Love continues to sashay through the air, as we preserve the post-Valentine’s Day starry-eyed spirit. We understand the extra efforts, planning and high expectations that surrounds that ‘one’ special day—but why not surprise your husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend with an unexpected treat when they least expect it? This February, we’ve curated romantic ideas and inspirations from our resorts around the world that are sure to make your lover swoon. Should romance be boxed into one day a year? We say unleash the box…
Starting things off, there’s lots to love—in two charming tales of real-life couples’ destination weddings at Mexico’s One&Only Palmilla and South Africa’s One&Only Cape Town. And then we’ve got romantic alone time on the mind with One&Only experiences, adventures and amenities perfect for enjoying a deux, plus sumptuous turndown services that make bedtime beautiful. Showcasing beautiful gems from Zoja jewellery, One&Only Director of Retail Preston Schroeder shares the perfect gift ideas, plus a Q&A with one of our Celebrations Coordinators. Finally, and as ever, we close things out with a recipe, this month—a decadent chocolate mousse from One&Only Reethi Rah in the Maldives—a sweet treat that we know you won’t be able to resist falling in love with.
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|I Do, I Do, I Do|
|Find romantic inspiration in the picture-perfect real-life weddings of two couples who recently said “I Do” at our One&Only retreats in Mexico and South Africa.|
In case you’ve not had the pleasure of being a guest at a One&Only destination wedding—much less the bride or groom—we thought we’d give you a taste of what these Big Days are like by sharing the experiences of two real-life couples who recently tied the knot at One&Only Palmilla in Los Cabos, Mexico, and at One&Only Cape Town, in South Africa.
Meet Dara and Steven Kehrier, who celebrated their special day at One&Only Palmilla last May, where we came to learn, the resort played a large part in their lives even before the wedding day. Dara visited frequently growing up with her family—always dreaming of marrying in the resort’s perfect little chapel. And so, after she and Steven got engaged, they travelled to One&Only Palmilla to celebrate. While there, as Steven fell more in love with Dara—he also fell in love with the resort, and surprised his new fiancée with a visit to see Arianna Ocampo, the resort’s expert wedding planner. The rest, as they say, is history. With Arianna’s help, the couple put together what Dara describes as her “dream wedding extravaganza: a four-day affair that included an elegant welcome reception, fabulous rehearsal dinner, breath-taking wedding and reception, and the most beautiful farewell brunch one could imagine. Our wedding was the most spectacular and joyous day of our lives!”
Ingrid and Ruan Bye, wed at One&Only Cape Town in September…during a torrential rainstorm. Rain on your wedding day may be good luck, but when it’s coming down in buckets, it’s a bit hard to stay upbeat. Undefeated by the weather, the resort—an urban retreat with stunning views of Table Mountain and the Cape Town waterfront—opened up a special suite for wedding photography, creating an impromptu and beautiful indoor setting with a stunning backdrop that bride and groom and family and friends will be talking about for years to come. Beyond that, Ingrid reports that her expectations were exceeded at every step: “The venue and decor were exquisite, as was the incredible food. Everything was absolutely perfect, thanks to a great team!”
|Time for Two|
|Secluded, private and intimate—make the most of your time together by treating your loved one to a seductive One&Only adventure, the perfect combination for memorable moments. |
Sometimes romance is spontaneous, but sometime it takes a little bit of prior planning. These book-ahead One&Only experiences, activities and adventures—available by request but without too much notice—make ideal ways to connect as a couple. From sunset picnics to yachts taken by private charter, couples massages to breakfasts in bed, this menu of options highlights the very best of One&Only’s extensive offerings.
One&Only Ocean Club, Paradise Island, The Bahamas
Set sail from One&Only Ocean Club’s beautiful Paradise Island beaches aboard a privately chartered yacht. The ship and its crew will be at your command, ready to explore the incredible reefs and private islands just off the coast, or the secluded islets and hidden coves of the islands farther beyond. The resort can arrange half-, full-day, or overnight charters, as well as a variety of gourmet lunches, dinners and cocktails while you’re on board.
One&Only Palmilla, Los Cabos, Mexico
The ‘Love Spa Treatment’ at our Los Cabos resort is an all-encompassing fully sensory experience, commencing with a private serenade from famed Mexican musician Antonio Zepeda. Next follows an indulgent rose-petal foot ritual and a warm chocolate-oil muscle-relieving massage. The memorable experience finishes with a soothing cup of Mayan Chocolate tea to ignite passionate souls. Throughout, you and your love will be side-by-side in one of One&Only Palmilla’s stunning private villas or in the spa’s dramatic, ocean-view palapa-roofed pavilion.
One&Only Le Saint Géran, Mauritius
The Garden Pavilion experience at our African-island resort makes the ideal retreat for a couple’s massage. Part of our new Harmonia programme, it offers a complete day devoted to wellness, with yogic elements and relaxing treatments designed to bring couples closer together. After your treatments, the indulgence continues. You’ll enjoy sunset cocktails at the Beach Bar, overlooking the Indian Ocean, followed by a private aphrodisiac-inspired multi-course dinner menu at any one of several romantic locations around the resort; the Beach, the Jetty or Garden Pavilion.
One&Only Reethi Rah, Maldives
In addition to a private sunset sailing charter on the resort’s luxury catamaran or dhoni—a traditional Maldivian wooden sailing vessel—our private island retreat in the Indian Ocean can also cosset couples with a custom-created dinner a deux on a secluded sandbank. The evening begins with a speedboat ride to your secret destination, where a private chef and host awaits you at a romantic candle-lit set-up. You’ll watch the spectacular Maldivian sunset in complete comfort, sipping Champagne and savoring delicious canapés followed by a scrumptious barbecue dinner cooked to perfection beneath a moonlit sky—all with the gentle sea lapping around you.
One&Only Cape Town
For an absolutely romantic end-of-day experience, One&Only Cape Town’s talented team can arrange a sunset picnic for two on the top of Table Mountain—the most breath-taking place in the city to see the sun go down. Our gourmet chefs will pack a picnic basket to your specifications, and our concierges will secure well-timed tickets, ensuring your arrival at the perfect point to pop open a bottle of bubbly and toast to your happiness.
One&Only Royal Mirage, Dubai
At the Residence & Spa—the intimate hotel-within-a-hotel at One&Only Royal Mirage—secluded beaches, gardens and pools create an exclusive sanctuary where privacy is the predominant indulgence. A perfect day of romance here starts with breakfast in bed for two, followed by a spa experience or traditional Oriental Hammam treatment. Next, it’s a private cruise around Palm Island, enjoying a favourite glass of Champagne and admiring striking views of the Dubai Marina skyline. Dinner awaits back at the resort, at the newly renovated Celebrities restaurant, followed by cocktails at the Jetty Lounge, ending with a platter of sweet delights to share in your suite.
One&Only The Palm
A time-honored Arabian spa tradition, the three-hour private Rhassoul experience for two at One&Only The Palm immerses the senses in a state of soothing relaxation and leaves both mind and body restored and refreshed. This indulgent cleansing ritual begins with an exfoliation of skin-softening sea salt and oil, followed by the application of a selection of skin-nourishing muds. From there, muscles are soothed in the Rhassoul steam before warm water rinses away the mud, finishing with a therapeutic soak in the oversized bath tub. And all that’s just the first hour. From there, you can select a luxurious two-hour treatment of your choice.
|Turning Dreams into Reality |
|Meet Brinda Bajan, Weddings Concierge at One&Only Le Saint Géran in Mauritius.|
There’s one group of very talented team members at One&Only resorts that are particularly skilled in the art of romance, it’s our ever-intrepid, constantly on-the-go weddings and celebrations coordinators. They plan hundreds, if not thousands, of ceremonies and receptions, anniversaries and birthday parties around the world every year, tailoring each to meet the specific needs, desires and fantasies of every individual. They go above and beyond to make sure that expectations aren’t just exceeded; they’re transformed into memories that are embedded for a life time. To find out more about the loving work of these diligent individuals—and for your bank of inspiration—we turned to One&Only Le Saint Géran’s Weddings Concierge, Brinda Bajan.
What do people say when you tell them what you do?
“Wedding concierge? What an amazing job!” And it is, as well as being something that is varied, emotional and physically demanding. But it’s the most exciting, creative and rewarding job I have ever had.
And how long have you been planning weddings?
I joined One&Only in March 2006 as Guest Relations Officer, and I’ve been with the Celebrations team organising weddings for the past seven years. It’s funny as the resort had long been my dream wedding destination, from years before.
What has been the most memorable celebration you’ve organised?
I’ve done over one hundred wedding celebrations now, and it’s crazy to say that every single one has been unique. There was one recent ceremony that stands out in my mind—a renewal of vows for a couple who have been together for 15 years. Normally arrangements for weddings are very specific and organised according to the bride and groom’s own requests, down to the last tiny detail, but on this occasion, the couple asked me do everything for them—to use my expertise to make all the decisions from décor and flowers to music and entertainment. They put their faith in me, trusting that whatever we did for them would be the best of the best. It was my greatest joy to create something that would make their dreams come true—and I did. The couple were thrilled; it was an absolute delight to see them so happy without experiencing any of the anxiety that goes into planning something so special.
What’s something people may not know about the job of a wedding concierge?
As glamorous as it may seem, a wedding concierge needs to be prepared for anything—because anything can (and will) happen—and you never want anyone, the bride, the groom, the guests, to know what’s going on behind the scenes, behind the curtain. I arrive on-site on a wedding day like a gladiator entering the arena, armed and ready for whatever may come my way, fighting to make the day absolutely flawless.
What expert advice would you have for brides- and grooms-to-be?
I’d tell them that searching for the right wedding planner is like going on a selection of first dates. In the beginning, you’re strangers to each other. You ask yourself if he or she might be the one for you. With a wedding planner, you’re looking for the person who can give you the memories of a lifetime. The stakes seem just as high! Take your time and find the person who’s a perfect match for you.
|Dreamy surprises before bedtime |
|Marvel at the romance when you walk into a One&Only bedroom after an evening of entertainment. We love turndown service because it makes One&Only’s already comfortable beds that much more enticing. Try your hand at re-creating these memorable turndowns – taking inspiration from a selection of our resorts around the world over. |
One&Only Reethi Rah, Maldives
For a sensual indulgence on a special occasion, a bottle of bubbly pink Champagne and melt-in-your-mouth petite fours can accompany turndown, and, upon request, your Villa Concierge will arrange a special aromatic bath, scented with a blend of essential Palmerosa and Myrrh oils, to soothe the mind and relax the body.
One&Only Royal Mirage, Dubai
Beyond the dusting of rose petals in the bedroom and bath, this special setup features towels folded origami-style into a pair of swans. There can also be rose-adorned bubble baths, floral arrangements, Champagne and a beautifully composed plate of exotic fruit —dipped in chocolate if one wishes.
One&Only Cape Town, South Africa
This seductive, South African-style turndown service includes a bottle of locally produced Graham Beck sparkling wine, plus rose petals scattered over the bed and a candle-light setting for a romantically drawn bath.
|The Uniqueness of a gift speaks a thousand words|
|Discover the latest mesmerising jewellery to land at One&Only boutiques—the new collection from South African designer Zoja Mihic—perfect gift ideas for your special someone.|
When we asked One&Only Director of Retail Preston Schroeder what he’d recommend giving to the leading lady in your life, he answered without missing a beat: “It would have to be Zoja.”
Zoja Mihic is a South African-born and -bred, Paris-educated jewellery designer who Preston met a few years ago and simply can’t get enough of, so much so that he now stocks her creations at One&Only Palmilla, One&Only Cape Town and One&Only Reethi Rah.
“Jewellery is always a wonderful gift to show how much you care for someone,” Preston explains. “I love Zoja specifically because she makes her simple, elegant pieces using an ancient method of cutting stones. There’s something very romantic about that.”
“She uses precious and semi-precious stones that artisans hand cut in India using traditional practices that have been handed down from generation to generation. This means the stones are all completely different. They’re beautiful and can be found in several colours, yet they are not perfectly cut, which to me is representative of life—they are unique.”
As for what kind of woman wears a piece of Zoja jewellery—Preston says, “Zoja is for everyone, no matter of age or style. The collection includes a wide range of choices: There are simple silk-cord tie-on bracelets set with a precious stones, ideal for those who love simplicity. More contemporary pieces for the modern lady and bolder creations perfect for the discerning woman who wants to make a big statement.”
| ||One&Only Recipe of the Month|
Treat your leading love—with the sweet richness and creamy decadence of this incredibly easy-to-make classic chocolate mousse from the kitchens of the Maldives’ One&Only Reethi Rah.
No chocolate recipe is more alluring than light, velvety and cocoa-rich mousse—especially when it’s made with this super-simple, three-ingredient recipe from One&Only Reethi Rah, in the Maldives.
Chocolate Mousse from One&Only Reethi Rah
• 575g Dark (66% to 70% cocoa) chocolate, gently melted in a microwave or in the top half a double boiler
• 170g whole milk
• 700g whipping or heavy cream
1. Whip the cream, preferably with an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, until it forms peaks of medium stiffness. Set aside.
2. Melt the chocolate in the top half of a double boiler, over gently boiling water, or in a non-metal bowl in a microwave on a low-to-medium power setting
3. While chocolate is melting, warm the milk to 60 degrees C
4. Add the warmed milk to the still-warm melted chocolate
5. While the chocolate-milk mixture is still warm (it should be at 40 degrees C), fold the whipped cream into the mixture.
6. Poor your chocolate mousse into cups and keep in the fridge for 4 hours.
7. Decorate with some fresh strawberries and a sprig of mint and serve chilled.