MANDARIN ORIENTAL, MARRAKECH
Marrakech is one of my all time favourite destinations that always seems to draw me back. The accommodation in the famous red city varies from basic to another level of high end. You can see an example of my experience of the latter here. But perhaps what I love the most is the almost guaranteed heat, sunshine and 4 hour plane journey. I recently enjoyed my first stay with the Mandarin Oriental hotel chain, in Miami and was completely blown away by the service, design and attention to detail, which is partly why it’s Marrakech sibling is the top of my list for a mini moon destination. Mandarin Oriental Marrakech is another example of a stylish hideaway which also boasts private villa accommodations, all complete with their own pools. Despite being situated within close proximity to the medina (just a short drive away) the hotel is set within fifty acres of olive groves, palms and lush gardens, offering the best of the vibrant city life combined with total privacy and relaxation.
SCAREBO CAMP, MOROCCO
Whilst on the subject of Morocco lets move onto the incredible Scarebo Camp, a luxury glamping resort on the edge of the Agafay Desert. The camp is short 45 minute drive from Marrakech which makes it the perfect place to go if you wanted to combine a few nights of luxury in the city with a couple of nights adventure in the dessert. The glamping resort has been high on my wish list of destinations to visit ever since I clapped eyes on it in a grainy Instragram picture a couple of years ago. Scarebo Camp sets the bar pretty high for glamping experiences, with luxurious double beds, decorative laterns and Berber rugs all lending themselves to the old school African safari vibe, but with the backdrop of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains instead of the Serengetti.
JW MARRIOTT, VENICE
Venice, hardly a novel idea for a mini moon, and yet the idea of it still draws me in. Perhaps it’s because the city is still undiscovered to us. Or perhaps it’s just the picture of my future husband and I eating glorious amounts of pasta and gelato, hopping from Gondala to wine bar in search of Aperol spritzs that has me sold. Either way the hotel of choice lies firmly with the JW Marriott. The hotel is set on its own private island in the Venetian lagoon, just a quick boat ride to St Marks Square offering respite from the Venice crowds. Rooms at JW Marritott have a modern aesthetic without being too minimal, some with lake views or alternative garden suites with private plunge pools. Either sounds fine with me. Perhaps it is a novel idea after all, this new way of seeing Venice, someone pass me a Negroni.
GRAND HOTEL TREMEZZO, LAKE COMO
Grand Hotel Tremezzo is a family-owned hotel on Lake Como. It’s one of the oldest luxury hotels on the Lake and offers the most impressive panoramic views of the lake and the Grigne mountains. You’ve only got to look online at the photos of this place to see how perfect it is as a mini moon destination; I mean look at the floating pool for starters. New for this year the hotel has created stylish ‘chic-nics’ which is described as the hotels chic alternative to afternoon tea. The wicker hampers filled with Italian treats can be enjoyed in a variety of beautiful locations, from a secluded spot in the hotel’s park, floating aboard a water limousine or even to the summit of one of the many mountains surrounding the lake.
SUBLIME COMPORTA, PORTUGAL
Comporta has been hailed as the Hamptons of Portugal and since I fell in love with the former almost immediately I think Portugal’s version is worth a try. There’s one hotel in particular though that has caught my eye; Sublime Comporta. The property is nestled on a huge 17-acre estate amongst deep rooted trees, sand dunes and rice fields. Not to mention there’s over 60km of white sand beaches along the Comporta coastline. The hotels cosy cabanas and elegantly decorated rooms look so stunningly designed, as does the pool and the impressive fire pit. If all this isn’t enough to tempt you then the food definitely will, think grilled black pork, pan-fried garlic prawns and locally sourced wines.
VILA VITA PARC, PORTUGAL
There’s a lot of love about Portugal, the impressive coastline, the people, its white wine, Peri Peri chicken. And now to add Villa Vita Parc to that list. Located on the alluring Algarve coast set on a cliff with its own secluded beach cove below. The resort offers a mix of contemporary luxury combines with traditional Portuguese style. Accommodation varies from elegantly designed rooms and suites with breath-taking seascapes to private villas offering high levels of luxury and privacy. The resort is big and not something I usually gravitate towards when I’m looking for a hotel, but I’m prepared to make an exception for Villa Via Parc. The resort offers an impressive 10 restaurants, 6 bars, a golf course as well as a vaulted wine cellar, not to mention the most impressive views over the Atlantic.
SEVEN PINES RESORT, IBIZA
Opening in just a few weeks is Ibiza’s newest upscale hotel, Seven Pines. The hotel itself is nestled on the edge of a pine forest bordering the sea on the west coast of the island (hence the name). The design represents the laid back luxury of Ibiza and has a back drop of the island of Es Vedrá to boot. Ibiza has been on my wish list for such a long time, and with such a short flight time of 2.5 hours it’s the perfect destination for a short haul mini moon. Oh and did I mention it has its own yacht, available for private rental!
DON TOTU, PUGLIA
Italy was always high on my list of mini moon destinations. Scenes from the Amalfi coast naturally tend to conjure up romantic imagery and since neither of us have visited many places in the country I figured it would be a brilliant new place for us to experience together. Since I’ve began researching I’ve veered away from the popular Amalfi coast in favour of Puglia. In particular, the Don Totu hotel. This former palazzo is a boutique B&B with everything you could expect from a romantic Italian getaway; think vaulted ceilings, sun trapped terraces brimming with olive trees, four poster beds, you get the gist. The owners have managed to maintain a classic Italian aesthetic. A mix of rustic and modern with twists of Italian flair and grandeur in the small details such as the chandeliers and local ceramics. The pool looks to die for and for couples who like to keep busy with activities there’s film screenings under the stars, horse-riding, yoga and even cooking classes with an opera-singing chef.
LES ROCHES ROUGES, FRANCE
When I started looking into France as a convenient mini moon I wasn’t enthralled by the idea. It’s conveniently close, yes. But is it mini moon material? And then I remembered the beautiful Les Roches Rouges which I had saved months ago on my screenshots as a reminder that I must visit one day. The boutique hotel is set along the coast from Nice, with incredible views of the Med and an equally as impressive pool. Well two impressive pools to be precise. The first is the natural, rustic looking saltwater pool which is positioned pretty much IN the sea. The second is a sleek heated 30 one. As for the rest of the hotel; its decked out in a minimalist-chic style that allows the stunning views of the ocean do all the talking.
BORGO EGNAZIA, PUGLIA
After being totally captivated by Puglia I started looking into a few more hotels and came across Borgo Egnazia. It’s on a much larger scale to Don Totu, almost castle like in structure and is built in imitation of a traditional village. It features a championship golf course (which will no doubt keep the new husband happy) two beach clubs (with all important private beaches) and an incredible reputable spa which bases all of its treatments on ancient Puglian styles. If that’s not enough to convince you of its romantic prowess, Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel got married here.