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Picking the perfect honeymoon is no easy feat—countless romantic destinations, endless hotel options, limited vacation time and the struggle-is-real challenge of finding the perfect place to please both you and your new spouse. Where to begin? Well, right here. BRIDES teamed up with the A-list agents at Virtuoso—a global network of more than 15,000 luxury-travel specialists—to find the most romantic, luxe hot spots in the world. Whether you're looking for bucket-list hotels and resorts, far-flung beaches, the top cruise lines for couples, inexpensive honeymoon ideas or unexpected honeymoon-worthy locales, you’ve come to the right spot. Presenting our 2017 Honeymoon Awards—dive in to see the best hotels in Europe!
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Le Sirenuse, Positano, Italy
The winding drive south from Naples to Positano can take nearly two hours, but the magic of Italy will seep into your veins within minutes. As you pull up to this legendary still-family-run hotel, you’ll ask yourselves a series of questions. We’ve answered them for you here: Yes, that’s a village built on a 400-foot cliffside. Yes, that’s your colorfully tiled suite overlooking the Bay of Positano. Yes, that’s 400 candles illuminating dinner at the Michelin- starred restaurant, La Sponda. Yes, it’s okay to have a glass of prosecco at noon.
Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris, France
It's hard to beat the classic romance that is a honeymoon in Paris. And when it comes to classic Parisian hotels, few can match the landmark Four Seasons Hotel George V (or the "George sank," as those in-the-know call it), with its 244 decadent rooms and suites, three-star Michelin French restaurant, 50,000-bottle wine cellar, Eiffel Tower views, and ideal location just off the Champs-Elysées. If you thought that was enough extravagance, just wait until you step into the lobby and see the ever-changing, OTT floral installations by rockstar artist Jeff Leatham.
Villa D'Este, Lake Como, Italy
Villa D'Este has a reputation as one of Italy's most historic grande dame hotels—and one of the best hotels in Europe, for that matter. You'll see why when you arrive by car (or boat!) and catch site of the two former mansions (now home to the 152 classically designed guest rooms and suites), 25 acres of gardens (filled with secluded nooks for a picnic or private candlelit dinner), spacious lakefront terrace (perfect for a champagne cocktail nightcap), and the most Insta-worthy pool you've ever seen (that stretches out onto the lake). No wonder it's a fave of the Clooneys.
Belmond Hotel Cipriani, Venice, Italy
Set on one end of Giudecca Island, the superluxe Belmond Hotel Cipriani has a private boat waiting whenever you feel like wandering Venice's 100 isles and lagoons. Don't miss dinner at Oro, an Italian restaurant (natch) with Murano chandeliers and a Michelin-star chef. Or hit up Cip's Club, where the only thing better than the food are the views of famed St. Mark's Square.
Since opening in 1898, the Ritz Paris has hosted countless famous faces, including Coco Chanel and Ernest Hemingway, for whom a suite and bar are named, respectively. Honeymooners the world over breathed a sigh of relief when the all-suite property reopened last year following a four-year, multimillion-dollar renovation. Now, they can indulge in high-tech treatments at the world's first Chanel Spa and learn the secrets to perfect macarons and petits-fours at the Ritz Escoffier cooking school. Parfait!
Belmond Hotel Caruso, Ravello, Italy
If you're looking to soak in Mediterranean views from an infinity pool perched high above the Amalfi Coast, look no further than this former 11th century palace hotel in quiet Ravello. Hang out by the pool, where attendants come around hourly offering fresh fruit and Evian spritzes. Then make the ultimate game-time decision: Spend the afternoon wandering the hotel's terraced gardens or tour the Amalfi Coast aboard its private wooden boat? (Hint: Do both.)
Hotel Santa Caterina, Amalfi Coast, Italy
The Gambardella family has owned and operated this 54-room Amalfi mainstay for more than 100 years, hosting such famous couples as Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton and Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. (RIP Brangelina.) Old World Italy is everywhere you turn, from the antique furnishings to the hand-painted ceramic tiles, the bougainvillea-filled gardens to the panoramic views of the Bay of Salerno. Have breakfast at the waterfront restaurant, make an afternoon stop in town, and then relax on a lounge chair at the beach club, built into the cliffside.
Ashford Castle, Ireland
Drive two hours from Dublin through the bucolic countryside of County Mayo and you'll arrive at this 13th-century castle—originally owned by the Guinness family—set on 350 acres and overlooking Lough Corrib. You'll immediately feel like you've stepped onto the set of Outlander. Each of the 80 individually designed rooms melds old-school furnishings with modern amenities like giant soaking tubs and heated floors. (It's a stone castle, after all.) Beyond the luxe interiors, Ashford is known for its supreme service, bevy of outdoor activities (falconry, hiking, boating on the lake), state-of-the-art spa treatments, and unique amenities like complimentary film screenings every night at 9 p.m. Walk seven minutes across the grounds and you'll also find the Lodge at Ashford Castle, an 18th-century Georgian house with 64 bedrooms (that comes at a less hefty pricetag, if you're looking to save).
Belmond Hotel Splendido, Portofino, Italy
Not to be confused with Positano, that other Italian coastal town, Portofino is set on the Ligurian Riviera, a favorite of Milanese jet-setters like Giorgio Armani, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana. (Reason being that it's a relatively short drive south from the city center.) Once you make your way along the one-lane road that dead-ends in Portofino, you'll understand why. But here's a cheat-sheet: First, Portofino has a distinctly boutique, anti-Amalfi quality, and yet it's still filled with high-end designer boutiques and fancy restaurants. Second, there's the Belmond Hotel Splendido, which has a quintessentially Italian throwback vibe—spacious outdoor terraces overlooking the bay, giant yachts floating in the distance, large tile-floored suites, picturesque views, perfectly manicured grounds, and top-notch service. Speaking of service, ask the concierge to hook you up with an authentic cooking class with Chef Rocco at Niasca Portofino in town. Don't ask why. You'll thank us later.