Love Around the World
Travel is the ideal way to stoke the fires of amour. Discover new and exciting locales, try authentic local cuisine and check into romantic boutique hotels in Maxx-M’s top eight romantic cities of the world.
Ah, the City of Light and easily the world’s most favourite city for honeymooners and couples looking to snuggle up with some culture, fine wine and beautiful vistas. Paris has been a favourite city for lovers for generations, with its worldfamous landmarks, quaint backstreet restaurants and sprawling parks, and with the gently meandering Seine cutting through it all. Check in at the indulgent Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome. Located in the heart of the city, on the famed Rue de la Paix, and within walking distance of both the Place de la Concorde and the Place Vendome, the Park Hyatt makes for an elegant base of operations. From here set off on foot to see morning emerge on the banks of the river before stopping in for fresh croissants and coffee and a spot of people-watching outside Notre Dame. Get to the famed Louvre early to avoid the crowds before exploring the trendy 16th Arrondissement, with its regal apartments and boutique galleries. Spend the afternoon exploring the famed flea markets at Saint-Ouen before watching the sunset from the observation deck of the Eiffel Tower.
One of Europe’s most exciting and footfriendly cities, Barcelona in the summer is an awesome destination for culture lovers, designophiles and foodies. Check in at the Mandarin Oriental Barcelona, one of the group’s few boutique hotels and one that boasts an ideal location on the Passeig de Gràcia, one of the city’s chicest boulevards. Set out on foot for the city’s iconic Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, a stunning cathedral designed by the city’s own Antoni Gaudi. You’ll find examples of Gaudi’s organic and otherworldly shapes and textures in buildings throughout the city. Head down to La Rambla, the heart of the city and a great spot for people-watching and a bite to eat. Couples should head for the sprawling La Boqueria market for fresh tapas and a cold Spanish beer and explore the narrow side streets for local fashion labels before ending up at the beachfront in time for sundowner cocktails outside the W hotel.
A city that captivates virtually everyone who visits, Sydney is defined by its world-famous harbour and the warm weather that makes al fresco dining and outdoor events a must. Sydney’s harbour has long been considered one of the world’s most beautiful natural anchorages; a stunning sapphire strip with a myriad waterways, inlets, bays and beaches, and a scattering of islands for good measure. For couples visiting this thriving city, the harbour is a place to meet, to relax, to enjoy and to marvel. Start off in bustling Circular Quay, where you can catch ferries up the Parramatta River or down to Watson’s Bay, through to Middle Harbour or across to Manly. The famed Opera House is home to some of Sydney’s most iconic restaurants, and happy-hour revellers or operagoers should stop in for a preshow tipple at Opera Bar, one of the city’s most iconic watering holes. If you’re in the city on the weekend, head over to the Rocks Markets, home to brilliant arts and crafts, live music and a culinary kaleidoscope. To be in the thick of the action, check into the newly reopened and utterly indulgent Park Hyatt Sydney, located between the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.
Regularly voted one of the most liveable cities in the United States, San Francisco has it all, from museums to parks, chic cafes to a dynamic cocktail culture, and as the mercury rises, the city makes for the perfect gateway to the US for couples of all ages. Base yourself at the boutique Kensington Park Hotel on Union Square. Located close to the city’s famed cable car lines, the 92-room boutique hotel combines a classic sense of luxury with contemporary amenities. Start your day off at Golden Gate Park, one of the world’s largest urban greenbelts. The 411-hectare park is home to gardens, sports grounds and the California Academy of Sciences, which features an aquarium, planetarium, a natural history section and an expansive roof garden, home to 1.7 million native plants. For lunch, head to the Swan Oyster Depot on Polk Street for some of the best crabs and oysters in town. As the sun dips low in the sky make time to walk the almost three-kilometrelength of the Golden Gate Bridge, or to admire the iconic structure from a different perspective, Adventure Cat offer catamaran yacht cruises around the famous prison island of Alcatraz and beneath the Golden Gate.
New York is a city where many love affairs – especially those on the big screen – are forged, and for good reason. From Central Park to the Battery and up to the Village and Soho, this is a city that never sleeps and is always on show. Base yourself at the funky yet chic Muse hotel at Times Square. From there, couples should head then 5th Avenue – maybe for a spot of ring shopping – before heading across to Chinatown for some of the best Asian cuisine in the city. Take in a show at Carnegie Hall or support one of the local teams at Madison Square Garden after a spot of retail therapy in the garment district or at Macy’s. Of course there are some iconic Big Apple things that all couples should do, from walking through Central Park and catching one of the evening outdoor cinema showings, through to walking the Brooklyn Bridge on a sunny Saturday or cruising over to the Statue of Liberty. As the sun sets on the city that never sleeps, be sure to sample the city’s eclectic dining scene, best experienced in the Meat Packing District, before hitting one of the city’s many live jazz clubs.
Russia’s second largest city might be snowed under for half the year, but come the summer months, its rich heritage, from historic buildings to meandering canals, is a major draw card for lovers from across the world. Base yourself at the elegant Grand Hotel Europe, located off Nevsky Prospect in the heart of the city. With beautifully appointed rooms and suites, and a clientele that demands the highestquality service, this remains the city’s grand dame house of slumber. First stop should be the Hermitage Museum, located at the Winter Palace.
The city’s top attraction, the palace museum, showcases more then three million items, including works by Rembrandt, Da Vinci, Michelangelo and more. Lovers will also enjoy visiting the Church of the Saviour, a traditional Russian styled church built on the spot where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated in 1881. Another famous landmark worth checking out is the Church of the Assumption of Mary, located on Vasilievsky Island. As the sun drops, dress in your finery and head to a night at the opera at the famed Mariinsky Theatre before enjoying this historic city on one of the popular evening canal rides that pass the Peter and Paul Fortress, vodka and caviar included.
One of Asia’s most thriving, pulsating and invigorating cities, Bangkok is a journey as much for the senses as it is for the soul. Boasting everything from boutique hotels and world-class restaurants to ancient temples and bustling floating markets, the city constantly has one foot in the past and the other in modernity, making it ideal for honeymoons or romantic weekend escapes. Check into the city’s newest boutique hideaway, The Siam, a luxurious riverside hotel created by local Thai celebrity Krissada “Noi” Sukosol Clapp that opens in June. From the river, hail one of the city’s bumblebeelike tuk-tuks and head for Wat Pho, home to the iconic Reclining Buddha, a 15-metre-high and 43-metre-long gold-covered Buddha statue. To satisfy your taste buds, there’s no better place than the Chatuchak Weekend Market, Thailand’s largest and a treasure trove for shoppers and amateur photographers. Known simply as JJ after its Thai name, Jatujak, Chatuchak covers an area of 27 acres – about the same as 30 football pitches – and is home to a whopping 15,000 stalls. Finish up with cocktails and dinner at one of Asia’s most unforgettable hot spots, Sky Bar at Sirocco, the world’s highest truly al fresco restaurant. This lofty perch offers 270-degree views of the Chao Phraya River and the cityscape, with some of the city’s hottest cocktails – if you’re looking for a place to make a good impression, this is it!
A city that has reinvented itself, Cape Town is increasingly popular as a gateway for safaris, an ideal honeymoon adventure, so don’t be surprised if you’re not the only lovers in town. With the city’s main focus on its iconic Table Mountain and the Victoria and Albert Waterfront, check in at the luxurious One & Only Cape Town, which is located right on the vibrant quayside. Set off on foot and explore Bo-Kaap, the colourful neighbourhood inhabited mainly by the descendents of Muslim slaves from Southeast Asia. Here you’ll find tiny mosques, brilliant cafes and colourful streets overlooking the city. Couples will also enjoy a stroll through the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, which boast a huge diversity of plants and flowers from across Africa. Take a ferry over to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. The island is now home to large colonies of African penguins. Alternatively take a trip up to the top of Table Mountain by cable car and snap a few iconic photos of the city from this vertiginous vista. Finish your day with shark feeding at the Two Oceans Aquarium before diner at one of the seafood restaurants at the bustling Victoria and Albert Waterfront.