by: José Berrocoso //
Thanks to an increasing interest in ‘film tourism’, travellers are now exploring the locations and inspiration of blockbusters more than ever before. Inspired by the flurry of major films set to be released in the coming months, or some masterpieces, hotels around the world are offering behind-the-scenes access and real life experiences of much-loved characters.
From your very own Mary Poppins nanny in London to a real-life Lion King safari in Africa, an authentic Martian experience in Jordan, sunbathing Under the Tuscan
Sun or walking around the coolest location of Game of Thrones in Extremadura, Spain.
If you are looking for a good story or some travel inspiration then you’ll definitely find it in these films. These are great movies that will get you off the sofa and booking a trip to discover new destinations.
THE ULTIMATE MARY POPPINS INSPIRED GETAWAY
Where: The Kensington Hotel, London
To celebrate the release of the new Mary Poppins Returns film starring Emily Blunt and Meryl Streep, The Kensington Hotel in London has launched a new family package: ‘Suite Nannies’. Guests can book a stay in one of the hotel’s top suites to guarantee a city break to remember for the whole family.
The package includes their very own ‘Mary Poppins’ style nanny from the renowned Imperial Nannies agency for 12 hours per day, as well as local excursions, games and tasty treats. In order to provide parents with some well-deserved respite, or for those visiting London on business with the family, the new ‘Suite Nannies’ package offers the ideal solution, whilst ensuring the little ones maximise their time in the city and are stimulated throughout.
As part of the package, Sara Jane Ambrose, founder of the UK’s leading nanny agency, Kensington-based Imperial Nannies, will handpick the perfect companion for each family booking the package. They will act as the children’s very own ‘Mary Poppins’ and even come equipped with their very own Mary Poppins carpet bag, full of toys, games and surprises for the children to enjoy.
The package also includes trips to local attractions with the nanny in the nearby area, catering to children of all ages. After a busy day exploring the city, the family can meet up at The Kensington once again and enjoy a delicious Afternoon Tea together in the Drawing Room.
LIVING THE ITALIAN DREAM
Where: Villa di Piazzano, Tuscany
Under the Tuscan Sun, a film shot in 2003, put Italy as the center of its plot, with mythical and beautiful places like Cortana, Rome and Positano. The film is inspired by the homonym book of the writer Frances Mayes, and involves us in a story that goes from San Francisco to Italy.
The small village of Cortona featured in the film is one that makes an amazing holiday destination. Located in the province of Arezzo in Tuscany, it is famous as a centre for goldsmithing, artistic endeavours and museums, and it makes a lovely base for a short holiday or a long-term stay. The Hotel Villa di Piazzano, a manor house of the 1400s located just outside of Cortona, member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, is the perfect location to live the Italian dream.
From the moment you’re greeted at the door, Villa di Piazzano begins to work its magic. Time seems to move more slowly. Wander from your peaceful, heritage-inspired room to the sun-soaked pool. Or grab a bike and head out to tackle some of those Tuscan hills. When you’ve worked up an appetite, sit down to an ultra-local Italian feast at the restaurant, where the vegetables are plucked fresh from the hotel gardens.
Set on the border between Tuscany and Umbria, Villa di Piazzano puts you in pride of place for discovering the region’s highlights. Explore captivating medieval cities like Siena or hop over the border to pretty Perugia. Cortona, with its Renaissance piazzas and ancient Etruscan heritage, is just 10 minutes away by car.
GAME OF THRONE´S BEST KEPT SECRET: EXTREMADURA
Where: Cáceres, Spain
You have not seen the best of Spain until you have visited Extremadura. Nestled in the southwest region of Spain, this rich destination can be considered an authentic film set. The excellent state of preservation of the Historic Heritage, combined with the conditions of the natural environment attracts the attention of movie producers worldwide.
Cáceres proved to have a very Game of Thrones feel, with its odd-shaped rocks, classical buildings and wonderful plains. Most Spanish cities have an Old Town, but Cáceres’ Ciudad monumental is on a different level: nearly every church, tower and palace predates the 16th century, making the walled city one of Europe’s most impressive enclaves of medieval architecture.
The medieval city of Cáceres was especially used for the scenes of King’s Landing in Season 7 of Game of Thrones. As all the fans of the show know, the King´s Landing is the place where most of the show unfolds.
Not far from Cáceres is Los Barruecos National Park. The shallow lakes, grassy terrain and smoothed rock outcrops feel and look magical – perfect for a little escapism into the world of Westeros.
The Castle of Trujillo was the perfect location for the scenes of Casterly Rock, the ancestral home of the Lannisters since it is located at the highest point. Also in Season 7, a gruesome battle between the Unsullied and the Lannister armies plays out at this iconic castle.
THE BEAUTY OF MARS ON EARTH
Where: Wadi Rum, Jordan
Ridley Scott’s blockbuster The Martian was filmed almost entirely in Jordan depicting the great landscape of Wadi Rum as the surface of Mars. The movie is about an astronaut who winds up stranded on the planet´s surface and must figure out a way to survive solo. This isn´t the first time Wadi Rum has played Mars on film. Scenes from Mission to Mars, The Last Days of Mars and the masterpiece, Lawrence of Arabia, were also shot here.
Also called the Valley of the Moon, the 278-square-mile protected area looks about as Martian as you’re likely to find on Earth. The Martian provided the inspiration for a wonderful brand new travel trend, the futuristic domes that are today eerily planted in the Jordan desert. The sandstone and granite rock formations amidst the desert allow tourists to feel as if they’ve travelled to the red planet.
Usually, each dome includes a private bathroom and glass walls that provide visitors with panoramic views of the desert and surrounding mountains. Guests at the camp can take part in activities including Arabian horseback and camel riding, buggy and jeep adventures, hot air ballooning and rock climbing.
So instead of going to Mars, you can see it there in Wadi Rum. Book your trip!
A GLIMPSE OF THE REAL-LIFE LION KING
Celebrating the launch of the hotly anticipated Disney remake of the Lion King in July 2019, The Safari Collection is launching a privately guided safari to the Kenyan locations which inspired the original film. The safari will be privately guided by Robert Carr-Hartley, the original guide to the Disney animators for the creation of the Lion King in 1994.
Robert was the animator’s guide during their research safari and provided inspiration prior to the film being made. He was also instrumental in changing the screenplay to include Pumba, choosing a warthog as Simba’s sidekick, and helped with songs and Kenyan sayings which played a part in the creation of ‘Hakuna Matata’.
This once-in-a-lifetime experience begins with one night at Giraffe Manor, renowned for its herd of resident Rothschild’s giraffe who join guests for breakfast and tea. Next up, guests will head off on a flight to Laikipa, well known for its nature reserve and national parks. This is the area that inspired the Pride Lands in the film, as well as Pride Rock. Guests will stay at Borana Lodge, where they will get to enjoy drinks as they look out over the rock itself and across the beautiful landscape where characters from the film such as the hyenas lived.
The next stop on the trip is to Samburu, where guests will spend two nights in a lion conservation area. They can also go buffalo spotting at Buffalo Springs and will spend the night star-gazing – like Simba did in the film. After this, there’s a flight to Masai Mara, which is known as lion territory, and gives a final chance to watch lions in their natural habitat before the trip home.