2017 Honeymoon Awards: The Most Romantic Hotels in the U.S. (Mainland)
We partnered up with Martha Stewart Weddings and asked our readers and followers to reveal their ultimate honeymoon destinations in nine regions around the globe. Now, with nearly 9,000 of you accounted for, we've found our winners. That Napa Valley came out on top—followed closely by Miami, Charleston, Palm Springs, and Las Vegas—indicates you’re in the market for good weather and activities that you can share together (whether that's wine tasting, antiques shopping, or simply bumming around on the beach). As for where to stay? We've rounded up our favorite hotels in each destination that deliver on both.
Napa Valley, California
Auberge Du Soleil
As soon as you and your beau arrive at this luxe Napa Valley stay, a crew of white cap-clad hotel attendants whisk away your luggage and hand you a glass of California red. From there, unpack in your room—a Provençal-inspired “maison” with a wine and cheese-stocked fridge, wood-burning fireplace, deep-soaking tub, and French doors that open onto a huge terrace—before an energy-balancing massage or facial at the ultra-indulgent spa or, better yet, a soak in the spectacular pool that overlooks the vineyard and olive groves. For dinner, you’re both in for a seasonal feast at Michelin-starred The Restaurant at Auberge du Soleil, where Executive Chef Robert Curry prepares dishes using the freshest local produce.
City lovers will want to bed down at the 114-room Andaz Napa, an urbanite’s answer to wine country with its central location and big-brand amenities (think iPad check-in, free WiFi, and a lobby cocktail bar). Rooms are contemporary and spacious and feature marble bathrooms stocked with Lydia Mondavi’s vino-inspired cosmetics line as well as mini-fridges replete with bottles from Alameda’s St. George Spirits and Anderson Valley Brewing Company. Cheers to your honeymoon on the second-floor terrace, where you drink craft cocktails around fire pits, before a hearty supper at Mercantile Social.
Meadowood Napa Valley
This iconic Napa mainstay is everything you’d expect from a five-star Relais & Chateaux property: there’s a three-Michelin-starred restaurant, 250 sprawling acres, and beautiful interior details like Tibetan silk rugs, global antiques, and ceramics by local artist Emil Yanos. A recent $60 million re-do involved a refresh of the guest rooms and golf course as well as the opening of a standalone spa by Napa architect (and landscape guru) Howard Backen. The exterior wraps around an aging oak tree; inside, guests can choose from a treatment menu heavy on vinotherapy (think grape seed and black walnut scrubs) and detox-inducing bites like beets with Santa Rosa plum, purple carrots, and arugula.
Napa Valley, the heart and soul of American winemaking, certainly doesn’t lack for bucolic vineyard stays—but under-the-radar Carneros Inn made one of the bigger statements last year when it re-opened following a thorough $6.5 million renovation. Its 86 standalone cottages on 27 rolling acres are decidedly more minimalist (though no less romantic) than the Tuscan-style digs of surrounding competitors—and a welcome breath of fresh air. Our favorite perks: the lengthy outdoor adults-only pool just 10 feet from the vines and a fireside butler for all your fire pit and outdoor soaking tub needs.
Faena Hotel Miami Beach
Real estate developer Alan Faena tapped none other than film director Baz Luhrman and his wife, award-winning costumer Catherine Martin, to design his first Miami hotel. The renovated 1940s property is set on an oceanfront stretch of South Beach and seriously delivers on the wow factor. Inside, the no-holds-barred, cinematic interiors feature outsized surrealist murals, intricate floral wallpapers, seashell-encrusted columns, and sculptures—including a 24-karat wooly mammoth skeleton encased in glass—by contemporary art-world provocateur Damien Hirst. The property is just the beginning of Argentinian developer Alan Faena’s grand plan for the billion-dollar Faena Arts District, a cultural quarter that is now home to the Faena Theater for performing arts and the Rem Koolhaas-designed Faena Forum.
The Confidante, Miami Beach
Newly relaunched as The Confidante, the former Thompson Miami Beach is as good as ever. Minimalist yet colorful interiors pay tribute to Miami’s Art Deco heritage, with 363 rooms furnished with wooden platform beds, seafoam green credenzas, and graphically patterned rugs. Laze away your afternoons, hand in hand, at the buzzy outdoor area, dubbed The Backyard, which includes two heated pools surrounded by brightly striped cabanas, a tropical garden, and access to a powdery stretch of private beach.
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1 Hotel South Beach
Rusticity and luxury are rarely so artfully matched. Like other 1 Hotels, this property, housed in a 1925 Collins Avenue landmark, is awash in fawn-hued reclaimed wood, organic white cotton, and other natural materials that together create into a soothing, breezy atmosphere. Expect a white, beachy palette in the 426 guest rooms, which feature floor-to-ceiling ocean views, warm woods (à la driftwood), and sustainable perks such as terrarium gardens and hemp blend–filled mattresses. An indoor vertical garden and a fruit stand set the tone in the cool lobby, while the rooftop pool is the place to see and be seen (when you can bear to leave your room, that is). In line with the hotel’s eco-friendly practices, Tesla electric cars are on hand to shuttle guests around Miami Beach.
Nautilus South Beach, a Sixty Hotel
Beautifully reimagined by Sixty Hotels, the Nautilus was originally designed in the 1950s by Morris Lapidus, the architect responsible for some of Miami’s most glamorous midcentury hotels. Today, this Collins Avenue landmark displays a balanced mix of retro style—just look to velour sofas and potted palm trees—and contemporary comforts. Behind the spacious lobby, there’s an outdoor adult playground with a saltwater pool surrounded by cabanas, an alfresco bar, and a lawn strewn with wicker hammocks facing the beach.
Charleston, South Carolina
Belmond Charleston Place
This eight-story landmark, at the heart of the historic district, is all Southern charm. Sprawling antebellum mansions and palmetto trees surround the hotel, while an enormous chandelier and a sweeping staircase welcome guests into the lobby. The 435 rooms are surprisingly spacious and replete with traditional accents like a feminine gray-and-green-on-blue palette that matches the patterned carpets and floral curtains (modern comforts including controlled lighting and free WiFi). Like the hotel itself, the Charleston Grill is a successful mix of old and new, serving a menu that balances modern cravings for light, fresh fare with the gusto of traditional Southern cooking.
The Dewberry Charleston
It’s unlikely that President John F. Kennedy would have guessed this austere structure he commissioned would be treated to such a polished second act. When Hurricane Floyd ravaged the building in 1999, developer John Dewberry swooped in, retaining the commanding brick-and-marble façade. The interiors, however, underwent a thoughtful Southern Modernist remodel: the lobby is decked with palm-shaped chandeliers and funky Poul Kjærholm sofas while the sultry cherry paneling is a hat-tip to the original walls. Equally timeless is the hotel’s star attraction, Henrietta’s, a photogenic black-and-white tiled brasserie with views of Marion Square and a menu that spotlights Southern versions of contemporary French classics.
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The Spectator Hotel
Smack in the middle of Charleston’s bustling historic district, this 41-room Southern charmer brims with the spirit of the Jazz Age, anchored by a Great Gatsby theme—right down to the stuffed albino peacock named Daisy Buchanan in the lobby. Style and service take center stage, from the welcome cocktail and monogrammed leather coasters to personalized butlers to the Southern Lady mattresses and custom Harris pillows in every room. The hotel is within easy walking distance of many of Charleston’s cultural landmarks, and guests can hop on a charming (and free) cruiser bike to explore farther afield. After a day of sightseeing, snag a green leather stool and order up a handcrafted cocktail at the snazzy Spectator Bar—it’s worth a visit in itself.
Palm Springs, California
The Saguaro Palm Springs
Marrying a socialite? The Saguaro is a crayon-colored Coachella Valley sleep known for its tequila-fueled pool parties, celebrity-owned restaurants, and bevy of on-site amenities including free daily yoga, bicycles, and poolside Ping-Pong. Rooms come in 14 sunny color schemes and feature balconies with views of either the pool, mountains, and gardens. After dark, the Saguaro’s scene gets even hotter, when several restaurants and bars by Iron Chef America’s Jose Garces stay open until late. Don’t leave without sampling the beer battered mahi-mahi tacos and stuffed dates with blue cheese and bacon at the Moroccan-inspired El Jefe.
A favorite among couples, this mid-century icon occupies a William F. Cody-designed 1952 building that was once a playground for golden-era Hollywood elite like Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable, and several presidents. Owner and designer Steve Hermann is behind the multi-million-dollar renovation, which kept details from the original hotel while adding bespoke and upscale vintage furniture. At the pool, brush shoulders with a civilized mix of fedora-d studio execs and Trina Turk-wearing socialites, all reclining around the stunning infinity edge pool as the sun hangs heavy against the San Jacinto mountains. Then, settle in for a mouth-watering feast of roasted Spanish octopus and a compressed melon salad with mint and French feta at the alfresco SO.PA.
Ace Hotel and Swim Club
Party with the cool kids at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club, a midcentury motel turned hipster hangout with a rock ‘n’ roll poolside scene and a flea market chic aesthetic. The whitewashed guest rooms are kitted out with vintage furniture, hand-printed canvas bed throws, and old-school prints, and the vistas look out onto the surrounding mountains. After you’ve settled in, mosey on down to the pool’s hammock-strewn concourse, where PYT’s pass pitchers of white sangria and groove to reggae, electronica and old-school hip-hop blasting from the speakers. If you stick around until sundown, you’ll score prime seating for late-night poolside performances by star DJ’s like California’s Tribe and Kings and Meesinja.
Parker Palm Springs
The Parker is spread over 13 acres and decked out in eclectic, tongue-in-cheek décor that the hotel’s designer, Jonathan Adler, describes as “your great-aunt’s estate.” What does that look like exactly? Needlepoint butterfly pillows, lamps shaped like horses, and, in the lobby, knights in armor, atomic chandeliers, and a vintage store sign that reads “Drugs.” Interior design aside, other highlights include two salt water pools, a 16,500-square-foot spa, lawn croquet, pétanque, golf, and tennis. Reserve in advance for the sexy retro brasserie Mister Parker’s and for the hearty brunches at the funky Norma’s.
Las Vegas, Nevada
The hippest hotel on the Strip is equal parts swanky and theatrical: there’s morphing digital art-wrapped columns in the lobby, nouveau Baroque chandeliers and marble floors, and, in the 2,995 guest rooms, blue alligator side tables and Pop Art wallpaper. Every space here is designed to make a statement, from the three-level casino floor bar built inside a massive crystal chandelier to the Marquee Nightclub & (poolside) Dayclub that keeps the energy thumping at all hours to experimental performance Rose.Rabbit.Lie. that has to be seen to be believed. For those looking to escape the madness, the serene Sahra Spa offers 30 treatments rooms and its own hammam.
Aria Resort & Casino
Aria was a showstopper when it debuted in 2009 with its never-before-seen curvilinear glass tower in the heart of the Strip. And the hotel is still making waves: it’s now the world’s largest LEED Gold-certified building, with a leafy lobby and a refreshing amount of natural light in its public spaces and all 4,004 rooms. Of course, there’s no end to all one can get up to in this city, but you can get by without ever leaving this mega-resort, which houses no less than 16 restaurants, eight bars, three pools, and its own in-house Cirque du Soleil show, Zarkana.
The Venetian Resort Hotel & Casino
Some might balk at the thought of a themed casino resort, but the Venetian, modeled after the famed Italian city, defies expectations with its painstaking attention to detail. The 4,000-suite palace comes with a grand entrance à la Piazza San Marco, gilded interiors with elaborate ceiling frescoes, and even its own shop-lined canals and gondola rides. But nothing is overdone: clean-lined rooms are spacious and modern with sunken living rooms and big bathrooms, while the Canyon Ranch SpaClub is one of the largest—and among the best ranked—day spas in North America.
Few properties nail that first impression quite like the Bellagio, best known for those iconic dancing fountains that put on a choreographed show over the eight-acre lake fronting the property. The glamour continues inside, where a Chihuly hand-blown glass sculpture dominates the entryway, 400 main tower suites are fresh off a $165 million makeover, a high-stakes poker room on the casino floor is still the stuff of legend, and Cirque du Soleil’s water-themed production, O—the resident show since it premiered in 1998—is as alluring as ever.
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