Paris and Rome will al­ways be hon­ey­moon main­stays, but some un­der-the-radar des­ti­na­tions—with fewer Amer­i­can trav­el­ers and more af­ford­able ho­tels—might just be­come your new fa­vorite stops. One piece of ad­vice: Go now, be­fore the whole world catches on.

Martha Stewart Weddings - - GREAT ESCAPES - TEXT BY ADAM ERACE


This low-key wa­ter­front has the same charm, ro­mance, and sump­tu­ous views as its higher-pro­file sib­ling, the nearby Lake Como—but with far fewer über-ex­pen­sive ho­tels and pa­parazzi.

WHERE TO STAY: With its lounger-lined pool deck and green lawns lead­ing down to the lake, Ho­tel Ri­valago (from $136 per night, ri­valago .it) in the town of Sulzano is all about al­fresco. But the 33 re­cently re­done rooms make stay­ing in just as tempt­ing.

DAY OUT: The vine­yards of Fran­ci­a­corta—used to make a sparkling wine that’s con­sid­ered Italy’s an­swer to Cham­pagne—criss­cross the coun­try­side. Spend a day at Ca’ del Bosco ( cadel­bosco

.com), known as much for its modern sculp­ture col­lec­tion as for its wine.

DATE N IGHT: Take a quick boat ride to Monte Isola to dine on lo­cal seafood, such as wood-grilled trout, at the

fa­mous La Foresta ( foresta mon­ti­sola.it), and fol­low it up with a hand-in-hand stroll along the isle’s pic­turesque prom­e­nade.


Thanks to a splashy new ho­tel and a world-class cul­ture scene, this old in­dus­trial city (pro­nounced LEEL) near the Bel­gian bor­der is France’s ville of the mo­ment for Euro­pean trav­el­ers.

WHERE TO STAY: An 18th­cen­tury town­house in the his­toric cen­ter was re­cently trans­formed into the dig­ni­fied

Clarance Hô­tel (from $223 per night, clarance­ho­tel.com). Now stylish Parisian week­enders fill its man­i­cured gar­dens and 19 light-filled guest rooms.

DAY OUT: An art lover’s paradise, Lille is home to the Palais

des Beaux-Arts ( pba-lille.fr), one of the largest mu­se­ums in France. Just 25 miles south­west, you’ll find the Lou­vre

Lens ( lou­vre­lens.fr), a stun­ning out­post of the Paris mu­seum that show­cases works by Bot­ti­celli, Rem­brandt, and other masters.

DATE NIGHT: You can’t do bet­ter than the Clarance’s own

La Ta­ble restau­rant, helmed by Ni­co­las Pourcher­esse, a for­mer con­tes­tant on the French ver­sion of Top Chef. The five-course menu, a bar­gain at 79 eu­ros, show­cases the bounty of the on-site bee­hives and gar­den.

COSTA DE LA LUZ, SPAIN This At­lantic-fac­ing coastal re­gion, west of the more de­vel­oped Costa del Sol, of­fers windswept beaches, wildlife­filled pre­serves, and Miche­lin­starred restau­rants.

WHERE TO STAY: Head to the scenic hill­top vil­lage of Ve­jer de la Fron­tera for that un­touched-by-tourists vibe (though va­ca­tion­ing Euro­peans de­scend on it in Au­gust). Here, Casa Shelly (from $89 per night, casashelly.com) has only seven rooms, dec­o­rated with geometric tiles and tim­bered ceil­ings.

DAY OUT: Binge on Moor­ish ar­chi­tec­ture in the an­cient city of Cádiz, then drive about 40 min­utes up the coast for a tast­ing of Man­zanilla at the his­toric win­ery Bode­gas

Bar­badillo ( bar­badillo.com), in San­lú­car de Bar­rameda, where the sea air gives the na­tive sherry its briny tin­gle.

DATE NIGHT: In the port town of El Puerto de Santa María, seafood whis­perer Án­gel León re­cently re­opened his ac­claimed Aponiente ( aponiente.com) in a for­mer flour and salt mill. Can’t get a reser­va­tion? Try his more ca­sual (and even newer) La Taberna del Chef del Mar (34-956-112-093). OX­FORD­SHIRE, ENG­LAND

The Cotswolds have been the coun­try getaway of choice for ritzy Brits (and An­glophiles) for­ever, thanks to the gor­geous set­ting and prox­im­ity to Lon­don. Ox­ford­shire county is the re­gion’s of-the-mo­ment es­cape, with splashy new ac­com­mo­da­tions, dreamy spas, and big-city-cal­iber din­ing. WHERE TO STAY: Soho Farm

house (from $510 per night, so­ho­farm­house.com), in Chip­ping Nor­ton, blends East End swag­ger and Down­ton Abbey pedi­gree. The 100-acre com­pound in­cludes a horse sta­ble, a meat-cur­ing cave, and cab­ins with wood-burn­ing stoves and out­door tubs.

DAY OUT: Fol­low up a fa­cial at the luxe Bam­ford Hay­barn

Spa ( bam­ford.co.uk) with a visit to Sude­ley Cas­tle & Gar­dens ( sude­l­ey­cas­tle.co.uk), the burial place of Kather­ine Parr, Henry VIII’s last wife, or a gin tast­ing at the Cotswolds Dis­tillery ( cotswolds dis­tillery.com).

DATE NIGHT: The hand­somely rus­tic Wild Rab­bit ( thewild rab­bit.co.uk), in King­ham— where chef Tim Allen works his magic with wild game and An­gus beef—is the place for din­ner. Choose be­tween the 18th-cen­tury pub and the more for­mal din­ing room.

Lake Iseo, Italy

The Clarance Hô­tel, in Lille, France

The Lou­vre-Lens

Ho­tel Ri­valago, in Sulzano, Italy

Soho Farm­house, in Chip­ping Nor­ton, Eng­land

The Casa Shelly guest house, in Ve­jer de la Fron­tera, Spain

Rhubarb meringues with white choco­late from the Wild Rab­bit

Aponiente restau­rant

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