Hilton Hotels' famous movie locations
Ready to get a little starry-eyed during your travels? Check into one of these historic Hilton hotels, where you may recognize Hilton's most iconic hotels from the big screen. Here's a look at the hotels that caught the eye of location scouts and movie directors — Hilton Chicago for “Home Alone,” the Seelbach Hilton Louisville as the inspiration for “The Great Gatsby” and the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort for the tropical filming location for Elvis’ biggest commercial success, “Blue Hawaii.”
Hilton Chicago, a top pick
for Chicago filming locations
A Hollywood favorite
The Hilton Chicago on South Michigan Avenue has hosted more Hollywood film crews than any other Hilton hotel. Imagine the buzz the hotel created when it first opened in 1927 as the Stevens Hotel, with 3,000 guest rooms, a rooftop miniature golf course, an indoor ice rink, a five-lane bowling alley, a 27-seat barber shop and a cinema seating 1,200. Conrad Hilton acquired the property in the post-war era then undertook a series of improvements, modernizations and a relaunch of the glamorous landmark as the Chicago Hilton and Towers in 1985. Hollywood noticed ...
“The Package,” a 1989 Green Beret crime and drama action movie starring Gene Hackman and Tommy Lee Jones, was filmed using Chicago filming locations, including Hilton Chicago. Native filmmaker Andrew Davis used Hilton Chicago's massive Grand Ballroom — dripping in crystal chandeliers — as the location for a presidential dinner in the movie.
Four years later, the movie director returned to the Hilton Chicago with Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones, the winning action duo of the year, to shoot "The Fugitive." Actor Jeroen Krabbe joined them for a frenetic chase scene across the hotel roof, elevator shaft and into the maze of the hotel’s vast laundry room, which helped bag this film a bevy of awards, including a Golden Globe and an Oscar. The 1998 Tommy Lee Jones and Wesley Snipes spinoff, “U.S. Marshals,” returned to shoot at the Hilton Chicago.
Other Hilton Chicago hits
Don't let Paul Newman, Jude Law, Tom Hanks and Daniel Craig distract you in the thriller gangster action movie “Road to Perdition.” This, too, was filmed at Hilton Chicago, where the unmistakable grand lobby appeared in director Sam Mendes' work. “Love and Action in Chicago” (1999), “Unconditional Love” (2002), “The Express” (2008), “The Little Fockers” (2010) and a long list of television shows also used Hilton Chicago for their shoots. And who can forget George Clooney in the long-running medical series "ER"? Despite what viewers may believe, the show didn't use a real hospital emergency heliport; instead, scenes were shot from the hotel roof.
A little movie trivia
Michael Corcoran and Arnie Bernstein's “Hollywood on Lake Michigan: 100+ Years of Chicago and the Movies” sheds light on why alert movie audiences may spot towels bearing the crest of the Palmer House Hilton in Hilton Chicago scenes. It’s no mistake; Hilton Chicago handles the sister property's laundry because of the Palmer House's sheer size as one of the nation’s largest hotels.
Home Alone filming locations
Don't let the verbiage fool you
Macaulay Culkin was the nation’s darling as Kevin McCallister in this 1992 sequel, “Home Alone II.” While the title’s tagline says the boy has boarded a plane to New York City, sharp-eyed viewers will recognize the Hilton Chicago once again. And why not? The 5,000-square-foot Conrad Hilton Suite is the largest duplex penthouse anywhere around — perfect for a kid with a credit card. And did you notice Donald Trump’s cameo? Take a close look when Kevin first enters the hotel and stops a man to ask him where the hotel reception desk is located.
A side note: Remember Kimmy’s (Cameron Diaz) wealthy family in the 1997 hit, “My Best Friend’s Wedding”? Julianne (Julia Roberts) has to swallow her pride when saying hello to Kimmy’s mother, also shot in the Conrad Hilton Suite.
Jurassic Park filming locations and more
The island of Oahu
Chicago may be the destination for urban hits, but the bustling city has nothing on Hawaii when it comes to tropical shoots. The island of Oahu is a favorite big screen backdrop, home to many of the Jurassic Park filming locations. Guests at the Hawaiian Village® Waikiki Beach Resort can take a 40-minute drive to Kualoa Ranch, where movie fanatics can tour the lush backdrop of this dinosaur thriller. “Lost,” "Battleship," and “50 First Dates" were also shot at Kualoa Ranch.
Hilton Hawaiian movie magic
Hilton Hawaiian Village® Waikiki Beach Resort has attracted movie stars as much, if not more, than the island's interior. It’s hard to top a suave 26-year-old Elvis Presley, fresh out of the army, in the 1961 classic “Blue Hawaii,” filmed on location at the iconic resort with its landmark Rainbow Tower. With a whopping 14 tropical romance songs, the film was a big commercial success, stimulating plenty of interest in the destination that Elvis clearly loved.
Where else but the Hilton Hawaiian Village® Waikiki Beach Resort could there be such a perfect beachside tower for edge-of-the-seat destruction in the 2014 Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures monster release, “Godzilla”? Guests needn’t worry — the only real booms and bangs come from the hotel’s spectacular Friday night fireworks show.
Anyone mapping out famous filming locations for a “Hawaii Five-O” tour should begin at the show’s production partner, the Hilton Hawaiian Village at Waikiki Beach, where shoots are common.
The inspiration for "The Great Gatsby"
The Seelbach Hilton Louisville
During the Roaring Twenties, The Seelbach Hilton Louisville attracted underworld kingpins and infamous gangsters during Prohibition — the perfect makings for any movie.
Cincinnati mobster George Remus, the "King of the Bootleggers," was among The Seelbach's notorious guests. Remus became friends with writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, who often visited the hotel. In 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald immortalized the hotel in his novel, "The Great Gatsby." Remus was Fitzgerald's inspiration for the novel's main character, Jay Gatsby, and the Golden Era landmark inspired the author to use the location as a backdrop for Tom and Daisy Buchanan’s wedding in the Great Gatsby. The book has been turned into a film three times — in 1949, 1974 and 2013.