Hot hotels for weddings
Want to get married in paradise? Try one of these gems, says Joe Shooman
1 Mandarin Oriental, St Vincent & the Grenadines
BEST FOR… REPEAT ROMANCE
WHERE: CARENAGE BAY, CANOUAN
Room RATES: FROM US$1,600
INFO: +1 212 461 8068; www.mandarinoriental.com
Intimate, luxurious, private and picture-perfect, the Caribbean’s first Mandarin Oriental is a heavenly choice for marrying couples. There are a range of wedding packages available: you could opt for a small-scale seaside ceremony, a big beachfront banquet or anything in between.
Onsite wedding specialists can help you to organise everything, from custom-designed cakes to bespoke boutonnières, from live music to alfresco dining. If you want the lot, consider the Gathered Here Today premium package, which features a whole bunch of extras including couples massages, concierge services and more. You will want to do it all over again – and you can. There is a promotion available that enables couples to come back and stay at the resort for two nights, free of charge, on their first anniversary.
2 Emerald Beach, USVI
BEST FOR… THE PERSONAL TOUCH
WHERE: 8070 LINDBERGH BAY, ST THOMAS
ROOM RATES: FROM US$224
INFO: +1 340 777 8800; www.emeraldbeach.com
There are never two weddings taking place on the same day at Emerald Beach, so you can be sure that you and your guests will receive full attention. This comes courtesy of Heart & Soul Unions, a team of professional and friendly wedding planners who have a long-standing link to the hotel. Needless to say, the wedding site itself is extraordinary: a white-sand beach lapped by turquoise waters.
The hotel’s 90 rooms are all beachfront, with private patios, balconies and all mod-cons. There’s a large party space and a lovely tropical garden for gatherings. After the big “I do”, everyone can relax by the beautifully landscaped pool, waterfall and deck overlooking the Caribbean or try a range of watersports. Emerald Beach is only a hop and a skip from Cyril E King Airport, so travel is smooth and simple.
3 St Kitts Marriott Resort
BEST FOR… PACKAGE CHOICES
WHERE: 858 FRIGATE BAY ROAD
Room rATES: FROM US$132
INFO: +1 869 466 1200; www.marriott.com
The Marriott Resort has everything covered wedding-wise, from pre-nuptial spa relaxation, Bachelors vs Bachelorettes poker tournaments and nights on the town in a private limo, to flower, entertainment, cake and videography packages. You can opt for religious or non-denominational ceremonies, and vow renewals are available. To keep your wedding party occupied there’s an 18-hole golf club nearby, a spa, 24-hour fitness centre and three pools. Rooms range from comfortable doubles to two-bedroom villas complete with kitchens – good for wedding guests with families. The Royal Ballroom can accommodate 1,500 people, while block bookings for ten or more rooms will benefit from group rates. All wedding planners are Marriott-certified, having undergone specific training, so you’re in safe hands here.
4 Fort Young Hotel, Dominica
BEST FOR… ACTIVE COUPLES
WHERE: VICTORIA STREET, ROSEAU
ROOM RATES: FROM US$244
INFO: +1 767 448 5000; www.fortyounghotel.com
Fort Young was built to defend the island in the 18th century. Consequently, the hotel that now sits within these historic ramparts has an excellent location: right on the water, close to the marina, downtown Roseau and the wonderful Saturday French Market. You and your wedding guests will have no shortage of entertainment options. You can tie the knot on the hotel’s private jetty, which stretches out into the Caribbean, or pick one of numerous photogenic and historic on-site locations. Accommodation ranges from the intimate Fort Rooms in the original buildings to the Oceanfront Suites, which are named after various Dominican heroes and have private balconies, whirlpool tubs, walk-through dressing rooms and dining areas that can seat eight people. You can even arrange an in-room couples massage – not a bad way to start married life.
5 Pegasus Hotel, Guyana
BEST FOR… TRADITIONAL ELEGANCE
WHERE: SEAWALL ROAD, KINGSTON, GEORGETOWN
ROOM RATES: FROM US$171
INFO: +592 225 2856; www.pegasushotelguyana.com
You’re following in the footsteps of the rich and famous when you stay at the Pegasus: previous guests have included Mick Jagger and Jimmy Carter. Indeed, perhaps bride and groom might want to spend their first night in the opulent suite in which Queen Elizabeth II once slept. Cricket fans might prefer the Carl Hooper Suite, of course.
The hotel’s Grand Savannah Ballroom can host 300 wedding guests, and smaller spaces are available – you’ll certainly want to raise a toast in the striking Aura Sky Lounge, which boasts a 360° view of Georgetown. The poolside Ignite Bar & Grill is a great spot for romantic lounging to live music, and you can groove like Jagger at the Latino Wine Bar. The hotel offers bridal showers with afternoon tea, bachelor/bachelorette parties and a special morning-after brunch for wedding guests to compare memories of the big day.