Northern India and Rajasthan have all the ingredients for an uber-romantic honeymoon. Enjoy an insider’s view of Old and New Delhi, discover the jaw-dropping Pink City of Jaipur and marvel at the Taj Mahal, the world’s greatest monument to love – then unwind with some beach time in Kerala or Goa. If India doesn’t work its magic, nothing will.
With an exotic romance you’d expect to have to fly long-haul to find, DDG Retreat is a short hop to the hills of southern Spain. Stay in one of six intimate casas, each individually styled – some have a plunge pool, hot tub or alfresco bed for sleeping under the stars. Venture out to explore Andalucía and the Costa del Sol and pamper yourselves in the spa.
Robin Pope is one of the most respected names in African safaris. Their experts have put together an adventurous, indulgent and downright sexy lake and bush honeymoon in Zambia and Malawi, selecting the most romantic lodges, private game drives, bush walks and boat cruises, intimate breakfasts on board a dhow in Lake Malawi, candlelit dinners and snorkelling.
Madeira has cast off its fuddy-duddy image and offers everything from extreme sports to extreme natural beauty. Quintas are Madeiran manor houses converted into boutique hotels in a garden setting. Expect spa treatments, horse riding, golf, levada walks and whale watching. A great short-haul option with year-round sunshine.
Anse Chastanet is a legendary hotel that’s beguiled honeymooners for years with its unique setting and green philosophy – before anyone had heard of ecotourism. Think Caribbean breezes rather than air-con; no TV, just the whisper of sweet nothings. Trade up to ‘big sister’, Jade Mountain, for private pools and no fourth wall.
The tiny Caribbean island of Anguilla is one of those eye-poppingly beautiful places that you can’t quite believe exists. Just a short hop from Antigua, it is encircled by platinum-white beaches with an exclusive yet laidback feel. It’s perfect for honeymooners who crave lazy days on the beach, barefoot gourmet dining in waterfront restaurants and cool, contemporary hotels.
One of the most under-rated Caribbean islands, the Dominican Republic is bursting with rainforest, culture and beautiful beaches. The introduction of British Airways flights to Punta Cana in the east, with its impressive new array of sophisticated resorts, is a sign of the high quality you can expect. Check out these gold standard resorts at silver prices.
Known for its provocative coco de mer or love nut and as the original site of the Garden of Eden, you don’t get much more seductive than the Seychelles. Push the boat out and stay at one of the luxury hotels on the main island of Mahé or perhaps Praslin Island, then head out to one of the smaller coral islands for some serious barefoot luxury.
Botswana is the Rolls Royce of safaris, home to the Okavango Delta and some of Africa’s most gorgeous camps. Watching big game from a mokoro canoe, meeting the bushmen tribes of the Makgadikgadi Pans and experiencing the beauty of the Kalahari Desert are just some of the highlights. Round off with some R&R in Mozambique, Mauritius or South Africa. Bliss!
All I can say about this incredible honeymoon is that you’d better be ready for a series of sensory overloads. The first time I went to Indonesia I was bowled over by its staggering beauty and vibrant culture. This honeymoon is perfect for couples who like to combine luxury with adventure. Well worth getting married for!
I think Mauritius is one of the most romantic places on earth. It has lush, mountainous interiors giving way to white beaches and coral-fringed lagoons. Add in a choice of impressive resorts and spas to suit all budgets, attractions and activities, plus a lively foodie scene melding Chinese, Indian, African and French influences, and you have a honeymoon to remember.
Bag yourselves a beautiful apartment for two on the Amalfi coast and you’ll never look back. La Trasita is set in a 14th century Saracen tower overlooking Positano from its circular roof terrace. Play Italian Mr & Mrs in your own private love nest and explore Sorrento, the island of Capri, the ruins of Pompeii and the mighty Vesuvius.
Morocco is a 3-hour flight away, yet it offers a thoroughly exotic honeymoon. Let all your senses be stimulated in the souks of Marrakech and Fes, before retreating to a palatial riad. Romantics will fall in love with the Atlas mountains and coastal gems like Essaouira, not to mention camel trekking and hot air balloon rides for two.
From buzzing Hanoi and Saigon to a lazy Mekong river cruise, Vietnam is an inspired choice for a honeymoon. There’s culture, nightlife, cookery classes in street food, gourmet dining, colonial hotels and jaw-dropping romantic gems like the Six Senses Hideaway. A Chinese junk cruise of Halong Bay is one of my do-before-you-die experiences.
Sleeping under the stars in Balinese Dream Beds on a luxury cruise ship more akin to a private yacht, visiting a new destination every day and toasting one another on your cabin balcony with a cocktail as your cruise ship pulls out of port. These are just some of the romantic highs on a luxury cruise honeymoon.
This country house hotel just outside Bath rocks. A Relais & Chateaux 1720 Palladian mansion may sound stuffy, yet Lucknam Park is anything but, with a stunning spa set in a walled garden, a gorgeous pool where you can swim at night next to an open fire, Michelin-starred food, horseriding and magnificent four-poster suites.
This exotic honeymoon combines the high-octane thrills of a safari in Tanzania from game spotting to luxury camps and sundowners on the boot of your 4WD, with the spicy romance of Zanzibar where you can explore the labyrinthine streets of Stone Town and relax on blinding beaches. Two honeymoons for the price of one.
Honeymooners will be bowled over by St Kitts’ natural beauty and creativity. Choose from a wide mix of hotels from plantation chic to an “all singing and dancing” resort. And when you’re not cocooned in your love-nest, take a rainforest hike, visit neighbouring Nevis and ‘lime’ the night away at a rustic beach bar.
For a small island, Sri Lanka delivers a staggering range of experiences. Add to that some stylish hotels – including amazing creations by local architect Geoffrey Bawa, Amanwella in the 17th century Dutch town of Galle and Amangalla on the sandy shore of Tangalle. If you fancy tying the knot here, you can even do it on elephant back.
Whether you’re the recluse or the playboy (and girl) type couple, there’s a world of honeymoon glamour right on your doorstep and it’s called the Cote d’Azur. Cannes, Nice and Monte Carlo just can’t help themselves when it comes to old school cool. Drink pink champagne at Le Club 55 on the beach in St Tropez or hide away in the stunning medieval village of Eze.
Namibia’s stark beauty will seduce you – vast dunes, endless deserts, the shipwreck-strewn Skeleton Coast and velvety night skies. Sleep under the stars or in dreamy lodges, while in the game parks you can track rhino, leopard and cheetah. The dry season and best game viewing months coincide with the UK’s popular summer wedding season, and there’s no jetlag either.
Adventurous couples looking for a wow factor honeymoon will find their nirvana in the breathtaking landscapes of New Zealand. Heli-hike vast glaciers, horse-ride across the bush, swim in hot springs and cruise the Milford Sound. Choose a self-drive tour for the freedom of the road, staying either in motels or boutique B&Bs en route.
There are plenty of family-friendly all-inclusives in swanky Barbados, but only one for couples-only. Sandals Barbados, opened in January 2015 on the iridescent white sands of Dover Beach in the lively south of the island, is the ultimate all-inclusive with everything from gourmet dining to scuba diving and yoga. You can even tie the knot for free.
There’s a new wave of cool in Cornwall from surfing to local cuisine that’s making it a top choice for UK honeymoons. Gwel an Mor is top of my list for its VIP Scandinavian-style wooden lodges with private hot tubs, spa, and ocean view restaurant. If you’re taking kids on honeymoon, this is a great choice, otherwise you might want to avoid peak school holiday times.