11 18 2015 1042

One Picture Is Worth Ten Thousand Words*

The best photographs from our collections.

half moon jamaica room service

The style of room service reflects the style of a hotel. The Half Moon Hotel on Jamaica — we dare to say — is certainly unique.  

jenson button checking in his car at the london hilton on park lane

Lewis Hamilton checking in his car at the London Hilton on Park Lane (2011).

london savoy guest history cards

The Savoy London's archives reveal some of the guest history cards of its famous patrons. Actress Marlene Dietrich expected 12 pink roses and a bottle of Dom Perignon upon arrival. View image to see it enlarged.


Kronenhof, Pontresina (Switzerland); The magnificent complex of the new “Bella Vista” wing (left, opened in 1877) rules the view of the valley.

san francisco hote ladvert 1987

An interesting advert from 1987 (Four Seasons Clift Hotel San Francisco)

wilde and bosie

Oscar Wilde's (left) homosexual affair with Lord Alfred ‘Bosie’ Douglas brought his flamboyant lifestyle at The Savoy to a bitter end. More

bangkok oriental

Bangkok's Oriental Hotel in a 1910 postcard. More about the hotel's history here.


Bhumibol, the future King of Thailand, spending his winter holiday at
Arosa Kulm Hotel, in Arosa, Switzerland


LIFE magazine on 7 April 1967 shows the Hotel Metropole in Hanoi on the cover page. But this wasn't a travel report. It was the story of the first American photographer (Lee Lockwood) in North Vietnam "under siege" - an exclusive report. People outside of the hotel were not sitting in elegant lounge chairs sipping coffee. They were half hidden in side walk shelters, waiting for the all-clear siren during an air raid alert.


Famous Hotels books are preferred VIP give-aways: here New Delhi Imperial presented by Pierre Jochem to former US president Bill Clinton.

frenchPMavecSpeth.jpg famoushotels

Kai Speth, general manager of the Sofitel Legends Hotel Metropole in Hanoi, presents French Prime Minister Francois Fillon with one of the most valuable assets the Metropole has to offer: its history - elegantly presented in our book.

 famous hotels mount nelson 1910

Elegant promenade in front of the Mount Nelson Hotel in south Africa's Cape Town around 1910.

More about the Mount Nelson.

rome excelsior hotel ca 1920s, by famoushotels.org

Rome's Excelsior. The lobby has been preserved until today and remains the vital revolving point of the Roman and international societey. More about our book Excelsior Rome.

 cresecent hotel in aden by famoushotels

Queen Elisabeth II visited Aden in 1954 and stayed at the Crescent hotel. She was supposed to have brought a piano and various other equipment with her which the staff and management of the hotel seem to have misplaced (no one could figure out where it was, although some were quite sure that they had it laying around somewhere).

Go to the hotel's page

Welcome ever smiles*

(*Troilus and Cressida, William Shakespoear, 1602)

arriving at vittel palace - by famoushotels

Receiving an important guest at the turn of the century was the occasion for a full dress ceremony involving a whole army of staff.

More often than not the guests arrived by rail. The hotel had to telephone to check up on the times of trains. If a delay occurred the full compliment of management and staff had to remain waiting whatever the hour. Carriages equal to the number of guests were sent off to the station each one with a page boy who had to be on the platform to meet the guest. Countless and cumbersome pieces of luggage (forty items per couple was common) were taken up to the hotel in a separate vehicle. The average stay in one of these palaces was from 15 days to a month. Gentleman were often accompanied by their valet, even their secretary and ladies by their maid, while the chauffeur would join them with the car.

The doorman would keep a lookout for arrivals and ring the bell as soon as he saw them, to warn the manager and head-porter to be ready.

After the customary welcome, the head-porter would then see the guests to their rooms. Read more about Arriving ...

grandhotel de pekin

In 1900, the new Grand Hôtel de Pékin opened for business in China. The new hotel, so it was feared, symbolized the intrusion of the West
in China and could become a target for the rebels. Therefore the Swiss
manager, Mr Chamot, asked his guests to vacate the hotel and offered to
lodge them in a pavilion belonging to the British legion. Until the
arrival of the international expeditionary force, Chamot did everything
he could to make them comfortable. As food provisions were difficult,
his chef, showing great imagination, served them pony and horse meat
under many guises. Go to the hotel's page.



At the Ritz Bar: E. Berry Wall, best-dressed American in Europe and Ritz' legendary barkeeper Frank Meier (Frank of the Ritz). Download his cocktailbook from the Ritz page.



The Swiss lake Geneva and the city of Vevey's charming hotel: US author Henry James wrote Daisy Miller here during his 1878 stay.


oberoi - nasser

1972: M S Oberoi (left) meets president Sadat of Egypt (right) at
the Mena House hotel.
For both men the hotel was an object of prestige.
Nasser needed a huge convention centre with a world class hotel
attached to it. For Oberoi, Mena House was like the old Grand in
Calcutta: a gem. He would make Mena House a landmark in restoration. A
substantial sum would have to be spent to restore the hotel. Oberoi
could not pitch in with any capital, but guaranteed a six per cent
return on investment to the owning company Upper-Egypt Hotel Company
and EGOTH – The Egyptian General Company for Tourism and Hotels.


  bilderberg hotel, oosterbeek, NL

Made famous by its regular meetings: The Bilderberg

GRAND HOTEL GIESSBACHGRAND HOTEL GIESSBACHSurrounded by mountains, forest and meadows, offering a breathtaking
view on the unspoilt scenery of lake Brienz, Giessbach is a flowered
oasis far away from every-day stress and from the nuisances of our time.


chosun hotel seoul

Palmcourt at the Chosun Hotel, Seoul, Korea


beau rivage geneva

Since its opening on 13. April 1865, the Beau Rivage is one of the most important meeting places in a city that stands as a synonym for international realtions: Geneva.

railwayThe Railway Hotel in Hua Hin, ca. 1927 (Thailand)

GRAND NATIONAL, LUCERNE, SWITZERLANDpfyfferMaximilian Alphons Von Pfyffer Von Altishofen was man with a vision, but without experience to run a hotel. Reason enough to pick the young and talented Cesar Ritz to run the show.


Vitznau around 1900 - one of the most idyllic settings in Europe is the home of Parkhotel Vitznau, opened in 1903.


* The adage "A picture is worth a thousand words"
refers to the idea that complex stories can be described with just a
single still image, or that an image may be more influential than a
substantial amount of text. It also aptly characterizes the goals of visualization where large amounts of data must be absorbed quickly.

It is believed that the modern use of the phrase stems from an article by Fred R. Barnard in the advertising trade journal Printers' Ink, promoting the use of images in advertisements that appeared on the sides of streetcars.[1] The December 8, 1921 issue carries an ad entitled, "One Look is Worth A Thousand Words."

Another ad by Barnard appears in the March 10, 1927 issue with the phrase "One Picture is Worth Ten Thousand Words," where it is labeled a Chinese proverb (畫意能達萬言). The Home Book of Proverbs, Maxims, and Familiar Phrases quotes Barnard as saying he called it "a Chinese proverb, so that people would take it seriously." Soon after, the proverb would become popularly attributed to Confucius.



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