SITE: HILTON MALDIVES RESORT & SPA
ADDRESS: P.O. Box 2034, Rangali Island, The Maldives
PHONE: +960 668 0629
WEB SITE: www.hilton.com/worldwideresorts
VISUALS & VIBE: Located on two islands in the South Ari Atoll, part of the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, the luxury resort is accessible by boat or via a short flight from Male, the Maldives capital.
EVENT AREAS: The resort's stunning spaces include the beachfront Vilu restaurant — which contains the Wine Cellar, a private wine bottle-lined dining room — and the Over-water Spa, which sits on stilts above the ocean.
SPECIAL SPACE: The new Ithaa restaurant is an all-glass room that sits 16 feet beneath the surface of the ocean, offering 360-degree views of the surrounding coral reef. The intimate room, which features wooden floors and an arched glass ceiling, can seat 12 guests for an undersea dining experience.
“Ithaa restaurant is one of the few places in the world that can truly be described as unique. It is fully booked daily for lunch and dinner, but is also available mornings and afternoons for ‘renewal of love’ ceremonies, as legal weddings are not yet possible in the Maldives.”
— Katherine Anthony, PR manager
ADDRESS: 981 91 Jukkasjarvi, Sweden
PHONE: +46 980 66 800
WEB SITE: www.icehotel.com
VISUALS & VIBE: The famed Icehotel is built entirely from ice and snow each December in the village of Jukkasjarvi in the Lapland region of Sweden. The hotel remains open until warmer weather starts to melt the structure in late April.
EVENT AREAS: The 60-room hotel, which is designed by a different architect each year, includes a lobby, main hall, movie room with an ice screen, an exhibition of ice sculptures and the Absolut Icebar, where guests can sip cocktails served in “glasses” made of ice. The hotel also offers small conference facilities with lighting and audiovisual capabilities, which are housed in a more permanent, non-ice structure.
SPECIAL SPACE: With its domed design and carved ice “stained glass” windows, the intimate Icechurch is a serene setting for small wedding ceremonies.
“The concept of the Icechurch is to provide a simple and comfortable setting for the [wedding] couple — it's a totally different surrounding to get married in.”
— Eva Lundquist, wedding coordinator
SITE: TE RUNANGA TEA HOUSE
ADDRESS: 1170 Fenton St., Private Bag 3029, Rotorua, New Zealand
PHONE: +64 7 349 5141
VISUALS & VIBE: Built in 1903 as a tea pavilion and place for socializing, Te Runanga, which means “the meeting place” in the Maori language, is located on New Zealand's North Island. The site is maintained by Event Venues Rotorua, which manages five other venues in the area including a conference center, theater and several sports stadiums. The charming tea house is popular for art displays as well as for cocktail receptions and dinners for conference groups.
EVENT AREAS: The house features a 650-square-foot reception room, which can accommodate 50 guests theater-style, 40 banquet-style and 70 for cocktail receptions. The venue is bordered on three sides by a wide veranda that overlooks the landscaped lawn and flowers of the Government Gardens. An on-site kitchen is available for the venue's preferred caterers.
“Te Runanga Tea House is ideal for small incentive dinners and meetings. It's also a very popular venue for weddings.”
— Diana Moore, sales & marketing manager