Sir Anthony Hopkins is at InterContinental today hoping to court guests in fancy surroundings to chill in. The actor with his legion of followers wants to reposition the InterContinental as a modern hotel. For today the 65-year-old is tasked with welcoming the latest beauty to the International Congress Centre on what he has in mind: a 1980s sort of hotel in all its glitzy splendour. In this case that would be the InterContinental Celebrity Residences hotel, in Los Angeles. Hopkins is not new to this game. In the 1960s he made the actor list, but his lust for the glitz and glamour has given him career longevity that many actors can only dream of.
He has transformed his weight loss success in the past decade into a brand that can be used as a passport around the world to present a glamour understated enough to be accessible to the masses, but indulgent enough to make even a bleeding heart like me want to stay for ever. In short, Sir Anthony is the Ritz.
Sir Anthony says the way to convince people to travel to LA is to present the city with the history of the hotel. One might think such a transition is a big ask when the property has had as much shade, lavish furniture and Roman mosaics as a Roman temple. Of course, a plucky company, overseen by ex-drug dealer Giacomo Frank Gombur, appointed Hopkins CEO of the company when it bought InterContinental Hotels from American insurance giant Marsh & McLennan in 2012.
Hopkins told the Guardian: “It has all the detail that every traveller, but also every stylishly dressed hotel manager always wants when in a new place. We have a quality control programme and we buy the kind of materials that our guests expect.”
A sign of the changing times is the hotel’s choice of Beyoncé as an ambassador. The superstar has starred in the celebrity-fuelled Gold Dust Woman rebranding of the hotel brand and can be seen in a sweeping shot against a bright Santa Monica backdrop gliding across a pool and landing on the hood of a vintage car.
The move was a statement of intent by Hopkins. “Having a personal brand is important. InterContinental is no longer just an English company,” he said.
Despite being a consultant at the hotel for all of its dozen hotels around the world, Hopkins has no responsibility for the Broadway properties and the Bond hotels – just the IHC portfolio. The problem is finding someone to manage the road that he and Gombur are following. He said: “The market is heavily congested. There aren’t a lot of capital players and the biggest investment that you can make is in new buildings. We have not done that. We just try to appeal to our guests’ needs. If I am one of them, I would probably go to the InterContinental – I need something to do.”
He will not have to wait long to check in. His glamorous, wild-haired starry-eyed ad campaign starts today with the very act of inviting people to stay the night in his hotel rooms. That might not work, but something tells me the official renovation of the Los Angeles property should – especially when the cast of the upcoming Bond movie Spectre have been treated to complimentary homes for the holidays.