|Chateau de Reignac in the Loire Valley dates back to the 15th century and has 13 guest rooms.|
From France’s Loire Valley to Napa Valley in California, these top hotels specialize in tying the knot—and everything thereafter.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more perfect setting for a fairytale wedding or honeymoon than France’s Loire Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Carved by the Loire River, the fertile valley was favored by 16th- and 17th-century monarchs, whose pet projects—one castle more opulent than the next—dot the landscape.
Near Tours, the Château de Reignac is an enchanting venue with extensive experience in hosting weddings, tailoring them to couples’ wishes. For owner Erick Charrier ([email protected]; 011-33-247-941-410) and his team, no request is too small. They’ve been known to arrange couples’ arrivals by helicopter, grandiose fireworks displays over the château’s 30-acre English-style park, masquerade soirées and newlyweds departing by hot-air balloon.
The former home of Marquis de Lafayette, the château dates from the 15th century with 13 guest rooms named for the illustrious personages who have lived there. Notably, the château is home to the largest private chapel in the region, a stunning space appointed with marble and stained glass, which we say is perfect for exchanging vows. Following the ceremony, cocktails can be quaffed under the centuries-old cedar trees on the lawn, before a candlelit dinner—showcasing terroir-inspired regional gastronomy paired with Loire wines—served under the ancient vaults of the Jean du Fau guardroom.
|A King Spa Suite at Bardessono. Each Spa Suite has a custom bathroom that is designed to double as a private spa.|
For the nuptials, the four-star hotel is exclusively taken over by the couple and their guests. The château can sleep 30 in well-appointed quarters that are decked out in period décor. Recommendation for the couple: the Junior Suite named for Hans Axel, Count de Fersen. For additional rooms, the neighboring village has B&B-style accommodations, while the town of Amboise, where Leonardo da Vinci famously lodged at the invitation of François I, has luxury options.
Another top spot for tying the knot: Château de Challain, the “petit Chambord” where supermodel Coco Rocha wed James Conran in June. The château is 30 minutes from Angers, and easily accessible from Paris by TGV. Classified a historic monument, the castle delivers wedding photos that seem straight out of Cinderella, complete with turrets and ramparts in the background. The château-turned-bed-and-breakfast has the feel of a private home. Graced with handcrafted wall fabrics and four-poster beds, the 10 guest rooms (including the honeymooners’ favorites: the Tower and Romance Suites) are the height of romance—whether your clients are celebrating a wedding, honeymoon or anniversary. Fun Fact: The castle has 365 windows, one for each day of the year; 52 fireplaces, one for each week; and 12 turrets, one for each month.
|Chateau de Reignac. The Junior Suite Hans Axel in the Park Side, is one of only three suites at the hotel.|
American owner Cynthia Nicholson ([email protected]; 011-33-241-927-426) can act as wedding coordinator; she strives to make dreams a reality and specializes in individualizing each event. From horseback processions to scattered rose petal garden parties, she’s got it covered. At the château’s beck and call are a network of professionals, including hair stylists, florists, photographers and musicians. For the wedding, the château must be rented out exclusively for two nights. It sleeps 28 people; additional rooms can be organized at nearby B&Bs.
Your clients can say “I do” under the hand-painted ceiling of the château’s chapel or under the oak trees in the gardens. Wedding feasts are positively decadent¬—think salmon carpaccio or foie gras followed by whole lobster or duck scented with blueberries and served with risotto. The courses are paired with regional wines and, in fact, the château can arrange for guests to do wine tastings at local vineyards. After supping in style, guests can dance the night away in the candle-lit castle.
In the United States, California’s wine country is equally sought-after for romantic escapes. There’s a new luxury hotel on the scene in Napa Valley’s Yountville and it’s causing quite a stir. Committed to environmental sustainability, Bardessono is the only LEED Platinum Certified hotel in California and one of only two in the U.S. The hotel’s sleek design showcases advanced environmental technologies ensuring a carbon footprint of zero. But that’s not all: The 62-room property has won acclaim for its farm-fresh menu and organic wine list, rooftop pool and spa featuring vinotherapy.
|The Napoleon room (available only when the chateau is taken over)|
Clients with a green bent who don’t want to skimp on luxury will swoon over Bardessono as a wedding venue or honeymoon hideaway. From the artisanal Blue Bottle coffee delivered to your door in the morning to the organic gardens on site, this is wine country living at its finest. The hotel has 1,665 square feet of indoor space and over 4,000 square feet of outdoor space including terraces, the poolside patio and the private kitchen garden. The executive chef will design a tasting menu for the event, featuring the highest quality seasonal and organic ingredients. Sample menu items include the hill family farm beet salad with burrata cheese and a sherry vinaigrette, hook & line Atlantic cod, clucky plucky chicken and hale farm apple tarte tatin.
Guest rooms are equipped with In Fiore bath products, Coyuchi bed linens and 40-inch Sony LCD HDTVs. Included in the room rate is Internet, valet parking and carbon-fiber bicycles for touring the surrounding vineyards. Hint: Recommend one of the six Tufa one-bedroom suites for newlyweds/honeymooners. We’re also enamored by the Spa Suites. The custom bathroom in each suite is designed to double as a private spa, featuring a concealed massage table, a soaking tub, separate shower and double vanity. Note: Personalized spa treatments can be taken in the suite.
|The Romance Suite’s bathroom|
At Bardessono’s spa, each treatment is designed around the season. For example, in the winter, it’s all about enhancing one’s immune system and circulation, while renewing vitality in the springtime is key.
Luxury travel advisors can contact Jamie Gansler ([email protected];707-204-6000) for more information on rooms and spa.
In the nearby town of Napa, The Carneros Inn is a natural choice for weddings, with lots of experience to boot. With a picture-perfect setting in the midst of the Carneros wine-growing region, it’s little wonder that The Carneros Inn garners awards as one of the most romantic resorts in the world. It’s also one of the most exclusive in Napa Valley, but there’s nothing pretentious about it. The Carneros Inn exudes rustic charm with an organic feel drawing on its surroundings. One delighted wedding guest told Luxury Travel Advisor about the “casual chic vibe,” as another raved about the bocce ball on the lawn.
Guests can get buffed in the spa with views of the vineyards, warm themselves under the stars by the outside fire pits and taste the region’s bounty at FARM.
|The Carneros Inn courtyard is an ideal place to exchange nuptials.|
This vineyard oasis comes with cottage-style accommodations nestled in 27 acres of grape vines and apple orchards. These individual cottages have outdoor showers, wood-burning fireplaces, free mini-bars stocked with local Gravenstein apple juice and sprawling bathrooms with Jacuzzi tubs and talked-about bath products by Red Flower. Insiders suggest the Vineyard Suite or Harvest Cottage for newlyweds.
Luxury travel advisors should contact David Thibaut ([email protected]; 707-299-4903), associate reservations manager and VIP specialist. For weddings, contact Wedding Liaison Brooke Baglietto ([email protected]).