‘The Royal Hotel’ is an Australian thriller film directed by Kitty Green and loosely based on the 2016 documentary ‘Hotel Coolgardie‘ directed by filmmaker Pete Gleeson. It stars Julia Garner, Jessica Henwick, and Hugo Weaving in the lead roles. The movie revolves around Hanna and Liv, two backpackers on a trip who accept a job as barmaids at a remote hotel in Australia while in desperate need of money. Since the movie explores the Outback town’s culture through the titular hotel, which serves as the story’s primary setting, viewers must be curious to learn more about it. If you are wondering whether the Royal Hotel is a real place and if it still exists, here is everything you need to know! SPOILERS AHEAD!
The Real-Life Royal Hotel
In the film, the Royal Hotel is the source of plight for Hanna and Liv, two backpackers from Canada who are on a trip to Australia. The titular hotel serves as the movie’s primary setting and is loosely based on a real-life location. The movie is loosely based on the 2016 documentary movie ‘Hotel Coolgardie’ directed by filmmaker Pete Gleeson. The documentary explores the toxic and misogynistic culture in a small pub in Coolgardie in Western Australia. The name of the pub in the documentary is Denver City Hotel. Since the feature film is based on the documentary, it is safe to say that the Denver City Hotel is the inspiration behind the fictional Royal Hotel.
However, filming of the movie primarily took place in Adelaide, Australia. The film’s crew set up shop at a real two-storey pub in the city. Director Kitty Green revealed her grandfather also owned a pub. The Royal Hotel may have also drawn some visual inspiration from the pub owned by Green’s grandfather. The real-life Denver City Hotel is located at 73 Bayley Street in Coolgardie, Western Australia. It was the bar where backpackers Steph and Lina, the subjects of the original documentary, worked and faced harrowing circumstances. The Denver City Hotel is a two-star hotel that offers lodging. It was constructed in 1898 and is the only hotel in the town. However, since the feature film takes a more fictional route, the name was likely changed to the Royal Hotel to avoid any legal complications.
Does Denver City Hotel Still Exist?
During the climax of ‘The Royal Hotel,’ Liv and Hanna reach their breaking point after facing continual harassment from the unsavory bar patrons. In the final moments, Liv and Hanna break the liquor cabinet in the pub before setting it on fire. As a result, viewers must wonder if the real-life hotel that inspired the Royal Hotel still exists. The Denver City Hotel was not burned down by the barmaids working there. Instead, the documentary film has a rather bleak ending as the women were forced to leave the pub after some brutal incidents. However, director Kitty Green chose a more empowering ending for the feature film, leading to the final scene where the barmaids burn down the pub.
In reality, the Denver City Hotel continues to be open for patrons. Interestingly, since its construction in 1898, the establishment has been burned down on two different occasions. However, among the Denver City Hotel’s three iterations, only the third is a two-story structure. Therefore, it is safe to say that the hotel was not burned down when Liv and Steph worked there. After the documentary brought negative attention to the hotel, its management was reportedly revamped. The Denver City Hotel is now under new management and has a female owner. The hotel also reportedly no longer employs barmaids through the work tourism program and instead hires locals. Despite its negative portrayal in the 2016 documentary, the Denver City Hotel has generally positive patron reviews.
Read More: Is The Royal Hotel Based on a True Story?