Holiday Inspiration

Five of the Most Famous Hotel Scandals

By Susan Ward Davies

The Profumo Affair - Cliveden, Berkshire

The original hotel scandal. It was the summer of 1961 when the married Secretary of State for War John Profumo met, and started an affair with, Christine Keeler at one of the Astor’s Cliveden house parties. When the story broke, it not only caused widespread moral outrage – in much more buttoned-down times – but also concerns for national security (Keeler was sleeping with a Russian spy at the same time). The Profumo Affair, as it famously came to be known, not only put an end to his political career, but actually brought a government down when, mired in scandal, the Conservative Party lost the 1964 election.

Russell Crowe - The Mercer, New York City

Russell Crowe infamously stayed at The Mercer during the promotion of 2005 film Cinderella Man. When the actor couldn’t call his wife in Australia, he allegedly flew into a rage and hurled a hotel telephone at a hapless concierge, Nestor Estrada. It was a costly mistake: shortly afterwards he was led off in handcuffs for aggravated assault. Faced with charges of assault (that would have prevented him from working in the US) the actor is believed to have paid the concierge $11 million in an out of court settlement.

John Belushi - Chateau Marmont, Los Angeles

If walls could talk… From Howard Hughes spying on sunbathing guests, to Led Zeppelin groupies riding motorbikes through the lobby and Jim Morrison falling out of a window onto a shed below, or Lindsay Lohan and Scarlett Johansson's ‘episodes’, over the course of its long and illustrious history, Chateau Marmont has seen too many scandals to mention. But it’s the tragic death of actor John Belushi – who was found dead from a drug overdose in one of the hotel’s bungalows in 1982 – which is most notorious.

Josh Hartnett - The Soho Hotel, London

The incident of Josh Hartnett and the Soho Hotel was more the hotel scandal that wasn’t. Back in 2008, The Daily Mail claimed Hartnett and an unnamed accomplice had been using the library for late-night amorous activities – or “sexual dalliances” as the paper put it. The claims turned out to be unfounded, and the paper had to pay out £20,000 in damages to the star.

Salvador Dali - Le Meurice, Paris

Surrealist artist Salvador Dali treated Le Meurice as his second home, spending a month a year at the hotel in his later years. And scandal and intrigue often followed closely behind. On one occasion, he paid hotel staff to catch flies for him (the rate was five francs for every one caught); on another he tried to ‘fish’ for passers-by by dangling lobsters out of his room. Perhaps most infamously, though, he once herded sheep through its elaborately decorated corridors, firing blanks at them with a pistol.

Looking for somewhere a little less infamous for your next break? Check out ELLE escapes' entire collection of places to stay.

Share on Google+
Loading...