Gustave H. asks young Zero why on earth he wants to be a lobby boy. He responds, “well, who wouldn’t at The Grand Budapest, sir? It’s an institution.” That it bloody is. If only it wasn’t fictional. Luckily, many of The Grand Budapest Hotel locations are very real and you can visit them whenever you like.
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) follows several quirky characters who live, stay, and serve the fine titular establishment located in the fictional central European country of Zubowska in the 1930s. Ralph Fiennes’s concierge Gustave H. and his lobby boy protégé Zero (Tony Revolori) are our main protagonists. When one of Gustave’s most loyal guests die, he is the main suspect and must clear his name.
There’s a lot more to the movie (this is a Wes Anderson film, there are at least 67 storylines) but that’s the gist. It is my favourite out of all of his films and The Grand Budapest Hotel filming locations could not be better. Since Zubrowska isn’t real, places in the Saxony region of Germany stood in. And the scenes where a real-life location would not do, they filmed in Studio Babelsberg in Potsdam.
Lots of real-life central European locations inspired many of the set pieces, so I’ve listed them all at the end of this blog post. Are you ready to find out where all The Grand Budapest Hotel locations are in Germany? Then let’s get started!
Where Was The Grand Budapest Hotel Filmed?
The Grand Budapest Hotel Filming Locations in Germany
1. Ernst Thälmann Filmkulisse, Görlitz
The first The Grand Budapest Hotel location is the Old Lutz Cemetary where the girl visits the grave of “Author.” Anderson shot this scene at the Ernst Thälmann Filmkulisse wall in Görlitz. It is not a real cemetery and he also replaced the white letters which, in reality, read “Wählt Thälmann.” Apparently, he was the leader of the socialist party during the Weimar Republic and the Nazis shot him in 1944.
He also replaced the real background with a scenic viewpoint of Kraków in Poland. But I do think they built the cemetery set behind the real-life wall because the white houses behind are identical to those in Görlitz.
2. Görlitzer Warenhaus/Kaufhaus Görlitz, Görlitz
So, where is The Grand Budapest Hotel? You already know it is a set, but where? Well, finding this filming location to stand in as the hotel’s interior was the entire reason they shot most of the film in Görlitz. The location is the former Görlitzer Warenhaus department store, now known as Kaushaus Görlitz. The department store dated back to the early 20th century but had only recently closed down before filming. This meant it was beautifully ornate but had not yet fallen into disrepair.
So, unfortunately, you cannot stay here! But you can stay in the same hotel in Görlitz as the production crew, which was Hotel Börse. The production team had to painstaking dress the department store’s atrium as the hotel in both its 1930s heyday and 1960s twilight years.
3. Ehemalige Freisebad Bathhouse, Görlitz
The next main The Grand Budapest Hotel location we see is inside the Arabian Baths. This was also a real-life location in Görlitz! The city’s former bathhouse, Ehemalige Freisebad, stood in for the communal baths and spa. The young “Author” (Jude Law) meets older Zero (F. Murray Abraham) while bathing, which must be just the most awkward way to meet someone.
4. Stadthalle, Görlitz
The performance venue inside Görlitz’s City Hall (named Stadthalle) stood in for The Grand Budapest’s vast dining room in the 1960s version of the hotel.
Another different room inside the city hall also stood in for the “trophy room” at Schloss Lutz, the home of Madame D. (Tilda Swinton), where they read her will. And finally, a third room in this building stood in as the Kunstmuseum’s Hall of Armour even later in the film where Deputy Vilmos Kovacs (Jeff Goldblum) tries to hide from a stalker. So, Stadthalle is surprisingly quite a prolific The Grand Budapest Hotel location.
5. Pfunds Molkerei, Dresden
At last, The Grand Budapest Hotel introduces us to the delightful Mendl’s patisserie! The interior of the milk shop Pfunds Molkerei in Dresden stands in as Mendl’s, and it’s possibly one of the prettiest interiors of a milk shop you ever did see. The blue tiles are elaborately hand-painted and you’d need a solid weekend to take in all of the patterns. Although I don’t think you are allowed to take photographs inside, which is a real shame.
Wanna know who concocted the gravity-defying Courtesan au Chocolat sweet treat that appears so often in the movie? That was the creation of Müller Anemone from the bakery Café CaRe’s in Görlitz.
6. Fischmarktstraße, 5, Görlitz
The Grand Budapest Hotel Görlitz location for the exterior of Mendl’s is on Fischmarktstraße, near N.5. You can see the top of the city’s Holy Trinity Church named Dreifaltigkeitskirche towering in the background.
7. Brüderstraße, Görlitz
Like most (if not all) Wes Anderson films, The Grand Budapest Hotel is presented in chapters. The very first The Grand Budapest Hotel film location at the beginning of chapter two is Brüderstraße in Görlitz. This wide, pedestrianised street stands in for the location of the newspaper hut with a “press” sign on it. This is where Zero picks up the daily newspapers and learns that The Dowager Countess Madame D. is dead.
8. Schloss Hainewalde, Hainewalde, Saxony
Gustave H. and Zero travel to the home of Madame D. straight away. She lives in a town called Lutz and her home is called Schloss Lutz, which should tell us that if she owned the town’s most prominent castle then she was a very wealthy woman. Schloss Hainewalde in Hainwalde (there seems to be a pattern with these castle names) stood in as Schloss Lutz’s exterior.
9. Schloss Waldenburg, Waldenburg, Saxony
Schloss Waldenburg in Waldenburg stood in for (some of) the interiors of Schloss Lutz. I have no idea why Hainewald’s interiors weren’t up to the task but that’s showbiz, kids.
10. Burg Kriebstein, Kriebstein, Saxony
Since Madame D. bequeathed a prized possession to Gustave H. right before her death, the police think that he must have killed her. So, they sent him to Checkpoint 19 Internment Camp! The Grand Budapest Hotel setting of the exterior for the prison is Burg Kriebstein in Kriebstein. It is a cliff and riverside castle that looks more like Dracula’s hideout than a castle someone would want to live in. During his time in prison, Gustave H. has no problem making friends, including Ludwig (Harvey Keitel) who is the gang’s leader.
11. Seniorenwohnanlage Schloss Osterstein, Zwickau, Saxony
But of course, it would be too easy for the exteriors and the interiors of location in a Wes Anderson film to be shot in the same place. Nope, some (not all) of the interiors of Checkpoint 19 Internment Camp are actually in Castle Osterstein in Zwickau. The castle is now a retirement home.
12. Zwinger Museum, Dresden
Deputy Kovacs realises he is being followed by a shifty-looking man on a motorbike. Of course, he is a shifty-looking man on a motorbike. It is the hired assassin of Madame D.’s children played by Willem Dafoe. Kovacs hops off his tram at the next stop and hurries inside the Kunstmuseum (literally “art museum” in Lutz to hide. There aren’t many The Grand Budapest Hotel film locations in Dresden, but the final one is the Zwinger Museum. It stands in as the exterior of the Kunstmuseum and is simply a rather lovely Baroque palace.
Of course, you can find some of the interiors in the Stadthalle in Görlitz which we have already established.
13. Basteiaussicht Observation Deck, Basteiweg, Lohmen
After the big showdown at the hotel in which Dmitri, Madame D.’s son (Adrien Brody) is overpowered and a judge clears Gustave H. of all charges thus making him the owner of The Grand Budapest, Zero and Agatha (Saoirse Ronan) get married!
Gustave H. marries them on the Basteiaussicht Observation Deck on the Basteibrücke in the Saxon Switzerland National Park. Did you know it is one of the oldest structures built for tourism? Honestly, it looks like a wonderful place for a marriage ceremony.
The Grand Budapest Hotel Inspirational Locations in Europe
1. Deer Jump Lookout, Karlovy Vary, Czechia
The deer statue, which sits on a tall, vertical rock next to The Grand Budapest’s funicular, does exist in real life though it was not used in filming. The Deer Jump Lookout in Karlovy Vary, Czechia was Anderson’s inspiration for this set-piece.
2. Grandhotel Pupp, Karlovy Vary, Czechia
Another location in the Czech spa town of Karlovy Vary also inspired Anderson, this time the Grandhotel Pupp for The Grand Budapest Hotel itself. Although, so many other hotels help shape the pastel-pink wedding cake hotel in the film. Including:
- Hotel Adlon in Berlin
- The Savoy Hotel in London
- Hotel Bristol Palace in Karlovy Vary
Anderson studied many photographs of Central European spa town hotels during the 1930s. Of course, for the scenes shot during the 1960s, he looked to communist and brutalist buildings for inspiration.
3. Sphinx Observatory, Grindelwald, Switzerland
The Academic Zubrowka High-Mountain Observatory on the Summit is a setting in The Grand Budapest Hotel entirely made of special effects and set pieces. But it was heavily inspired by a real observatory, the Sphinx Observatory in Grindelwald, Switzerland to be exact. They look identical.
And those are all the top The Grand Budapest Hotel locations in Germany! Do you love the movie or have you visited any of the locations before? Let me know in the comments below!