A Fairy Tale Honeymoon

Suite accommodations at  Iconic Santorini.
Suite accommodations at
Iconic Santorini.

Europe is for lovers…

of amazing sites to see and beautiful places to be, of fairy tale cities and spectacular seaside resorts, of food and wine to savor, of sublime accommodations in regal castles and chateaux, or hotel hideaways with panoramic city or sea views. What’s not to love…especially when you’re in love.

buddha-bar hotel paris

There isn’t much to say about Paris’ seductive beauty that hasn’t already been said, so let’s just enjoy the fact that Paris remains France’s romantic piece de resistance—aka, the “City of Light.” Here, honeymooners can climb the steps of the Sacre Coeur for an incredible photo-op; see the sculpture of “The Kiss” in the Musee Rodin, one of 70 museums and sites where holders of Le Paris Museum Pass go right to the front of the line; lunch in the beautiful garden cafe of the Musee de la Vie Romantique (Museum of Romantics); and glide past illuminated Paris during a dinner cruise on the River Seine. A delightful place for honeymooning is at the new Buddha-Bar Hotel Paris. We stayed there recently and thought that the property oozes romance due to its surprisingly fine mix of neo-Asian design and details of the French joie de vivre style; black, red, and gold suites that remind one of an Oriental boudoir; marvelous mattresses and standalone soaking tubs; an onsite spa and a truly attentive staff; beautiful food served in the Le Vraymond restaurant; and luxury lounging day and evening in the luminous Le QU4TRE lounge/bar. Located in the heart of Faubourg Saint-Honore in Paris’ trendy 8th Arrondissement and occupying an 18th century hotel particulier, Buddha-Bar Hotel Paris is historic, hip, elegant and fun. Plus, it’s an easy walk to the Grand Palais, the Louvre Museum, the Tuileries Gardens, and the original Buddha Bar right across the street. Suite rates start at $575. buddhabarhotelparis.com

iconic santorini

Greece, the land of love, seems a natural destination for idyllic honeymoons. After all, it was in Greece where Eros—aka, Cupid the nimble-footed archer—united the hearts of lovers, and where Aphrodite—aka, Venus, the goddess of love—first inspired mankind with her divine beauty. Among the 2,000 islands sprinkled across turquoise seas, today, the Greek isle of Santorini is no stranger to romance, winning top slots year after year in honeymoon polls; the newest vote comes from U.S. News & World Report, naming the Greek isle “#1 Best Honeymoon Destination.”

The island’s newest romantic retreat is the Iconic Santorini, a boutique cave hotel. Situated on a spectacular hillside setting and carved literally from Santorini’s volcanic caldera wall, this tranquil hideaway has stunning views of the sea from each of its five hotel levels. Every room or suite is distinct and features cliffside terraces, with suites that have interior grotto pools. Located on the rim of a volcanic caldera with the Mediterranean sprawled out before it, this 22-room property is recreated from actual homes and shops in the whitewashed village of Imerovigli, so that all Iconic lodgings follow Santorini’s unique style of high-ceilinged caverns carved into the cliff. White arches and traditional fabrics blend with luxury amenities such as flat-screen TVs, JBL sound systems, iPod docking stations and over-sized, all-natural CocoMat bedding. Here, couples can bask in the sun by the infinity pool, with its own hot tub, dine on traditional home-style cooking in the restaurant with a view, and enjoy the gym, spa and even a couple’s massage. A helpful concierge will arrange a short drive for sunset cocktails in Oia or a sunset cruise with dinner. On offer is a 3-night Lovers’ Escapes package, starting at $3,493 and including a Suite with Grotto pool and personal terrace, private transfers on arrival/departure, fresh flowers, chocolates and a chilled bottle of Moet & Chandon Champagne, breakfast cooked to order and served on the terrace, a romantic candlelit dinner with local wine, and all hotel taxes. iconicsantorini.com

villa dubrovnik

Thanks in part to its heavy use as a filming location in “Game of Thrones,” Croatia has skyrocketed to the top of the charts when it comes to hotspot destinations. And it’s easy to see why. Billed as “the Mediterranean as it once was,” Croatia boasts a glorious Dalmatian Coast fringed by islands and magical walled cities such as Dubrovnik, as well as an interior blanketed with expansive fields of lavender, vineyards and quaint hill towns.

The place to hang one’s honeymoon hat is Dubrovnik, an imposing 1,200-year-old city and UNESCO World Heritage site that’s famous for its red-roofed Old City, its city walls and its Baroque architecture. The town beckons romantics with its unique ambiance and breathtaking views of the Adriatic coastline, especially from Villa Dubrovnik, nestled among pine, orange and lemon trees; surrounded by gardens of bougainvillea and oleander; and perched above a rocky coast overlooking the captivating and mesmerizing Adriatic Sea. All guestrooms and suites at this Small Luxury Hotels of the World property have king-size beds, stunning views of the surrounding waters and natural light pouring in through floor-to-ceiling glass doors on private balconies or terraces; suites have a private jacuzzi, too. Newlyweds can spend the days soaking up the sun, taking in the views while lounging by the flower-ringed pool, or relaxing at the serene spa—recommend the Diamond Bed massage treatment—which has an indoor pool. The evenings come with sunset views from the rooftop SkyBar before dining on seafood at the villa’s Michelin star-worthy restaurant. Honeymooners will find that hotel amenities may suit their discovery spirits to a tee: Walk to the outer gates of the Old City in 15 minutes, or opt for the hotel’s complimentary Vaporetto water taxi to town to explore a medieval wonderland of many churches, palaces and monasteries. Accommodations are priced from $303, including boat transfers to town. villa-dubrovnik.hr ●