INSPIRATION • February 2019
Thanks to film, television and the rising influence of social media, locales that were once original and romantic have become nothing short of a cliché. So how does one plan a marriage proposal that’s out of the ordinary? Travel writing romantic, Whitney Haldeman, takes us on a tour of alternative spots to pop the question
Instead of the Empire State Building, why not try a rooftop bar in Brooklyn
New York City’s buzzing energy seems to usher in magic without even trying. And while it may be an undeniably romantic destination, the likes of Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks circa Sleepless in Seattle have made finding love atop the Empire State Building too obvious a choice. If you’re keen to keep that twinkling skyline in sight in more inconspicuous surrounds, head to trendy Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where rooftop bars with views of Manhattan are plentiful. Warm-weather lovebirds can flock to Summerly at The Hoxton (pictured above) for a fairy light rooftop terrace that offers a proposal spot with Empire State, Chrysler Building and Brooklyn Bridge thrown in for free.
Instead of the Eiffel Tower, why not try Quai de la Tournelle
As arguably the most romantic city in the entire world, it’s no wonder this magical metropolis has seen its fair share of proposals. But getting down on one knee in front of Paris’s most iconic landmark lacks that certain je ne sais quoi. For a more uninterrupted experience, head to Quai de la Tournelle, a languid stretch of the Seine with breathtaking views of Notre Dame. As the lamp lights turn on and the sky turns a dusky pink, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more amorous ambience than sipping some grande cuvée here come golden hour. And if you want to add another layer of surprise? Coordinate a Champagne cruise along the Seine to scoop you up after you’ve popped the question (Les Vedettes du Pont Neuf cruises depart from Ile de la Cité, less than a 10-minute walk from the Quai de la Tournelle). On board, you can celebrate while cruising along the river and taking in all the landmarks in privacy… including the glittering Eiffel Tower.
Instead of Magic Kingdom, Disneyland, why not try Neuschwanstein Castle
Hopeless romantics everywhere dream of the real-life fairytale, which is likely why various Disney parks and their kitsch castles are some of the most common places to get engaged. Instead, why not ditch the commercial crowds and head to the castle that inspired Walt Disney himself? Set atop a Bavarian hillside, Neuschwanstein Castle is conveniently nestled close to both Innsbruck and Munich and oozes bucket-list vibes. Choose one of the many viewpoints of this majestic structure for your magical moment, then explore the neighbouring storybook village of Füssen to continue the enchantment with candyfloss-coloured streets and quaint pavement cafés. End the day at Hotel Das Rübezahl, a spa hotel at the edge of the Alps that offers fine dining, a glass of sparkling wine on arrival, and views of the castle from bedroom balconies.
Instead of Niagara Falls, why not try Victoria Falls
The location of many a proposal, not to mention the consequent weddings and honeymoons, Niagara’s booming roar tends to attract a host of adrenaline-fuelled couples. And while nature’s cascades certainly set a romantic backdrop, why not opt for one of the world’s Seven Natural Wonders without the jet-lag price tag? Victoria Falls, tucked between the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, is the largest stretch of falling water on the planet, surrounded by Garden of Eden-esque greenery and rainforests. Following a proposal set against the falls, head to The Royal Livingstone to mingle with roaming zebra by day and, come nightfall, Dine by Design, an unbeatably intimate outdoor dining experience overlooking the falls.
Instead of Bondi Beach, why not try Rottnest Island
Ask anyone who spent time backpacking down under, and they’ll tell you Australia’s turquoise waters make for some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. And while the country’s blonde-sand beaches are a perfect setting for sea-swept proposals, switch beautiful Bondi for a trip to Rottnest Island (or ‘Rotto’ to the locals) off Perth on the west coast. Voted by Australians as the most romantic first-date location, this car-less island is idyllic for biking to a picnic proposal at one of sixty-plus secluded beaches. Looking for some wow factor to add to that announcement photo you’ll post online? Keep your eyes peeled for a quokka, a small, wallaby-like marsupial you can find only here, which has been called ‘the happiest animal in the world’ due to being notoriously smiley in selfies.
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