Europe

Savoring the Romance of Europe

written by | Posted on June 1st, 2010

In Europe, romance is as much a part of its traditions as the centuries-old cathedrals, the collective royal heritage and the eons of its sometimes tragic history. But it’s that very history and tradition, too, that’s responsible for a huge inventory of romance and honeymoon product your clients will savor as they share that romantic legacy in their first days as man and wife.

grand hotel villa medici In Italy, one of its most romantic cities is Florence—the home of poets and painters and the spawning ground of what must be much of the world’s great art. Even today, it’s a city where art and creativity are in the forefront of everyday life, a city of timeless beauty tailor-made for lovers. So imagine putting your honeymoon couple in the stunning 400-year-old Grand Hotel Villa Medici, a historical residence located in the center of Florence within walking distance of all major art sites and shopping locations. Here, the high-quality service meets the elegance of the interior’s historical furnishings, with each of its 88 rooms and 15 suites showcasing original antique furnishings and tapestries. Wide windows frame Florence and the Tuscany landscape, while the rooms on the top floor—which have private terraces and are a must booking for honeymooners—overlook the captivating cityscape. Or, there’s the Il Magnifico Suite, which has a large terrace and jacuzzi. The hotel’s Sina Fitness Club is the perfect place for couples to relax, enjoy a sauna, a Turkish bath or work out in the gym, while the restaurant Lorenzo de Medici with its Tuscan cuisine, provides an excellent and romantic Florentine dining experience. The restaurant abuts the Conservatory, another dining experience with a modern interior and verandah leading to the garden and pool. Clients of both restaurants can enjoy warm summer nights listening to live music and tasting exquisite wines. Honeymoon packages are available from approximately $1,200.

hotel danieli Venice, too, ranks right up there as a city for lovers. It’s here, after all, where you’ll find the famous Bridge of Sighs where, local legend says, lovers will be assured eternal love if they kiss on a gondola at sunset under the bridge. Unfortunately, the name really came from the fact that this was a passageway that took prisoners into the palace prisons from which few returned and where the hapless victims looked out onto freedom for the last time with a sigh. Except for one, the famous Casanova who was arrested in 1755 for spreading antireligious sentiment and escaped 15 months after he crossed the Bridge of Sighs—now that’s romance. Nearby, overlooking the Riva degli Shiavoni, just steps from Piazza San Marco, St. Mark’s Basilica, the Doge’s Palace and the Bridge of Sighs, the restored and romantic Hotel Danieli is made up of three interconnecting palaces. The main building, the 14th century Dandolo Palace, is Venetian gothic lavishly appointed with pink marble, stained glass, gold-leaf decorated ceilings, Murano glass chandeliers and antiques. The adjacent Casa Nuova building is a 19th century palace whose decor reflects a rich, Venetian baroque style. The building to the right of the central Dandolo Palace is the Danielino, dating back to 1948 with decor focusing on Old World charm. But it’s the lagoon-view rooms—some of which have a balcony—that are beautifully decorated in Empire or Venetian style with romantic views of the Venice lagoon and where you should book your honeymoon clients. Call for rates.

hotel gritti palace Directly overlooking the Grand Canal with an incomparable view of Venice and just a short stroll from the Piazza San Marco, the Hotel Gritti Palace has a well-deserved reputation as one of the most romantic hotels in the world, attracting elite guests such as the British royal family, the Duke of Windsor, the Princess of Monaco and a bevy of Hollywood stars all the way up to today’s most popular celebrities. And it’s not like this is a new thing for the property, considering it was commissioned in 1525 as the residence of the Doge of Venice—Doge Andrea Gritti—and was later used as the official residence of the Vatican’s ambassadors to Venice. As one of the most celebrated hotels in the world, there’s no better place to take advantage of a honeymoon program—what the hotel describes as, “a fairy tale honeymoon in magical, dreamy Venice.” Couples are welcomed with a bottle of wine and a bouquet of flowers in their hotel room where they’ll spend a memorable night in the intimacy of a richly decorated double room or luxurious jr. suite or suite. The next morning, they’re awakened leisurely to a daily breakfast served—at their discretion—in room or in the Club Del Doge restaurant. Various tours—individual, group, walking, boat, guided—may be organized through the hotel concierge. Tour guides are available upon request and honeymooners can arrange for a late check-out at 4:30 p.m. Rates start at $619 per room per night.