We Were There: Grand Budapest Meets Grand Newport

A special screening of Wes Anderson's latest at the Vanderbilt Grace Hotel


Newport's Vanderbilt Hotel hosted a special VIP screening of Wes Anderson's new The Grand Budapest Hotel on its rooftop. I may have attended this event in a completely backwards fashion. I had never before been to hotel, and I had only seen brief snippets of The Life Aquatic. Apparently, I’m a terrible Newporter and I usually just tuned out of conversations involving Wes Anderson. Who were they talking about again? Wes Craven? Wesley Snipes?

I am now fairly certain that The Vanderbilt Grace has one of the best rooftop views in Newport, and come warmer weather... Oops. Don't want to give away this best-kept secret right before the tourists come stampeding in... Um, I mean, “supposedly” there is an outdoor bar up there, open air seating, a panoramic view of Newport Harbor, and something about movie screenings with truffled popcorn during the summer. No reason to venture up from Thames Street, really.

I’m also fairly certain that if your local cinema both supports and encourages drinking Prosecco through a straw, then you should in turn support them. Cheers, Jane Pickens.

Oh, and I think I need a second opinion on this one, but if Tim Burton and Quentin Tarantino had a one night stand in Paris, would Wes Anderson be their lovechild?

As the credits rolled down the screen, it became clear that the pairing of these two venues, The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Vanderbilt Grace, made perfect sense for the event. There are some striking correlations between this fictional place and the boutique hotel. For instance, one might expect a stuffy, snooty, no Maxxinistas allowed type of atmosphere with any establishment rhyming with the word Shmanderbilt. However, upon walking through the door, it’s immediately noticed that every staff member of the The Vanderbilt Grace is incredibly friendly... like your dental hygienist on lithium friendly. I could only imagine that would be the standard of hospitality expected by Gustave H., concierge, lothario, and main protagonist of The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Tailoring each detail to the theme of the movie, cocktails served included “The Lobby Boy” and “Boy with Apple.” Of course, there was a “Mendl’s Bakery” inspired dessert display. I’m almost glad that I didn’t see the movie beforehand as there would’ve been an embarrassing usage of descriptions such as “cray cray adorbs” had I done so.
Other funny correlations included the handlebar mustaches donned by many of The Vanderbilt’s waitstaff, as well as many of the film’s characters, including Edward Norton. The entire staff actually could have starred in this movie. Our host could have been Gustave H. Even the pastel colored rooms and kitschy decor of both hotels were reminiscent of each other. It’s almost as if Wes Anderson stayed here while filming Moonrise Kingdom...

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