It’s my anniversary this month! On the 23rd of January I will have been married for two years and I’m pleased to say that we still don’t go to bed angry – we prefer to stay up and fight! Oh, just joking, I’m still mad about the boy and am prone to getting a bit misty-eyed when I think about my beautiful wedding day and honeymoon.
After giving an emphatic “YES!” to my sweetheart’s impromptu proposal – in Venice under a star-filled sky – my bambino and I organised our wedding at lightning speed and married just four months later in beautiful Lake Garda. Anxiety-ridden brides-to-be are always amazed when I tell them that I just turned up with my dress and shoes but that’s pretty much the truth. My husband-to-be was living in Italy at the time so it was down to him to organise the Big Day. I didn’t see where I was getting married until I arrived outside the beautiful Baroque town hall of Arco del Garda with my bouquet in one hand and my Dad holding the other, and I didn’t know where the reception was being held until my new husband and I were winding our way up the side of the Rochetta mountain to the Il Ristorante Belvedere al Bastione, an extraordinary eatery located in a sixteenth-century fortification overlooking the lakeside town of Riva del
I always dreamed my wedding pictures would grace the (web) pages of HELLO!
The whole day bloomed with romance. The food, the wine, the scenery, the culture, the look in his eyes – everything was perfetto. Anyway, the point of my romantic remembrances is not only so that I can swim happily in the still clear waters of my memory but also to tell you about three exquisite European hotels that celebrity couples love to nest away in – and one of which I was lucky enough to spend my honeymoon in.
Where: Rome Cavalieri
This hotel is top of my romantic hot spots, partly because it is the gloriously beautiful hotel that I honeymooned in but also because it has been attracting celebrity clientele for decades. Located in the hills overlooking Rome, the Cavalieri was built in the 1960s to attract the elegant cocktail set of La Dolce Vita and still tingles with that magical A-list allure. Every inch of the Cavalieri positively exudes beauty, romance and lashings of luxury from its impressive art collection, to its decadent Grand Spa, three Michelin star restaurant, La Pergola, and its luxurious rooms and suites.
The Cavalieri’s rooftop restaurant, La Pergola
As neither my husband or I have a film deal, trust fund, or are major shareholders in Apple we couldn’t quite afford the $20,000 a night Penthouse suite but our Imperial room still exceeded all of our expectations and was the perfect little pleasure palace for our honeymoon. Awaiting us in our mahogany-filled, richly-draped room was an enormous bed fitted out with sheets any pharaoh would be happy with, a travertine marble bathroom stocked with Hermès toiletries, and a view over the city that was so spectacular that, when we stepped onto the balcony for the first time, I actually cried a little bit!
Who: Amongst an illustrious guest list that includes heads of state, diplomats, and foreign royalty, George Clooney, and girlfriend Elisabetta Canalis, are rumoured to be regular guests. John Travolta and Kelly Preston are also thought to be big fans of the Cavalieri’s charms. Queen of the love song, Celine Dion, and unashamed king of
the ballad, Gary Barlow have also checked in to the Cavalieri for some Roman-style romancing. And Julia Roberts checked in for a whole month while filming Eat, Pray, Love.
Why: The saying goes that “You’ve never lived until you’ve loved in Rome” and the Eternal City certainly doesn’t disappoint. Whether you are lounging amongst the lovers on the Spanish Steps, ambling around ancient ruins, shopping along the Via del Corso, having a tipple in Trastevere, or watching the sun come up over the Trevi Fountain the sound of lovers footsteps from centuries past resonate everywhere. Kissing and cuddling seem almost to be obligatory in this city and even celebrities get caught up in the city’s unrelenting passion – Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel were caught smooching in the street, as were Julia Roberts and husband, Danny Moder.
Where: Buddha-Bar Hotel Prague
The last few years have seen an ever-increasing list of celebrity visitors flocking to the cultural capital of the Czech Republic, with many of them making their way to one of the very desirable rooms at the Buddha-Bar Hotel. The hotel is located along a charming wee street near the Charles Bridge and Old Town and is considered to be one of the best boutique hotels in Europe. Like the sultry restaurant chain of the same name, Buddha-Bar Hotel is a grand homage to oriental splendour. All of the rooms are decked out in the style of a luxurious opium den, some come with private terraces or Japanese gardens, all come with baths big enough for two and the three show-stopping suites are a heaven-sent for hedonists. This hotel is for all about pleasure seeking and is packed with hot young things and beautiful people. And if they’re not checking in, then they can be found enjoying the “Eatmosphere” at the sophisticated Siddharta Cafe.
Who: They were never going to give me their guest list – they’re far too cool for that – but my sources tell me that, since its opening in 2009, Matt Damon and his wife, Luciana, have been regular guests at the Buddha-Bar. Other star couples that have been spotted in the area include Kanye West and girlfriend, Amber Rose, Brangelina, Gwen Stefani and husband, Gavin Rossdale, and Kylie Minogue and Spanish sweetheart, Andres Velencoso.
Why: If you’re looking for old-fashioned fairy tale romance then you really can’t do much better than picture-perfect Prague. Take a wander through the city’s cobblestone streets and admire its wedding cake architecture, magical gardens and magnificent Charles Bridge. The Rooneys chose this destination for last year’s make-it or break-it holiday. Bill and Hillary Clinton apparently adore the city and have been spotted more than once having a romantic meal at the gorgeous Kampa Park restaurant, that overlooks the river.
Where: Paris Park Hyatt Vendôme
No romantic getaway list would be complete without including the world’s capital of romance, Paris. When celebrity couples are in the mood for love they head to the City of Lights and celebrity couples in need of a measure of red-hot Parisian passion can more often than not be found at the lush Park Hyatt Vendôme. Located just a (precious) stone’s throw from the Place Vendôme, the Place de L’Opera and the city’s exquisite jewellery stores, this beautiful Haussman period building is all about luxury, seduction, and style. The Imperial Suite at the PH is one of the most expensive hotel rooms in the world, with multiple rooms for eating, sleeping and entertaining including an in-room spa, and is mainly reserved for celebrities and visiting dignitaries. Mere mortals however can stay in one of the Rue de la Paix facing lux rooms to enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of the heart of Paris.
Gorgeous guest rooms at the Park Hyatt Vendôme
Who: It might not have worked out for Eva Longoria and soon-to-be ex-husband Tony Parker, who were regular guests at the PH, and lodged their wedding guests here, but plenty other celebrities like the lovely Lily Allen and Sam Cooper, Rihanna and latest beau, Matt Kemp, and power couple Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones swear by the Park Hyatt’s amorous atmosphere. And Sting and wife, Trudi, who are, of course, well known for their sizzling sex life apparently check in for weeks at a time!
Why: For nearly a millennium Paris has been famed as a city of lovers and it’s easy to see why. Whether it’s walking hand in hand along the Seine like Demi and Ashton, sauntering around the fabulous shops (Dior in Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr’s case), or just soaking up the sights; lovers of all ages, and celebrity statuses can immerse themselves in the same romantic Parisian atmosphere that has inspired centuries of literature, painting and poetry.