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Academy Award-winning travel: Top destinations inspired by the Oscars

Posted by Melanie Nayer  February 24, 2012 06:30 AM

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Faye Dunaway oscar.jpgThis photo is courtesy of "The Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows - The First 100 Years" by Robert S. Anderson, Official Historian for The Beverly Hills Hotel, publication date May 2012.

Whether you're rooting for silent films or just watching to see what everyone is wearing, the Academy Awards always seem to inspire excitement, and remind us why we love getting lost in a good movie. This year's Oscar-nominated films have done more than give us something to talk about over dinner - they've left us within an insane sense of wanderlust. Here are some of the top destinations inspired by this year's Oscars, and some suggestions on where to stay when you visit.

PHOTOS: Destinations inspired by the Oscars

Los Angeles, California: The industry came full circle when "The Artist" hit the big screen. The story of a Hollywood silent film star who struggles with the changing landscape when "talkies" are made reminds us how important it is to transition through time. A lot of the movie was shot at Los Angeles' Orpheum Theater, which opened in 1926, and should you want to go back in time, stop by the Silent Movie Theatre on North Fairfax Avenue.
Where to stay: The Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows is located on Sunset Boulevard in the heart of Beverly Hills, and surrounded by 12 acres of private walkways, secret gardens and seductive bungalows (perfect for escaping the Hollywood scene).

BHH.jpgThe red carpet entrance at The Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows.

Maui, Hawaii: Any place George Clooney lands has a certain sex appeal, but in this case, Hawaii had a lot to offer before Clooney descended here for "The Descendents," nominated for Best Picture. The story of heartache set in paradise follows Clooney as he works to rebuild his family. While the movie has a depressing undertone, the views of Hawaii are the ultimate pick-me-up. From the Hawaiian music to the flowering trees and the stunning seascapes, it's hard not to find yourself daydreaming about the islands.
Where to stay: The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua is set on white-sand beaches on the western edge of Maui, a paradise Hawaiians call the "Island of the Sun." Enjoy the flowering trees, lush rainforests and an ancient Hawaiian burial ground, all steps from the hotel.

Hawaii-sunset.JPGPicturesque Hawaiian sunset at Kapaula

Jackson, Mississippi: "The Help," set in 1960s Mississippi, was shot in the Delta towns of Greenwood, Clarksdale, and Jackson. While the film's story showcases the dark past of the 60s in the south, it also highlights the beauty and poise that makes the south so special. Spend some time enjoying the scenery on a driving tour of downtown and the city's historic Belhaven neighborhood.
Where to stay: There's plenty of smaller-scale hotels in Jackson from Marriott, Sheraton and Hyatt brands. We suggest you make the most of your tip, though, and stay in Savannah, Georgia or Memphis, Tenn., and take some driving tours through the south. Start in Savannah at the Mansion on Forsyth Park and drive the 531 miles from Georgia through Alabama to Mississippi, experiencing some of the best cities the south has to offer. Or, cut your drive time down a few hours and stay at The Peabody Memphis, one of the city's most grandiose hotels located one block from Historic Beale Street.

jackson-miss.jpg Smith Park Architectural District in Jackson (photo by Flickr user Ken Lund

Paris, France: Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" made us all fall in love with the City of Light... again. Nominated for Best Picture, the movie is set along some of Paris's best known attractions, and lesser known streets. It follows the path of a screenwriter searching for his creativity among the nostalgia of Paris in the 1920s. While we can't promise you'll run into Joséphine Baker or Ernest Hemingway on your visit, you can stumble upon Paris's best jazz bars, artists' quarters and romantic spots along the Siene while you're here.
Where to stay: The uber-chic Le Meurice had a moment in the spotlight in "Midnight in Paris." The hotel is the perfect combination of Parisian elegance and old-world grace - the perfect place to find your love in the City of Light.

paris-crop-580.jpgParis from the rooftop of Renaissance Paris Arc De Triomphe Hotel

London, England: "The Iron Lady" and "War Horse" bring the United Kingdom back to the big screen in very different scenes. "War Horse" follows the extraordinary journey of a horse as he moves through the war with the British cavalry after being separated by his young owner. The movie was set in Devon, but most of the filming took place in Dartmoor, showcasing the majestic English landscape throughout the film. In "The Iron Lady", Margaret Thatcher’s life is exposed as the story of her reign as the longest serving Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of the 20th century comes to life. Although London has long been the nucleus of British regime, extensive filming of the movie took place at the Manchester Town Hall, which is often used as a location double for films featuring the Houses of Parliament because of its architectural similarity.
Where to stay: The St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel in London has a century-old history full of royalty, structure and grace. Family tip: the hotel is also set at the St. Pancras train station, where a certain wizard and his friends found magic at Platform 9-3/4. In Manchester, stay at the Arora Hotel Manchester, within walking distance to Manchester Art Gallery, Albert Square and Manchester Palace Theatre. The hotel is just a few blocks from Manchester Town Hall, where "The Iron Lady" was filmed.

st-pancras.jpegThe historic St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel in London.
Readers: What movie inspired you to travel this year?

(All photos copyright of MelanieNayer.com, unless otherwise noted)

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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About the author

Melanie Nayer is a travel writer who spent many years in the newsroom before jetting off to see the world. Her goal is to bring readers the best insider information More »

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