Europe Travel Tips: St. Patrick's Day, Amsterdam's Tulip Festival

St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick’s Day celebrations take place worldwide. But none compare to those in Ireland. Dublin, in particular, is a celebratory center. Its St. Patrick’s Festival is a multi-day event that includes a legendary parade, street theater, carnival games, craft whiskey tastings and “greening” of city landmarks.

The Merrion Hotel is offering one- and two-night packages to mark the occasion.

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A member of The Leading Hotels of the World, the property consists of four restored Georgian townhouses and a contemporary Garden Wing. In addition to 123 guestrooms, 19 suites and Tethra Spa, The Merrion houses one of Ireland’s largest private art collections. It’s also home to the country’s only two-star Michelin restaurant.

The Merrion Shamrock package is available for the entire month of March. It includes accommodations in a standard Garden Wing room, a full Irish breakfast and signature St. Patrick's Day cocktail on arrival. Also included is a special “In the Footsteps of St. Patrick” three-hour walking tour of historic Dublin.

The Full Shamrock package adds two grandstand tickets and picnic box for the St. Patrick's Day Festival Parade. It’s available March 15-18.

Tulips

In Amsterdam, tulips take the place of shamrocks as the seasonal welcome.

“Amsterdam has really made a huge comeback. It used to be known for all the wrong things. But, I have clients who want to go out of their way now to stop there,” travel consultant Linda Silver tells Travel Agent.

“Biking is what everyone wants to do now. If you look at Amsterdam, you see more people biking than walking. It’s a natural for travelers who want to be active and stay at some beautiful properties,” Hope Smith, owner of Born to Travel, tells Travel Agent.

Silver’s clients are especially fond of the Conservatorium Hotel in the heart of the museum district. The former Neo-Gothic music conservatory reopened as a luxury lifestyle hotel in 2011. Its debut coincided with the much-anticipated renovations and re-openings of the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and Stedelijk Museum.

The 129-room property is a member of The Set hotels collection and The Leading Hotels of the World. A new Flower Power Package available April 1 through May 15 celebrates spring tulip time.

In tribute to Amsterdam’s annual Tulip Festival, more than 1,000 tulips will bedeck the hotel’s public areas. The package includes two nights' accommodation in a luxury guestroom, along with tickets to De Keukenhof, the famous flower garden of Amsterdam. For nearly seven decades, visitors from around the world have come to the Keukenhof Gardens to admire nearly 80 acres of spring-flowering tulips. The package includes complimentary transfers to the gardens, as well as tulip cake and champagne in the hotel lounge. To mark its fifth anniversary, the Conservatorium plans to unveil its own exclusive variety of tulip later this year.

The imagination and creativity of the Netherlands is drawing other lifestyle hotel brands. Autograph Collection Hotels opened Hotel van Oranje earlier this year in Amsterdam.

“The European market continues to innovate, and the lifestyle hotel scene is vibrant, exciting and rapidly growing. European hotels are acknowledging that travelers are curious, adventuresome and in search of an experience outside the box of conventional travel,” John Licence, brand lead, Autograph Collection Hotels, Europe, tells Travel Agent.

“We have over 10 properties set to open all over Europe in the next couple of years - including Germany, France, Spain, Greece, Belgium and Holland,” Licence adds.

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