Screen goddess, Elizabeth Taylor, is now resting in the great presidential penthouse in the sky. One thing that Dame Elizabeth knew how to do was travel in style, so, pack your jewels, eyebrow pencils and a Cleopatra DVD for a trip to some of the gorgeous one’s favourite romantic getaways.
It was in Portofino, probably during a stay at the Hotel Splendido that Richard Burton proposed to Elizabeth Taylor for the first time, on a break from filming Cleopatra in Rome. The romantic proposal is thought to have taken place on the wisteria-covered terrace of the hotel’s bellissima first floor junior suite.
Inspired by this event, Fred Buscaglione, a famous Italian singer of that period, wrote the song ‘I found my love in Portofino’. To this date, this is the song that celebrates the love between Burton and Taylor and represents the ‘soundtrack’ to the Hotel Splendido and Portofino. For instance, if you are ever put on hold whenever you call the Splendido, that’s the song you will listen to – how gorgeous is that! The hotel boasts a myriad of photographs of its celebrity guests on its walls, and amongst them are pictures of Elizabeth Taylor with husband number four, Eddie Fisher.
The legend amongst the hotel’s personnel though is that the image had to be very promptly and discreetly replaced when news broke of Taylor’s relationship with soon-to-be husband number five, Richard Burton.
The Beverly Hills Hotel
Elizabeth Taylor stayed here so often during her lifetime that you could probably still catch a whiff of White Diamonds in her favourite room in the house, Bungalow Five. It was in this luxurious private bungalow that Taylor consoled Burton on his Oscar near-miss in 1969.
This iconic Hollywood hotel was much loved by the violet-eyed star. Early in her MGM career she would often stop by to visit her father, who kept a gallery onsite, and later in life the Beverly Hills Hotel was the scene for many of Dame Elizabeth’s romances – in fact, the perpetual bride spent six of her eight honeymoons at the hotel.
Elizabeth Taylor first stayed at The Dorchester as a child star and carried a lifelong affection for the London hotel, eventually commandeering the largest of the hotel’s rooftop suites to create The Harlequin Suite. The space is apparently sublime, with a large master bedroom, dressing room, living room, dining room, bar, a huge outside veranda with views over Hyde Park and a divine pink marble bathroom that was specially installed for Taylor – rumour has it that the bathroom wall is carved with celebrity graffiti that reads “RB XXX ET”.
It was in the Harlequin Suite that Elizabeth Taylor signed her multi-million dollar deal to star in Cleopatra and so played out one of history, and Hollywood’s, greatest love affairs.