Stunning views of Big Sur's cliffs can be seen throughout the property.
This week we’re taking a behind-the-scenes look at the Ventana Inn & Spa in Big Sur, which hosted billionaire Sean Parker’s nuptials this past weekend. Parker, of Napster and Facebook fame, wed singer-songwriter (and baby momma) Alexandra Lenas in a ceremony at the resort on June 1. Situated on more than 200 acres of picturesque oceanfront land, the property looks like a rustic cabin nestled in the woods — making it a gorgeous setting for a wedding. And Parker isn’t the first big-wig to notice that fact either: Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied tied the knot here last year (albeit in a much more low-key ceremony). Find out what makes Ventana so swoon-worthy — and get details on Parker’s $10 million wedding — after the jump » Read More »
Couples take note: It’s not necessary to leave the country to experience some of the world’s most romantic hotels. We love exotic locales, but those looking for something closer to home can find some truly decadent escapes right in our own backyard. Our five favorite picks all have lovely waterfront settings on oceans, waterfalls, or lagoons, as well as pampering service and ultra-luxurious accommodations. Check ‘em out!
The Cottage Suite - River View, Inn at Palmetto Bluff
This “inn” in Carolina Lowcountry, really more akin to a sprawling estate, provides a one-of-a-kind experience that uniquely blends southern history and almost otherworldly natural beauty: rivers, misty marshes, old oaks draped with wispy Spanish moss, and salty breezes. The main hotel building looks like a classic southern mansion, and the 50 Cottages and Cottage Suites are simultaneously homey and utterly luxurious, with working fireplaces, screen porches, and gorgeous bathrooms. The multi-bedroom Village Homes are also luxurious, but lack some of the nuances of the cottages. Guests can enjoy a range of recreational facilities, including golf, bicycling, tennis, croquet, kayaking, and swimming (in the two pools), and the luxury spa is highly acclaimed. It’s not an overstatement to say that the Inn at Palmetto Bluff is one of the most special properties in the entire country.
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Some hotel weddings are gorgeous, some not so much, but they often all kind of feel the same. That’s where we come in — we’ve discovered some of the most beautiful and unique wedding venues in hotels around the world. Whether you want to say “I do” on safari, in a cloud forest, or at a Gatsby-esque mansion, these hotels deliver on the romance. Check them out here, and get inspired for your own big day (or vow renewal)!
Chapel in the middle of a rainforest? Check that off your list.
For outdoorsy couples looking for an authentic eco-lodge experience on their wedding day, Selva Negra is the real deal. This family-run organic farm and coffee estate in Nicaragua has accommodations ranging from hostel rooms to private bungalows, as well as a lush, cool mountain setting that’s rich with wildlife (expect howler monkeys, lizards, agoutis, and all types of birds). Couples can get married at the on-site chapel — which the owners built for their own daughter’s wedding — beneath Selva Negra’s cloud forest. Read More »
With three pools at the resort, couples will have plenty of places to slip away to during their stay.
The Four Seasons Resort Nevis sits on a large, attractive beach on the small, secluded, and relatively unknown island of Nevis. Nevis is a tiny island in the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, separated from St. Kitts by just a two-mile stretch of sea. It features beautiful waters, friendly people, and lush rainforests. Less developed than St. Kitts, the island’s remote location makes it a popular choice among newlyweds.
Couples staying at the resort — many of whom choose to wed in this far-off locale, as well — can celebrate their recent nuptials with a private dinner on the beach — complete with their own chef, server, and entertainment — or opt to set sail on a romantic sunset cruise. The gorgeous rooms here are a romantic highlight: The updated decor has a Ralph Lauren-like look, with a blue-and-yellow scheme accented by pops of color and dark wood furniture, while the massive bathrooms feature separate showers and tubs. Plus, almost all rooms have beautiful views, of either mountains or the ocean, which couples can enjoy from their expansive private decks. Check out more honeymoon-inspired photos of the Four Seasons Resort Nevis » Read More »
The Standard appears to sprout right out of the West Village, making it perfect for the quintessential NYC couple.
On this Wedding Wednesday, we’re showing off our West Village neighbor, the luxe Standard New York from renowned hotelier Andre Balazs. Balazs capitalized on the popular, elevated High Line park that opened in the summer of 2009 when he debuted this feat of design prowess: His 338-room hotel is propped up on huge concrete stilts so that it straddles, and hovers above, the park. For this, the Standard has garnered the praise of architecture critics, who marvel at how, from inside the building, one seems to be floating in the air.
The interior design is just as striking as the architecture, featuring hip, modern furniture and open bathrooms with deep soaking tubs or huge rainfall showers which, surrounded by clear glass panes instead of shower curtains, create the impression of bathing beside the Hudson River. Plus, floor-to-ceiling windows offer stunning views of the city. (The windows also offer views from the outside in, making for some interesting exhibitionism, if couples are into that sort of thing.)
For a wedding, The Standard’s unique architecture makes for a truly one-of-a-kind ceremony. This is a dream location for the stylish couple (with deep pockets) looking to indulge in the impeccable, but laid-back, city-chicness that is the Standard. Possible ceremony and reception spaces include the High Line Room, which features a covered terrace overlooking High Line Park and the Hudson River, and a stunning, exclusive rooftop space (which might require that the happy couple have some celebrity connections). Still, service at the hotel is never stuffy, nor short of excellence. Check out more wedding inspired photos of The Standard New York here >> Read More »
This luxury pick in Guatemala lies in the shadow of four volcanoes (two of them active -- for a truly hot honeymoon).
For this edition of Honeymoon Hotel of the Week, we’re heading to La Reunion Antigua Golf Resort in Guatemala. An outstanding luxury boutique located in the shadow of four volcanoes (two of them active — for a truly hot honeymoon), La Reunion is about 30 minutes from the colonial city of Antigua. Luxurious facilities and incredible volcano views are highlights here that the bride and groom are sure bask in during their stay. There’s also a fabulous infinity-edge pool and a Pete Dye-designed golf course, if couples feel like stretching their legs. Plus, the upscale restaurant and rooftop bar both have volcano views. The 26 rooms mix elegant decor with hand-woven textiles from local artisans to create comfortable, romantic spaces. Featuring private patios with infinity-edge swimming pools and fantastic bathrooms with soaking tubs and private outdoor showers, they are perfect for couples.
Honeymooners should consider booking the Romantic Package, which includes a bottle of sparkling wine and either a relaxing couples massage in your private suite or a piece of jewelry designed exclusively for La Reunion by Silvia Asturias. See more honeymoon-inspired photos of La Reunion after the jump »
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Built in 1900, this neoclassical mansion is the perfect place for a true Southern wedding.
The upscale, 48-room Mansion at Judges’ Hill is steeped in Southern history, making it an ideal spot for a wedding, darlin’. Housed in the neoclassical Goodall Wooten House — dating back to 1900 and listed in the National Register of Historic Places — the hotel combines old-fashioned charm with modern comforts. And the mansion, with its columned facade and wide veranda, looks like it was picked up from a storied estate and dropped on the residential street southwest of the University of Texas, just a 5-minute drive from downtown Austin, where it sits. The common areas maintain the elegance instituted by the entrance with hard-wood floors, coffered ceilings, white wainscoting, rich rugs, and original artwork. The library, a small room off the bar, is cozy, and the dining room features pretty crystal chandeliers. The rooms are perhaps a bit less impressive than the public spaces; they’re quaint, but not quite luxurious.
But for weddings, the Mansion pulls out all of the stops. The staff, which has coordinated many a wedding in the past, is dedicated to making the bride and groom as relaxed as possible on the big day. They assist couples with menu planning, ceremony and reception set-up, and ceremony personalization so you’ll leave your own stamp on the Mansion’s grand backdrop. There are eight reception sites available, the most popular being the grand ballroom (seats 50 to 250 guests), the Goodall Wooten House (seats 50 guests), and the central courtyard. See more wedding-inspired photos of the Mansion at Judge’ Hill here » Read More »
Views abound at this luxurious hideaway tucked into Jamaica's famous Blue Mountain.
Jamaica’s Strawberry Hill offers couples a remote hideaway in a gorgeous setting, making it a top pick for a tranquil honeymoon. This former coffee plantation, nestled among the steep and winding hills of the island’s famous Blue Mountain, is a little oasis above the city of Kingston. Owned by music-maker Chris Blackwell, whose work with the likes of Bono, Stevie Wonder, and Bob Marley has made the hotel a celeb magnet, Strawberry Hill might be the island’s most isolated property, offering plenty of intimacy and privacy, with just 12 cottages spread across more than 26 acres. But the hotel also has the features of a larger property: an expansive spa, a breezy restaurant and bar, a hilltop pool, lush gardens, and ample relaxation space — all of which feature panoramic vistas of the jungle, city, and ocean below.
If you’re loving Strawberry Hill, but are concerned about finding the cash to pay for a stay at this luxe spot, check out wanderable.com. On this awesome website, you can create a honeymoon registry that — rather than getting you the boring ol’ pots and pans — will ask wedding guests to give gifts that will help pay for hotel stays and activities during your honeymoon. So forget a floral China set you’ll never use and opt to stay an extra night, upgrade to the honeymoon suite, and enjoy another poolside cocktail with gifts from your Wanderable registry, so you can have the perfect honeymoon! But first, check out more honeymoon-worthy photos of Strawberry Hill here »
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The Outlook Inn is one of the most romantic spots on the San Juan Islands.
Couples have a lot of reasons to be attracted to the Evergreen State. From sleek Seattle boutiques to secluded inns on the San Juan Islands, there’s a little something for every romantic in this corner of the Pacific Northwest. Outdoorsy couples will love hiking in the romantic Snoqualmie Valley, in the shadow of one of Washington’s many waterfalls, while city-slickers will fall in love with Seattle’s funky food scene and vibrant nightlife. So if you’re planning a romantic getaway with that special someone to Washington State, be sure to consider these hotels ready for romance.
The pool area is an inviting, romantic spot ready to be transformed into a picturesque reception site.
Owned by the same couple for decades, the historic Gallery Inn is a charming boutique hotel in Old San Juan, perfect for an intimate exchanging of “I dos.” Run like an informal B&B, guests at the Gallery Inn are greeted by name, much of what the restaurant serves is grown in the garden, and no two rooms are the same (though they do share lots of Spanish-style charm). But also like a B&B, the hotel lacks amenities such as TVs and a fitness center. The property’s main draws include the convenient Old San Juan location, ocean views from the wine deck, and the artsy, laid-back feel. The pool is also a picturesque spot: Built around ancient walls that have stood on the property for hundreds of years and featuring two water falls, the space is utterly unique. The innkeepers are both artists, and it’s evident they put thought into every detail of the restoration — expect beautiful old-world details like brick floors, wood beam ceilings, rich rugs, sculptures, and antique knickknacks.
Weddings at The Gallery Inn are as unique as this eclectic property. The inn’s dramatic spaces — including the candlelit Sunken Wedding Garden, panoramic rooftop deck, and Ventian-style music room — serve as the romantic backdrops for wedding parties. Weddings held here can be intimate affairs of just ten people or large parties of 150 guests (though with just 26 rooms on-site, some attendees will have to seek lodging elsewhere). An on-site event coordinator will aid couples in customizing a menu, arranging table settings, and selecting florists, photographers, and musicians. Check out more wedding inspired photos of The Gallery Inn here »
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