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Honeymoon hotspots, France
Since Mr & Mrs Smith is all about romantic getaways for couples, we know a thing or two about honeymoon hotels with style and substance. Idyllic beach retreats that offer the tropical-fantasy honeymoon package, luxury safari lodges, Venetian palazzos, Californian wine estates – whatever your dream honeymoon destination, you'll find inspiration below.
And don't forget, if you place your wedding list with Mr & Mrs Smith, you can enjoy a guest-funded honeymoon…
We’ve have to admit it: whenever we need a picture of a bedroom that radiates sensuousness, we reach for this photo of the Orangerie at Château de Saint Paterne in Normandy. But we make no apologies – this light-infused suite is as sexy as they come. Set apart from the main château building, among the 25-acre grounds, this beguiling boudoir is fantasy incarnate, in part thanks to the 19th-century theatrical backdrop that adorns the wall behind the bed.
Cap Estel could easily be mistaken for an elegant wedding cake, with its cream and white tiers, candy-stick balconies and curved contours. This hotel boasts the unabashed, in-your-face glamour of a big-screen siren; it’s a Riviera retreat fit for the likes of Grace Kelly or Marilyn Monroe – apt really, given Èze’s proximity to filmstar-fabulous Cannes and Monaco. Built as a summer residence in 1898, the Cap has a private beach, and those lucky enough to land the Junior Suite 210 will enjoy uninterrupted views of the Mediterranean from their beautiful balustraded balcony.
This very French – et très charmant – country hotel just outside Avignon has all the vineyard views and wine-and-cheese tastings you’d expect from a Provençal stay. In Room 4, a Deluxe, the traditionally understated decor makes for a serene spot that’s ideal for breakfast in bed. The air of relaxation and tranquility extends to the inviting outdoor pool on the hotel’s terrace.
Turrets on the outside, Timorous Beasties wallpaper on the inside, this luxurious 12-room château retreat combines contemporary flair with traditional comforts, all put together by inpired interior designer Birgit Israel. Luxury room 16 is a knockout: guests are treated to huge south-facing windows which look onto a private terrace and the fountain in the courtyard below. Besides, it happens to be Birgit’s favourite room, which is reason enough for us.
Housed in a hidden garden on the Montmartre hillside, Hotel Particulier is an unexpected bubble of tranquillity in one of Paris’ most thrill-a-minute districts. Visually speaking, it’s a treat, littered with icons of design (chairs by Arne Jacobsen and Mies van der Rohe and their ilk), and inspired by artists of all media. What really makes this hotel stand out, however, are its bedrooms. The owners recruited five contemporary artists to imbue each suite with their signature styles. The walls of Martine Aballéa’s ‘Végétale’ Junior Suite are papered to resemble a light-dappled forest canopy – it’s like sleeping in a Monet.
Acquired as a wedding present for the wife of a 19th-century marquis, the Château la Thuiliere is rooted in romance. This house wears its history on its sleeve – the mock Tudor façade and stained glass windows that hint at the eccentric marquis; the patterned tiles, ornate tapis and the sweeping wooden staircase – but there are modern flourishes too. The XL Suites have original fireplaces and sweeping views of the garden, all viewable from the supremely comfortable modern king sized bed. (NB: dog not necessarily included).
Life is like a box of Ladurée macaroons – if you’re staying at La Belle Juliette, that is. Rooms are styled with sugar-sweet shades – strawberry and raspberry, cherry-red and violet; and deeper darts of blackcurrant, chocolate and liquorice. The end result is as feminine and romantic as roses wrapped in ribbon. In the Madame de Stael room (a Deluxe Romantic Room), the hotel’s bright colour palette is softly subdued with intricate stucco-work, and guests are treated to amour-boosting chocolates, a glass of champagne each, rose petals and a bath bomb.
Jardins Secrets is not so much a boutique hotel as a beautiful private house that, since 2005, has allowed members of the public to pay for the privilege of staying there. Boutique-hotel lovers everywhere should salute Christophe and Annabelle Valentin for opening up their family home and garden. On the edge of the ancient town centre of Nîmes, this pink-hued 17th-century city villa has just 14 guest rooms – the pick of which is L'Orangerie, a Double Delux with an intimate, boudoir-like atmosphere, beautiful wooden floors and glorious garden views through its shuttered French doors.