Fabulous places to Tie the Knot

- Mary Gostelow, arguably the most-traveled, and most-traveling, lady of the 21st century. She is owner and president of The Gostelow Report, essential monthly market intelligence briefing for the top levels of the hospitality industry. She is also contributing editor to Elite Traveler, The Private Jet Lifestyle Magazine and EnRoute.

Grand Hyatt, Tokyo, Japan – All big new Japanese hotels have elaborate wedding chapels – but this one, designed by Takashi Sugimoto, is particularly splendid, with the wooden side walls sloping inwards to form a peak 50 feet above your head. The Grand Chapel seats 100, and it is constantly in use: the 389-room hotel may have several consecutive weddings on particularly auspicious days. The hip Super Potato also designed the hotel’s spa, which uses Kerstin Florian products.

Monasterio, Del Cusco, Peru – The integral church at this beautiful Orient-Express property is the Chapel of San Antonio Abad, vintage 1595, with amazing artworks inside. There is something mystical about staying in the 123-room luxury property, run by recently-appointed GM Patricio Zucconi, and the Gregorian chant music at breakfast is a lifetime memory. Many rooms look into the cloisters and I especially like room 436, with a built-in love seat along one wall.

One&Only Palmilla Resort, San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico – The wedding chapel here is a little white building, on top of a hill in the center of the beautifully-tended grounds on a 250-acre peninsula overlooking the Sea of Cortez (the chapel holds about 80). Ed Steiner runs this memorable 115-room resort, which also has a 27-hole Jack Nicklaus golf course and restaurants overseen by Charlie Trotter. One highlight is watching the resort’s housekeeping staff set off on their colorful quadricycles, around 9.30am ad 5.30pm daily.

Pousada SRA Da Assuncao, Arraiolos, Portugal – This 16th century monastery, set in fabulous rolling pastures less than two hours from Lisbon, has an integral working church – you gasp when you see its interior, commissioned by Francisco Pereira after a visit to India in 1547, and lined entirely with azulejos – blue-painted Portuguese tiles. There are 33 bedrooms, stylishly minimalist: prime is suite 103, which has a large terrace, and local hand-stitched Arraiolos floor rugs. There is an outdoor pool.

Ararat Park Hyatt, Moscow, Russia – What looks like room 932 from the corridor is in fact a working Orthodox Christian chapel; some of the owners of this 220-room hotel are Armenian, and there is an Armenian restaurant. WOW.travel also loves the rooftop Conservatory Lounge, with great views, and the spa, with heated indoor pool. The luxury hotel is about seven minutes’ walk from both Red Square and the incredible Tretyakovsky Proyezd shopping street.

Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India – Not a church exactly – but international star Elizabeth Hurley is among the maximum-five brides that GM Sanjay Umashankar takes each year (he does all the paperwork, just needs passport details of the lucky couple ahead of time). And not for weddings, Madonna and Guy, and Anjelina and Brad are among other celebrities who have recently flown into this breathtaking 64-room sandstone palace, still also lived in by the current Maharajah of Jodhpur, Gaj Singh II.

Conrad Bali Resort and Spa, Indonesia – When GM Michael Burchett first thought of having a wedding chapel in the 6.5-acre estate of this 333-room resort, one wondered what he would come up with. Well, architects Anthony Liu, Ferry Ridwan and Isandra Martin have produced a one-off, a gigantic ‘tent’, with one wall leaning against the other, and both ends open. It is memorable, and will be copied, again and again. Come to the resort, also, for its tranquillity and hospitality, and take a lagoon villa for most style.

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