San Francisco's transformation from a fishing village into a major metropolis due to the gold rush of the mid-1800s is chronicled, with a focus on first-class hotels such as the Palace, built in 1857, and the Fairmont, built in the Italian Renaissance style after the 1906 earthquake.
A visit to the Golden Isles of coastal Georgia, where wealthy Americans have congregated for rest and recreation since 1886. Included: the Jekyll Island Club, where Rockefellers, Morgans, Cranes and Goulds belonged.
The Mediterranean principality of Monaco and its city of Monte Carlo are visited. The history of the tiny nation and the Royal house of Grimaldi are chronicled. Included: the building of the famous casino, the Hotel de Paris and the Baroque-styled opera house. Also: commentary by Prince Albert, historians and an architect.
A visit to New York City. The financial capital of the world and the Nation's premier metropolis is explored from the perspective of its wealthiest denizens. Included: the Waldorf Astoria and Plaza hotels.
The Swiss resort of St. Moritz, originally known for its curative springs, is visited. Included: how the Alpine retreat was converted into a winter sports mecca beginning in 1856 by hotelier Johannes Badrutt. Also: some of its luxury hotels, such as the Palace, are shown.
Florida's Palm Beach is featured. Included: the history of the island community, started by oil magnate Henry Flagler. Also: visits to luxury hotels, such as the Royal Poinciana, erected by Flagler; and the Breakers, modeled on Rome's Villa de Medici.
Featured: African safaris and expeditions undertaken by monied Europeans and other privileged travelers. Among the sites visited are the Norfolk Hotel with its fabled bar, and the Mount Kenya Safari Club, established by actor William Holden.
A visit to the Beverly Hills Hotel, one of Hollywood's most popular gathering places. Included: a tour of the Spanish-style hotel, with its famous bars, pool, and bungalow. Also: the hotel's role in the history of the film industry and the surrounding community is discussed.
The history of Miami is traced from 1919 and the beginning of Prohibition, through the influx of mobsters, who introduced gambling, and visits by Hollywood stars, led by Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack. Included: the Biltmore hotel and the community of Coral Gables, plus the current nightlife and club scene.
Cast & Details
Premiered: December 11, 2004
Premise: Some of the world's most exclusive resorts are visited and their histories explored.