Corsica is astonishingly gorgeous with beautiful beaches on glittering bays, breathtaking valleys and saw-tooth peaks. Honeymooners can land in Ajaccio, maybe stay a day to visit the seductive hometown of Napoleon Bonaparte, before heading north up the coast to Calvi, chic in a French-Riviera way, with its 4-mile stretch of sandy white beach, impressive citadel overlooking the Old Town, lively restaurants, and buzzing nightlife. Just outside Calvi—a town also accessible by ferry from Nice—there’s a most romantic Relais & Chateaux retreat, the Hotel La Villa. It occupies a big, traditional Corsican house with a prime position overlooking the Bay of Calvi. There are 53 sunny guestrooms, including 24 suites; all have balconies or terraces and are minimal in decor and fitted with comfy beds and luxe linens. Facilities include five pools, an Anne Semonin Spa, tennis courts, a private beach, two restaurants (one Michelin starred), two bars, gym, DVD library, and complimentary WiFi throughout. Day trips from here take guests driving along La Route de Bonheur or by boat along the coast to the Scandola Reserve for snorkeling in the coves and grottoes. Turn the hotel’s Discovery package into a 3-day honeymoon package, priced from $585 pp sharing and including standard room accommodations (upgrading when possible) with breakfast in room or terrace, and dinners in the fine dining La Table restaurant; bottle of Champagne and sweets in the room; the opportunity to discover the Balagne area with a mountain guide; 10 percent discount on spa treatments; and transfers to/from Calvi airport. hotel-lavilla.com
The Adriatic Sea is the new Mediterranean, and Dubrovnik—with sparkling marble streets and baroque buildings and fortifications—is its unofficial capital, as well as the gateway to the Dalmatian Coast and over 1,200 islands, known for their pristine beaches, picturesque villages and sailboat-studded marinas. JayWay Travel has designed a perfect program for honeymooners, the 10-night Dalmatian Coast and Islands Tour. It starts with a 3-night stay in Dubrovnik, with time to walk the city walls, take a short boat ride to the National Park on Lokrum Island or a cable car ride to Mount Srd. Next, honeymooners take a ferry to Korcula, an island of beautiful natural diversity and fascinating history. Tour options here during the 2-night
stay include a private island tour, and a trip to the quaint fishing village of Lumbarda, famous for its white wines and sandy beaches. Then a high-speed ferry takes honeymooners to Hvar for three nights, with time to cruise out to the Pakleni Islands, a world of unspoiled nature and hidden swimming coves. Or, maybe visit the island of Brac, with Croatia’s most famous beach or the island of Vis, best known for its spectacular Blue Cave. The final two nights are spent in Trogir, where the top sights are the fascinating food market and the Old Town; the major excursion here is the wondrous Plitvice National Park, by private transport or rental car.
Priced from $1,500 pp sharing, and including all transfers by boat, ferry and car, as well as four-star accommodations, and assistance by local JayWay representatives along the way, this trip can be customized in many ways, including hotel choices such as Hotel Korsal in Korcula; Hotel Villa Nora in Hvar; and Hotel Monika in Trogir. In Dubrovnik, the splurge stay is the Hotel Villa Dubrovnik. JayWay offers a particularly useful planning tool—its Croatia Honeymoon site, croatiahoneymoon.com. jaywaytravel.com
Floating among Greece’s Cyclades Islands in the Aegean Sea, Santorini year-after-year maintains its super-star ranking among European honeymoon destinations. Here, a top pick is the Iconic Santorini, a 22-room boutique hotel whose location on the rim of a volcanic caldera puts lovers and all others front and center in one of the most dramatic Mediterranean settings. Guests are treated to high-ceiling cavern rooms notched into the cliff (fitted out with flat-screen TVs and oversized, all-natural CocoMat bedding); a pergola patio; a perfect pool and intimate cave-spa; and sun-drenched terraces that tumble down the hillside into white-washed Imerovigli, a short walk away. Of course, this Santorini neighborhood beckons with excursions to black-sand beaches, provincial villages, the Akrotiri archaeological site, and tastings in the vineyards.
A trio of new Lovers’ Escape packages fills the bill for the ultimate Greek Islands honeymoon. For example, the Cliffside Suite package features rooms situated on their own exclusive level of the property, offering breathtaking views from the private terrace and a heated grotto pool. Add to this daily breakfast served on one’s terrace; a bottle of Moet et Chandon Champagne and chocolate treats; a 1-hour Holistic Couples Massage; a candlelit dinner in the restaurant’s private dining room; and private transfers from/to airport or port. The 3-night cost per couple is $4,880. iconicsantorini.com
the bells are ringing at perillo tours
Perillo Tours (perillotours.com), which has been taking American travelers to Italy for 70 years, is applying its Italian know-how to delivering top-of-the-line destination weddings.
“Taking advantage of the fact that many consider Italy to be the most romantic place in the world, and that the entire country is in love with love,” president Steve Perillo points to the natural extension of the company’s Italy travel expertise into destination weddings. “Our front yard, so to speak, is Italy, the ultimate destination for lovers, and for those who imagine saying their marriage vows while overlooking a Tuscan vineyard, or those dreaming of renewing vows as they look out over the Mediterranean Sea along the Amalfi coast, our wedding planning team is ready to make it all happen.”
According to Perillo, his biggest market is for their destination wedding packages that feature a symbolic ceremony, suited to couples already married at home, but wanting to celebrate with friends and family in the most memorable places in the most memorable ways. Basic Silver packages include the ceremony set up—from flowers to seating, an English-speaking celebrant, bridal bouquet and boutonniere for the groom, wedding cake and sparkling wine, photographer service, and onsite wedding planner. Gold packages add such elements as makeup artist and hair stylist for the bride and specific hotel accommodations with special room amenities and in-room breakfast the day after the wedding.
Consider a sampling of Perillo-style wedding venues in Italy. In Siena, couples say “I do” in the warm surroundings of Castel Monastero, a wonderful resort in one of the most charming settings in Tuscany; in Ravello, it’s the fairytale setting of the Hotel Marmorata; and in Positano on the Amalfi coast at the Eden Roc Hotel.
“Packages, of course, just provide a framework,” points out Perillo, “for few travel-related products are more customized than destination weddings, which call for special dinners and excursions for guests, who most often arrive say on a Thursday for a Saturday wedding, then leave on Sunday for home or an extended vacation. Of course, many of those extensions fit easily into our independent itineraries or even escorted tours.” For the full interview with Perillo, visit recommend.com.