Planning a honeymoon abroad?

There are several signs that the Irish economy is up on its feet again. One is the increase in new car sales. The other is the dramatic increase in people getting married and planning weddings. How do I know this? It’s because every year, Travelbug hosts a conference and workshop for both our affiliated travel agents and suppliers so we are always looking for suitable venues and since last year, we’ve been finding it increasingly difficult to source suitable hotels that are available for the dates that we want — and all because they are being booked up further and further in advance for wedding parties. We are now at the point where, out of necessity, we are having to look at venues for our 2018 conference!

So it got me to thinking that if we are having problems, then surely many couples are having similar difficulties too! I know that most Irish couples probably have a preference for getting married and having their reception in Ireland in order to accommodate the majority of their guests but given the increasing demand for such weddings and the attendant costs associated with them, perhaps it’s worth considering the options of an overseas venue and if so, I think I’ve found the perfect place!

The Relais Mirabella is a beautiful 4-star hotel that occupies a commanding view over Lake Iseo with stunning views of the surrounding mountains and countryside. Iseo is probably one of the least known of the great Italian lakes and was recently propelled into the global spotlight when the world-famous conceptual artist Christo built a stunning floating walkway of gargantuan proportions connecting the town of Iseo with some of the islands on the lake. Most people know of this region of northern Italy as Lombardy but the immediate area surrounding the southern extent of the lake is known locally as FranciaCorta which, loosely translated means ‘free court’ as inhabitants of the region in ancient times were effectively provided with tax-free status and were therefore exempt from property tithes. Franciacorta is the centre for the production of sparkling wines in the classic tradition — i.e. by means of a second fermentation in the bottle (as with champagne) as opposed to Prosecco which is made using the Martinotti method. The area is dotted with small, intimate wineries (some extremely upmarket) which attract the jet set not only from nearby Milan but also from around the world. Although not as famous as champagne, Franciacorta is gaining rapidly in reputation around the globe — particularly in Japan so why not check it out the next time you’re visiting your local off-license to celebrate some anniversary or other.

As already mentioned, the Mirabella describes itself as a four-star but it feels much more like a five-star property and is extraordinarily popular — particularly for weddings. Boasting just 29 rooms it has an intimacy that is perfect for small wedding parties and the rooms, décor, food and facilities all exude quality with a capital Q! The hotel itself only opens from March to October so it is a relatively short season but the cater for weddings more or less year round. There are plenty of other properties located in the area that are more than up to the task of coping with all your accommodation needs. The Mirabella can be booked through your local Travelbug/Travel Centres affiliated agent.


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