December 17, 2012

Putting style back in romance five hotel picks from around the globe.

Movies, dance classes, dinner for two – are you suffering from date night doldrums?

Paris is always there to save the day. While it may be the embodiment of romance, these two elegant properties will show you a whole new side to this city. La Maison Champs Elysées offers a world of comfort and French elegance, where reality blends with surreal style. Between the Avenue Montaigne, the Champs-Élysées and the Grand Palais, the hotel is located in the heart of Paris' Golden Triangle. In another part of the city, Hotel Gabriel Paris Marais emits an aura of privacy and calm with its intimate design. The hotel's façade, a gorgeous Art Deco ornamentation, belies the minimalist interiors. On the island of Koh Samui, the strikingly pure structures that make up The Library are set amongst a lush grove. Designed as an outpost of casual elegance, the hotel is situated on the lively Chaweng Beach. The Vine is a luxurious retreat on the island of Madeira, known for its wine, abundance of flowers and breathtaking nature. The hotel is located in Funchal's historical centre, just steps away from the Cathedral. Situated near Majorda Beach, Alila Diwa Goa peers out onto lush, verdant rice paddies leading to the Arabian Sea. This getaway offers the best of beach and green holiday.

Dans la Maison

The entrance to the townhouse at No. 8 rue Jean Goujon is discreet, an address one must know to discover. Behind its doors, the stage is set for Maison Martin Margiela's first hotel interior, La Maison Champs Élysées. The minimal, yet sophisticated and offbeat décor sets the stage for a show of romance. Seventeen rooms and suites belong to the Couture Collection, and are decorated with a whimsical touch that plays with proportion and perception. Every space feels surreal, with each room different than the next. Even in the newly opened Blind Bar and at the restaurant, La Table du 8, the chairs appear to be floating above the concrete floor, while oversized mouldings and pretend doors add to the illusion. Here, romantic candlelight dinners are only enhanced by the exquisite, seasonal fare and fine selection of French wines. La Maison is just steps away from the Seine and numerous landmarks, ideal for a moonlight stroll with that special someone.

Zen in the City

Close to one of Paris's most vibrant districts, Hotel Gabriel Paris Marais stands out as a Zen haven of relaxation. Couples will be enchanted by the intimate interiors, celebrating minimalist charm in white and pastel. The juxtaposition of linear furniture with cruise-liner portholes and curves creates a harmonious balance. The signature dancer design motif scattered throughout the property adds a whimsical touch to the dreamy 1930s feel, lending an air of grace to elements as mundane as cupboards and bathroom doors. Hotel Gabriel is the first hotel to employ the NightCove sleep companion, giving guests a soothing rest with diffused light and sound according to melatonin levels. The hotel is situated close to some of the city's best boutiques, art galleries and restaurants – great to discover together on foot, and returning to the hotel's incredibly relaxing ambiance.

A Secret Garden

On the idyllic coast of Koh Samui, 26 discreet, minimalist cabins hide amongst lush vegetation. The Library is an outpost for style, with a bold colour scheme emphasizing red and white elements, echoed by the signature red swimming pool and white library complex on-site. The new Bookmark suite is the hotel's most luxurious accommodation, where soft, flowing fabrics create a tactile contrast to sleek angular furnishings, and the impressive en-suite conservatory with Jacuzzi is why holidays in Thailand are a fantastic idea year round! The hotel can arrange western or traditional Thai-style weddings, with a golden beach, glimmering azure waters and the sound of crashing waves as an enchanting backdrop. Guests can enjoy the old-growth forest on the expansive 6,400 square meter grounds and the lively beach.

In Vino Veritas

In the heart of the charming and picturesque capital city of Funchal, The Vine is the ideal retreat on Madeira, the island of flowers. The hotel's namesake comes from the local vines used to make the world-renowned Madeira wine, and the four floors of the hotel feature design inspired by the seasonal changes of the island's vineyards. Vinotherapy treatments are offered at the hotel's spa, sure to detox and revitalize the body while relaxing and refreshing the mind. The island's stunning natural beauty provides the perfect romantic escape, with spectacular hiking trails through the lush nature. Back at the hotel, Uva, the rooftop restaurant with panoramic views of the harbour, offers "divine dining" using fresh produce from the island. Chef Antoine Westermann, distinguished with 3 Michelin stars, combines French savoir-faire with the best in regional fare.

A Play on Tradition

A mere 500 meters from the Gonsua beach, Alila Diwa Goa looks out to verdant paddy fields leading to the Arabian Sea. A blend of contemporary Goan architecture displays the region's rich cultural traditions within a verdant surrounding landscape, a great choice for a romantic retreat. From wedding ceremonies to honeymoons, Alila Diwa Goa has an array of facilities to make every occasion special. The resort's 153 guestrooms and suites located in three wings – the South, West and exclusive Diwa Club, each feature private balconies with superlative views of emerald green paddy fields. Couples can enjoy joint spa treatments blending ancient Asian healing techniques with traditional beauty recipes, or the views from the hotel's infinity pool while sipping on cocktails. The three on-site restaurants and poolside Edge Bar serve delectable global exotic cuisine.

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