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.

Maxx-brides Honeymoon - - Tips - Text by Ni­cholas Wal­ton

Paris

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.

Barcelona

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.

Syd­ney

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.

San Fran­cisco

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

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.

St. Peters­burg

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.

Bangkok

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!

Cape Town

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.

Syd­ney

Paris

Barcelona

St Peters­burg

Bangkok

Cape Town

San Fran­cisco

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