—by Raphael Kadushin
I went on some of my best honeymoons long before I ever got married. All of which is to say you don’t have to formalize things to claim your honeymoon. You just have to agree, with your partner or best friend or dog, or your own indulgent self, that whatever you designate as the honeymoon is going to be something special—one of those trips you’ll remember as a big bonding splurge that pulls out all the stops. Very few places are going to live up to that kind of expectation. The anodyne beach resort won’t. And the standard issue Paris, London or Rome getaway won’t. But these three European retreats, unless you’re impossibly picky, will:
Monastero Santa Rosa—There is the familiar, old-school Amalfi resort and then there’s the new one. The new one is actually pretty much limited to Monastero Santa Rosa, which proved a game-changer when it opened a few years ago. Perched, like any self-respecting Amalfi resort, on a plunging cliffside, so it looks like an elegant lighthouse when it glows at night, the property lives up to its name; tucked into a renovated, landmark monastery, it is all venerable, elegant bones. But then the resort takes off in its own direction. One wing of the place is devoted to a twenty-first century spa that comes fully loaded with treatment rooms, sauna, and hydro pool. There is a library, a well-stocked bar, a pool, and ripe gardens that drop down in four terraces. The Michelin-starred Il Refettorio restaurant serves updated Amalfi classics, like lobster paired with chickpea puree, and a king prawn ravioli, all augmented by herbs and vegetables plucked from the property’s own gardens. And the guestrooms, once the nuns’ retreats, are a suitably serene mix of vaulted ceilings and seaside views of the Gulf of Salerno below. Like the best resorts the Monastero also offers a break from all that tranquility, when you want it. Skip Portofino, dense with crowds, and head instead to Amalfi itself, an Italian opera-set of a town that offers everything you’d want: gelato; artisanal souvenirs (marbleized paper!); a cathedral where local brides in wedding cake gowns pose for pictures on the steps; and a central fountain where you can watch the Italian men stroll by, proof that Gore Vidal made the right choice when he parked himself at neighboring Ravello.
The honeymoon special at the Monastero, dubbed their Rosa Romance package, is lgbt friendly and features: three nights in a Sea View Deluxe room or suite, breakfast included, along with fruit plate and bottle of proseco; an eighty minute candle massage treatment for two; a candlelit five course dinner for two in the poolside garden; and complimentary use of the thermal suite.
Cap Rocat — There isn’t a more dramatic tour de force property in Spain than Cap Rocat. Located just outside Palma, on the island of Mallorca, the hotel is situated in a renovated nineteenth century fortress and the bones of the place are still firmly intact, so the property is an uber- romantic whirl of drawbridges, turrets, terraces, archways, and walled walkways. The very luxe guest-suites, built into the façade of the fortress, are airy, limestone retreats punctuated by vaulted ceilings, bright blue Mallorcan fabrics, white linen couches and chairs; the feel is organic and ineffably chic. Most of the rooms feature terraces as well and the best of the bunch offer seaside gazebos and private pools so if you’re feeling reclusive you can stay put in your dreamscape. If your honeymoon partner, though, is getting on your nerves (and it’s never too soon to start planning that divorce) there are plenty of escapes: a saltwater pool framed by Slim Aarons-worthy sunbeds; a massive spa with its own salt-water pool and hamman; a library; gym; and gourmet restaurant. Most of Cap Rocat’s sleek guests though (think lots of doorknocker boho jewelry and straw boaters) assemble at dusk at the Sea Club overlooking the bay of Palma, where fresh Mallorcan signature dishes come grilled over an open fire.
While there isn’t a honeymoon special per se at Cap Rocat the resort does offer three “sensory journeys” aimed at couples. The Indian iteration includes a three night stay, six Ayurvedic treatments, and private yoga classes.
Amanzoe — It turns out there are two versions of the Acropolis in Greece. There’s the old familiar one overlooking Athens and then there is Aman’s iteration, a two hour drive from the capital, on the eastern coast of the Peloponnesian Peninsula. Anyone who knows Aman knows two things: the brand’s resorts are all one very big splurge, and they’re pretty much always worth the mammoth ca-chunk of change. Amanzoe definitely is. All neoclassical marble and stone, constructed like on epic hilltop acropolis flanked by olive groves and sea, the resort is a visual showstopper; don’t even try to count the number of majestic standing pillars. And forget the low-class idea of a mere guestroom. Everyone here gets their own free-standing pavilion, complete with private terrace and plunge pool, done up in marble and stone like some neoclassical fantasia. There is the requisite locavore restaurant, open to sea breezes, serving the best of the daily catch, a mammoth spa, a double-decker library, an amphitheater (why not?), and a beach club featuring its private beach, a café, four swimming pools and cabanas. And because even Olympians get bored you can book a tour to the neighboring, very arty island of Hydra, where there are lots of blasé looking Scandinavian in white linen, all blonde on blonde.
Amanzoe’s Wellness Package for two includes a holistic massage, signature Anatripsis treatment, facial, and scrub and wrap.