THE ‘BUDDYMOON’ ON THE RISE BY MR & MRS SMITH
You’ve said ‘I do’, arrived in a stunning honeymoon destination and now you’re arm in arm on the sand, toasting the sun’s colourful descent. It’s just you and your beloved, and your ex-roommate, and your bride’s sister and work colleague, your knitting circle, running buddy...
Yes, three (or 15) is no longer a crowd on post-wedding getaways. The ‘buddymoon’ is on the up and Mr & Mrs Smith have partnered with The Wedding Shop to pick the ideal hotels and destinations off the beaten track where you can keep the wedding party going, cut down on costs and celebrate with the whole crew.
Santorini is a seasoned honeymoon destination. With wedding-cake architecture, the bluest of caldera views and cocktails enhanced sundowners as standard. But, it’s not exclusive to gooey-eyed hand-holders fork-feeding each other souvlaki; many stays are both sociable and secluded, with glorious honeymoon suites hidden in-between the meandering white walkways.
Cool Cycladian Chromata has virginal white rooms with pops of colour. It is spread over a cliffside with a magical Aegean aspect. Privacy is assured in honeymoon suites with hideaway bathtubs or a hidden cave villa reached by an ancient footpath. Mates can stay close by for meet-ups at the Greek fine diner Chroma or champagne and sushi platters in the sit-up bar, then toast to a ‘happily ever after’ with cocktails on the lounging terrace before retiring to hang the ‘Do not disturb’ sign.
Monaci Delle Terre Nere is a Sicilian villa that wears its heart on its sleeve. Its dusky rose hue and terraced gardens beg to be taken two by two. It bellows romance like a lover below a balcony and will sweep couples and plus-ones alike off their feet. Guests can book out the main villa, or scatter into the grounds, where the stables, barn and a former wine-press have been transformed into suites and dressed with hip artwork and furniture pieces.
All together, tackle Mount Etna’s slopes, let the sommelier lead you through local vineyards for tastings, hire a fleet of bikes or a troop of horses, and pick up slow-food tips on a cookery course. And, when the happy couple need some alone time, they can saunter off for holistic massages, a private dinner overlooking Sicilian splendour and a spot of stargazing.
Get your gang together and canter over to Morocco for a takeover of palatial stay Selman. It’s not short on romance and has a boudoir-reminiscent aesthetic. With more than 60 rooms there’s enough space for the whole wedding party and their partners, and the catwalk of a pool has swimming space and sun loungers for all.
While villas with full-size pools and their dinky riad courtyard will make the happy couple even happier, the massive Henri Chenot spa has low-lit pools and a couples’ room, plus his ‘n’ hers hammams for regrouping stag- and hen-night survivors.
If you imagine your honeymoon soundtracked by Yann Tiersen and filtered through Super 8 static, you should set it at Hôtel Crillon le Brave. This Provençal stay does rustic l’amour to a tee, even offering couples a tandem bike and a picnic for countryside sojourns, plus a vaulted couples’ room in the stone spa.
It takes a village to make a ‘buddymoon’ and Crillon happens to be just that: a hilltop hamlet where buildings have gradually been taken over by the hotel, making it ideal for breaks avec vos amis. Use group hang-outs to relax by the pool or pick at cheese platters, or – in season – try to sniff out truffles. Or vinesweep the beloved local wineries, stocking up on bottles to enjoy later, when you takeover your preferred terrace of the day to watch the sunset.
The Pig on the Beach may sound like the last afternoon of a very indulgent honeymoon break, but it’s actually one of an immensely popular brand of country-breakers and a former Best Smith Hotel award winner, set in a spot so quaint it inspired Noddy’s Toytown.
It has whimsical lodgings for all the litter: from sweetly rustic rooms in the 16th-century manor house to cosy shepherds’ huts to converted dovecotes – the latter being honeymooners’ favourite follies. Dine à la kitchen garden in the esteemed restaurant, ride on the beach, take windswept clifftop walks and hop from village to village.
And, for some alone time, Studland beach will do the trick. Mostly inhabited by wildlife, it’s also known for the occasional naturist – and it’s set just far enough away to spare your buddies’ blushes.
Whether you’re looking for a buddymoon, minimoon, maximoon or just a romance-laden break away, Mr & Mrs Smith have something for everyone!