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BridalGuide - Honeymoons

Amanyara: My Favorite Hotel

In the decade that I’ve been traveling the world as an editor, I’ve seen a ton of hotels. I skipped around a bunch before I had the official title and in those days I also tested out hotels, motels and Holiday Inns—a lot. Every hotel has a positive (there was a place I saw in Cancún a few weeks ago that had eh rooms but an awesome beach and beautiful common spaces) and every hotel has, what my mom calls, a “yeah, but.” You know, that waiter who ruined the whole vibe of a fancy spot in Marrakech or the resort fees that are tacked on to every stay at a Hawaiian resort.

But Amanyara, an exclusive enclave of intimate pavilions and a collection of private villas on the island of Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos had all of the awesome and none of the yeah buts. (Ok there was onethe threat of having to sit next to Christy Turlington on the beach! Thankfully, we only saw her husband all covered up.) 

And I’m willing to say in print, on the Internet, that my two-night stay at this little slice of beachfront heaven was my most spectacular resort experience. The food was amazing, the accommodations were beyond cushy, the service was stellar, the snorkeling is awesome, and there is something in the air that just makes you sit back and relax. 

Our room was one of the lake-view pavilions that boasts an indoor-outdoor living spaces and loads of spots for lounging. In fact, the entire resort is packed with comfy sofas just calling your name.

One of the highlights of our two-night stay was a surprise romantic private dinner on the beach. We had our own little bonfire, heaps of stars above and the most attentive waiter in the world, Josh.

We also loved sailing around the cove and snorkeling at a reef located a few minutes from shore. But mostly, we loved the ability to totally and absolutely relax, a feeling that is so foreign to me and my overworked husband. For more information, go to amanyara.com.  

—Jenna Mahoney

Photos courtesy of Amanyara Hotel

Author: travel
Posted: April 5, 2012, 7:11 pm

Melissa Joan Hart and Mark Wilkerson: Honeymoon in Florence

Villa Cora, Florence, Italy

When actress Melissa Joan Hart, star of television's Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, fell under the spell of bella Italy while shooting Sabrina Goes to Rome in 1998, she vowed that, one day, she'd be married there. Never underestimate the powers of a witch, even a make-believe one: Last July, Hart exchanged "I dos" with musician Mark Wilkerson in a magical ceremony at Florence's Grand Hotel Villa Cora.

The opulent villa lies just a 10-minute drive across the Arno River from Florence, and yet a world away from the urban bustle. It was built in 1865 by a baron for his beloved baroness, and the pair hosted many lavish balls there. It's easy to recall this storybook past on a stroll through the sumptuous public salons, with their glittering chandeliers. While each one of the 47 guest rooms is furnished differently, all retain an air of 19th-century charm. Guests can swim in the villa's aqua-colored pool and play golf or tennis nearby.

Villa Cora provides complimentary transportation to the city center, where you can wander through the Uffizi museum, which houses the finest art collection in the country. (Even Sabrina herself would be hard-pressed to conjure up this astounding trove of treasures.) Then, hit the shops, especially the gold jewelry boutiques on the Ponte Vecchio bridge. Return to the villa to dine on Italian specialties at the hotel's tavern. With glasses of Prosecco, Italy's sparkling wine, you can toast to your enchanted honeymoon. For more information visit villacora.it.

Author: adminbg
Posted: May 6, 2010, 7:00 pm

Christy Turlington and Edward Burns: Honeymoon on the Mexican Riviera

Las Alamandas Resort, Mexico

What do Hollywood's hottest look for in a honeymoon? Luxury, relaxation and—most importantly—privacy. The Las Alamandas resort, on Mexico's Riviera, may be low-key and casual, but it's as secluded as can be. This posh hideaway sits on 150 acres just south of Puerto Vallarta, and has only 11 rooms. Perhaps that's why it's been the choice of some of Tinsel Town's elite, including Christy Turlington and Edward Burns (who spent their honeymoon in the Presidential Suite), and the former couple Brad Pitt and Jennifer Anniston, who rang in the millennium there.

With a staff-to-guest ratio of four to one, and not a creature in sight save the falcons in the property's bird sanctuary, it is clear that pure escape is what makes this spot so sweet. And while there can be as many as a couple dozen other guests, the place remains quiet—some visitors claim not to have run into anyone else during their entire stay.

Hidden among lush greenery, the stucco guest houses, with their thatched awnings, blend into the jungle. Inside, they're decorated in the shocking pinks, sunny yellows and stunning oranges of the Mexican palette. A hacienda theme plays throughout, from the straw roofs to the overstuffed sofas to the brightly colored tiled bathtubs. And while you could simply hide out in your room, sunning yourself on the terrace and ordering, well, just about anything you can think of from room service, there's plenty to do. The resort has a 60-foot freshwater pool, complete with massage jets, and terry cloth robes for guests. Farther afield, take an invigorating horseback ride, go deep-sea fishing or request a picnic lunch—the staff will take you by boat to a secluded beach where you can lay out the spread.

After a long day of peace and quiet, dine at the resort's Oasis Restaurant. Fresh fish, such as dorade or tilapia, is brought in daily by local fishermen and is served with mint, cactus or corn. The menu also includes many dishes made with the organic fruit and vegetables—including mangos and chilies—grown right on the property. You can choose from a selection of Spanish and Chilean wines, but we suggest the Mexican Monte Xanic Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon. Order a bottle, then sit back and listen to the rhythm of the Mexican music! For more information visit alamandas.com.

Author: adminbg
Posted: May 6, 2010, 6:58 pm

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban: Honeymoon in French Polynesia

St. Regis Resort, Bora Bora

If you're looking to go all-out on your honeymoon, take a peek at the new St. Regis Resort, Bora Bora. Of its 100 villas, 76 are built over water and the rest are set along the white sands of Bora Bora in French Polynesia. The property's remote location, surrounded by a turquoise lagoon and lush hills and valleys, was enough to entice Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, who honeymooned on the resort's Royal Estate, a secluded 13,000-square-foot villa with its own beach and spa.

But you don't have to be a star to feel like a VIP guest. You'll be pampered to the utmost in any of the villas, which are enhanced by yellow willow-wood accents, handwoven fabrics and regional art. Amenities include plasma TVs, a private outdoor shower and terraced whirlpools.

For more indulgence, visit Spa Mira Mira and request its Hina or Tane spa suites, which are specifically designed for couples. Here they can savor a private hammam, a Turkish steam room, and an outdoor stone tub. Try the Tahitian Ve'a Ve'a hot-stone massage à deux, in which warmed basalt stones are dipped in coconut oil and placed on acupressure points (from $300 per couple). Other activities include a lagoon safari ($90 per person), complete with a coral-reef snorkeling excursion and a picnic on a private island.

You'll want to be back in time for dinner at the resort's overwater Lagoon Restaurant, which offers a breathtaking view of Bora Bora's Mount Otemanu. Dishes like grilled moonfish with fresh mango and toasted almonds (from $45 per person) are often on the menu. Conclude your evening with a romantic cruise aboard a luxury catamaran (from $72 per person), from which you can take in a gorgeous—and priceless—sunset. For more information visit stregis.com.

Author: adminbg
Posted: May 6, 2010, 6:55 pm

Marcia Cross & Tom Mahoney: Honeymoon at a California Retreat

Ritz-Carlton, Pasadena, CA

For a four-star honeymoon retreat in a picturesque mountain setting, check into the 392-room Ritz-Carlton, Huntington Hotel & Spa in Pasadena, California. Nestled in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, the hotel was the wedding reception venue of choice for actress Marcia Cross and husband Tom Mahoney.

It's easy to see why: This Spanish mission-style treasure, built in 1907, recently underwent a $19 million renovation, adding amenities like marble baths, Egyptian-cotton linens and feather beds to its guest rooms and seven cottages, while preserving its antique furniture and collection of 17th- to 19th-century paintings. In the Lobby Lounge, you can enjoy afternoon tea to the sweet strains of a piano or harp.

When you're ready for some activity, play a game of tennis on one of the three courts, or rent a pair of bicycles ($10 per hour) and explore the 23-acre property. A covered bridge connects the main building to the tennis courts and cottages—be sure to admire the California landscape paintings on the walls. At the spa, indulge in the Bride and Groom Package, which features a couple's massage, facials and aromatherapy treatments ($965 per couple). Nearby, you can also check out Pasadena's Rose Bowl Stadium, head to Beverly Hills and window shop on Rodeo Drive, or visit the lively Santa Monica pier.

Then head back to the hotel for a romantic dinner at The Dining Room. Menu options include ahi tuna and foie gras ($21 per person), and hazelnut and poached-pear crunch cake ($12 per person). Later in the evening, stroll through the beautiful Japanese Gardens—just the spot for moonlit kisses. For more information call 800-241-3333 or visit ritzcarlton.com.

Author: adminbg
Posted: May 6, 2010, 6:52 pm

Diane Neal and Marcus Fitzgerald: Honeymoon in Dominican Republic

Hideaway Beach Resort, Dominican Republic

If you're imagining a honeymoon spot tucked away from the hustle and bustle of city life, consider staying at the 19-room Hideaway Beach Resort, near the town of Cabarete in the Dominican Republic. The resort's ideal for couples seeking a secluded retreat—which may be just the reason Diane Neal, of NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and former model Marcus Fitzgerald held their destination wedding there in July 2005.

The décor of the 15 guest rooms in the main building, as well as that of the four private villas, which have their own plunge pools and terraces, is influenced by the country's laid-back tropical style. Each room features woven-wicker furniture and beautiful terra-cotta floors, and all come with a full kitchen and two private balconies.

Surfers will be pleased to learn that Cabarete is among the best places in the Caribbean to catch a wave; these waters are also perfect for scuba diving ($25 per person through the resort). Or, enjoy a horseback ride along the shore ($15 per person through the resort). Honeymooners may also want to indulge in a complimentary in-room couple's massage, performed by the resort's masseur.

For dinner, head to Moran's, a restaurant on property that offers both local and American cuisines. Try the popular surf-and-turf, consisting of a seven-ounce lobster tail and a filet mignon served in a lobster demi-glace ($47.50 per person).

And for dessert, share the decadent banana flambé! After savoring the great food and soaking up the intimate setting, you may want to stay in this heavenly hideaway forever! For more information visit hideawaybeachresort.com.

Author: adminbg
Posted: May 6, 2010, 6:47 pm

Erinn Bartlett and Oliver Hudson: Honeymoon in Paris

Hotel Montalembert, Paris, France

If cobblestone streets lined with colorful cafés summon the romantic in you, then the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area in Paris might be just your honeymoon haven. A historic landmark on the city's Left Bank, the 56-room Hotel Montalembert offers guests the perfect Parisian experience.

Its prime location and old-world charm were enough to entice CBS's Rules of Engagement star Oliver Hudson and actress Erinn Bartlett (featured in the film Rumor Has It) to honeymoon there in June 2006.

This luxurious hotel blends early 20th-century antiques with contemporary amenities. In each room, you'll find elegant bronze light fixtures that illuminate photographs and engravings, taupe- and cinnamon-colored Egyptian cotton linens, a flat-screen satellite TV and an iPod with Bose speakers.

Just minutes from the hotel, you can explore the area's art galleries and antiques shops and stroll past famous cafés. Be sure to have a light meal at Les Deux Magots, the restaurant of choice in the 1950s for such luminaries as the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre and novelist Simone de Beauvoir. You'll also want to visit the Pont Neuf, which is the city's oldest stone bridge and connects the Left and Right banks, and stop by the Square du Vert Galant, a small park with magnificent views of the River Seine and the Louvre Museum.

As night falls, return to the hotel and order a bottle of Bordeaux from the extensive wine list at Le Restaurant. And try a tasting portion (dégustation) or larger servings of Limousin beef tenderloin with porcini mushrooms, followed by a caramelized apple turnover. Later, retreat to the library for a rendezvous by the fireplace. Ah, très romantique! For more information visit montalembert.com or call 866-376-7831.

Author: adminbg
Posted: May 6, 2010, 6:44 pm