There’s more than a touch of James Bond to BBC1’s new thriller The Night Manager, which cost £3 million per episode and bounces between stunning locations.
“It was deliberate to make it very sexy,” explains Danish director Susanne Bier. “The story takes place in a very lavish world – the world of Richard Roper – and part of the excitement is that Jonathan Pine and the audience get sucked into this world because it’s so lavish and glamorous.
“We all want to be there even if we know that it’s an evil world. So that world needed to be attractive.”
Starring Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie and Olivia Colman, it’s based on the 1993 bestseller of the same name by John le Carré, but Bier and her team have updated the story. Instead of doing business with drug cartels in South America, arms-dealer Richard Roper (Laurie) jets between Europe and the Middle East – although unwitting secret agent Jonathan Pine’s fancy hotel was actually in Morocco…
The good news is that Roper’s opulent lair really is a holiday home; the bad news is that it’s not available to rent – even if you’ve cash to splash like him.
Bier wanted Roper to reside on an island as he does in le Carré’s novel. “There is something about islands – the closeness to water everywhere,” she says. “It’s an old fortress on top of a cliff with a fantastic view but it still has all the trappings of a holiday villa like a beautiful pool.”
In fact, the 17th century fort has two pools, seven villas in the grounds and over 25,000 sq ft of immaculately manicured terraces and gardens. La Fortaleza overlooks the town Port de Pollença in northern Majorca and is Spain’s most expensive property.
And the owner really is a Brit: British banker Lord (James) Lupton bought it for between £30 and 35 million in 2011, according to local newspaper Ultima Hora. Lupton, who’s also the Conservative party’s co-treasurer, donated a week’s stay there at last year’s Tory fund-raising ball. It was auctioned off for a reported £210,000.
More cheering news: you can eat in that picturesque restaurant in episode two without breaking the bank. Richard Roper and his entourage dine at C’as Patro March, a fish restaurant perched above Cala Deià , a pretty shingle cove on the north-west coast.
Hugh Laurie in C’as Patro March
Bier had eaten their several times in the past. “It is a beautiful restaurant and I absolutely wanted to film there,” she says. “I had a whole queue of production managers looking at me with fear in their eyes because it’s a very remote restaurant, and filming in a location where you couldn’t bring down all the trucks was a logistical nightmare But I just thought it was so beautiful that I wanted to make it happen – and so they made it happen.”
It doesn’t have a website but you can ring to book a table next time you’re on holiday in Majorca: (+34) 971 93 91 37
Yes, that’s Pine masquerading as a baddie and Devon masquerading as Cornwall in episode two. He’s actually on the Hartland Peninsula in North Devon. If he hadn’t been so busy creating a new identity and making eyes at that local lass, he would have enjoyed some lovely scenery: hanging valleys, waterfalls, ancient woodlands and its craggy Atlantic coastline.
Hiddleston has no time to enjoy the view from the Hartland Peninsula
Pine’s new home is 15th century Blackpool Mill Cottage, which also doubled for Barton Cottage in the BBC’s 2008 adaptation of Sense and Sensibility (when it looked a bit more inviting). It sleeps eight and costs £725 per week at this time of year and £1600 during the summer holidays (reductions for two people only).
You can rent the cottage from Lady Stucley, who lives in nearby Hartland Abbey, which is open to the public from April to early October. The crew camped out in its historic gardens during filming. There are plenty of other places to stay on the peninsula including converted barns, cabins, luxury glamping pods, inns, B&Bs, hotels and a cliff-side campsite.
For more information about Hartland Abbey and to book Blackpool Mill Cottage, visit: hartlandabbey.com
For more information, visit: hartlandpeninsula.co.uk
The sumptuous hotel where Tom Hiddleston’s character was night manager isn’t really in Cairo; it’s the Es Saadi resort in Marrakech, a luxury hotel and spa with 83 suites.
This isn’t the first time the Es Saadi has hosted a famous face – Leonardo DiCaprio, the Rolling Stones and Catherine Deneuve have all stayed there. Usually, it’s much more tranquil and guests can enjoy the outdoor pool, extensive gardens, three restaurants, three bars or a traditional hammam in the spa.
Hiddleston takes a call at the El Saadi resort’s reception desk
One of the conditions was that the crew also had to stay there during the three and a half weeks of filming. The hotel didn’t close so some ordinary guests worried that they’d pitched up at the wrong place.
You can currently book a standard room with balcony and king-size bed for £90. Splashing out on a deluxe suite with a view of the snow-capped Atlas mountains will set you back about £215 per night. (Naturally, the concierge and night manager will be at any guest’s disposal.)
For more information and to book, visit: essaadi.com
That really was Switzerland’s most exclusive ski resort and it’s easy to see why its hotels command high prices.
Bier chose Zermatt because it was so far away from the Arab Spring in Egypt – in more ways than one. “We wanted locations that were extremely different,” she explains. “And if you go from the troubles in Cairo to the sereneness and remoteness of the Swiss mountains.”
The mountain that looms large in The Night Manager is the Matterhorn – the 14,692ft peak that straddles the border Switzerland and Italy. British climber Edward Whymper was the first to reach the top in 1865.
The Matterhorn overlooks the Swiss town of Zermatt
5,310ft up in the Valais region of Switzerland, Zermatt is a favourite with celebrities and skiers with deep pockets. They come for the year-round snow, Europe’s highest-altitude cable car and the cosy chalets and chic lounge bars in the pretty, car-free town.
Zermatt boasts 121 hotels. If you were to book the cheapest (single) room at the 5* Riffelalp resort today – which is 7,290ft above sea level and promises a “unique Alpine panorama” – it would set you back £300. Richard Roper’s choice would surely be one of their £1450 “Matterhorn” suites, which comes with a jacuzzi.
For more information and to book, visit: riffelalp.com
Hiddleston pretends to be in Switzerland
However, if you want to check into Richard Roper’s favourite Zermatt hotel, there’s no need to fly to Switzerland: the interior was shot in London.
Madrid and Monaco
Those are actually the sunny streets of Palma, Majorca’s capital, where you’ll find fine food, chic shops and pavement cafés perfect for people-watching.
The Night Manager continues on Sundays on BBC1.