Know when a movie has the most picturesque setting? So do we. That’s why we discovered the locations of six movies for your viewing (and honeymooning) pleasure.
The Movie: 50 First Dates
The Hot Spot: Hanauma Bay, Oahu, Hawaii.
For a truly cinematic experience head to Eternity Cove, where the super famous romantic beach scenes in From Here to Eternity and 50 First Dates were filmed. You’ll see why when you check out the cloud white sands and gentle turquoise waves. And if you love the scenic drive that Drew Barrymore’s character takes every day in Dates, this is where you’ll find it. Called the Kalanianaole Highway, it has a nearby hiking path (the Makapu’u Point Lighthouse trail) where you might catch sight of a whale or two. (Visit-Oahu.com)
Stay At: Kahala Mandarin Oriental. Most of the movie was filmed in the southern and eastern parts of Oahu, so honeymooning at the Kahala Mandarin Oriental puts you smack in the middle of the movie’s beaches and airy, winding landscapes. Despite being only 10 minutes away from Waikiki, this five star hotel is pretty much a beachfront secret, so it’s easy to see why many celebrities come here to hide from obsessed fans like you! Get serenaded on a private beach or pampered at the world class spa. And with six exquisite on site restaurants to choose from, including beachside dining at Cabanas Seaside Grill or stylish japanese restaurant Tokyo-Tokyo’, you won’t need to sit through the same meal twice. But when you’re ready to star in your own romantic scene, you’ll find that each of the hotel’s 364 suites has the same Asian and Hawaiian flair as in 50 First Dates, from Tibetan rugs, canopy beds and bathtubs built for two, to sliding glass doors that open out to a magnificent ocean view you’ll never forget.
SANTA YNEZ VALLEY
The Movie: Sideways
The Hot Spot: Santa Ynez Valley, California
Looking to enjoy your first few days of married life in the same lush wine country landscape where Jack spent his last few days of bachelorhood in Sideways? If the scenery and gorgeous weather of the film floored you, that’s because the rolling foothills of Santa Ynez, where Sideways was filmed, get more than 300 days of sunshine per year. While you’re there, don’t forget to head over to the Hitching Post as seen in the film. It may not be the most romantic place in Santa Ynez Valley, but you’ll find a great Santa Maria style barbecue (a yummy rancheros style mixed grill). A huge selection of meats makes for lots of options, test your food bravado and order something exotic, like ostrich (don’t worry, it tastes just like chicken). Finish off your meal with a glass (or five) of the pinot noir made by the restaurant’s in-house winemaker.
Stay At: The Santa Ynez Inn
Make the most of your honeymoon by staying at the picturesque Santa Ynez Inn. Not only does its Victorian elegance meets contemporary chic decor feel cosy, the hotel is also a great base for checking out some of the valley’s impressive wine tasting that isn’t mentioned in the movie. Then get yourself in the mood by enjoying the stunning countryside on horseback or on a glider ride for two. Afterward, pour yourselves into one of the inn’s 14 lush rooms, complete with all the comforts that make a suite sweet, including a gas fireplace, double steam showers, a whirlpool tub for two set in a bay window and an incredible vineyard view from your own private balcony.
The Movie: Il Postino
The Hot Spot: Procida, Italy
What makes producers beg to film here? An isolated, small island called Procida was the backdrop for Il Postino (aka The Postman), The Talented Mr. Ripley and dozens of other flicks. The scenic port of Marina Corricella boasts Graziella’s Bar, one of the island’s most famous local hangouts. Ordinary visitors and celebrities alike can’t resist the eatery’s delicious food, like grattata di limone (a crushed-ice beverage) or the amazing panini. If you’re looking for a more grown up romantic experience, there’s always Ristorante Caracalè, a converted fisherman’s hut turned seafood bistro. With the restaurant’s selection of fine Italian wines and top area catches, you’ll be in top honeymoon form. (Procida.net)
Stay At: La Casa Sul Mare
La Casa Sul Mare, Italian for ‘home on the sea’, is the best way to create your own movie magic. Considered to be the best hotel on the island, what the four star hotel lacks in luxurious amenities, it makes up for in location. This dreamy centuries old 10 room inn is plunked right in the heart of the picturesque walled village of Terra Murata. Look out of your balcony and you’re surrounded by stunning cinematic views of countless pastel painted fishing villas perched along the cliff sides. And if you get bored stepping back in time, hitch a ride with a local boat to nearby islands (Capri) and quaint cities (Positano, Ravello). Or, if you’re searching for a more exclusive experience, the hotel has a boat service that can take you to Chiaia, a more secluded spot that’s also Procida’s most beautiful beach.
The Movie: Amelie
The Hot Spot: Montmartre, Paris. Most people have no idea that Amelie was shot exclusively in the northern 18th arrondissement of Paris, called Montmartre, home to Paris’s quirky bohemians and artists. By staying close to the entrance of the area you’ll find many places to re-create the magic of Amelie. Walk along the Canal St. Martin (where star Audrey Tautou skipped stones in the movie) or enjoy a beautiful aerial view of Paris from the Sacré Coeur Basilica. Or join the throngs of fans who visit Café des Deux Moulins, the restaurant where Amelie worked as a waitress. The cafe still features the same copper covered bar, lace drapes, and 50s furnishings made famous by the film. Pop in and order the specialties: a demi-Camembert with a glass of Côtes du Rhône or a hamburger topped with an egg. (FranceTourism.com)
Stay At: The Terrass Hotel
If Parisian romance is what you want for your honeymoon, then head straight to the Terrass Hotel. This eight-story, 100 room townhouse inn located right at the entrance of Montmartre offers views of Paris that rival those from the Eiffel Tower, in fact you can see the Eiffel Tower from many of the suites. The local sights from the movie are only minutes away, if you feel like playing tourist. But once you’re ready for a more playful evening, the hotel’s spacious first class rooms make Amelie’s shoebox sized pad seem even smaller. The suites don’t have any secret compartments with pictures in them, but they are decked out in full Parisian style, with a whirlpool for two and French doors that open onto a spectacular lit up view of Amelie’s stomping grounds.
The Movie: Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
The Hot Spot: Kefalonia, Greece
Penelope Cruz’s performance may be almost unwatchable but you’ll still be awestruck at the beautifully serene Greek island of Kefalonia, where Captain Corelli’s Mandolin was shot. Although the whole island was featured in the movie, many of the most jaw dropping panoramic shots took place on Myrtos Beach. Literally hidden within a set of steep cliffs, the pebble covered beach offers spectacular views of crystal clear water so blue it’s hard to know where the sky ends and the sea begins. Bring your comfy shoes as the last stretch on the way to the beach is accessible only on foot. Once you get there, set the camera on a nearby rock, hit the timer, and start smooching for a few enviable shots that’ll make other couples beach pics look like they were taken at a public pool.
Stay At: Emelisse Art Hotel
The Emelisse Art Hotel, located in the quaint fishing village of Fiskardo, 20 minutes from Myrtos Beach, offers a luxurious taste of local colour. Just 40 minutes from Sami, the small town where many of the movie’s city shots were filmed, the artsy and refined Emelisse is one of the nicest places to stay on Kefalonia. Each of its 65 rooms is sweet and romantic, featuring everything from double canopy beds with views of the Ionian Sea to snuggly soft Spanish cotton bathrobes. Explore the island by boat, or stay put and write postcards poolside while you watch the ships come in. In the evenings, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back in time when dining at the hotel’s gourmet restaurant, which is romantically lit by as many as 350 flickering candles. Sounds heavenly, right?
The Movie: Y Tu Mamá También
The Hot Spot: Huatulco, Oaxaca, Mexico
We know what you’re thinking, re-creating the crazy coming of age story of a woman on a road trip with two teens may not exactly scream honeymoon, but if you’ve seen the totally pristine beaches in this film, you’ll understand why this trip is actually a perfect model. One of the two towns featured in the movie, Huatulco, is a spectacularly beautiful still untapped spot in Mexico that’s renowned for its nine bays of cerulean waters, powdery white sand and unique, private landscapes. Spend your time relaxing on the beach and getting frisky the moment the mood hits you. When you need a break from the sand and surf, see the town’s most romantic feature, the Church of Santo Domingo. This 16th century baroque style cathedral, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful churches in the world, is flooded with colour and has massive archways, countless statues and intricate wall and ceiling carvings. (VisitMexico.com)
Stay At: Camino Real Zaashila
Get all the charm of the movie but much more style by staying at the very honeymoon worthy Camino Real Zaashila. This deluxe 120 room five star resort is right in the middle of Huatulco and features rooms you’ll never want to leave, for more than just the obvious reasons, of course. Every suite is open and airy with a private balcony that faces the ocean. Some rooms even come with their own splash pool, a mini pool for two. Feel like being social? Check out the large free form pool set alongside their tranquil private beach and the gourmet dining in the resort’s three open air restaurants. You won’t want the spoiling to stop.
– Myatt Murphy
Photos: (from top) courtesy of Kahala Mandarin Oriental Hotel; Digital Vision/Punchstock; Fototeca Enit/Paola Ghirotti; Maison de la France/Camille Hubert; Photodisc/Punchstock; Medioimages/Punchstock