Minimoons to start your happily ever after
An immediate mini-break followed by a long-haul honeymoon at a later stage is the way many couples like to go these days.
Start married life on a high with one of these magnificent minimoons...
This smoldering aegean bolthole is the very definition of boutique-chic. Carved out of a clifftop on the volcanic island of Santorini, the views are truly spellbinding. Wake up early enough and you’ll actually have your heads in the clouds… Everything at The Grace is of the cleanest purest white – the people behind it are clearly perfectionists, designing everything to dramatically contrast with the vast blue sea beyond. All 21 rooms, and the communal areas, are open-air and breezy yet maintain an intimate feel. The only downside is there’s no white-sand beach to flop onto – but there are cool black sand ones, and who cares anyway, when there’s an ultra-stylish linear infinity pool to lounge by?
Local tip: Get out and about, there’s plenty to see: Skaros Rock and its church and fortress remains, for starters.
Ideal for clean-living couples that like to keep fit, this excellent spa retreat is the ultimate place to recover from the excesses of your wedding blowout. Way too much champagne in your system? Don’t worry, the dedicated detox team will wash it out for you. Want to plan your future with a clear head? Sign up for yoga and meditation classes. With its exquisite lakeside views, state-of-the-art facilities and top-notch service, your stay at this cool, contemporary retreat can be as pure or as indulgent as you want it to be.
Insider tip: The local tipple is a ‘Hugo’, made from Prosecco, mint, elderflower cordial, ice and a splash of soda.
Local tip: Nearby Verona is where Shakespeare’s love story, Romeo & Juliet, was set. Sign up for a tour and you can reenact the famous balcony scene.
Located within a verdant national park close to the ‘Baths of Aphrodite’, where legend says she would meet with her lover Adonis, this sleek European resort exudes the sleepy charm of a traditional Byzantine village with low-rise villas arranged around a square, and has access to its own private golden beach – one of the best on the island. Popular with families (partly because it’s so easy to get to), honeymooners are also well catered to with an adult-only restaurant serving candle-lit romantic dinners with no fear of having spaghetti flung at them. A Roman-style Thalassa spa, harnessing the healing powers of seawater, will appeal to spa goddesses. Although, a long luxurious bath with the windows cast open over the glittering Med, is sure to relax even the most jittery of newlyweds.
Insider tip: Garden Studio Suites come with breathtaking sea views, but for extra space and privacy, consider a Junior Suite – some even come with private pools.
Greece is too often an underrated honeymoon destination, but it’s brilliant value for money, enjoys an incredible climate and delivers a fascinating cultural punch too. All things considered, it’s the ideal choice for a minimoon. This coastal hideaway overlooks the medieval fortressed island of Spinalonga, and is just 300m from a traditional fishing village where you can order your calamari straight from the sea. Lap up the luxury in the hotel’s Elounda Spa – a marble emporium with Turkish steam baths and therapeutic thalassotherapy pools or try your hand at tennis, yoga or meditation. Then at the end of the day, retire to those epic views for an ouzo or two.
Insider tip: Ask the hotel to pack you up a picnic and disappear for the day to one of the hotel’s nearby islands – some of them feel completely untouched by time.
What could be more decadent than a stay in a glamorous Renaissance palace overlooking the orange clay-tiled rooftops of Florence? With just 45 sumptuous suites, Il Salviatino is one of the most devilishly elegant villas in Tuscany. During summer, you can fill up on authentic Tuscan dishes at La Terrazza, which enjoys magnificent views across to the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore, and in the winter months, you can cosy up in Le Serre, a charming snug with a dazzling fireplace. Oozing uncompromised luxury, we can think of nowhere better to pose as an aristocratic couple on their grand European tour.
Insider tip: One of Kate Moss’s besties Fran Cutler held her 50th birthday bash at Il Salviatino. It was wild!
Local tip: Ice cream doesn’t come any sweeter than at Florence’s Grom Gelateria. Try Crema di Grom made from Valrhona Ecuadorian chocolate. Bellissimo!
For a short-haul exotic adventure, Morocco is easy to get to, yet feels like an entirely different world. There are zillions of riads to choose from but this one in the Kasbah district of Marrakech is more charming than most. Lovingly restored with seven gorgeous rooms and suites, a shaded courtyard filled with date palms and a rooftop terrace with panoramic views of the Atlas mountains, it’s quite an Aladdin’s cave. There might not be a proper restaurant to speak of (not many riads have them), but if you ask in advance, the owners will be happy to rustle up a tagine for lunch or dinner – although chances are, you’ll be out getting lost in the souk or riding camels in the desert…
Insider tip: The riad is just ten minutes south of Djemaa El-Fna, the main square famous for its smoking food stands, snake charmers and street sellers.
Local tip: If you are taking taxis around the city, make sure the driver has a meter and make sure they turn it on, even if it’s a short trip.