February 9, 2017 / Property Spotlight

Places of the Heart: Five Homes in Romantic Destinations

As Valentine’s Day nears, Luxury Defined presents five dream homes ideal for proposals, weddings and happily ever after

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Inspired by Valentine’s Day, Luxury Defined presents five sumptuous homes in some of the world’s most romantic locales, special places for a proposal of marriage, a wedding, a honeymoon, an anniversary. Paris is the place for proposals, and a vintage 1930 penthouse awaits with a rooftop garden. A wedding in Manhattan atop the Sherry-Netherland puts all of New York City’s glamour and excitement at your feet. Consider a permanent honeymoon in a breathtaking contemporary villa on Hawaii’s Hanalei Bay, or within the walled gardens of a Spanish-Colonial hacienda in Mexico’s romantic San Miguel de Allende, or in a fairytale Renaissance palace overlooking the Eternal City. Remember: The world will always welcome lovers.

And in the service of St. Valentine, we have gathered the advice of experts on how best to celebrate the revels of the heart, whether popping the question, tying the knot, honeymooning, or dancing the anniversary waltz.

Parisian Proposal

This private Parisian retreat’s garden roof terrace overlooking the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Élysées is nothing short of spectacular. The pièce de résistance is the Eiffel Tower, which gleams in the background.The City of Lights itself is the star attraction at this romantic Parisian retreat.By day, the roof terrace is the perfect space for a romantic breakfast or a garden party with its barbecue, dining area, and lounge.

Gay Paree! Epicurean delights, high fashion, fine art—no city can surpass the City of Lights, and of love. The mother of romantic destinations for honeymooners and dreamers alike, but if a proposal is in the cards, make it in Paris to make it unforgettable. The wedding planning website The Knot concurs: “Paris is full of urban parks and gardens, and the beautiful Seine River runs right through its heart. Tease your beloved by visiting all the standard pop-the-question spots—the Eiffel Tower, the steps of Montmartre and Luxembourg Gardens. But surprise them with that question on bended knee when the spirit moves you—along a romantic lamplit back street, at the tip of Ile St-Louis or in the lovely Place des Vosges, the oldest square in Paris.”

Epicurean delights, high fashion, fine art—no city can surpass the City of Lights, and of love.

Tease your beloved by visiting all the standard pop-the-question spots—the Eiffel Tower, the steps of Montmartre and Luxembourg Gardens.

Hidden away on the top two floors of a luxury 1930 landmark building, steps from the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Élysées, this 3,000-square-foot duplex penthouse is an exclusive haven in the heart of the world’s number one destination for romance. Relax and immerse yourself in the Parisian architecture and famed monuments from the home’s private 2,798-square-foot roof garden. The interior has been luxuriously renovated in a sleek contemporary style, with a layout both functional and adaptable, perfect for glamorous entertaining or private time together.

New York City Nuptials

This trophy apartment high above Fifth Avenue features 2,000-square-feet of terraces overlooking Central Park and the New York City skyline—a dazzling venue for a summer wedding or romantic evening under the stars.The home is introduced via a private landing, serviced by all three of the building's elevators, and an entrance gallery that graciously, and sensibly, leads to all of the major wings of the apartment.In the bedroom wing, which is carefully disguised from the gallery, three beautifully appointed guest bedrooms each have access to the south-facing terrace. The enormous master suite has two bathrooms and its own terrace facing Central Park.

Beloved by residents and visitors alike, New York City is one of the most popular destinations for a glamorous city wedding. According to The Knot, the Big Apple offers something for everyone with its “Broadway shows, museums and galleries, four-star restaurants, crazy-fun nightlife, block after block of tiny boutiques, as well as classic tourist attractions such as the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, and Times Square. When it comes to wedding-planning resources, too, there's no shortage: You'll have innumerable caterers, florists, photographers, and bands to choose from.” And it’s easy for your guests to get around: “With taxis on every block, there's no need for them to rent a car, wrestle with maps, or designate drivers.”

Beloved by residents and visitors alike, New York City is one of the most popular destinations for a glamorous city wedding.One of the finest city homes on the market today, this magnificent residence atop the iconic Sherry-Netherland hotel offers an unparalleled lifestyle experience in the heart of the Big Apple. Some 2,000-square-feet of terraces overlooking Central Park and the Manhattan skyline provide the perfect space for a romantic evening or wedding under the stars and the bright lights of one of the world’s greatest cities. The home even comes with five-star hotel services—including room service straight from the kitchen of Cipriani. The romance of Central Park is moments away.

Mexican Wedding

One of San Miguel de Allende's most distinguished homes, this stately Spanish-Colonial hacienda, owned by a prominent media executive, is securely ensconced within its own walled park.Casa Chorro stands proudly above El Chorro—San Miguel’s legendary source of water discovered in the 16th century, in the historic heart of old town.Renowned for its beautiful and spectacular views of San Miguel, the valley, and the Picacho mountain range, the landmark estate is composed of three principal structures: the main residence with two bedroom suites and a rooftop garden; a five-suite guesthouse; a wellness center with second-floor guest suite, and lush grounds with a pool, pavilion, traditional Troje cottage, and meditation garden.A traditional Mariachi band plays from the staircase at Casa Chorro; the historic compound hosts one to two weddings each month.

Mexico´s most romantic city, San Miguel de Allende is consistently ranked among the top destinations in the world. "The beautiful Spanish-colonial city in the Mexican Highlands is also the top wedding destination in Mexico, hosting up to a dozen weddings each weekend," says Ann Dolan, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at CDR San Miguel, the exclusive Affiliate of Christie's International Real Estate in the region. “Brides are drawn to the city’s history, culture, magnificent architecture, and warm ambience. There are the traditional parades of the wedding party that pass through the cobblestone streets serenaded by mariachis; beautiful churches are the ceremonial heart, while elegant intimate venues play host to bustling receptions.”

Brides are drawn to the city’s history, culture, and warm ambience.

Casa Chorro, one of the city’s most distinguished private homes, has hosted some of San Miguel’s most famous weddings and social celebrations over the years. (Penzi Weddings/Photography by Eric Suarez)One of Ann’s most exclusive listings, Casa Chorro, a spectacular hacienda-style compound in the heart of Old Town, has hosted some of San Miguel’s most famous weddings and high-profile events over the years. This stately, Spanish-Colonial estate is securely ensconced within the walls of its own park, with panoramic views of San Miguel and the Picacho mountain range. The property has three principal structures: a two-suite main residence; a five-suite guesthouse; and a contemporary dwelling with a wellness center and guest suite. The grounds reveal a treasure trove of amenities, including fountains, a pool, cottage, and meditation garden.

Roman Holiday

This historic palazzo in the heart of Rome has breathtaking 360-degree views of the Piazza Venezia, the Santa Maria in Ara Coeli, and the National Monument of Victor Emmanuel II. The 3,767-square-foot triplex penthouse was restored by architect Carlo Fontana. Luxurious features integrate with historic architectural details, such as coffered and beamed ceilings, frescoed walls, and inlaid marble floors.Housed in a former palace built in the 15th-century, the residence is a feast for the eyes both inside and out. The master bedroom is a sensory delight with its dramatic coffered and beamed ceiling, four-poster bed, and dressing room.

With its breathtaking architecture, meandering cobblestone streets, romantic trattorias, and legendary history—the Eternal City is a certainly at the top of anyone’s life list, but for honeymooners, it provides a truly unforgettable experience. “Rome is truly a feast for the senses,” says The Knot. “Rome contains as many perfect backdrops for romance as it does churches and ancient ruins. Think: centuries-old piazzas you can amble through at sunset, charming gelaterias filled with tables for two, and the Spanish Steps, one of the landmarks on which Gregory Peck wooed Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday. All this means it's a perfect destination for couples.” 

"Rome contains as many perfect backdrops for romance as it does churches and ancient ruins. Think: centuries-old piazzas you can amble through at sunset, charming gelaterias filled with tables for two, and the Spanish Steps, one of the landmarks on which Gregory Peck wooed Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday." — The KnotIn the heart of the city, this remarkable three-story penthouse built during the height of the Renaissance has witnessed nearly six centuries of Roman history. Housed in a former 15th-century palazzo, the residence is framed by the majesty of the Piazza Venezia, the Santa Maria in Ara Coeli, and the National Monument of Victor Emmanuel II. The home has been restored and upgraded for contemporary living. The grand staircase takes residents to the formal reception area, composed of a sequence of gracious halls. The master suite is sumptuous with its ornate boudoir, dressing room, and his-and-her bathrooms—the perfect honeymoon hideaway. Five large terraces and glass-enclosed garden rooms overlooking the city are ideal for both a romantic dinner or grand-scale celebration with friends and family.

Hawaiian Honeymoon

Massive wraparound lanais are strategically designed to provide the perfect views of the multiple world-class surf breaks of Hanalei. The disappearing walls allow a seamless transition from the interior to the exterior. The trade winds flow freely upstairs through the bright open floor plan which includes the kitchen, a great room, indoor and outdoor dining spaces, private office, and the master suite. The main house, designed by famed architect James A. Schmidt, features 15-foot-high ceilings and glass pocket doors, which frame 180-degree views of Hanalei Bay.

With its small-town charm and raw, natural beauty—a three-mile-long, crescent bay set beneath the backdrop of dramatic mountains and waterfalls—it’s easy to understand why this tropical paradise is considered one of the most beautiful places in the world for a home or honeymoon. “When it comes to romance, one would be hard pressed to find a more magical destination than Hanalei Bay in Kauai,” says Amy Frazier, a luxury real estate broker at Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers, the exclusive Affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate in Kauai. “Beloved for the active lifestyle it offers, the village has its own intimate ambience, too, with fine restaurants, boutiques, and galleries, with everything, including the world-famous beaches, within a two-mile radius.” Amy offers more Kauai lifestyle tips on her blog. 

When it comes to romance, one would be hard pressed to find a more magical destination than Hanalei Bay in Kauai.

One of Amy’s top listings is this Hanalei Bay villa, which wins the trifecta: location, architecture, and views for the quintessential island lifestyle. Designed to frame the world-class surf breaks of Hanalei Bay, the home is clad with “disappearing” walls of glass that allow a seamless transition from the interior to the exterior. Designed by famed architect James A. Schmidt, the main house was positioned to take in the incredible views of the bay. The tri-level second residence, surrounded by tropical grounds, sits towards the entrance to the property and offers ample space and privacy for guests.

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Lucy Carsen
Christie's International Real Estate

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