1/7 There really is a sense that you have passed, like The Cristal Room at Maison Baccarat, Paris Alice Through the Looking Glass, into a topsy-turvy world when you enter Maison Baccarat on Paris’ Place des États-Unis. Designed by Philippe Starck at his most whimsical and fantastical, the former mansion of Marie-Laure de Noailles—brilliant party-giver, who donna des fêtes magiques, as the French would say—is a museum-cum-showroom for the upscale crystal brand, filled with over- (and under-) size furniture and installations that trick your sense of perspective. There is also a restaurant in the Cristal Room, once the chatelaine’s dining room, which is decorated in wafting pink chiffon, with an oversized black chandelier, gilding, and exposed brick walls and ceilings. It’s utterly romantic and just a little decadent. Get engaged here, and you’ll always have Paris.
Photography courtesy Baccarat
2/7 Three on the Bund, the first steel-framed structure in China, was once home to an insurance company but is now a glamorously reconfigured complex containing an Armani/Casa store, an Evian spa, the The Cupola, Shanghai, China Shanghai Gallery of Art and a number of restaurants. But the jewel in its crown is The Cupola, a split-level restaurant with a hidden domed dining room right at the top. This stunning space is so exclusive that two diners and a butler (who will knock before he enters) are all it can accommodate. The food comes from the kitchens of any of Three of the Bund’s downstairs restaurants—Jean Georges, Nougatine, New Heights or Whampoa Club (or choose a course from each)—and the 360-degree cityscape views are equally marvellous.
Photography courtesy Three on the Bund
3/7 Watching the sun set over Mount Otemanu, Bora Bora There are few more extraordinary places from which to watch the sun set than the veranda of one of the over-water bungalows at Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora. There, across the turquoise lagoon, rise the dramatic jagged peaks of the Otemanu volcano, black against the technicolour sky. Toast to your impending “I do’s” with a glass of Champagne, and follow it with dîner à deux on a private motu. You can be serenaded by a trio of ukulele-playing Polynesian musicians—yes, really, that’s how they do things here—though only if the mood takes you.
4/7 If the romance of the occasion causes you to forget the ring, have no fear: Milanese jeweller Gianmaria Buccellati’s Moscow boutique is just a short walk from the gorgeously palatial Turandot restaurant. Named after Puccini’s opera of a Chinese princess reluctant to commit to a suitor, Turandot’s ornate décor feels like Versailles (the staff don periwigs and 18th-century dress), though the eclectic menu is essentially Chinese. The extravagantly gilded downstairs dining room is perhaps better suited to an intimate meal than the one upstairs—which is lit by a 1.5-ton (3,306-pound) crystal chandelier and crowned by an ice-blue dome painted with clouds—but both are utterly romantic. Turandot, Moscow, Russia
Photography courtesy Turnadot
5/7 Ballooning over the Serengeti, Tanzania, Africa An African safari is the trip of a lifetime, and Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti, in the middle of Serengeti National Park, romances the rugged terrain with private picnics in the bush and wildlife sightings right from your pool chaise. A sunrise hot-air balloon ride, stocked with celebratory bubbles for the big moment, offers the dreamiest vantage point of East Africa’s wild beauty, from undulating plains to the vast expanse of Lake Victoria. Let Ernest Hemingway’s descriptions of the Serengeti in Green Hills of Africa, or the engagement of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge while on an African holiday, inspire your adventurous pursuits—even if you’re simply taking in a spellbinding starry night from your villa.
6/7 Bordered by rambling vineyards and sweeping Pacific Ocean landscape, the quaint, historic town of St. Helena is the heart of California’s wine county. You’ll find one of the most privileged tables in the land tucked away in the nearby folds of Spring Mountain—The Restaurant at Meadowood. The three-Michelin-star dining room offers an extensive tasting menu and the warmth of a country estate, replete with dimmed lighting, flickering fire and sink-in chairs. Pen a love letter to present with the ring, and the restaurant will transcribe it in calligraphy for a romantic finishing touch. Choose a bottle of your favourite California wine to take home as a flavourful memory of the night. The Restaurant at Meadowood, St. Helena, California
Photography courtesy Meadowood Napa Valley
7/7 Gazebo Overlooking Jimbaran Beach, Bali, Indonesia Let soul-soothing Bali ease last-minute engagement jitters. In the land of Hindu temples, Komodo dragons, jasmine-fragranced air and swaying palms, it’s easy to surrender to the island’s charms. Among these tranquil offerings is Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay, a lush retreat of stone-walled courtyards, thatched-roof pavilions and white-sand beaches, situated along the island’s southern coast. Remain true to the South Pacific allure and pop the question in an intimate oceanfront gazebo for two (plus a private butler) with exotic flowers, sparkling candlelight and tongue-tingling gourmet dishes.
Photography courtesy Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
Updated February 19, 2014—You’ll never forget the details of your marriage proposal, so naturally you want to choose a setting that is appropriate to the occasion and its significance. We’ve found seven spots, from the museums of Paris to the plains of the Serengeti, that are sure to appeal to your inner romantic.
Flip through the gallery to see the most romantic places to pop question.
Many of you shared your picks for the world’s best place to propose on
Facebook. Here’s what some of you had to say.
“Bali and Tanzania”
“We honeymooned at the two Four Seasons resorts in Bali . . . amazing properties!”
—Jacqueline Petersen DeRousse
Four Seasons Resort Marrakech and Four Seasons Hotel Firenze!” —Samuel Ackermann
“Bora Bora Forever!”
—Derek Direnç Ak
San Antonio River Walk during Christmas” —Tim Garcia
Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris” —Hany Abd ElRahman
“Wherever the right man asks.”
“Paris with the Eiffel Tower as a background”
“Turandot . . . A jewel hidden right behind
Cafe Pushkin in Moscow! Indeed, one of the most magical places in this world . . . and yes, be sure to forget everything around you . . . You will feel yourself in a romance . . .” —Susann Seifert
Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt” —Hany Abd ElRahman Claire Wrathall contributed to this article.