a stage. (b) A 1930s typewriter was sourced to actually type all typewritten documents and a dipping pen & ink, for anything handwritten. 

The Fancy Luggage

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 While checking out, I noticed all the wealthy old folks strutting around with super stylish, vintage bags and trunks: decorated with leather coverings, wooden bracings, fancy locks and what not! I strongly recommend that for this trip you take your best luggage along!

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 The Luggage Minutiae:  Prada was commissioned to create a 21-piece luggage set for Madame D. and M. Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes). The brand took inspiration from it’s own vintage models from the 1920s and 30s to create these beauties!

Now that I’ve loaded with you a gargantuan amount of information, I’m hoping you’ll not miss out on this rather swanky & ritzy cinematic vacation at The Grand Budapest Hotel! I highly recommend you download your tickets sooner than later, and, if like me, you too happen to fall in love with The Grand Budapest + if you’re loaded (unlike me), send one of the kids in the family to study at the prestigious Akademie Zubrowka and savor the delights of this wonderland at least a few more times! #gottadowhatyougottado

(all images are via google images and all information is collected from various interviews by The Grand Budapest team)

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