Let's face it: if all goes well it's the last big decision you'll get to make, so make it count..
Top places in the world to propose
Proposals very rarely run smoothly, but there is something charming about a few (minor) hiccups along the way, whether there’s a delay while the chap panics to find the perfect secluded spot, or even a bended knee straight into a cow pat (yes, this happened), it all adds to the fun of the story telling after the event.
We recommend steering clear of crowded restaurants, or restaurants at all in fact: this isn’t a moment for rounds of applause or singing waiters, and definitely avoid anything balloon orientated, unless it’s a hot air balloon of course. Surprises like a ring in the bottom of a champagne glass, or on top of a Christmas tree can be very romantic, as long as the sparkler is safe at all times, and not swallowed, or lost in the present pile.
Tourist attractions like The Eiffel Tower and The London Eye can lead to disaster – there are queues and, when you do get there, the likelihood of your not being alone (in having the idea to propose that day on the Eiffel Tower). Unless of course you hire the entire place out. Similarly, avoid sunsets unless you know you can be there on time – there is nothing guaranteed to put a girl in a bad mood than being rushed to get ready.
Don’t get impatient and thrust a square box at her as she’s rushing to get ready for work…you may not get the answer you’re after. No, privacy and originality are the name of the game – this requires some thought – after all we all know it’s the last big thing you get to decide!
These proposal destinations will really knock her socks off, and although we can’t guarantee a yes, we feel confident your chances will be vastly improved if you take the plunge at any one of these outstandingly cool locations.
Adleboden in Switzerland has a wonderful village atmosphere, fantastic skiing in winter, and walking in the summer, and is secluded enough for a special moment. For a celebration afterwards, there are fun local restaurants to celebrate in. Stay in a lovely hotel such as The Cambrian. It has an open-air hot tub – just add champagne.
NB: Try not to whack your head on a black run before the proposal, like our Features Editor, Flora Howard did: you won’t remember a word!; or take a leaf out of the book of Country Life’s Editor Mark Hedges and propose on the ski lift…
Marrakech, the city of spices and markets, has always been up there as a fun place for couples to explore together. Book into La Sultana, which is ten minutes from the central square. They have the most stunning rooftop which, with secluded areas, would be lovely for a proposal in itself.
However, for some real wow factor, book a hot air balloon trip.
You’ll be picked up at the crack of dawn, (she needn’t know where you’re going), and be driven to the desert for a hot air balloon ride over some of the tiny local Berber villages. The peace and tranquility you’ll find up in the air is totally magical and, as long as she isn’t afraid of heights, this could be an ideal moment. Head back into town afterwards to indulge in breakfast Moroccan style at the hotel on the rooftop overlooking the city.
For full on luxury, stay in the Presidential Villa of the Royal Palm Hotel, a very secluded hotel in the heart of the Galapagos Islands. Rent a gulet boat and drift around the islands, which are surrounded by inquisitive hammerhead sharks, penguins and sea lions who will wander over to say hello on the islands or when swimming in the water.
Proposing under the northern lights at the resort Kakslauttanen in one of their luxury private glass igloos in Lapland, North Pole is unquestionably one of the most romantic things you could do. Book Reindeer, Husky or riding safaris, which are spot on for the more adventurous who still want a little luxury along the way.
Limewood, New Forest, Hampshire
One of our favourite hotels in the country, Limewood is a well-established property in Hampshire. Borrow a bike from the hotel and go for a lovely gentle cycle through the New Forest, where there are lots of pretty little spots for a private conversation, then head back to celebrate in the excellent restaurant. Or for something more rustic, try The Pig at Brockenhurst. This charming little ‘restaurant with rooms’ was opened by the same team as Limewood but The Pig offers something a little younger, and less grand. They even have their own forager on site: could he arrange for a diamond to be found in a blackthorn bush, or under an oak tree? Book ahead though: rooms are often reserved months in advance.
If you must do a restaurant proposal, and sometimes they can work, depending on the location, a safe bet would be Ristorante Grotta Palazzese, in Bari, Italy. It is carved out of limestone rock overlooking the Adriatic sea and is spectacularly romantic, but also dark enough for an embarrassment free proposal. There is a hotel there too, which has rooms built into the rock in the heart of the old town.
Rent the entire of Forter Castle in Scotland, which is as private as it gets. With dramatic weather and views as your backdrop, and hunting, shooting, fishing and even skiing on the cards, this would make the perfect place to ask a country girl for her hand.
There is even a chapel so you could return to get married.
America, West Coast
Yosemite National Park is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, and much more
Walk to the top of Vernal Falls, it is particularly beautiful. Don’t go in high season, September is a good bet as it won’t be busy. Apparently The Queen stayed at The Ahwahnee Hotel but you can also camp, which would be very romantic.
Use your Imagination
If you want to organise something extra special it might pay to talk to a concierge service to figure out how far your imagination can take you. The geniuses at Dreamsmith have planned and executed some incredible one-off events from scratch, including a romantic treasure hunt by boat in Venice, which culminated at La Fenice for a private performace of La Traviata, or organsing a private tour and organ recital in the amazing St Mark’s Basilica.
Likewise, the team at Entourage can help with something original and totally romantic: firstname.lastname@example.org; +44 (020—7731 1599)