Honeymoon expert Jane Anderson picks six of the most romantic places to stay in Paris and the Indian Ocean
Easily combined on Kenya Airways flights, Paris and the Seychelles are two of the most sought-after honeymoon hotspots in the world. The French capital is the ultimate romantic city, with art, history, high fashion and those Left Bank cafes to seduce you both, whereas the Seychelles are an exotic island-hopping hideaway believed to be the original site of the Garden of Eden – not to mention the honeymoon destination of Prince William and Kate.
The historic oasis – Shangri-La Hotel, Paris
For the best views of the Eiffel Tower in the city – even from your bathtub (big enough for two of course) – book one of the suites at the Shangri-La Hotel, former home of French Imperial Prince Roland Bonaparte back in 1896. With 101 palatial rooms and suites, Empire style meets luxury minimalism at the Shangri-La, renowned for its blend of Asian hospitality and French chic. Of the three restaurants two are Michelin-starred, and there’s also a sumptuous bar and historic billiard room with a fumoir (smoking room).
Newlyweds can also enjoy the hotel’s botanically-inspired Garden Wing with a beautifully landscaped French garden in its inner courtyard, and stay in one of 20 rooms and suites that evoke the elegance of a private Parisian apartment.
Honeymooners receive orchids, a macaroon pyramid and a bottle of champagne in their room on arrival. For an extra cost, the hotel can arrange for you to surprise your new spouse with roses, rose petals and candles in both the room and terrace, or prepare a bath with rose petals in the evening.
• Doubles from €750 per night, room-only
Sexy affordable chic – Mama Shelter, Paris
Honeymooners looking for something romantically off-the-wall, affordable and just a little bit rock ‘n’ roll, should head to Mama Shelter in Paris, created by one of the world’s most dynamic designers, Philippe Starck.
In the historic Saint Blaise neighbourhood, with its artists’ studios and flower-lined cafe terraces, the 172-room Mama Shelter offers sensual yet elegant rooms, a restaurant with simple and delicious cuisine, a Chic bar and lounge, a pizzeria and a cosy, romantic roof terrace. The concierge can point you in the direction of all the coolest
local places to go, including La Flèche d’Or, the Parisian temple of live music which is just across the street.
The best rooms for honey-mooners are Mama Suite or Mama Terrace, with its view of the 20th Arrondissement. Hotel staff write words on the mirrors to congratulate honeymooners!
• Mama Terrace from €179 per night
Jetset hangout – W Paris – Opéra
For a hotel to shine in the City of Lights, it has to have a certain pizzazz. W Paris – Opéra radiates glamour and vitality and is the perfect treat for style-conscious honeymooners. Set inside an historic 1870s Haussmann-era heritage building near Galeries Lafayette, its 91 guest rooms include 20 sumptuous suites and two Extreme WOW Suites (W’s interpretation of the Presidential Suite) with circular beds.
The signature restaurant Arola marks the French debut of Michelin-starred chef Sergi Arola with innovative tapas and French classics. The W Lounge, meanwhile, is W’s take on the traditional lobby – a buzzing social space where the in-house ‘mixologist’ can create your dream cocktail.
The W’s Whatever/Whenever concierge service gives newlyweds access to the latest in fashion, design and music in Paris, as well as the most exclusive events and shopping. W Insiders can organise an exclusive drink for honeymooners on the rooftop of the outstanding Garnier Opéra house, moments away from the hotel.
• Doubles from €340, Extreme WOW suite from €2000
Glamour in Eden – Raffles Praslin, The Seychelles
Raffles Praslin is one of the latest 5-star resorts to open in the Seychelles, and one of the finest on the tiny island of Praslin, home to the exotic and verdant Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve.
Honeymooners arrive in James Bond style in a Sunseeker Quantum of Solace speedboat or via a 15-minute helicopter ride from Mahé to one of 86 pool villas.
Oceanview Villas are highly recommended for newlyweds. Each villa has a panoramic view over the Indian Ocean, a private plunge pool and personal butler on hand 24/7. The resort has a ‘Honeymoon in Paradise’ package that welcomes newlyweds with champagne on arrival. Also included is a private dinner for two under the stars, a 60-minute couples massage and a romantic bath for two.
Honeymooners can take a private boat trip through the archipelago at sunset with champagne and sushi, or visit Curieuse island, home to the endemic giant tortoise and coco de mer palms, or simply relax on Anse Takamaka – one of the world’s most beautiful beaches.
Tropical 5- Star – Kempinski Seychelles Resort
Opened in March 2012 on the main island of Mahé, Kempinski Seychelles Resort is a fabulous place for honeymooners who want to experience 5-star living in the tropics. Each of the 150 rooms is surrounded by elements special to this archipelago, such as lush tropical forest, outcrops of pink granite and a turquoise lagoon. Beachside suites and the vast presidential suite have direct access to the beach at Baie Lazare. There’s a watersports pavilion (where turtle are regularly sighted), tennis courts, an Olympic length swimming pool, three wooden spa pavilions and a Palm Beach Casino.
The honeymoon package includes breakfast buffet at Café Lazare, a bottle of wine and fruit basket on arrival and one 30-minute couples treatment at the spa. A private candlelit dinner on the beach, sunset cruise or helicopter flight can also be arranged.
• Honeymoon package from US$403
Boutique island escape – Enchanted Island
The Seychelles is world-renowned for its private island resorts – the epitome of honeymoon escapism. Opening this month, Enchanted Island is the latest of these elite boltholes. Just a 15-minute boat ride from the main island of Mahé, this five-acre tropical island is located in the heart of a National Marine Park.
Honeymooners arrive at the private jetty and are swept off to one of just ten luxury beach villas designed to reflect the island’s traditional Creole-Seychellois architecture. Couples enjoy their own private infinity pool, walkway to the beach, deck, outdoor rain shower, French bathtub and four-poster king-size bed.
They can also treat themselves to the ‘Enchanted’ package, which lavishes those in love with private candlelit dining, either in their villa or under the stars on a white sandy beach. They’ll also be served personalised cocktails and enjoy an ‘Adam & Eve’ treatment at the couple’s suite in the Serena Spa, which has a private outdoor bathtub, shower, steam area and stunning ocean view terrace.
• Private Pool Villas from US$2728 per night