As alluring as a destination wedding can be, picking a venue that ticks all the right boxes for a dreamy celebration is not a piece of cake. We have hunted high and low to curate the ultimate list of luxurious international hotels for you to exchange your vows, all tailor-made to suit close-knit wedding celebrations in the new normal. By Bayar Jain & Sushmita Srivastav
San Clemente Palace Kempinski, Venice
Mirroring the centuries-old glory and timeless beauty of Venetian architecture, San Clemente Palace Kempinski Venice sits on a private island with its very own 12th-century eponymous church and acres of private gardens. Just a 10-minute boat ride away from the famous Piazza San Marco, a getaway to the luxury urban resort means living a castaway island fantasy while being in close proximity to the city’s best experiences.
As the travel world embraces the new normal, staying here is an ideal choice–thanks to the many safety and hygiene measures taken up by the resort. Moreover, the 70,000 square metres of lush lawns on the island offer an array of outdoor activities, ensuring social distancing.
Here, influences of great historical masterpieces can be spotted easily in the design elements throughout the property, where many art exhibitions are hosted every year. Vestiges of magnificent past can be found in the hotel’s Renaissance- inspired interiors, remarkably restored buildings, imperial staircases and enchanting Mediterranean courtyards. Overlooking the lagoon and surrounded by shades of green, the hotel’s 196 suites and rooms–with decorative antiques, ornate furniture and a soothing colour palette–are said to be the most exclusive and distinguished accommodation options in the Mediterranean sphere. Experience the best Italian culinary offerings as you dine at any of its three restaurants. Pick the waterfront Acquerello for a gastronomical excellence through an East Mediterranean-inspired menu paired with special San Clemente Prosecco and hand-crafted cocktails and San Marco’s stunning views. The poolside family-friendly La Dolce Restaurant & Pool Bar serves grills and wood-fired pizzas with fresh seasonal toppings, while the open-air Insieme Restaurant is ideal for long brunches and afternoon aperitifs. There are also three bars–Clemente, Pool and Sunset–to unwind at with your favourite drink.
Having bagged prestigious accolades like Europe’s Leading Luxury Wedding Resort 2019 and Europe’s Leading Hotel Suite 2018 at WTA (World Travel Awards), the hotel is a preferred location for weddings, courtesy a wide range of bespoke arrangements and unique concepts. There is a variety of venues to choose from (think verdant gardens, conference centre with six meeting rooms and two spacious foyers, the historical San Clemente Church and elegant dining rooms). The unique spa experience here features a luxurious couple’s suite, outdoor spa cabanas, dedicated areas for sauna, steam bath, a hair salon and a fitness centre. After a day spent sauntering in the Venetian alleys, take a dip in their outdoor pool, enjoy a game of tennis, go for a walk along the jogging path, or play a few leisurely rounds in the golf course by the lake.
Opulence is present in abundance at Vietnam’s JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa. For a wedding, however, a symphony of luxury, convenience, and the eclectic vibe is thrown into the alluring concoction as well. Guiding the couple through every step of the preparations—from menu selections to final celebrations— each step is meticulously planned. When here, a bouquet of venue options greets: a classic Lamark Ballroom, Pink Pearl Mansion, Emerald Bay, and signature Shell Pool. From simple to elaborate, colourful luxe drapes to floral decor or even ornate designs…this sprawling beach-side hotel can arrange it all!
Acknowledging the uniqueness of every couple’s special day, InterContinental Singapore strives (and succeeds!) in creating bespoke weddings. Set in the heart of Bugis, a historical and cultural region of the city-state, the lavish five-star hotel is draped in glamour. On one end, the pillar-less Grand Ballroom paired with crystal chandeliers and French windows reflects Singapore of the 1930s, on the other, a grand staircase and impressive 10-metre ceiling leading to the hall adds a regal touch. Thoughtfully crafted wedding packages further add to the charm. Think lavish wedding feast choices; beautifully designed stationery options, token boxes, and gifts for guests; and a retreat to the Bridal Suite post the nuptial to enjoy a romantic stay together.
OZEN RESERVE BOLIFUSHI, Maldives
It will be hard to top OZEN RESERVE BOLIFUSHI’s romantic backdrops of clear waters, cotton-candy skies, and sandy beaches for a wedding, when the resort opens. Whether it’s exchanging vows at the overwater Wedding Pavilion, walking down a sandy aisle to Boduberu drumbeats, enjoying cocktails on a sunset cruise, or indulging in a floating breakfast in a private pool, a dreamy wedding is guaranteed. For a socially distanced gathering, the party can take place at a private ocean reserve, replete with seven overwater villas and hammocks; and a private infinity pool. The resort will be offering various wedding options ranging from a private affair to a traditional Maldivian one. Completing the celebrations will be a three-tier cake; photography and videography services; couple’s massage at the in-house ELENA Spa, and more.
Santorini Secret Suites & Spa, Greece
The sheer magnitude of Santorini’s beauty is alluring enough for a wedding, but Santorini Secret Suites & Spa elevates it to levels sublime. The charming suites and villas here stay true to traditional Cycladic island architecture, making it a great space for an intimate wedding. Being outlined by endless blue skies that radiate picturesque orange hues as the sun sets makes it a sight otherwise only imaginable. Post an Instagram-worthy wedding, the Black Rock restaurant here—boasting a Greek and Mediterranean menu—awaits for an equally surreal reception. When here, the restaurant’s minimalism combined with volcano-dotted blue waters is sure to leave one gawking, whereas the contemporary twist in dishes will leave guests blissfully satisfied.
InterContinental Fujairah Resort, United Arab Emirates
At InterContinental Fujairah Resort, Arabic luxury fuses with warm hospitality to bring every dream wedding to life. Situated in the exquisite Al Aqah Beach, this ocean- facing resort has been hosting weddings since 2018, perfecting the celebrations with each union. All the 190 luxurious rooms and suites here assure uninterrupted ocean views, that promise to wow any guest who steps foot within the cosy space. Moreover, since the property is abiding by additional safety measures—such as assisted buffets, consistent sanitation, temperature checks, and adoption of safety guidelines outlined by local authorities—the couple is sure to have a stress-free ceremony.
Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara, Abu Dhabi
Few places earn the tag of ‘fairy tale-like’, and this luxurious abode is one of them. Set amid the Rub’ al Khali desert of Abu Dhabi, Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara personifies magical. Seeped in Arabian luxury, this secluded venue is ideal for an intimate wedding draped in flame-coloured sandy milieus. When at the palace, a selection of al fresco venues and experiences greet. Paired with immense safety measures like a guest guardian to ensure health compliance or thorough disinfection, the couple is sure to have a peaceful wedding with guests guaranteed to leave with an ever-lasting impression.
Seaside Finolhu, Maldives
Sprawling over four islands that has stretches of long white sandy beaches, untouched turquoise lagoons, and ethereal venue spaces in UNESCO-listed Baa Atoll, Seaside Finolhu Maldives is the perfect pick for your dream island wedding. From intimate ceremonies and exclusive parties to grand celebrations and lavish beachside nuptials, the island paradise by the award- winning Seaside Collection offers a refreshing twist to each of your special occasions.
Bringing along imagination, expertise, and a passion to create something unique each time, Seaside Finolhu promises to make your big day the most treasured experience of your life. Ask for a private celebratory dinner for your family under the stars. Get a romantic pre-wedding photoshoot done by the infinity pool. Throw an unforgettable cocktail party for your friends. Say “I do” on the sandbank while gazing out over infinite shades of blue with Maldivian drummers countering the sounds of crashing waves with their music.
With 125 beachfront and overwater villas, four restaurants, the award-winning Fehi Spa, the Beach Club, and a PADI- certified diving centre, the Maldivian resort is well armed to host guest lists of all sizes and tastes. A variety of wedding packages are also available for you to pick from. Try the ‘Summer Seaside Loving’ plan for amenities like a tropical set-up on the sandbank, private buggy for the ceremony, and a dedicated wedding coordinator. Or, pick ‘Barefoot Chic’ to make your celebration extra special with Maldivian drummers, romantic in-room bath for two, in-villa floating breakfast, destination dining, and more. Wedding photographers and hair and make-up artists for the bride and bridesmaids are also available upon request.
For the most incredible honeymoon experience, book ‘The Bubble’—the one-of-a-kind stay located at a secluded spot away from everything else on the island. The dome-shaped transparent accommodation will bring you two close to the stars, nature, and each other, and features all the comforts of a luxurious suite. Enjoy a private BBQ dinner, gaze up at the surreal night sky, and then wake up to breakfast on the beach with an ethereal Maldivian sunrise. At Seaside Finolhu Maldives, the experiences are matchless, and the possibilities endless.
Eden Roc Cap Cana, Dominican Republic
Outdoor spaces have taken centre stage in today’s socially-distanced days, and Eden Roc Cap Cana offers it in plenitude. Not only can the lush gardens here accommodate 60 guests— with comfortable space between each other—but the La Palapa restaurant and the deck here, too, are very spacious and airy zones. Moreover, pre-empting the trajectory of modern-day weddings, this Dominican property has even set up smaller spaces catering to micro- weddings. Tying it all together is a unique combination of colours, natural beauty, and assurance of warm hospitality. After all, isn’t that all one needs for a memorable day?
Desa Pramana Swan, Indonesia
The most intimate weddings are those held at private pool villas, of which Indonesia’s Desa Pramana Swan takes the top spot. Located near a seaside village, this property is ideal for couples looking to wed in the company of their closed ones without compromising on style. Not only does the resort double as a charming venue, but their wedding planner services help make the process hassle-free as well. Moreover, at this Balinese getaway, a wedding is more than just rituals. The services extend to the couple’s honeymoon as well, making it a relaxing abode to celebrate a new life together as one.
Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi
Weddings in the Middle East have a charm of their own, but Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace takes this experience a notch higher. Taking a page out of the couple’s dream wedding, this premier venue pulls all strings to make the D-day a memorable one. Think auditoriums capable of housing 1,100 guests, and another ballroom with enough space to house more than double of that (2,400 to be precise). Adding to the opulence is the option to choose from six large terraces, multiple pre-function areas, and verdant 85-hectare landscaped gardens for an outdoor ceremony. Tying it all together is the importance laid on health and security, visible through intense sanitation works; room and venue sterilisations; temperature checks; and more.
Vietnam’s InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort thrives on an imaginative design ethos unlike any other. The 900 square metre wedding venue at The Summit—a 39 hectare paradisiacal event space here—is draped in Vietnamese palatial interiors, making it a unique setup for all kinds of nuptials. Leave it to the in-house wedding expert team to curate and execute dreamy yet safe event for you—be it an intimate ring ceremony at any of the two mountain-view terraces or a romantic first dance at the elegant Grand Hall ballroom; or even a beachfront cocktail paired with a big bash by booking the entire resort.
When you’re in Cappadocia, you wake up to a surreal sunrise paired with the magical dance of hot air balloons over honeycombed hills, towering boulders, and the Anatolian steppe each morning. It is not a shocker, then, that argos in Cappadocia located here looks straight out of a whimsical fairy tale itself. With an old monastery site as its location, a restoration history of 24 years, and an ocean of romantic experiences, the hotel is rightly counted as one of the best wedding and honeymoon destinations in the region.Located in the heart of Uçhisar in Turkey, argos in Cappadocia believes in the legacy of being a ‘hotel with a village for a heart’. Be it an intimate affair or a big-fat celebration, the property has a range of unique venues that can set just the right tone for your dream wedding. Pick from one of its terraces that overlook the Pigeon Valley and the cobblestoned alleys of an ancient village resting on the skirts of Uçhisar Castle; the award- winning Seki Restaurant; the monastery church Bezirhane; the Museum Hall with its modern and chic setting; the Chapel, the Monks Terrace; or even by the pool.
The dedicated team here goes out of its way to cater to the couples’ every whim, as it believes in carefully understanding the needs of the bride and the groom. Not just an awarded wedding hotel, argos in Cappadocia also wins big at being the ideal destination for a romantic honeymoon. The special three-night package for newly-weds includes accommodation in a luxurious suite room for two nights and a stay at one of its Splendid Suites with private pools on the third night. Breakfast in bed, followed by a 60-minute couples massage, surprise in-room treats, and a romantic dinner at Seki – the hotel makes it a priority to make everything extra special for the newly-wed couple. Furthermore, the newly-weds can spend their spare time tasting Argos wines in lush vineyards, going on nature walks, lazing in their private pool, or making countless unforgettable memories on a balloon soaring high in the dramatic skies of Cappadocia.