I recently did a story for CNTraveler.com on hotel rooms set in fairytale-like towers, which was picked up by FoxNews.com for Valentine’s Day. (Here’s the link.) All five places are unbelievably romantic; let’s see how they rate as wedding territory. We’ll assign each one to five hearts.
1. Thornbury Castle, Thornbury, England. While Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn are the most illustrious (if not the happiest) pair to have visited this Gloucestershire castle, there’s no shortage of brides and grooms, either; even couples from America have been seduced by this glorious Tudor landmark. The only downside: weather that isn’t always a bride’s dream, and marriage laws that mean you’ll probably have to do a legal ceremony at home. Given the atmosphere and history, these are mere quibbles. ♥♥♥♥
2. Primland, Meadows of Dan, Virginia. With apologies to the people of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this resort is truly in the middle of nowhere; the closest commercial airport is a two-and-a-half hour drive, and if you forget anything at home (a guest book, for example), you’re just going to have to deal. But the top-of-the-world location is so sublime, the architecture so stunning, and the moonshine cocktails so potent, we wouldn’t hesitate to invite the gang here for a weekend. But we’ve got to withhold one star for that long, long drive. ♥♥♥♥
3. Oheka, Huntington, New York. Weddings are big business at Oheka, an estate built by industrialist Otto Kahn, who held Gatsby-like parties here in the decade before the Great Depression. The dreamy compound boasts lavish gardens, formal courtyards, splashing fountains, airy ballrooms, and enough fairytale trimmings to satisfy any bride’s inner Cinderella. Add ample local accommodations and it would be hard to find a more ideal wedding spot. ♥♥♥♥♥
4. Chateau d’Ouchy, Lausanne, Switzerland. A stunning contrast of modern, sophisticated design within and Old Wold architecture without, the Chateau has all the turrets and towers you want in a storybook site. While the staff is utterly accommodating and the Lake Geneva setting quite splendid, the hotel isn’t prepared to stage anything but the tiniest wedding. However, it would make a five-star honeymoon. ♥♥♥
5. Wheatleigh, Lenox, Massachusetts. A confession: This is where I got married, so of course it’s the most marvelous wedding site on the planet. A main house that could have been imported from Italy, sweeping lawns banked by formal gardens, and what is probably the most elegant, affable staff in the entire U.S. The only downside: Unless your guests are all part of the 1%, they’ll have to overnight elsewhere; staying here costs the earth. But there are plenty of inns and B&Bs in these Berkshire hills, so we’ll give it the full five. ♥♥♥♥♥