Sweethearts seeking a stylish honeymoon packed with tempting eateries, shops and a sightseeing bonanza should opt for an action-packed city break. Here are our top picks…
The quintessential romantic city of culture, couture and culinary excellence deserves its reputation, with its cosy cafés, busy boulevards, Michelin-starred dining, stunning Seine and designer boutiques. Haute hotels prominently perched centreville include the Four Seasons George V, or the Hotel de Crillon, whilst fashionistas favour boutique-chic Hotel Costes or Pershing Hall.
Gastronomes head to Alain Ducasse Au Plaza Athénée, the jaw-dropping Cristal Room Baccarat or Pierre Gagnaire, but for more boutique brasserie-style dining, saunter to Bastille stalwart Chez Paul or the supremely tongue-in-cheek Derriere. Let your hair down post-wedding at the Black Calvados Hotel Costes, or VIP Club.
The Pompidou Centre and Louvre are must-sees, as are the Catacombs. Château de Versailles is the textbook perfect day trip, and Rue St Honore a shopper’s dream. Paris is magical in spring, or join the Bastille Day fanfare on July 14.
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This sun-filled city is home to boutique shopping, elegant Cape Dutch buildings, pristine beaches, the iconic Table Mountain and, for the wine-lover in you, Stellenbosch. As a sought-after city break, Cape Town is as cosmopolitan as it is cool. For scenic sightseeing, head to Lion’s Head, Devil’s Peak or the Cape of Good Hope. For bedding down, the grand Cape Grace, Mount Nelson, the African-contemporary One&Only Cape Town or honeymooner’s favourite Ellerman House hotels are all worthy luxury contenders.
The Victoria & Albert Waterfront has a plethora of people-watching bars and eateries, or book ahead at Colombe (possibly the best restaurant in town), Tokara (with amazing views of Table Mountain) or buzzy Mano’s. Robben Island, notorious for the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela, is a sobering but essential stop. Beautiful people pose at Clifton and Fourth beaches, relax at Camp’s Bay and shop at the Constantina Village or V&A Waterfront malls.
Gales hit from September to November and tourists descend from December to January, so for better pricing and weather, avoid these months.
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Have your silver screen moment at The Beverly Wilshire, the rock‘n’roll Chateau Marmont, slick Mondrian or the ‘Pink Palace’ Beverly Hills Hotel, while flashing the cash on the big brands on Rodeo Drive. Starlets ignore diets at Madeo, Matsuhisa and Mr Chow restaurants, while celeb-spotters find a table on the outdoor terrace at The Ivy. Stroll down the Hollywood Walk of Fame, explore Santa Monica’s beachside shops and cafés and then head to the Getty Museum for a culture fix.
Ashton Kutchner’s Geisha House is the bar to pop to, Crimson to bop in and The Terrace at Sunset Tower Hotel is perfect for posing. The Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Music Hall should be on your tour-map, then hop over the road to the Museum of Contemporary Art. Pampering is top of the agenda on a honeymoon, so head to Halle Berry’s favourite Kinara Spa. For a taste of the real Hollywood dream, book the Warner Bros VIP Tour for a look behind-the-scenes on their movie sets. October is warm and relatively tourist free, but spring and autumn are wonderful weather-wise.
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Words: Natasha Faruque
Images: Getty, Alain Potignon/Paris Tourist Office, CapeTown Tourism