Travel Like Mad Men (And Women)
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Ever wish you could visit hotels you see on fabulous television series like Mad Men? TPG Contributor Drew Limsky offers up some hotels to visit for those of you who want to live large, Mad Men retro-style.
The characters on Mad Men are hotel people—they drop hotel names in conversation and use their restaurants and rooms as social and sexual currency. The creators of the soon-ending TV show include hotels that were glamorous in the 1960s to anchor the story in the aspirational fashions of the era. Here are some hotels and resorts in which to run a little mad…
Rome Cavalieri—Rome, Italy
In one of the Manhattan-obsessed series’ most uncharacteristic episodes (Season 3, Episode 8), Don and Betty Draper vacation in Rome, which gives Betty a chance to sport a towering updo and exercise her fluent Italian—she looks like something out of La Dolce Vita. In the show, the invitation to the Rome Cavalieri, now a Waldorf Astoria, comes from none other than Conrad Hilton. Removed from the city and set within a 15-acre park, the Cavalieri feels more like a resort than a city hotel, with its see-and-be-seen swimming pools, Roman-style spa and opulent rooms. There’s even gladiator training for your would-be Spartacus. Room rates start at €149/$162 or 70,000 Hilton Honors points per night.
Hotel Elysée—New York City
This midtown East boutique property is where Duck and Peggy sneak out for some afternoon delight (Season 3, Episode 12). More memorable than their romantic interlude, though, is the portrayal of JFK’s assassination the same day; in order not to let the tragedy get in the way of his fun, Duck disconnects the TV. Three presidential suites here honor the peculiar trio of Vaclav Havel, Vladimir Horowitz and Tennessee Williams, but for those in less exalted rooms, there’s complimentary continental breakfast, bottled water, afternoon wine and cheese, and wireless Internet. The hotel offers a romantic “Mad Men Package” with touches like red roses and comped cocktails, and room rates start at $240 per night.
Pierre Hotel—New York City
In the memorable Season 4 finale (Episode 13), Don and his team quit the firm and start their own—now called Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce—from a crowded suite at the Pierre, a New York landmark facing Central Park. You’d want to have a few less people in your own room, as this is one of the most romantic hotels in town. On its 75th anniversary in 2005, the elegant Pierre, wrapped in silk and brocade, became part of Taj Hotels, and it’s also a Visa Signature property. Le Cirque founder Sirio Maccioni oversees his namesake restaurant, and don’t miss afternoon tea under the rotunda. Room rates start at $595 per night.
Royal Hawaiian—Oahu, Hawaii
As Mad Men fans awaited the Season 6 opener, photos of Jon Hamm in tropical shorts teased the Internet. When the episode finally aired, we had a chance to see Don and Megan on vacation at Oahu‘s venerable Royal Hawaiian, then a Sheraton and now part of Starwood’s Luxury Collection. Don even tries to win the hotel’s business for his agency, but his pitch turns out to be tone-deaf. Called the Pink Palace, this iconic resort dates to 1927, and is set on its own private swath of Waikiki Beach. Lounging here—behind a pink rope, naturally—has always been the height of jetset prestige. Room rates at this Category 6 SPG property start at $324 or 20,000 SPG points per night.
Beverly Wilshire—Beverly Hills
Season 7, Episode 10 finds Joan on a business trip, ordering room service from her plush digs at the Beverly Wilshire. The message is unmistakable: she’s arrived. For years, this palatial Beverly Hills hotel was the home of Warren Beatty (a piece of trivia referenced in this episode), and if the walls of that suite could talk… Opened in 1928, this Four Seasons-branded property contains two wings separated by an ornate, iron-gated porte cochere. The CUT steakhouse is by Wolfgang Puck, and is TPG-approved for its gorgeous dining room and dizzying array of sauces. Room rates start at $805 per night.
Four Seasons Biltmore—Santa Barbara
In that same episode, Joan does more than order up breakfast in L.A.; she meets a dashing and wealthy retiree named Richard, who offers to take her to the stunning Biltmore in Santa Barbara. She has to work, and declines, but knowing Joan, she’ll make Richard make good on his promise. This beachside Spanish Colonial resort from the 1920s is perfection, from its hand-painted tiles to its lavish Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club (the oceanfront lap pool is to die for). Room rates start at $595 or 119,000 American Express Membership Rewards Points per night.
With three more episodes of Mad Men to go—we wonder where the team will check in (or out) next!