Even though Wes Anderson’s film was named Grand Hotel Budapest, it was not filmed in Hungary, partially because he was following the tradition of hotels with names other than their actual location, but more importantly he was inspired by certain early Hollywood films. These were made often by Central European filmmakers, who recreated European cities as film sets in the US. This aspect of fiction and artificial locations is what he developed further, creating a fictive country the Republic of Zubrowka. Still with the title he highlighted Budapest as a major inspiration for the film, next to Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland. After traveling all around Central Europe, they finally found a department store in Götlitz, Germany for film in, because it was the only one they found that was sufficiently untouched by time.
Regardless, for example such places inspired Wes Anderson as the Gellért Hotel, where the multiple layers of history are present in the building’s interior architecture. This is how he got the idea to rewrite the script, making it multi-layered with multiple stories within stories. The opening scene is set in the 60s, but the main plot happens in the 30s, creating layers that aim to whisk the viewer far away from the present and non-fiction into a world of memories. This period of Central Europe between the World Wars had such a strong impression on him, that he recreated it with the help of the books and films he encountered from this period. Next to this he also used his experiences of traveling and living in Europe, a continent so rich with unique history.