German Film Locations for The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson Superfans step into the world of The Grand Budapest Hotel

Dresden Zwinger Palace.JPG
Zwinger Palace. Erin Porter

Wes Anderson’s quirky films have developed quite a reputation. His latest adventure/drama/comedy, The Grand Budapest Hotel, is a British-German co-production which opened the 2014 Berlinale.

The story revolves around a fictitious hotel in the Alps with an eccentric cast of characters led by the charismatic concierge, Gustave (played by Ralph Fiennes), and his lobby boy Zero (Tony Revolori). Though the characters are as flamboyant as we've come to expect from Mr. Anderson, many of the scenes are stolen by the intoxicating scenery.

In fact, the film’s following in Germany began well before the red carpet was rolled out. Though set in a mythical European country, much of the filming actually took place on location in Germany. Here are several of the German film sites for The Grand Hotel Budapest.

Shooting Locations in Görlitz

Görlitz sits on the border of Germany and Poland with the Czech border a mere 20 minutes to the south, which places it smack dab in Anderson’s fictional Republic of Zubrowka.

After a struggle to find the namesake hotel location, Anderson settled on a mix of miniature and a 1913 Jugendstil Görlitzer Warenhaus that survived World War II.  Doesn’t sound magical? Listen to Anderson’s reasoning,

This department store that we found, we made into our hotel — the big entrance hall of our hotel — and then we found everything else from the movie within a certain radius of that department store, and we discovered all sorts of things and people as we traveled around, figuring it all out. We made a pastiche of the greatest hits of Eastern Europe.

Defunct since 2010, the store was in the process of bankruptcy. Anderson’s crew took over the store, transforming its interior into the Grand Hotel with a production office in the top floor. Though vast changes were made to the store, the stairways, railings, chandeliers, and stained-glass ceiling that appear in the film are all original. After the success of the film, a private investor has discussed plans to reopen the store in the future. 

Though it didn’t appear in the film, Hotel Börse in Untermarkt was where the stars of the film stayed. The owner and several employees enjoyed their brush with fame with small parts in the film, and visitors can still rent a room for some of the star's leftover glamour.

Shooting Locations in Hainewalde

Hainewalde, just a short distance from Görlitz, is home to Schlossverein Hainewalde. The castle was built as in 1392 and has a little screen time in the film.

  • Address: Kleine Seite 31, 02779 Hainewalde
  • Hours: April to Oktober 2014; Every Saturday and Sunday from 2pm until 5pm.  Schedule is online.

Shooting Locations in Dresden

As Jeff Goldblum is stalked into the art museum by William Dafoe, I had the feeling that I knew this place. After a little research, behold! This is the famous Zwinger palace in Dresden. One of the finest examples of late Baroque architecture in Germany, this elegant complex is adorned with sculptures and encloses world-class museums. Walk the snow covered grounds in winter and imagine this is the Kunstmuseum of Zubrowka or visit in the warmer month to daydream in one of the city's best biergarten. Get the full Wes Anderson vibe in the classic milkbar Pfunds Molkerei.

  • Address: Dresdner Zwinger, Theaterplatz, 01067 Dresden
  • Hours: 6am to 10:30pm 

Shooting Locations in Waldenburg

Castle Waldenburg in Saxony filled in for the film’s "Castle Lutz". This 13th century castle that served as the residence of the princes of Schönburg-Waldenburg makes for a regal setting in the movie.

Tours are available of the magnificent banquet halls, grand staircase, Chinese dining room and impressive mirror rooms. The castle is also home to the town’s Museum of Natural History.

  • Address: Peniger Straße 10, Waldenburg 08396 - Germany
  • Hours: Tuesday to Friday from 10am to 4pm; Saturday and Sunday from 1pm to 5pm (events on the website)

Shooting Locations in Berlin

Not completely satisfied with the hotels available, Anderson compromised by creating his Grand Hotel Budapest out of the Görlitz department store and a miniature model. Built at Studio Babelsberg, this model is the main image on the promotional poster.

  • Address: August-Bebel-Straße 26-53, 14482 Potsdam
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