A LEGEND ON LAKE COMO, AND AN OPPORTUNITY TO INDULGE IN THE DOLCE VITA LIFESTYLE.

After spending 3 days in Lake Como, situated in the foothills of the Italian Alps, I quickly learned why JFK said “It is the most beautiful lake of the world.”

Forming an upside-down Y, Lake Como is an hour’s drive north of Milan.

I had the privilege to stay at the elegant Villa D’Este in Cernobbio, designated one of the best hotels in the world by Travel & Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler and Forbes Traveler.

It is truly challenging to describe how beautiful this resort is.  Upon checking in at the Cardinal Building, I was told I would be staying in the Queen’s Pavilion, both together offering a total 152 rooms and suites.

The villa was originally built in 1568 as the summer residence for Cardinal Tolomeo Gallio and was the playground of an Empress, an English Queen and aristocrats. In 1873, it was transformed into a luxury hotel and all rooms were individually decorated and furnished with antiques, silk brocade drapes, oil paintings and Como silk furnishings.

 

While being escorted to my room, I quickly became in awe of my surroundings.  To the left, 25 acres of luxuriously landscaped gardens complete with 16th-century mosaic monuments with the lower part of the gardens from the Renaissance period. To the right, the lakeside terrace and unique floating swimming pool facing the picturesque mountains.

My room overlooking the lake was classic elegance.  No two rooms in either building are alike in size or décor and are furnished with every comfort.

This hotel is the definition of sophistication; no wonder why the romances of Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner, The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles began here.

This hotel is more than just a villa, it is a destination.  Upon reaching your room, you might not want to leave.  However, there are an abundance of water sports to choose from as well as the Sporting Club.  Located in the Cardinal Building this club is connected by a secret passageway offering a fitness center, sauna, squash court and much more.  Outdoors, there are hiking trails, a tennis center and trademark floating pool to choose from.  One can also enjoy playing a round of golf at the beautiful Golf Club Villa Deste, considered to be one of the most challenging par 69’s in Europe.

 

 

Have a Bellini lakeside as the sun sets before moving to the Veranda for world-class dining.

I am still dreaming of my early morning wake up calls.   Doorbell rings, and the waiter rolls in a gorgeous white linen table bearing silver pot of coffee and fresh flowers, as I glance at the morning newspaper, the windows open, in a room with the ultimate view.

For more information on weddings and honeymoons at Villa D’Este please contact Nancy Barkley, Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways.  215-793-4808.
All images courtesy of Villa D’Este.

 

 

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EXCEPTIONAL, EXCLUSIVE, AND TRANQUILITY WRAPPED IN BLUE. – ANQUILLA, BWI.

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Something Borrowed, Something Blue?  Your luxury destination wedding can be wrapped in blue, gorgeous Caribbean blue.

I love Anguilla, a secret gem in the Caribbean. This British Caribbean Island is only 35 square miles in size but offers 33 of the most beautiful beaches in the world. All of these picture perfect beaches are public, unspoiled and uncrowded.  The white sand is like walking on powder and the tranquil waters vary in their different shades of vibrant blue.  It is no wonder why Travel Channel ranks Anguilla’s beaches among the best around the world.  These beaches are wonderful options for a destination wedding as Anguilla’s dramatic sunsets will provide the most impeccable backdrop and flawless photographs.

This eastern Caribbean island is ideal for couples looking for a high style, low- key  wedding, desiring privacy and exclusivity.  While Anguilla is a chic luxury destination that is frequented by celebrities, pretentious it is not.  Luxury villas and resorts, culinary paradise, live music scene, are a few of the reasons A-listers visit here and hide in plain sight.

Arrive Anguilla via a 20 minute Ferry ride from Margot, St. Martin, where Ferries operate daily.  Ferries are also available directly from the St. Martin airport.  Flying is an option into Anguilla, however there are no direct flights as this charming Caribbean Island airport runway is not long enough to accommodate larger aircrafts.  Most connections are via San Juan, St. Martin, St. Thomas, helicopter, or private jet.  Of course you can charter your own yacht or (byob) bring your own boat.

Your wedding in Anguilla will be captivating and one that guests will be talking about for years to come.

Villa or Resort?

The Zemi Beach House Resort & Spa,  is located on one of the world’s most beautiful beaches?  Shoal Bay.

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The Zemi Thai House Spa is exceptional, boasting the only Hamman on the island housed in a 300 year old Thai House.  This luxurious retreat offers private spa suites, yoga, and a meditation garden along with ancient rituals to heal you.  Spa day here is a must for your guests.

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After a day of pampering and relaxation, return to your exquisite Caribbean Style ocean view room with soft woods and premium European linens.  If 24 hour room service is not your desire, you can dine casually at 20 Knots, or formally at Stone enjoying seasonal cuisine and freshly caught seafood.

There are many activities your guests can partake in before the big day.  Rum tasting at the luxurious rum bar, stand up paddle boarding, snorkeling, tennis, or kayaking is worth the experience.

The Zemi Beach Resort is for the couple wanting to marry on one of the most beautiful, intimate beaches in the world.  You can choose from an elegant poolside reception or formal dining, overlooking the ocean, in 20Knots before dancing the night away.

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If modern ultra-luxury villa is more your style, I present The Beach House to you.  The Beach House sits on 1.5 acres of unspoiled beach, Meads Bay.

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Serviced with a full complement of staff, including private chefs, butler services, personal concierge, housekeeping and more, The Beach House offers the best of the good life. With its combination of world-class accommodation, breathtaking location, and impeccable bespoke service, all who stay at The Beach House agree that it has earned its reputation for being the Caribbean’s finest private luxury beach villa. For the beach lover, this is paradise found.

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The Beach House offers luxurious Caribbean living and every imaginable amenity. Indoor and outdoor rain showers, 12-seat cinema room, tennis courts, and extra master suite apartment, fully equipped gym, bar, lounge, library, and   infinity pool and office.

The Beach Houses stunning architecture was designed for indoor/outdoor living offering spectacular views of the ocean and sunsets.  This is the perfect venue for the distinctive wedding where a bride can make a splendid entrance arriving by boat.

Anguilla exudes delightful old charm. The unspoiled beaches and pristine waters of this dream island make it a hot-spot for celebrities and those seeking an ultra-chic, wedding.

To plan your dream honeymoon, destination wedding, or romantic getaway to Anquilla, contact Nancy Barkley at Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways

Photo Credits:  Zemi Beach House and The Beach House.

SOPHISTICATION AND LUXURY GEM IN THE CARIBBEAN

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Paradisus Palma Real  is where you want to get away if you desire the crystal blue sea, pristine white sandy beaches, stylish accommodations and exceptional dining.

This luxury all-inclusive resort is located on one of the most legendary beaches in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, the remarkable Bavaro Beach.

First impressions are everything, and this resort does not disappoint.  It is love at first sight upon arrival where you are met with a jaw dropping dramatic lobby offering stunning views of the Caribbean.

This exclusive paradise offers extravagant options and experiences for everyone, the possibilities are truly endless.  You will be treated like Royalty while staying in the adult only Royal Service, the personification of elegance offering discreet butler service during your entire stay.  You can roll out of your bed and onto the beach Bali bed reserved and waiting for you.  While you are sipping cocktails you can contemplate which fine dining restaurant you want reservations for that evening.  Private check in/check out, regal amenities, and pillow, yes pillow menus are a glimpse into your pampering.

Families can also experience this VIP treatment in Family Concierge. Children can wear their child size robes and slippers while enjoying such amenities as a Play Station before starting the multitude of children’s activities available to them.  Or you may want to stay in “The Reserve” a hotel within a hotel offering residential concierge suites.

Paradisus Palma Real is where you go to be gastronomically content.   Gourmet restaurants offer contemporary world class cuisine including Passion, by Martin Berasateui, winner of 8 Michelin stars, and well know Spanish chef.

Guests are provided endless options to relax and reduce stress. Yhi Spa specializes in Asian treatments and is a sanctuary of positive energy.  Therapists hailing from the Philippines and Indonesia specialize in treatments based on the arts of Thai Chi and Muay Thai.

Those who choose to stay active can choose from beach volleyball, tennis kayak and numerous water sports.  The Yhi Moves Fitness Center offers state of the art equipment as well as an on-site personal trainer.  However runners might want to strap on their running shoes, relish the natural backdrop of the Caribbean, and run on the miles of white sandy beaches.

Golfers will delight in the unlimited green fees included at the World Class 27 hole champion golf course designed by Jose Pepe Gancedo.

For those desiring different activities, the resort offers life enriching experiences which include sushi making, wine tasting, painting and salsa classes and more.

You will rediscover the romance of travel at this romantic haven.  This is the perfect destination to say I do or celebrate each other.

Honeymooners and anniversary couples celebrate romance “Under the Star” private dinner, rose petals bed and bath couples massages creating memories to last a lifetime.

Brides and Grooms who choose to have their wedding at this paradise are assured a postcard perfect ceremony and can choose from many glamorous locations.

This is where you want to go if you want a dreamlike location, superior service, extraordinary food, luxurious accommodations and countless activities. So what are you waiting for?  Contact Nancy Barkley at Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways to plan your once in a lifetime memory.

All pictures courtesy of Paradisus Palma Real.

Yachting about Italy and Croatia!

Lying back in a wooden rowboat together and entering the magical Blue Grotto in Capri Italy.

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Romantic sunset gondola ride on the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy.

 

Wine pairing at a family run winery in Sicily.

 

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Exploring Montenegro with its twisting byways, Byzantine architecture, and pitched mountains plummeting straight into the Adriatic Sea.

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Walking the medieval walls that surround Dubrovnik and then exploring what lies within the white old city.

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Visiting Split Croatia with its bustling harbor lined with cafes and Diocletians’ Palace in the center of town.

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Strolling through the streets of Rovinj, Croatia where hints of Italy are everywhere, in the signs, in the language, in the cuisine, thanks to having spent more than 500 years under Venetian rule. Romantic, quaint, and captivating, it’s Istria’s most beloved town.

 

Trip of a lifetime, you bet!  Memories that will last forever, indeed!  Can you experience this?  Absolutely, call Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways today!  215-793-4808

www.honeymoonsandgetaways.com