Nothing signals spring like freshly sprung tulips, and with the last traces of winter finally gone, tulip festivals across the northern hemisphere are gearing up to show off their stems. And while horticultural fairs don’t usually scream luxury, tulips have a high-class history: they were so coveted in 17th Century Netherlands during so-called “tulip mania” that one flower could fetch the same amount as 12 acres of land. Continuing in that tradition, a handful of highbrow establishments—from airlines to hotels—are getting in on this annual floral phenomenon. From the Midwest to the birthplace of tulip mania, here’s where to look for this season’s brightest bulbs and warmest hospitality.
The undisputed tulip capital of the United States is Holland, Michigan, home the Tulip Time festival, which runs May 6-14, ushering in the 5 million bulbs that are expected to bloom in the area. Don’t miss the festival’s Tulips & Juleps mixer, which features bourbon tasting and a silent auction benefiting the Holland Young Professionals Endowment. With a southern dress code of large hats and bowties encouraged (the event coincides with the Kentucky Derby) this southern-infused affair is bound to be one of the season’s most colorful.
And while lilacs may be the true stars of Michigan’s Mackinac Island, the far-flung isle’s flagship Grand Hotel boasts a sprawling tulip-strewn landscape and 130 years of tradition. Coinciding with the floral high season, the hotel’s 130th Anniversary Celebration and Lilac Festival packages promise to deliver unmatched old-world beauty at an accessible price.
New York, née New Amsterdam, channels its Dutch roots every spring with the Annual Tulip Festival on the last two weekends of April at the West Side Community Garden, which squeezes in 13,000 bulbs into its oasis-like West 89thStreet grounds. Joining the serene green space will be live piano accompaniment and a tulip education course taught by Chief Horticulturist Tom Thies.
This month, in addition to successfully delivering a baby mid-flight, Turkish Airlines invited 250 influencers from around the Middle East and North Africa to partake in Istanbul’s monumental tulip festival, where the bulbs number in the millions and represent over 120 tulip varietals. While the tulip-themed gala thrown by Turkish Airlines’s CEO may have passed, the airline, which brandishes the flower’s likeness on its fleet of aircrafts, is offering a special rate on flights from Dubai to Istanbul, according to BQ Magazine.
Nowhere is the tulip more iconic than in Amsterdam, which throws its own floral festival each April. While the Pulitzer Amsterdam may be relatively new to the city, the hotel, housed in 25 interlinked row houses, is diving into local tradition by planting 2,000 tulips in its outdoor garden and incorporating tulips into menu items and cocktails. To top it off, ever Sundayin April the Pulitzer’s bar will host “Julep and Jazz,” a hub featuring live music and four types of julep cocktails.