Coming to the theaters this month: Mary Queen of Scots and Mary Poppins Returns, two much-anticipated films – with two very different outcomes. To celebrate each release, a pair of UK hotels have created new experiences inspired by the movies and their proximity to the real-life and fictional history that plays out on the big screen.
She’s back. Julie Andrews portrayed Mary Poppins in the original, but Emily Blunt will take on the role in Mary Poppins Returns, in theaters December 19. The Banks family still lives in London, where the 56-room Milestone Hotel & Residences is honoring one of the city’s coolest babysitters ever with a new “Practically Perfect” experience. In addition to a night’s accommodations, guests will settle in at the Park Lounge for an elaborate Mary Poppins-themed afternoon tea featuring “chimney sweep” macarons, cupcakes served with a chocolate spoonful of sugar, and a muddled raspberry and peach puree mocktail. (Parents, feel free to add peach liqueur to yours.) Later, kids can feed birds in nearby Hyde Park or head across the street for a kite-flying session in the Italian Gardens at Kensington Gardens. The group “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” singalong is optional. Available through January 31, 2019.
Royalty’s biggest rivalry. It’s a period drama made for cinematic reimagination: Cousins Mary Stuart and Queen Elizabeth I, and their contentious, sixteenth-century relationship. The latest retelling, Mary Queen of Scots, stars Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie as the two royals, and in honor of the film’s December 7 release, Scotland’s Gleneagles is tapping into its proximity to the real-life tale. During a three-day, Mary Stuart-themed experience, Iris Marhencke, Gleneagles’ resident historical guide, leads visits to Linlithgow Palace, where Stuart was born in 1542, and Stirling Castle, where she lived before being sent to France at age 5. The royal adventures end back at the hotel’s recently remodeled Century Bar, where guests can sip a Mary Queen of Scots cocktail (Bénédictine, whisky, and absinthe) and learn about Gleneagles’ own storied past – the 232-room estate opened in 1924.