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We never tire of swoon-worthy marriage proposals: those down-on-one-knee moments before a cinematic cityscape or the sun dipping into the sea. To get you inspired for planning your own, we turned to the boutique hotel specialists at Mr & Mrs Smith (who know a thing or two about idyllic escapes) to share their favorite pop-the-question ideas that their expert travel consultants had a hand in planning and where they took place. Spoiler alert: Every story ended with a “Yes!”
Note: Hotel rates reflect the lowest available at press time and are subject to change.
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Whisking away to the Eternal City over Valentine’s Day would be enough for most, as far as memorable stories go. However, one suitor also requested to have a particular bottle of champagne on ice upon check-in, followed by a horse-drawn carriage tour of famous monuments (with more bubbly). For the grand finale and the proposal, he reserved a table with Colosseum views at Aroma, the Michelin-starred restaurant.
Where to stay: Hotel de Russie
This stately hotel (rooms from $783) is a hand-in-hand stroll from the Spanish steps and overlooks the Piazza del Popolo—the backdrop for much of Roman Holiday. Relax in five-star comfort and style and don’t miss out on the spa. (Prince Charming booked post-proposal massages there, of course!)
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New York, New York
A true tale of two cities, a globe-hopping beau popped the question beneath the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree in London’s landmark Trafalgar Square, but that was only part of his surprise. He’d also arranged to have a taxi waiting and loaded up with their packed bags (thanks to a handy list created by a Smith travel ace), which then drove the couple to the airport for a whirlwind weekend celebration in New York City.
Where to stay: The Greenwich Hotel
Robert de Niro’s downtown boutique hotel is a great spot for travel-loving couples. The bedrooms (from $575) are decked out in Moroccan tile and Carrara marble and many peek down on the Tuscan-style courtyard. There’s also a lantern-lit pool with a Japanese-style spa, a rustic Italian restaurant, and a cocktail bar that seems to have been lifted right out of Paris.
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Hermanus, South Africa
With the help of a scheming travel concierge and a willing chef, a private post-proposal dinner was orchestrated in advance of a couple’s stay in Hermanus, South Africa. The happy pair celebrated their engagement at a table overlooking Walker Bay as they feasted on a tailor-made menu of their favorite foods.
Where to stay: Birkenhead House
Set dramatically on a cliff two hours from Cape Town, Birkenhead House hotel (rooms from $549) is an Art Deco-inspired hideaway of ostrich-feather lampshades and welcoming wicker lounge chairs. Take in the views that include two sandy beaches, popular with both surfers and whale-watchers. Soak in the simple pleasures of this retreat with a dip in a deep marble bathtub or a plunge pool affording views out to sea.
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Not wanting to appear overly suspicious as he scouted a spot to pop the question at a country retreat known for its romantic gardens, a gentleman asked that the stage be set for him. Following dinner one evening, the couple strolled the gorgeous grounds, where they happened upon a hidden gazebo with flickering candles and champagne on ice, setting the ultimate proposal scene.
Where to book: Barnsley House
Overlooking 11 manicured acres in Gloucestershire, this is one of the most stylish country-house hotels (rooms from $470) in the Cotswolds, less than two hours from London. The current owners have stripped the manor house of the old cottage chintz, but have maintained and restored historic original features. The modern furniture, refurbished bathrooms, and gleaming spa blend seamlessly with this 17th-century gem.
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Palm Springs, California
A hike in Joshua Tree National Park seemed a picturesque proposal location for a photographer duo, and so the playful boyfriend organized a treasure hunt of sorts by hiding the ring in the camera bag. Throughout the day, he asked his girlfriend (much to her annoyance) to fish out one trinket after another in the hopes that she would discover the prize. She never did. He eventually revealed his surprise and presented the ring moments before returning to their hotel in Palm Springs, where he’d arranged to have friends gather for a poolside party.
Where to stay: Ace Hotel & Swim Club
Set among the canyons and palm trees, this two-story 1960s former motor lodge is an ideal destination for the creative set. Rooms (from $129) are draped in fabric for a luxurious tent-like feel and adorned with quirky vintage furnishings and unique objets d’art, such as working turntables. The two outdoor pools are classic SoCal cool, with plenty of space for lounging around, reading a book, and enjoying a cocktail with friends.
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Marriage is a dramatic next step, and one thrill-seeking suitor plotted an adventure-filled Icelandic holiday to mark the occasion. A Smith travel consultant packed a schedule full of proposal possibilities: dogsledding, a snowmobile trek, and a glacier hike. On their final evening, the pair ventured out for an off-roading excursion in search of the Northern Lights (views that were ultimately thwarted by a blizzard), where the guy eventually worked up the courage to kneel down and offer the ring on a wind-whipped black lava beach.
Where to stay: 101 Hotel
This designer boutique hotel adheres to the Karl Lagerfeld maxim that everything looks more modern in black and white; the rooms (from $330), restaurant, spa, and bar all use a film noir palette—with sculptural features and pieces of Icelandic art hung on the snow-white walls to ensure the monochrome is far from monotonous. Set in the country’s thriving cultural center, it’s also the ideal home base for outdoor exploration, too.
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Tropical, remote, and offering jaw-dropping sea views, it doesn’t get more picture-perfect than Indonesia. It’s no surprise that several couples have returned newly engaged following a stay at an intimate all-suites resort here, where the staff will go above and beyond to help play Cupid—for example, by arranging a private candlelit dinner á deux in a secluded spot for that life-changing moment.
Where to stay: The Lombok Lodge
This haven (rooms from $478) for relaxation can thank its setting for its blue-green tropical beauty and its Belgian owners for its spare white interiors. Days here are spent idling in the infinity pool (where you can peer at the ocean beyond, and plan your next boat trip), being pampered in the spa, or being serenaded by musicians while feasting under the stars.
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One prospective fiancé requested not just a hotel, but a meaningful place, where he and his (hopefully) betrothed could return to mark anniversaries and milestones for years to come. A Smith travel concierge sent the couple to a 16th-century olive farm in the village of Valldemossa, where the terrace of their room overlooking rolling hills became the backdrop to their enchanting engagement.
Where to stay: Mirabó de Valldemossa
For the best Valldemossa views, check into the yellow-stone, palm-fringed, historic farmhouse set high on a hillside. This family-run boutique hotel with just nine bedrooms (from $227) offers seclusion, romance, and bonhomie in an idyllic milk-and-honey-hued Mallorcan village.
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Where to send a DJ and his girlfriend for a relaxing escape with just enough nightlife for kicking up their heels in celebration of the big news? The reggae capital of Jamaica, mon. One record-spinning Romeo and his lucky lady spent days basking on a private beach, exploring the lush jungle, and clinking cocktails over having set their wedding date.
Where to stay: Geejam
Where the rainforest meets the sea in coastal Jamaica, luxe cabins (from $395) take their cue from the ubiquitous coconuts, with dark exteriors and bright white interiors. Run by two trendsetting music producers, this sunny retreat is home to a low-key recording studio, a favorite of artists including Grace Jones. Enjoy refreshing cocktails and aromatic curries beneath century-old fig trees at the alfresco Bushbar restaurant.
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Few can resist the temptation to make grand gestures in the name of love when strolling the streets of one of the world’s most romantic cities. In this Parisian proposal story, however, the boyfriend chose a hotel that was so charming that he ended up asking his girlfriend to marry him there, despite plans to ask for her hand at any number of iconic locales.
Where to book: La Belle Juliette
La Belle Juliette hotel (rooms from $253) on Paris’ Left Bank is as colorful as Ladurée macaroons. Soft pink décor, violet-hued paints, and humbug-striped sofas are at home in a place that takes its high tea and soufflés as seriously as the 19th-century socialite it was named for.
Find out how to submit your proposal pics and details at marthastewartweddings.com/submit.