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10 Dreamy Destinations
Beth Weitzman with contribution by Meridith Ford and Paul Rubio | Photo: Sara Hanna | June 13, 2013
Celebrate your wedding with a five-star follow-up. These enviable honeymoon hot spots offer the best of the best—top-notch accommodations, amenities and service set in idyllic locales—all packaged for postnuptial bliss.
1. Otahuna Lodge, Christchurch, New Zealand
Located at the head of a secluded valley on New Zealand’s South Island, just a 25-minute drive from Christchurch International Airport, Otahuna Lodge offers newlyweds the quintessential New Zealand lodge experience in pastoral surrounds against the backdrop of the fluted cone of an ancient volcano.
THE COUPLE Romantic traditionalists
WHAT TO LOVE A Victorian dream house originally built in 1895, this luxury lodge—an hour south of Waipara Valley, one of New Zealand’s hottest wine regions—boasts seven suites with sheepskin rugs and bedside cookie jars magically refilled each day (evening turndown produces handmade chocolates and perfectly wrapped laundry from the day). Breakfast is served in the kitchen with a come-as-you-are vibe. Fresh baked breads, muffins and made-to-order eggs entice, as do specialty dishes (whatever you desire!). Communal dining for dinner in the opulent formal dining room, replete with a roaring fire and wine pairings, surpasses most resto experiences. More intimate meals for two are served at a private table in the sunken wine cellar, the cozy library, the drawing room turret or a location of choice. Catering to your every whim, staff master-crafts once-in-a-lifetime experiences based on your interests.
PACKAGE DEAL The Best of Canterbury begins with a three-night stay and continues with a welcome gift; one-hour massages for two; cooking lessons; a private picnic with a you-and-yours-only guided tour of Otahuna’s 30 acres; and either a private exploration of the Banks Peninsula, featuring volcanic harbors and the colonial fishing village of Akaroa (with a scenic harbor cruise), or of Arthur’s Pass National Park; plus a one-way journey on the TranzAlpine scenic railway. $3,200 for a suite, $4,395 for a master suite (May to September), otahuna.co.nz
2. Le Royal Monceau Raffles Paris
Located in the heart of Paris, a heartbeat away from the Champs-Élysées, this hotel, built in 1928 by the founders of the Miramar hotels in Biarritz and Cannes, embodies past and present Paris in grand fashion. Original architecture brilliantly blends with contemporary French design within 149 luxurious rooms and suites, including three 3,767-square-foot Presidential suites boasting private entrances—all echoing the rendezvous’ rich history, most illustriously revealed in its 1920s guest roster, which includes the likes of Josephine Baker and Ernest Hemingway.
THE COUPLE Culturists and art-lovers
WHAT TO LOVE The hotel has hosted and pampered prestigious luminaries for 80-plus years with a wealth of amenities and proximity—the best of Paris is but a whisper away. Couples seeking seclusion find it in luscious, whimsy-laced suites. Meals are experiences at the hotel’s two signature restaurants, La Cuisine (French) and Il Carpaccio (Italian)—both recently receiving a star apiece from the mighty Michelin guide. Sunday Royal Brunch is a must, as are cocktails in Philippe Starck’s Le Bar Long. Not to be outshined, The Katara Cinema, a 99-seat theater, is Europe’s most modern, state-of-the-art screening room.
PACKAGE DEAL On-arrival overtures include Champagne, flowers and a special heart-shaped cake by Pierre Hermé Paris. Fall for a grand buffet breakfast in award-winning La Cuisine, before settling in to the ultramod Spa My Blend by Clarins, for a 60-minute massage for the missus and endless time in the indoor pool, relaxation areas and workout room. See the hotel’s exclusive art concierge to arrange a just-the-two-of-you tour of the property’s private art collection, and save stogie time for the Viñales Club. Honeymoon packages start at $1,429 per night, leroyalmonceau.com
3. Capella Pedregal, Los Cabos
Making a dramatic architectural statement, Los Cabos’ newest ultraluxe resort straddles a craggy mountainside, protruding as a series of low-rise, rock-hewn sanctuaries with 66 rooms, suites and villas spilling onto swathes of stunning sands and sparkling, aquamarine seas.
THE COUPLE Sexy sophisticates
WHAT TO LOVE An in-suite plunge pool, colossal bathtub, fireplace and afternoon fix of guac ‘n’ chips and Coronas come standard. Loungers line the main pool’s shallow end, so expect to sunbathe with your feet wet, cocktail in hand. With the resort’s high-design furnishings and accessories available for purchase at its boutique, you can take your honeymoon back home.
PACKAGE DEAL The four-night Romance Under the Stars package includes a daily breakfast spread, round-trip airport transfers and swoon-worthy extras (a couple’s spa treatment, private dinner on the beach and more). Low-season rates start at $785 per night, capellahotels.com
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