Is one of your clients thinking of proposing? Joanna Booth suggests the best places for them to pop the question
According to an old saying, first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes – but hang on a minute: before we go rushing off to buy baby carriages, aren’t we forgetting something?
They’ve missed out a pretty significant element – the proposal. Don’t make the same mistake. Two-thirds of respondents to a survey by Travelex said they’d prefer to propose abroad – so that’s almost 70% of your single clients who could be booking a pop-the-question trip with you.
And if they’re not quite sure where to head for, why not suggest one of our 10 ideas? Short-haul weekend trips will suit most, but for those with the time and cash, we’ve included a few longer-duration and longer-haul holidays. And let’s face it, once you’ve sorted out the perfect proposal for them, they should be saying ‘I do’ to booking the wedding and the honeymoon with you too.
I LOVE PARIS
The City of Love may be a bit of a cliché but, like roses and champagne, Paris suits good old-fashioned romantics. Advise your client to steer clear of the too-obvious Eiffel Tower – it’s where Tom Cruise proposed to Katie Holmes and look how well that went – and suggest instead a quiet corner of the Jardins du Luxembourg or, as night falls, on the Pont des Arts, which ladies may recognise as the spot where Big (finally) tells Carrie she’s The One in Sex and the City.
Book it: Cresta Holidays offers two nights’ B&B at the centrally-located Hotel Victor Hugo from £361, including an upgrade to Standard Premier class on Eurostar, travelling September 23.
Send your budding Romeo and Juliet to Italy. Even if the groom can’t woo his lady with the silver tongue of Shakespeare, the great food and wine and the beautiful surroundings should sway her.
The famous balcony is an obvious spot for a proposal; for something a little more private, recommend the Giardino Giusti which has views over the city and its own labyrinth – legend has it that lovers who manage to find each other among the myrtle hedges of the latter are destined to stay together for life.
Book it: Sardatur Holidays offers two nights at the Due Torri Hotel – a former Renaissance palace – from £485, including BA flights from Gatwick on September 21.
If he wants her to say OK in the UK – and why not, in the year that we’ve celebrated the Jubilee and the Olympic Games – then suggest a lofty spot overlooking the capital. The London Eye is already an icon, and as it’s a special occasion encourage clients to upgrade from the standard package to something with a little more glamour.
Book it: Attraction World offers a champagne flight – the standard capsule ride with a glass of champagne – from £37 per adult. Superbreak offers private capsule hire from £480, which can include up to 25 people if your customer wants to pop the question in front of friends and family.
Santorini is one of Greece’s most beautiful islands, with stunning sunset views over its volcanic caldera. Whitewashed houses cling like sugarcubes to the hillside that tumbles down to a sea as blue ?as the sky. Planet Holidays’ Mathilde Roberts’ top proposal spot is at sunset at the Canaves Suites in Oia.
Book it: Planet Holidays offers three nights’ B&B in a sea-view suite at the Canaves Suites from £1,011 including return flights from Gatwick and private transfers, departing October 8.
For a groom who wants to waltz his beloved off her feet, suggest one of Vienna’s grand balls. While snow turns the city outside into a winter wonderland, couples whirl in black tie under gilded ceilings and glittering chandeliers. Skilful dancers could even propose mid-shimmy. To make it even ?more memorable, choose the Grand Ball, which takes place on New Year’s Eve.
Book it: Regent Holidays offers a Vienna New Year city break including three nights in the five-star Do & Co Hotel, British Airways flights and private transfers, tickets to the Grand Ball at the Hofburg Imperial Palace, a private dancing lesson the day before the ball, a guided tour of the Old Town, a carriage ride through the city and a three-course New Year’s Day dinner from £2,099.
This one is for those who want to be, as well as feel, on top of the world when their intended answers ‘Yes’. From Switzerland’s Lake Lucerne they can take the world’s steepest cogwheel railway – operating from May to November – to the top of Mount Pilatus, and take a deep breath of clear Alpine air before popping the question.
Book it: Inghams offers three nights’ half-board at the four-star Hotel Montana in Lucerne from £695, including flights from Gatwick. A day trip to the summit of Mount Pilatus is £45 and is bookable locally.
FALLING IN LOVE
The torrents of white water at Niagara should help to get couples in the right frame of mind – one of the waterfalls is even called Bridal Veil Falls. Denise Hunn, manager of Prestige Holidays’ Canada portfolio, has a host of proposal ideas.
These range from the understated – a table at the Watermark Restaurant at the Hilton Hotel, overlooking the falls – to the adventurous, including roaring out the question behind a wall of white water on The Journey Behind the Falls, or during a helicopter flight over Niagara.
Book it: Prestige Holidays offers a four-night Toronto and Niagara itinerary from £1,100, including two nights in the Delta Chelsea Hotel and two nights in the Hilton Niagara Falls, two sightseeing tours, coach transfers and Air Canada flights, departing September 28.
A BITE OF THE BIG APPLE
New York is Brits’ number one choice of overseas proposal locations, so it should be an easy sell. For views, they could reprise Sleepless in Seattle and head for the top of the Empire State Building, while those who don’t want to ape Meg Ryan can go to the Top of the Rock at the Rockefeller Center instead.
Central Park is always a favourite: try the Loeb Boathouse, which she’ll recognise from wedding flick 27 Dresses, or for more privacy, The Loch, a tucked away spot with waterfalls at 103rd Street. In winter, slide into matrimony at the ice rinks in Central Park, Bryant Park or the Rockefeller Center, and in summer, wander by the beach at Coney Island boardwalk.
Book it: Travel 2 offers three nights in the four-star-plus Marriott Marquis Hotel from £1,099 including flights from London between September 8 and October 21. A Top of the Rock sightseeing pass costs £15.
A float down the Nile could lead to a walk ?down the aisle if the lovers share an interest in culture and history. Bales Worldwide has a fleet of luxury dahabiyyas – traditional wooden houseboats – plying the waters between Luxor and Aswan, giving clients a taste of old-school glamour. Phil Ellis, Bales product manager, says: “For the ultimate romantic location, disembark the dahabiyya on to a private island in the middle of the Nile to have dinner under the stars.”
Book it: Bales Worldwide offers ?an eight-day Nostalgic Nile itinerary including scheduled flights, accommodation on a dahabiyya on a mixed-board basis, English speaking guides, and a sightseeing itinerary. The package costs from £1,995 departing October 13.
Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but on this occasion it’s marble that makes the biggest impact. The Taj Mahal, built by Shah Jahan as a monument to his beloved wife Mumtaz, has become a symbol of enduring love. It might be difficult to find a quiet spot in the grounds, such is the site’s popularity, so Cox & Kings suggests staying at the Oberoi Amarvilas, where a private dinner on the balcony of their room, with uninterrupted views of the Taj Mahal, can be organised.
Book it: Cox & Kings offers a 10-day Regal India private tour visiting Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, and staying in Oberoi accommodation throughout, from £2,545.
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