More newly-weds are swapping a traditional honeymoon for a bijou city break – AKA, the mini-moon. Here are my top five romance-laden city mini-moon destinations…
This magical, walled medieval city is the perfect mini-moon setting. I love the ancient red-roofed buildings, getting lost in the maze of cobbled streets, and people watching on the Placa, the city’s pretty main street.
I recommend checking in to cliff-perched, modernist hotel Villa Dubrovnik. You’ll enjoy a sophisticated stay with a private beach and a free boat shuttle from the bay to the Old Town.
Meander through Dubrovnik’s forts and palaces, zip from islands to hidden coves by yacht, and take a cooling sundown dip in the Adriatic’s azure waters.
Yes, I know; a city mini-moon break in Paris is as original as receiving a heart-shaped box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day. But there’s no denying the city’s enduring charm. A hand-in-hand stroll through the Tuileries gardens and a shared sunset watched from the steps of Sacré Cœur will cajole the Casanova out of any cynic.
Saint James Paris hotel stole my heart with its quirky decor. Set in a residential quarter, it’s peaceful and private, with a gourmet Sunday brunch to lazily savour. The tented garden bar and lounge, inspired by the hotel’s history as the site of the first hot-air-balloon launch, is as theatrical as Moulin Rouge!, with a touch less tragedy.
If you have a blow-out budget, Le Royal Monceau Raffles is set for stolen kisses by the Seine and serves up dreamy Pierre Hermé pâtisserie.
New York, USA
This bold and brash on-the-go city may seem too frantic for lingering romantic moments. However, when you’re not engrossed in MOMA and the Guggenheim’s colossal art collections, or tucking in to world-renowned cuisine, there are serene spots to slip away to. Central Park is at its loveliest in spring or autumn, when the leaves begin to turn and the weather is just right.
Sultry NoMad Hotel in Midtown wowed me, with the low-lit restaurant and bar decked out in turn-of-the-century grandeur. Its vintage-trinket-clad rooms would make any Brooklyn hipster seethe with envy, and the roll-top bath tubs are big enough for two.
The James New York‘s rooftop pool and bar offers the ultimate city view, and its Soho locale is a foodie haven with celebrated restaurants and hip boutiques to explore.
Going all out? The Crosby Street Hotel‘s chic Kit Kemp interiors, secluded courtyard and super central location (just north of Little Italy) are worth blowing your budget on.
From its minaret-speared skyline to the meandering Bosphorus River cutting a swathe through its European and Asian halves, Istanbul is an idyllic setting for a wholly unique bijou city mini-moon.
There’s a cache of chic stays for hip just-hitched couples. The House Hotels (Vault Karakoy, House Hotel Nisantasi, House Hotel Bosphorus and House Hotel Galatasaray – the most centrally located of the group) have reasonably priced rooms, either contemporary and design-led or decked out in revamped Ottoman opulence. I’d recommend booking a suite with panoramic Sea of Marmara and city views for late-nights nestled on your terrace.
Spend your days sweeping through the gilded and Zellige-tiled rooms of Topkapi Palace, staring agog at lavish mosque interiors. Then, feast like a sultan in a riverside restaurant or one of the trendy top-flight eateries perched high above the city.
When experiencing a romantic city mini-moon in the cradle of the Renaissance you require a suitably aesthetic stay. Revamped 15th-century villa Il Salviatino, a 10-minute drive from the city, impresses with its tree-lined hilltop setting, enormous doge-worthy rooms and a stash of 19th-century frescoes throughout. I recommend couples splurge on the more than 100sq m Affresco Suite. With graciously painted ceilings, original artwork on the walls and a two-person carving-festooned stone bath tub, it feels more like your own private palazzo.
A 20-minute walk from the Ponte Vecchio, close to the beautiful Boboli Gardens, is equally OTT Grand Hotel Villa Cora. Baron Von Oppenheim built this stately stay for his wife in the 19th century, so romance is in its DNA. Stay on the piano nobile (first floor) to slumber under a cherub-filled fresco and spy the luxuriant gardens from the window.
Guest post by Claire Wilson of Mr & Mrs Smith
Images from Mr & Mrs Smith