The best hotel rooms don't just have history, they have stories.
At these you get a soft bed, an oversized tub and a chance to see through the eyes of some of history's cultural protagonists.
1. Keith Richards’ TV toss:
Andaz West Hollywood, United States
You’d never know from the sleek, modern lines that this was formerly the Continental Hyatt House -- a k a Riot House -- so nicknamed for the hair-raising antics of out-of-control rockers.
This is where Keith Richards threw a TV off his 11th floor balcony in 1975, Jim Morrison hung from a window by his fingertips and Axl Rose tossed steaks to crowds of adoring fans gathered outside on Sunset Strip.
One reason the hotel is unrecognizable since its refurb is that the balconies are gone, replaced by glassed-in den areas, lest a new generation of entertainers gets any rowdy ideas.
But, touchingly, Hyatt, which still operates the property, has paid tribute to the hotel’s hell-raising heritage in the hotel’s RH (Riot House) restaurant, which still feeds a modern-day rocker or two.
2. Oscar Wilde arrested:
The Cadogan, London, England
It looks genteel enough for your maiden aunt, but The Cadogan, in the heart of London’s Knightsbridge shopping district, was struck by scandal within a few years of opening in 1887.
Oscar Wilde was arrested in room 118 on April 6, 1895 for a homosexual act, and subsequently sent to jail. And Edward VII’s mistress, the actress Lillie Langtry, continued to sleep in her old bedroom long after her former home had become part of the hotel.
These days, despite being surrounded by foreign brand names like Gucci, Tiffany, Armani and Valentino, The Cadogan feels like a little piece of England forever suspended in the 19th century.
3. Castro revolts:
Hotel Nacional de Cuba, Havana, Cuba
Within barely a quarter-century of opening in 1930, this hotel had launched a revolution.
Fidel Castro set up a cell in the depths of the building, which was the epitome of pre-revolutionary decadence in Cuba, and guests fled from the ballroom in their sequins and tuxedos in 1959 as news spread that his coup had triumphed.
It was not the first notorious event the hotel had witnessed; in 1946 it was occupied by the heads of all the major U.S. Mafia families, and it was here that Meyer Lansky authorized the execution of Bugsy Siegel.
The hoods were followed by the Duke of Windsor, Nelson Rockefeller, Ernest Hemingway and a slew of Hollywood stars lured by the gambling and the showgirls of the Cabaret Parisien.
Frank Sinatra stayed with Ava Gardner in room 225, Fred Astaire preferred 228, Johnny “Tarzan” Weissmuller 232 and Tennessee Williams 570.
4. Ian Fleming creates James Bond:
Ian Fleming spent nearly 20 winters at this ocean-side retreat, penning several James Bond thrillers.
The hideaway played host to glitterati and literati, including Noël Coward (who rented GoldenEye for two months before buying his own home on the island), Errol Flynn, Lucian Freud, Katharine Hepburn, Evelyn Waugh, Cecil Beaton, John Gielgud and Princess Margaret.
In 1956 British Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden and his wife spent a month at GoldenEye after his health collapsed in the wake of the Suez Crisis.
A dozen years after Fleming's death in August 1964, entertainment entrepreneur Chris Blackwell purchased the property, drawing a new slew of celebrities. Sting, Bono, Michael Caine, Quincy Jones, Johnny Depp and the Clintons have all planted trees at the resort following a tradition started by Eden.
You can sleep in the room where Fleming wove stories around 007 and write at the same desk (turned away from the sea-view to avoid distraction).
5. Stephen King writes 'The Shining':
Stanley Hotel, Colorado, United States
Movie buffs scared by the opening credits of Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” are likely to get seriously spooked stepping into the actual hotel that inspired Stephen King to write the book.
Considered one of the United States’ most haunted hotels, it was built by F. O. Stanley in 1909 on a mountainside in Estes Park, some 2,286 meters above sea level.
Many ghostly children have been heard playing up and down the hall of the 4th floor -- just like those twins in the movie -- while the late Mrs. Stanley's shade favors the Music Room. Room 401 is said to have been haunted for 80 years by Lord Dunraven, but the spookiest room of all is room 217, where King himself stayed.
Jim Carrey also stayed in 217 during the filming of “Dumb & Dumber,” but has declined to explain why he felt compelled to check out in the middle of the night. However, visitors will be relieved to know blood has never been seen seeping out of the elevators. So far.