Four Seasons Hotel Firenze, Italy
Florence is revered for its Renaissance art, so it should come as no surprise that one of the most visually stunning suites in the city is the 234-square-metre Royal Suite of Four Seasons Hotel Firenze. The hotel is a conversion of the Palazzo della Gherardesca, dating back to the 15th century. Many of its rooms, lovingly designed by Pierre-Yves Rochon (surely the king of romantic suites) have awe-inspiring trompe l’oeil works, but this is the masterpiece of masterpieces. The painting on the upper walls continues up to ceiling frescoes, while the space is resplendent with elegant furnishings. The suite looks out onto the beautiful private gardens, which were originally set out by Lorenzo de Medici as a wedding gift for his sister, who was marrying a Gherardesca. The entire hotel oozes romance, from chef Vito Mollica’s signature saffron risotto eaten under Murano chandeliers, to the Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella treatments in the spa.
+39 055 26 261; www.fourseasons.com
La Suite Shangri-La
From La Suite Shangri-La, on the seventh floor of the 101-room Shangri-La Paris, France, you feel as though you can touch the Eiffel Tower. When the weather allows, take a bottle of champagne to your 100-square-metre private terrace and watch the light show as the tower sparkles, top to bottom and back again, on the hour, all evening long. Your inside living area is cosy but, if you’re keen to really assure your privacy, you can add a further four bedrooms to take over the entire seventh floor. The hotel is a conversion of the home of Prince Roland Bonaparte, a grandson of Napoleon’s brother Lucien Bonaparte, and today’s design, by Pierre-Yves Rochon, retains the hotel’s palatial feel. Best of all, you don’t have to travel far for a romantic meal for two, with two-Michelin-starred dining at L’Abeille on the Lobby Level.
+33 1 5367 1998; www.shangri-la.com
Hôtel Hermitage, Monte-Carlo
Hôtel Hermitage is the hidden secret of Monte-Carlo’s palace hotels, tucked away as it is in Square Beaumarchais behind its famous sibling, Hôtel de Paris, which is currently undergoing a transformation. All 278 rooms are romantic, but opt for 062/063 — the only suite with a big wooden terrace and double-sized Jacuzzi. Soak in it for hours, champagne in hand, as you take in the views from Monte-Carlo’s superyacht-filled harbour up to the Royal Palace. To hand, you have chilled Dom Pérignon and wild strawberries presented on gold-edged Deshoulieres porcelain. Inside your Rochon-designed haven, off-white colouring is enhanced by amorous soft pink-purple velvet. The attentive staff will be at your every beck and call should you want to stay in your suite (with those sea views, we don’t blame you).
+377 98 064 000; www.hotelhermitagemontecarlo.com
Suite 76, Palazzo Vendramin
Belmond Hotel Cipriani, Venice
Belmond Hotel Cipriani, Venice, Italy, is pretty sexy, reached as it is by slipper launch from Piazza San Marco, but it has an even more romantic attached sibling — the 15th-century Palazzo Vendramin. Suite 76 is the knowledgeable favourite — designer Countess Isabelle de Borchgrave has used Italy’s finest fabrics, including Fortuny and Rubelli, and stencilled walls. Order a wake-up call with a bottle of Italy’s best prosecco or Ca’ Del Bosco, and look out across Canale della Giudecca to Doge’s Palace and San Marco itself. As a change from yet more crowded sightseeing, spend the day here on Giudecca, perhaps making a pre-arranged visit to the Fortuny showroom, or staying to enjoy the Cipriani’s 2.4-hectare garden, with its 200-foot heated seawater pool. Try a Bellini (a cocktail of prosecco and peach nectar), which was invented here, and then have dinner sent up to your suite by the hotel’s Cip’s restaurant.
+39 041 240 801; www.belmond.com
King George, Athens
Your private rooftop pool at the Penthouse Suite of the King George Palace gives the feeling only you and your loved one are gazing upon Greece’s most iconic site, the Acropolis. It is all so private — you have the whole of the ninth floor of this 102-room hotel, named for King George II. You might never want to leave your 350-square-metre room, but there are many advantages of staying here. Not only is the hotel right on Syntagma, across from Parliament with its dirndl-skirted guards, but it is run in tandem with its immediate neighbour, the Hotel Grande Bretagne. Therefore, you can use the latter’s spa, and take all meals on its lovely rooftop terrace. When you return home, see what designer Alexandros Samaras (brother of former Prime Minster Antonis Samaras) has done to the lobby, including choosing the six-foot David Bowie likeness composed entirely of horizontal colour-filled test tubes.
+30 210 322 2210; www.kinggeorgeathens.com
The Palace Suite
The Peninsula Shanghai, China
This hotel’s premium 306-square-metre Palace Suite has a 1,098-square-metre wraparound terrace, which is unparalleled when it comes to private viewing of The Bund below, and across the Huangpu River to the newer Pudong area of Shanghai. The suite features an Art Deco look, with rounded corners for walls, heavily lacquered woodwork the world’s plushiest carpets and a highly modern touch — electronic nail driers. For extra romance, book a river cruise for two on the hotel’s 14.6-metre launch, and order The Peninsula Champagne to go with Thousand Island Lake-based Kaluga Queen Caviar. Other ideas? Swim in the heated indoor pool, choose a couple of outfits in the Chanel boutique and reserve the karaoke room in the basement venue, Salon de Ning.
+86 21 2327 2888; www.peninsula.com
The Ritz-Carlton Suite
Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong
The best romantic views of Hong Kong, and further afield, are from the 1,220-square-metre Ritz-Carlton Suite on the 116th floor of one of the world’s tallest hotels, in ICC Tower. Designed by Su Seam Teo of LTW Designworks, the suite’s focal point is actually looking down at a vista that makes matchbox toys seem enormous (you can just about make out Star Ferries and other shipping, but cars are tiniest pinpricks). Fortunately, the hotel’s main activities are also up in the clouds so you can easily get to the 20-metre indoor pool on the 118th floor — it has an LED ceiling which may feature burning fire or soothing woodland scenes. The same floor has the highly popular Ozone lounge, but you go way down, to the 102nd floor, for Cantonese or Michelin-starred Italian. Below ground level you can pick up the direct Airport Express train from Kowloon Station for a romantic day’s sightseeing.
+852 2263 2263; www.ritzcarlton.com
The One Above
The Royal Portfolio, Cape Town
One&Only Cape Town’s Penthouse Suite, now marketed as The One Above by the Royal Portfolio, has arguably the best views in the whole of South Africa. The 1,273-square-metre duplex has two swimming pools and dining for eight (with private chef). Despite the lofty accommodations, this suite is perfect for a couple who appreciates artistic environs. The open spaces boast 360-degree views, taking in Table Mountain, and Victoria and Alfred Harbour. In your light and airy abode, designed by Adam Tihany, you have stunning modern art and sculptures sourced by the contemporary Goodman Gallery. In the main hotel you have a dining choice between Nobu and local celebrity chef Reuben Riffel, as well as access to the ESPA. Insider tip: book in for the Bastien Gonzalez pedicures-for-two.
+27 15 793 3977; www.privateresidences.co.za
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