Hollywood A-listers past and present have made ski resorts their winter playground. Resorts like Aspen, Sun Valley and Vail are all synonymous with Hollywood superstars from the Golden Age, and in recent decades many now own their own spectacular homes in the mountains with Telluride and Jackson Hole as popular choices. Robert Redford, of course, bought his own ski resort—Sundance in Utah.
Canada’s West is also popular. Justin Timberlake stayed at Island Lake Lodge in Fernie during winter 2011/2012 and Leonardo DiCaprio and director Christopher Nolan with the cast of Inception stayed at the Delta Kananaskis at Nakiska ski area while filming the climactic snow scenes of the movie at nearby Fortress, a closed former ski area that has since been partially re-opened by a local enthusiast, in part thanks to money from the film company.
The Fairmont hotels nearby have all seen a swathe of stars pass through their doors with Chateau Lake Louise’s list including Jim Carrey, Dan Aykroyd and John Travolta, and the Banff Springs hosting Robin Williams, Michael Douglas, Vince Vaughn and Bob Hope. Marilyn Monroe also stayed there when filming The River of No Return in Banff in 1953.
Across in the Alps, Hollywood’s superstars have tended to head en masse to St. Moritz right from the very early years of downhill skiing and indeed of Hollywood. Charlie Chaplin made particularly strenuous efforts to reach The Palace hotel in St. Moritz, driving up roads previously thought unpassable in winter using a car with tank tracks on its back wheels when most people just took the train.
The Palace has seen hundreds, probably thousands of famous people pass through its impressive lobby over the past century but one of its longest running regular guests was director Alfred Hitchcock who first arrived on his honeymoon in the 1930s and made regular return visits for around 50 years afterwards, seeing his suite in the hotel as a sanctuary as well as a place to develop movie ideas.
But whichever St Moritz five-star hotel they stayed in alongside Europe’s royals and top politicians, the place to get coffee was the now century-old Hanselmann's, purveyor of fabulous cakes and ice cream, where you can still sit in the seat reputedly beloved by Audrey Hepburn.
Hollywood greats don’t all have a reputation as responsible guests however. When he rolled in to top Italian resort Cortina d’Ampezzo and checked in to the luxurious Cristallo Palace Hotel and Spa, Frank Sinatra immediately ordered 200 fresh raw eggs which duly arrived on a big silver tray.
“By the end of the evening the wallpaper in the room needed replacing,” said a rueful Hotel spokesperson. That room is now the superb Frank Sinatra suite, so in the long run Sinatra’s antics were probably worth the wallpaper.
Sinatra was not the only famous guest welcomed at the Cristallo Palace however. Peter Sellers stayed here in 1963, liking it so much that scenes from The Pink Panther film were shot here and again you can now stay in the same suite as Sellers.