CELEBRITY WEDDING COORDINATOR, SUSANNA RICHARDSON ADORES BELLA ITALIA
We all know you shouldn't have favourites but on my travels, planning weddings and parties, I’ve developed an undeniable love affair with Italy. There’s just something about its unapologetic, romantic nature that captures you as soon as you land. It’s rustic, it does things properly (from food to clothing) and it’s just, well, bloody awesome! Despite the fact that I can only just order a cappuccino, the Italians accept me back with open arms every time. Dealing with Italians in a business capacity does almost take me to the edge of despair but as soon as they greet you with that warm smile and a fond hug, all is (almost) forgotten.
When looking at new venues, there are always some that take your breath away, and I’ll return home and tell my husband: ‘We have to go there!’ I’ve put together a list of my top four. We can call these the ‘Brownie point makers’, because if you book them for your other half, all the Brownie points in the world will be yours…
Borgo Egnazia, Puglia
I’d admired this venue from afar for many years. It was where Justin Timberlake said ‘I do’ with Jessica Biel and where Madonna chose to celebrate her recent birthday (how old is Madonna these days?) so I knew it would be special. Nothing, however, prepared me for the wonder that beheld me as soon as I arrived. It’s so incredible that I don’t think words can do it justice. Like a village of your dreams, everything is perfect but never pretentious. This is traditional Puglia with a modern twist. The pools are heavenly, the food divine. No wonder I didn’t want to leave. I tried to break into one of the villas and claim squatters’ rights but sadly the staff were on to me!
Hotel Continentale Florence
Oh Firenze, my second home! This city is beautiful and slightly bonkers. It feels like an excited child at every time of the day.
I first stayed at the sister establishment, Gallery Hotel Art, and was perfectly happy with my choice. Then, we stayed at Continentale… The beds here are four-poster and bedecked with beautiful white drapes on every side. I woke feeling as if I’d slept in a luxurious fluffy cloud. On one visit, our bathroom had a balcony and my right-hand girl would sit each morning with a cup of coffee and a book, watching the world go by. Seriously, is there a better way to start the day?
There are few places on Earth that scream romance as much as Venice. It also has an incredible James Bond wonderment about it that leaves any guy feeling uber cool and sophisticated.
I’m a huge fan of the Aman group. Each hotel seems to have that ‘privately owned, happy to help with anything’ vibe that often gets lost in larger chains. I came across them a few years ago and everything about them is so amazingly chic. Aman means tranquillity and the properties really do have a peaceful elegance.Aman Venice keeps its old Italian charm with upgraded luxury and modern touches. If you went to Venice, and never left the hotel, you wouldn’t feel cheated. There’s enough splendour to keep you content for days.