IT’S SO MOORISH
Owned by the king of Morocco and, in my opinion, one of the world’s most beautiful hotels, the Royal Mansour in Marrakesh is a showcase for exemplary local craftsmanship – stained glass, flawless marquetry and intricate mosaics are just a few of the many visual treasures endlessly on show. The resort comprises just 53 immense private riads (each with plunge pool) and features an exceptional spa, while the team can arrange all manner of romantic excursions, from a private dinner in a Bedouin tent to a jaunt in the Atlas mountains in a vintage side car.
The hotel’s three-night honeymoon package includes breakfast, one dinner and two spa treatments per person; it costs from £2,798 (royalmansour.com). private-island retreats, North Island and Fregate Island Private each offer exceptional service and empty, golden beaches. Split a stay between both properties to benefit from North’s superior aesthetics and culinary offering, and Fregate’s dramatic cliff-top private pools and immersive nature activities.
Scott Dunn offers a three-night stay at North Island, followed by four nights at Fregate Island Private, from £42,420 including board, helicopter transfers and international flights (sottdunn.com).
there is perhaps no tour operator that tops the efforts of Based on a True Story. Though the company organises just 10 or so a year, each honeymoon is a meticulously constructed, multifaceted affair that might incorporate synchronised private performances with scores or perhaps even hundreds of participants. Itineraries span continents and commercial flights or shared transfers are anathema – it’s private jets and superyachts all the way. The minimum rate for a Based on a True Story honeymoon is £500,000, but prices can tip £5 million.
They are astronomical sums but, for CEO Niel Fox, such high prices are an inevitability given his clients will already have stayed in hotels’ best suites and are blasé about Michelinstarred meals and butler service. He needs to let his imagination run riot, which is an expensive business. Says Fox: “We’re adding a layer of magic to honeymoons, and that is more important to me than the obvious blueprint of luxury – the jets, the yachts, it’s all arbitrary. We provide a level of creativity above all of that – one that is often a complete surprise. That’s where we stand alone in this industry.”
Invariably veteran globetrotters already, his honeymooners often don’t even stipulate where they want to go and instead indicate the types of experiences they value. On one
LIVING MUSEUMVilla Sola Cabiati on Lake Como, Italy
IN STEPWatch Mexican dancers with Based on a True Story