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By now, everyone knows that South by Southwest Festival is one of the busiest times of the year in Austin, and that if you want to stay in a hotel while you're there (as opposed to renting a place), you need to get on your horse and book early, probably about six months in advance. And, of course, you should expect inflated rates given the high demand.
But what else should you be considering? Do all the hotels become party venues? Are there nearby resorts within a short drive? Are group options available? We asked Shilpa Bakre of the Austin CVB some commonly asked questions that will help you plan your stay next March:
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With all the brouhaha regarding the Government of Brunei’s archaic and decidedly evil new law approving stoning to death as proper punishment for being gay or having an affair, some celebs have either quietly or openly decided to boycott Dorchester Collection Hotels, which are owned by the Sultan of Brunei.
During our recent stay at Hotel Fouquet’s Barrière in Paris we were interested to hear that the last celebs to stay at the hotel were none other than Jay-Z and Beyoncé, formerly fans of The Dorchester Collection’s Le Meurice Hotel.
In fact, the couple is such fans of the food at the hotel’s restaurant, La Petite Maison de Nicole, we hear they have it delivered to wherever they are in the city.
Fouquet’s Barrière’s past is directly tied to the music and film industry. In 1898 Fouquet’s restaurant opened at the corner of the Champs-Elysées and Avenue George V (where it still is today). When the very first theaters opened in Paris in the 1930s, Fouquet’s was close by and became the go-to place for socializing for both the dealmakers and stars of the shows. Here contracts were signed, cast parties were held and films were premiered.
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Sweepstakes alert! Next month (April 17 to 28) is the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival and as the official hotel partner, Conrad Hotels is giving you the chance to experience it for yourself with a pretty amazing sweepstake.
Not only does the lucky winner get two Vesey passes to the Tribeca Film Festival for three days – which give access to most screenings – they’re throwing in three nights’ accommodation at the all-suite Conrad New York and two business class flights from anywhere in the United States or the United Kingdom to the Big Apple.
Usually, we aren't talking hotels for the Sundance Film Festival until Santa Claus has made his way down the chimney but we realized now might actually be a good time to book your hotel room.
The festival is happening this year from January 19-29 as always in Park City, Utah. The festival's website is encouraging guests to book through their site and save up to 25 percent off on lodging. The festival is also offering a Best Rate Guarantee meaning if you see a better rate, they promise to match it. And if you book through them, they will give you two free movie vouchers with each room booking.
So what's on offer?
Checking rooms for January 19-25, we found some really good options. There was the Yarrow Resort (one mile from Main Street), a popular spot for after parties and meetings and such, at $489 a night. The Sky Lodge on Main Street was open too but at an eye-watering $1,700 a night. That's because it's the official hotel of the festival. But hey, availability is availability right? And we can't forget about their waterfall bathtubs.
The Tribeca Film Festival kicks off next week and while we've found several hotels with availability and reasonable rates, including these three, getting tickets is a different story.
Single tickets and discounted packages are currently on sale for Amex cardholders. This weekend more tickets will open up to downtown NYC residents while more tickets will be released on April 18 to the general public.
Fortunately, the tickets aren't crazy expensive. They start at $8 for matinees and $16 for evenings and weekend screenings. But the add-on charges are silly. For example, it's $3 to order online and $3 to print at home. You could save all that hassle by staying at The GEM Chelsea.
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Movie buffs are getting ready to hit up the 12-day Tribeca Film Festival from April 20 to May 1. If you plan on visiting New York City to join other movie-goers at the fest, book your hotel now—last year, the event drew 410,000 cinephiles, filmmakers and actors.
Of course, you'll want to stick close to the trendy Tribeca 'hood to be in the middle of all the action. Here are some hotels that are still open for next week's 10th annual festival.
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The 25th Lesbian & Gay Film Fest rolls into London at the end of the month, officially kicking off on March 31st. Most of the events are based at the British Film Institute on the South Bank so unless you want to waste time travelling we'd suggest you stay in a hotel close by.
Here's our pick of the bunch:
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge
The Park Plaza Westminster Bridge is just over a year old and houses one of the best hotel restaurants in London, Brassiere Joel. We went snooping inside last year and whilst there isn’t much natural light in the public areas, most of the rooms have full length windows with views over Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. Rates start at £154 per night but be sure to request a room with views over the River.
Tune Hotel Westminster
Tune Hotel Westminster
If you’re strapped for cash we suggest you hole up in the Tune Hotel Westminster. When we stayed last year we were so impressed we named it “Budget Heaven”, even with all of the add on extras. Make no mistake though, the Tune is not a 5-star hotel, but if you’re looking for a cheapie, it’s a steal. Room rates start at £26 a night.
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If you want to run into celebs and industry bigwigs at the Toronto Film Festival, head to the Fairmont Royal York and belly up to the bar. You'll find them at the hotel, a popular festival hangout, probably sipping on the new menu of cocktails inspired by the 35th annual festival, which is in full swing.
The hotel's Library Bar is mixing up two cocktails for the occasion. The TIFF Tini is made with chilled Fairmont Organic Jasmine tea infused with pear vodka, topped with freshly squeezed lemon juice and a dash of simple syrup. The cup-of-tea-inspired drink is served in fine china, on the rocks with a lemon zest garnish accompanied by a miniature scone.
The "casting couch" at the Dakota Mountain Lodge will cost you close to $1,000 a night during Sundance.
Nevertheless, celebs and film makers are still headed to Park City for the festival on January 21st. And we got a request from a reader to find a reasonably priced room for Sundance for two people for the first weekend.
Sadly, we don't have great news. As usual, The Park City Marriott, the festival's official hotel, and the popular Yarrow Hotel, are sold-out. And there are now only two hotels that are listed on the film festival's website as having availability:
· Fox Point at Redstone : Rooms start at a steep $439 a night but if you book a rezzie for four nights or longer, your last night is free (will be credited at check-out.)
· Chateau at Silver Lake: Located in Deer Valley but only a few miles from Main Street, rooms are a hefty $599 a night.
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Wow, we are only a few days into the new decade and already Bad Boy hotel guest Dennis Rodman has been usurped by the son of Libyan dictator Moammar Khadafy, whose name is Hannibel. Yet this guy should get credit for nothing other than being a terrible human being, let alone a hotel guest from hell.
Page Six had a little ditty today about how Beyonce snagged a cool $1 million for performing at Hannibel's New Year's Eve party at Nikki Beach club on St. Barts.
But also in the item (shame on you Beyonce) is a laundry list of Hannibel's horrendous behavior at hotels. They are:
1. Attacking his wife at Claridges:
Hannibal, 33 -- also known as Moutassim -- allegedly attacked his wife, Aline Skaf, in his suite at Claridge's in London. Three of his security staff were arrested for obstructing police. Skaf was reportedly hospitalized with a broken nose while Hannibal was whisked away in a diplomatic car.
2. Attacking servants in a Geneva hotel:
In July 2008, he and his then-pregnant wife were arrested on charges of beating their servants in a Geneva hotel. They denied the charges, which were dropped after the servants received compensation.
3. Again, attacking his wife:
Hannibal was also arrested in 2005 in a Paris hotel for allegedly punching Skaf. He then allegedly brandished a 9mm handgun and went on a furniture-smashing rampage in his hotel suite. No charges were brought.
Ugh. Luxury hotels around the world need to man up and ban this man from staying at their hotels. Put him on the hotel blacklists straightaway!
From September 10 to 19th, all eyes will be on the big screen (and big-time celebs) at the 34th annual Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), where more than 300 films will be presented. Thanks to our little bro, Jaunted, we already know that this year's roster includes "Whip It," Drew Barrymore's directorial debut, "Up in the Air," starring George Clooney, and a smaller film called "Precious" which is backed by Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry, both of whom are expected to show.
Now, what would a film festival be without a hotel package to go along with it? A wasted opportunity which is why the The Fairmont Royal York has introduced its “TIFF and the City” package.
Just in time for the Tribeca Film Festival, Robert DeNiro will be making an appearance Sunday night at the Tribeca Grand Hotel. Kind of. Robert DeNiro in the form of the utterly psychotic Travis Bickle will flash across the silver screen inside the hotel. (You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me?) Who can resist?