THE A-LISTERS BEHIND THE HOTEL SCENE

3 -min. read
Robert De Niro, left, and Nobu Matsuhisa, right, opening Nobu Hotel Shoreditch – via the New York Times / photo by Erik Kabik
Robert De Niro, left, and Nobu Matsuhisa, right, opening Nobu Hotel Shoreditch – via the New York Times / photo by Erik Kabik

Robert De Niro is no stranger to the hotel business – the Academy-Award-winning actor is the co-founder of Nobu Hospitality Group, house to world-renowned chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, has an empire that spans a vast 32 restaurants and nine hotels, covering everywhere from Malibu to Manila. Its hotels are opening at an exponential rate, and some of the next in line will open up shop in the likes of Chicago, Toronto and in Mexico’s upcoming Los Cabos in 2018.

Mock-up of The Wellington Hotel – via Design and Build UK

Aside from Nobu, De Niro has branched out on his own to open the Greenwich Hotel in New York’s TriBeca to roaringsuccess; and the next in the works is The Wellington Hotel in London. Having now received the planning permission for the brand-new, 83-bedroom hotel, The Wellington Hotel is set to add to Covent Garden’s roster of trendy new hotels like The Henrietta. It’ll be split across a block of six buildings (crossing Wellington Street, Exeter Street, Burleigh Street and Tavistock Street), and will have a restaurant with a central courtyard, private members’ club and spa. Work is said to have already started, and the rumoured opening date is 2019.

Palazzo Margherita, Bernalda, Basilicata, Italy – via Luxury Retreats
Palazzo Margherita, Bernalda, Basilicata, Italy – via Luxury Retreats

It’s not just De Niro that’s jumping into the hospitality business, either: Francis Ford Coppola owns the beautiful Palazzo Margherita, a restored sixteenth century palace with frescoed ceilings, a hidden swimming pool in a walled garden, and, of course, with cinema available pretty much all the time. He also owns the Turtle Inn and Blancaneaux Lodge in Belize, plus La Lancha in Guatemala.

Meanwhile, football megastar Lionel Messi has reportedly snapped up the £26 million MiM Hotel in Stiges, Catalonia, and tennis champion Andy Murray owns Cromlix near Dunblane in Scotland.

Another star who has a hotel in the pipeline is Leonardo DiCaprio. The avid climate campaigner has not only donated millions to the cause via his charity the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, but he’s also set to open an eco resort located in villas behind the “world’s second largest barrier reef” just off Belize’s coastline in 2018. Named Blackadore Caye, guests will have to undergo an “ecology orientation programme” before their stay to “show how people can live in harmony with the natural world”.

The site of Leonardo DiCaprio's venture into eco-tourism and Blackadore Caye – via ArchDaily
The site of Leonardo DiCaprio’s venture into eco-tourism and Blackadore Caye – via ArchDaily
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Sara D'Souza
Sara d'Souza is a travel content strategist on the MSN specials team, contributing editor to the Travel Edit and travel writer for ELLE, ELLEuk.com, Red Online, Sunday Times Travel, MSN Travel and Upward Curve inflight magazine, Visit London, Jetsetter and Virgin.

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