akg-images recreates the Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson’s latest cinematic release, “Grand Budapest Hotel” is a true feast for the senses. Set in the fictional Eastern European alpine republic of Zubrowka, the film evokes a bygone era of powder pink architecture, hand-crafted patisserie masterpieces, and old fashioned rail-road adventures. Fans of the film will love watching the video clips on this quirky website, created by the equally fictitious Akademie Zubrowka to educate us on their country’s rich culture and history!

Film poster for Grand Budepest Hotel.
© akg-images / Album / American Empirical Pictures / Indian Paintbrush / Scott Rudin PR

The film’s setting alternates between the grandeur of the hotel in its heyday, when it served as an extravagant retreat for the aristocracy of Imperial Europe, and the hotel in its dilapidated state three decades later, its reputation having long faded into oblivion.

Throughout, the audience is presented with a remarkable visual display of colour, from the clashing red and tangerine tones of the drab 1960s hotel décor, to the pastel blues of the hotel’s crumbling Turkish baths, and the original lobby boy’s deep purple uniform. The film’s characters are equally colourful. Tilda Swinton delivers a delightful performance as the über-eccentric matriarch of the Desgoffe-und-Taxis family, whilst Ralph Fiennes charms us with his quirky rendition of egocentric (yet surprisingly likeable) head concierge Monsieur Gustave H. And of course we must not forget the film’s hero, Zero, who rises from rags to riches despite his humble name.

Below, we have recreated our very own set and cast of Grand Budapest Hotel using some hidden gems from the akg-images collection, and we certainly had much fun doing so!

Our nominations for best look-alike set from the akg-images archive go to:

According to the filmmakers, this statue located on Stag’s Leap Cliff near Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic, actually did serve as inspiration for the film’s poster.
© akg-images / ullstein bild
This photograph of the Altyn Mazar valley could almost creep its way into the film unnoticed. Almost!
© akg-images / RIA Novosti
With its snowy mountains and pastel tones, the Grand Hôtel de Caux in Montreux, Switzerland, is surely deserving of a spot on our list!
© akg-images
Alternatively, we would take Liechtenstein Palace in Prague and paint it pink!
© Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris / akg-images
Once inside the hotel, we would pick the Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul as our reception area, from which our very own Monsieur Gustave H. could greet his guests.
© akg-images / L. M. Peter
The Gellert Baths in Budapest would serve as the perfect alternative setting for Mr. Moustafa’s encounter with the young writer, played by Jude Law.
© akg-images / Keith Collie
This reception area, photographed at a bank in Wilstedt (Germany) in the 1960s, reminds us of the Grand Budapest Hotel’s communist refurbishment with its retro hues of green and grey!
© akg-images / Dodenhoff
This is how we would style the (slightly crumbling!) hotel bedrooms of our 1960s set design.
© akg-images / Interfoto / Marz

When it comes to re-imagining the film’s cast, our favourite quirky characters from the akg-images archive are:

This boy, photographed here (quit aptly) in a hotel lobby, would win the lead role as “Zero”.
© akg-images / Mondadori Portfolio
Who better to take Monsieur Gustave H.’s part than this purple-clad gentleman? Of course we would need to bring this painting by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec to life first!
© akg-images / Erich Lessing
No recasting would be complete without the eccentric Madame D. We think this elegant (yet perhaps slightly eccentric) lady from our photographic collection would quite perfectly fill her shoes! Some bright red lipstick might still be required as the finishing touch.
© akg-images / Archie Miles
To round it all off, we would spritz our film with a giant cloud of ” L’Air de Panache”, dispensing it from this fabulously pink perfume atomiser from the 1950s.
© akg-images / Interfoto / TV-yesterday

We hope you have enjoyed browsing this selection as much as we have enjoyed making it! If you have not yet had a chance to make it to the cinema, we hope these images will inspire you to go see the real thing; a cinematic gem truly deserving of five big fat sugar-coated stars!

Textile design (detail), France, c. 1850.
© akg-images / Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris / Laurent Sully Jaulmes

Like to see more? Visit the akg-images website for an expanded selection of images inspired by The Grand Budapest Hotel, hand-picked by Senior Picture Researcher Angelika Pirkl.