Top-ten honeymoon hideaways
Tropical island sunsets or sipping cocktails in a sophisticated city setting – whatever your idea of a perfect honeymoon, here are some suggestions on how to start your new life together in style
Roll your wedding and honeymoon into one big adventure at Phulay Bay, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Krabi. With the three-night “Underwater Romance” package, trade your wedding dress for a wetsuit and exchange vows below the teal blue waters of the Andaman Sea. After all, there aren’t many places in the world where you can say “I scuba do” – complete with an underwater bouquet and clownfish in attendance. You can have your wedding cake and eat it, too, at a Thai beach barbecue that night.
This offer includes accommodation in the seafront Beach Villa and an upgrade on the evening of the ceremony to the Royal Beach Villa, with private gardens and an infinity pool. You’ll also receive a couples’ ESPA spa treatment, daily breakfast, and return transfers from Krabi airport. Through 2014, the cost is from THB 35,000 (approximately €826) per couple per night. Tel: +66 (0)7 562 8111, ritzcarltonreserve.com.
How can you hope to top the high of your wedding day? How about a jungle perch above central Bali’s Valley of the Kings? With just 25 villas, each with its own pool, the Viceroy Bali entices newlyweds with a three-night honeymoon package that includes a red rose and Champagne welcome, two-hour spa treatment, six-course candlelight dinner, butler service, wifi, daily breakfast, return airport transfers, and shuttle service into Ubud, a hotspot for Balinese artists. Valid until December 19th, 2013 and from January 14th to December 19th, 2014. From $1,716 (€1,271) per couple. Tel: +62 361 971 777, viceroybali.com.
For fairytale romance, it’s hard to beat the ambiance of a French château. The 18th century Château des Briottières, located near Angers, two-and-a-half hours from Paris, presides over 50 hectares of gardens in the Loire Valley. Ten bedrooms in the main house are furnished with antiques, while the Fruitier lodge features details like exposed wooden beams and stone walls. For a right regal stay, book the two-night Sjour Royal au Château, which includes a personal greeting by Mr and Mrs De Valbray, whose family has owned the property for six generations, a welcome drink, candlelit dinners each evening, daily breakfast, and a visit for two to a listed château. From €229 per person per night (excluding Saturdays). Tel: +33 (0)2 4142 0002, briottieres.com.
After your march down the aisle, you can walk in the footsteps of celebrity lovebirds such as Audrey Hepburn and Mel Ferrer and David and Victoria Beckham at the Hotel Hassler Roma. Situated atop Rome’s Spanish Steps, the hotel offers a Romantic Roma two-night package with a guided insider tour of Rome, Segway tour of Villa Borghese’s Renaissance gardens, in-room couples’ massage, welcome Champagne and strawberries, daily buffet breakfast, and dinner for two at the rooftop, Michelin-starred Imago restaurant. Available until March 31st, 2014, then July 16th-September 7th, and November 1st-December 20th, 2014; from €2,255 per couple. Tel: +39 06 699340, hotelhasslerroma.com
Copamarina Beach Resort & Spa on Puerto Rico’s southern coast is a hideaway for R&R&R (rest, relaxation, and romance). The tropical retreat in Guanica offers a honeymoon package with a massage for two, sunset cruise, alfresco dinner, daily breakfast, and sparkling wine accompanied by chocolate covered strawberries. If you really want to put stars in your partner’s eyes – and at your fingertips – take a tour of the Bioluminescent Bay, where tiny microorganisms in the water respond to your touch with an ethereal gleam, transforming the bay into an aquatic Milky Way. Package from $415 (€308) per couple per night; minimum two nights. Bay tour not included. Tel: 001-800 468 4553, copamarina.com.
Playa Dorada is a 100-hectare posh playground on the north shore, with a shopping mall, discos, casinos, restaurants, a golf course, and a 21-kilometer beach. Casa Colonial Beach & Spa resort offers a breezy base for exploration, or for cocooning in your Oceanfront Junior Suite when you book a three-night Dominican Republic Honeymoon package. The deal includes a bottle of sparkling wine, daily breakfast on your terrace, private candlelit three-course dinner, 80-minute spa treatment, including a couples’ massage and Serenity and Sensuality Soak, and a VIP welcome and transfer from Puerto Plata Airport. Until December 20th; $1,399 (€1,035) per couple. Tel: 001-809-320-3232, casacolonialhotel.com
Turn up the heat by escaping to Miami’s sizzling South Beach, where you can dance all night and sleep off the night’s excesses on an expanse of sugary sand. The Betsy Hotel, located on legendary Ocean Drive, across from the beach, features a courtyard pool and a multi-functional roof terrace, where you can enjoy sunrise yoga and spa treatments and chaise loungers. At night, this al fresco space is transformed into a starry lounge. As a special treat for newlyweds, staff can arrange complimentary Champagne, art tours, and books of poetry. From $279 (€207) per couple per night. Tel: 001-305-531-6100, thebetsyhotel.com.
With its glittering skyline and canoodle-worthy exploits like carriage rides through Central Park, harbour cruises, and cocktails at The Campbell Apartment (Grand Central Station’s “secret” bar), Manhattan was made for romance. Book the Mr and Mrs G package at the Gansevoort Park Avenue NYC, and you’ll receive Champagne on arrival, a dozen roses, two cocktails at the hotel’s rooftop pool overlooking the Empire State Building, two one-hour massages, in-room breakfast, two monogrammed robes, and his and her Lacoste polos. From $787 (€582) per couple per night. Tel: 001-877 830 9889, gansevoorthotelgroup.com.
Play castaway at Uxua Casa Hotel & Spa in the coastal fishing village of Trancoso. Uxua is comprised of 10 cottages crafted by local artisans using reclaimed materials, all on the village green. The five-star hotel is the brainchild of Wilbert Das, former creative director for the Italian fashion label Diesel, so expect a rustically chic retreat, with a swimming pool lined with aventurine crystals, a spa, and a nearby beach with a bar made from old fishing boats. Amenities include open-sky bathrooms, kitchens, wifi, and satellite TV. Some casas boast private plunge pools and Jacuzzis.
The Ultimate Seven-Day Uxua Experience offers seven nights accommodation and highlights like private dance, fitness and cooking classes, a beach picnic, horseback riding, massage, kayak trip, and return transfers from Porto Seguro airport. From R$11,000 (€3,670) per couple. Tel: +55 73 3668-2277, uxua.com
If you’re considering South Africa, the number one conundrum is whether to wing to buzzy Cape Town or beat around the bush on safari. The Ellerman House/Singita Package provides the best of both worlds, with four nights each at Cape Town’s Bantry Bay and Kruger National Park, for the price of six nights.
Indulge in sophisticated luxury at Ellerman House, which offers a whisky bar, spa, chauffeured rides around town, and panoramic ocean views from the pool and terrace. While at Kruger, you’ll be awed by daily photographic game drives, accompanied by moveable feasts and cocktails, when you stay at either Singita Lebombo or Singita Sweni. Both lodges feature elegant bungalows and a swimming pool, with a shared spa.
Ellerman (per couple per night) from R8600 (€644) until November 30th, 2013; from R9500 (€711) from December 1st to April 30th, 2014. Singita (per person per night) from R13225 (€990) until December 31st, 2013; from R14600 (€1,093) throughout 2014. Quote EHSL when booking. Tel: +27 (0) 21 430 3200, ellerman.co.za; Tel: +27 (0) 21 683 3424, singita.com.