The Real Grand Budapest Hotel

Dreaming of a pink-hued Wes Anderson inspired adventure? Here’s 10 dreamy travel destinations that are just the ticket

Wes Anderson is nothing if not a colour genius. The reds and browns in The Royal Tenenbaums (who could forget those red Adidas tracksuits? Gwyneth Paltrow’s fur coat?). The endless blues in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (except for that one iconic red hat). That specific tone of burnt orange in The Fantastic Mr. Fox. The golden yellows of the Hotel Chevalier velvet terrycloth bathrobes… the list goes on. Yet of all Anderson’s colours, the most spectacular and dreamy is probably the pink palette of The Grand Budapest Hotel. Pink everything and everywhere could be nausea inducing a veritable pepto bismol nightmare but in his hands it becomes a pool of colour you want to dive right into. 

The Grand Budapest Hotel invites us into a carefully curated world of beauty, with just a hint of rot beneath the surface. It is beautiful and quirky without touching on the edge of corny. It is measured pink. Measured pink is hard core because plastering rose-hued pastels all over the silver screen is like training a pitbull to be friends with a kitten. It’s risky business. To make this pink explosion work and remain interesting requires mastery – and Wes Anderson is surely the master. 

Suffice it to say, this is a palette worth travelling for. So until technological advancements let us take a virtual reality tour through The Grand Budapest Hotel, Culture Stories has curated the best in pink travel destinations from around the world. Just be careful what you pack, because pink clashes…


Hotel Vidago Palace, Portugal

Straight out of your most luxurious pink dreams, here is a hotel so charming and perfectly reclusive in rural Portugal that you’ll think you died and went to (style) heaven. The reception alone is a Wes Anderson dream come true. Tip: drink the thermal waters straight from the fountain outdoors. There’s is a lady in a white lab coat in charge of handing it out. We kid you not.

The Grand Budapest Hotel: Hotel Vidago Palace, Portugal


Sprinkles Bakery & their cupcake ATM, Los Angeles

Los Angeles is all about the green juice, but if you’re in the mood for pink (and processed sugar) Sprinkles is the place to go. Tip: Their cupcake ATM really works. It dispenses cupcakes 24 hours a day. A midnight cupcake will beat the queues and satisfy late night cravings.

The Grand Budapest Hotel: Sprinkles Bakery & their cupcake ATM, Los Angeles


Hawa Mahal, Jaipur

The Palace of the Winds in India was originally constructed so that the women in the royal household could gaze down on the street without being seen in return. The intricate detail work on the tiny windows is particularly spectacular. Tip: The Palace is especially beautiful and quiet in the light of the sunrise.

The Grand Budapest Hotel: Hawa Mahal, Jaipur


The Royal Hawaiian Resort, Waikiki 

Truth be told, there’s no way you’re not going to have fun in Hawaii. They have beaches, shaved ice and tropical print as far as the eye can see. However, if you want to make your trip perfect, stay at the Pink Palace. Built in 1927, it somehow manages to be both super retro and stunningly contemporary. The pool is perfection, with Instagram-worthy pink sun umbrellas. Tip: want to look like an extra in a Wes Anderson inspired Hawaiian dream sequence? Head to Hilo Hattie and pick up something for the luau (a Hawaiian feast).

The Grand Budapest Hotel: The Pink Palace Hawaii, Honolulu


Palm Springs, California

The whole town is seemingly obsessed with pinks and pastels. Go ahead, we dare you to google Palm Springs style. Or better yet, look it up on Pinterest. Tip: When you’ve had your fill of pink doors out and about, retreat to the Ace Hotel where paired down modernism is the name of the game. Forgot to pack your PJs? We love these boxers made by our friends at BANANATIME in collaboration with the hotel. We think Wes would approve.

The Grand Budapest Hotel: Palm Springs


Lake Retba, Senegal

Have you ever wondered what would it would be like to swim in a glass of Rose? No? Us neither… Still, Lake Retba, just 30km outside Senegal’s capital Dakar, is surely worth a visit. The water is turned pink by a particular algae (it’s called Dunaliella salina if you really must know) and has a salt content so high you’ll float around like a cherry atop a strawberry milkshake. Tip: The colour of the water varies slightly depending on the day, from pink to violet.

The Grand Budapest Hotel: Lake Retba


The Gallery at Sketch, London

Between the perfectly pink room designed by India Mahdavi and the 239 commissioned David Shrigley drawings on the wall, Sketch might just be the most perfect restaurant on earth. The afternoon tea is an original experience. For example, the waiter might bring you a teapot with the word ‘Ghosts’ written on it. Tip: The legendary bathrooms are giant free standing eggs. Or maybe you’d call them pods? Either way, please make sure you go pee. Watch a preview here…

The Grand Budapest Hotel: Sketch


Kawaii Monster Cafe, Tokyo

Right in the heart of the Harajuku district, where the eponymous style movement originated, (think gothic lolitas) lives the Monster Cafe. The idea here is that once you step inside you’ll find yourself in the belly of a monster. A friendly monster who ate glitter for breakfast. Yes, really. Perhaps more Dr Seuss than Wes Anderson overall, this pink palette falls on the more extreme end of the colour spectrum. That being said, the pink cat VIP room is worth a visit. We think of it as The Grand Budapest vibe on hallucinogens.

The Grand Budapest Hotel: Kawaii Monster Cafe, Tokyo


The Grandhotel Giessbach, Switzerland

Want the full Grand Budapest experience? If you’re willing to compromise ever so slightly on the kooky pink colour palette, then we recommend the historic Grandhotel Giessbach in the Swiss Alps. What they lack in bellboys sporting purple uniforms they more than make up for with their own funicular! Tip: The hotel hosts 4 annual balls where the finery, music, champagne and delightfully eccentric guests will make it worth your while.

Grand Budapest Hotel: The Grandhotel Giessbach, Switzerland


Madonna Inn, California

This landmark resort hotel on the scenic California coast is one that you won’t want to miss. Here you’ll find hot pink tennis courts and a overall vibe that can only be described as rustic meets rococo. Featuring names like the Matterhorn and Oriental Fantasy, there are 110 whimsical guest rooms to choose from. To amp up the Grand Budapest goes Americana vibe, check out the inn’s iconic Gold Rush Steakhouse. With its pink brocade wall paper, jewel toned wine goblets and gold lined banquet booths, you’ll feel like Dolly Parton on holiday.

Grand Budapest Hotel: Madonna Inn


Looking for another way to dive into Wes Anderson’s pinky tones? Check out this gorgeous coffee table book dedicated to the Grand Budapest Hotel. What else?