Sex and the City 2: A NYC Movie Location

The long-awaited Sex and the City 2 hits theaters on May 27. For those hoping to visit some of the actual film locations, it’ll be a little tougher with the sequel (parts of the movie were filmed in Morocco, which is meant to stand in for Abu Dhabi).

A brief scene, however, was filmed a little closer to home at the Hotel Plaza Athenee, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Remember the first movie when Mr. Big built Carrie a drool-worthy walk-in closet? Well apparently for the sequel, crews resorted to filming an apartment scene on one of the hotel’s balconies (Suite 1501 to be precise).

I recently toured some of the hotel’s renovated suites, and it’s not hard to see why Hollywood came calling: many of the suites have views of Central Park, and some of the rooms can be joined together to create a palatial multi-bedroom suite.

Standing in the footsteps of Carrie’s Jimmy Choos obviously doesn’t come cheap: booking Suite 1501 (a deluxe suite with a balcony) starts at $2,200 per night.

For a more affordable Sex and the City experience, fans of the TV show may recognize the on-site Bar Seine as where part of the second-to-last episode was filmed. Bartenders here mix up a signature cocktail: the Crystal Cosmopolitan.

If you can’t make it to New York City in time for the film premiere, here’s the Crystal Cosmopolitan recipe for post-movie cocktails no matter where you are.The Crystal Cosmopolitan at Bar Seine


2 oz. Absolut Citron
1/2 oz. Cointreau
1 oz. white cranberry juice
1 lime wedge


Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. In the shaker, combine the vodka, Cointreau, and juice. Cover and shake thoroughly. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Speaking of martinis, famous hotel guests apparently have included none other than 007 himself (Pierce Brosnan).

Details: Hotel Plaza Athenee is located at 37 E. 64th Street at Madison Avenue.

Experience Tim Burton’s version of “Alice in Wonderland” in Cornwall, England

Tim Burton’s 3D version of the classic “Alice in Wonderland” tale — starring Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter and Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen — opens March 5.

Since the movie is a mix of live action, animation, and computer graphics, you can’t exactly visit all the film locations and stand where Johnny stood. The live-action sequences, however, were shot in Cornwall, England at the National Trust’s Antony House. To capitalize on the inevitable interest, the National Trust is hosting Alice-themed events at the 18th-century mansion through October 31.

Events: Mad Hatter’s Tea Parties will be held on the Cork Oak Lawn every weekend starting March 6. Explore the house on March 16 and you’ll see Alice’s bedroom and other rooms that appear in the movie. (As part of the installation, the National Trust is decorating the rooms to look as they did during filming.) The White Rabbit Easter Trail, sponsored by Cadbury chocolate April 2 to 9, leads kids through the landscaped gardens, while a week-long schedule of children’s activities from May 29 to June 3 will include a gigantic chessboard with life-size pieces. Kids of all ages can learn how to play croquet at workshops held on July 21, 28, August 5, 19 and 25.

Details: Standard admission is £7.50 for adults and £4.90 for kids. If you’re a member of the Royal Oak Foundation (the U.S. affiliate of the National Trust), you can access the grounds and the house for free. The house, garden, and tea room have different operating hours so double-check before you make the trek. Some of the events, such as the Mad Hatter’s Tea Parties or Easter Trail, will cost a little extra.


Explore London with Sherlock Holmes

In anticipation of the Christmas Day release of the new Sherlock Holmes movie (starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law), Visit Britain has developed a microsite to help guide fans to the London locations used in the film. The site also offers possible itineraries for a Holmes-themed tour of London.

The list of London stops on the Holmes tour includes St. Paul’s Cathedral, Simpson’s-in-the-Strand, Freemason’s Hall, Brompton Cemetery, and the Sherlock Holmes Museum. The site also suggests a drink at the Sherlock Holmes Pub (decorated with Holmes memorabilia) or walking tour, “In the Footsteps of Sherlock Holmes”, offered by London Walks.

For those venturing out of London, there are additional filming locations in Manchester. Cheshire, Kent, Leeds and Suffolk in England, plus spots in Scotland and Wales.

Top 10 travel destinations for Twilight fans

New Moon, the second installment of the Twilight saga, will be hitting theaters on November 20th.

That’s like, just over a month until we get to see Edward in all his sparkly, “dazzling” glory! Plus Jacob, shirtless and “fur-sploding” into his werewolf form! O-M-Geeeeee!!

Okay, now that I’ve let the 13-year old girl in me have her say. . . To satiate your thirst for teen vampire angst until the movie’s premiere, why not take a trip to one of these destinations perfect for the Twilight-obsessed?

Forks, Washington
Forks is where the love story of Edward and Bella began, and where most of the action in the four Twilight books takes place. Stephanie Meyer chose the small town for the setting of her book because days here are usually cloudy, making it the perfect place for a clan of vampires (who sparkle in the sun) to settle. The tiny Welcome Center now offers maps of Twilight landmarks and “Dazzled by Twilight’, a store devoted entirely to the saga, offers tours to surrounding locations from the books (or at least, sites that resemble places in the books – “Bella’s house” isn’t actually the house used in the movie). A few local inns, including the Dew Drop Inn and the Pacific Inn Motel, have designed Twilight-themed rooms, and are of course, charging a premium for them.

Port Angeles, Washington
Port Angeles was a resort town even before Twilight put it on the radar of teenage girls, but now it proudly boasts its role in the story. There are several tours that show visitors to the Twilight landmarks around town, including Odyssey Books and Bella Italia, the restaurant where Bella and Edward had their first date after Edward rescued Bella from some unsavory characters in an alley. Guests who dine at Bella Italia can even order “Bella’s mushroom ravioli” and eat the same dish Bella did on her date. There’s no Edward dish; he of course didn’t eat.

Portland, Oregon
No part of the story takes place in Portland, but many of the movie’s scenes were filmed here. Go See Portland has put together a handy map of filming locations. The scene where Edward saves Bella in the alley took place in Port Angeles, but was actually filmed in Portland. You can visit that alley and see the store (really a hair salon) where Bella’s friends tried on prom dresses on this self-guided tour. The owner still has Catherine Hardwick’s director’s chair sitting in a corner of the shop. Chief Swan’s house is located in Portland, the hilltop location of the prom was The Viewpoint Inn in Corbett, and the beach that stands in for La Push in some scenes was actually Cannon Beach on Oregon’s coast.

Vancouver, Canada
While many of Twilight’s scenes were shot in and around Portland, much of New Moon’s filming was done in Vancouver. On Location Tours will take fans to not only the spots where scenes were shot, but also to favorite hangouts of the cast and crew. The 6-hour tours cost $119 for kids and $149 for adults. One of the main locations used in Vancouver was the David Thompson Secondary School, which stood in for Forks High School, and some of the woodland scenes were shot around Tofino.

Hoh Rainforest, Washington
Several scenes in the Twilight saga take place in the Hoh rainforest in Washington. It’s one of the few temperate rainforests in the US and one of the largest in the world. It’s densely populated with towering moss-covered trees, many of which are thousands of years old. It has become a very popular destination for those seeking the Twilight experience, but it is still large enough that you can find a place to escape the crowds. There are campgrounds in the Rainforest and hiking trails where you can spot birds and wildlife.

Quileute Reservation, Washington
The Quileute tribe of Native Americans have lived on the land that is now Washington state for thousands of years. Members of the tribe still reside on the reservation and control the town and beach of La Push and its harbor. The area is known for its whale watching, surfing, fishing, and beautiful, rugged beaches. Twilight’s beach scenes, including the one in which Jacob tells Bella about the ancient “cold ones”, take place on First Beach at La Push. The Quileute tribe operates a beach resort at La Push where cabin rentals start at $100 per night. The resort also runs a waterfront Twilight tour.

Syracuse, Utah
Syracuse has absolutely nothing to do with the Twilight books or movies, but it does have two corn mazes that depict the saga’s two hunks, Edward and Jacob. If you can’t make it to any of these other locations to immerse yourself in scenes from the movies or books, you can at least wander around in a big field of corn cut to look like a vampire or a werewolf.

Volterra, Italy
In the New Moon book, Bella tracks Edward to Volterra, Italy, where he is about to reveal himself to the Volturri, a clan of ancient vampires. Volterra is a real town in Italy, located in the Tuscany region with massive walls that surround the medieval town. The town has capitalized on its Twilight fame, offering Twilight-themed tours to the obsessed.

Montepulciano, Italy
The movie didn’t shoot in Volterra, but in nearby Montepulciano. If you want to see the fountain that Bella runs across to stop Edward before he steps into the sun in all his sparkly glory, you’re out of luck. The town square in Montepulciano does not have a fountain, one was constructed specifically for the movie shoot. But you can see other locations from the filming when you book the “New Moon” package at The Albergo Dumo, located right near the town square.

Los Angeles, California
Unless you get extremely lucky, your chances of getting into the New Moon premiere on November 16th are very slim. But you can still camp out at the Village Theatre and Bruin Theatre in Los Angeles in the hopes that you’ll catch a glimpse of your favorite supernatural being. Or you could stalk R-Patz and try to casually bump into him at an after-party in LA.

Remembering John Hughes through travel

John Hughes died yesterday at the age of 59, while out for a walk in New York City.

I was only a few years old when The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, and Weird Science came out, but thanks to repeated showings on TNT and USA in the early 90’s, I grew up watching his iconic films. I wanted to skip school with Ferris Bueller and I had a mad crush on Jake Ryan. So even though Hughes had withdrawn from Hollywood in the last decade or so, I was still saddened to learn of the passing of someone whose movies were such a big part of my formative years.

For other fans out there, the folks over at Jaunted have put together a list of some of the locations used for filming in Hughes’ movies, including Chicago-area sets like the Home Alone house at 671 Lincoln Avenue in Winnetka and the Illinois Police Station (formerly Maine North High School) in Des Plaines where Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald and Emilio Estevez suffered through Saturday detention.

I’m thinking it’s only a matter of time before we see a tour dedicated to revisiting these familiar locations. In the meantime, I’m going home to watch a Hughes movie marathon. That Jake Ryan is so dreamy.