Honeymoon in Kerala, India’s sublime southern state, and a tingle will run up your spine every time you reminisce. Wildlife reserves, ancient temples and spice plantations will fascinate, there are beaches for down time and you can enjoy a voyage on your very own houseboat for two around the exotic backwaters. You’ll quickly understand what all the fuss is about.
Follow in the footsteps of the poet W.B. Yeats by honeymooning in Ireland. Cruise out of Dublin in an Alfa Romeo Spider, en route to Dromoland Castle for the ultimate minimoon. Or how about a week on the County Wexford coast and the lush valleys of County Cork with moonlit kayaking, country house hotels and top cuisine?
Borneo is one of the world’s most stunning oases of rare wildlife – home to orang-utans, clouded leopards, fish eagles and pygmy elephants. Whether you experience a night safari or help with tree planting, it’s a thrilling destination, not forgetting the boutique hideaways of Malaysia’s Tioman Island for some beachfront R ‘n’ R.
Meeru Island Resort is textbook Maldives: powder white sand and turquoise lagoon. Except here you get 4-star quality at 3-star prices. Bag the all-inclusive option and look out for complimentary room upgrades. Newlyweds should aim for the Jacuzzi Water Villas or the Honeymoon Suites, a short dhoni boat ride away.
There’s a new cool about Mallorca. Its capital Palma couldn’t get more hip if it tried. Add to that the idyllic beaches, stunning mountains, fabulous local cuisine and some of the best villas in the Med for the ultimate in privacy. We love the beautifully restored farmhouses with private pools in charming spots like Sencelles and Selva.
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.
Artfully masquerading as ‘The Inn on the Beach’, this is one of the most sophisticated hotels in Devon and the latest project from Peter de Savary and his wife Lana. Teetering over Babbacombe Bay, rooms are the best of British seaside chic, there’s a bijou spa room and a space-age pod for wedding vows with breathtaking sea views.
Italy is a top spot for romance, but Puglia goes largely under the radar. Explore the Baroque splendour of Lecce, Alberobello’s fairytale streets and unspoilt Adriatic beaches. Honeymoon hearts will skip a beat on arrival at Sardatur’s collection of luxury hotels – the five-star Borgo Egnazia with its sexy pool villas, the charming Masseria Cervarola and historic Il Melograno for example.
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.
Swanning around a gorgeous Caribbean villa is the kind of thing you imagine Hollywood stars doing. Yet it’s surprisingly easy to find these private pads with Oliver’s Travels. Although pricey in high season (December to February), if you go off-season there are bargains. You’ll also discover romantic smaller islands such as French St Barths and idyllic Bequia.
Corsica has a delicious sophistication and old world charm that only the French could achieve slap bang in the Med. For powder white sand without the long-haul flight, this is the island for you, with beaches like Palombaggia. Throw in dramatic mountains, historic towns and fabulous cuisine, and Napoleon’s birthplace makes perfect sense.
Koh Samui on the Gulf of Siam is an island of tropical jungle, dreamy beaches and turquoise coves. Famed for its Ang Thong National Marine Park, honeymooners will find peace and harmony here. Stay at a luxury hotel such as the Napasai or Four Seasons and enjoy intimate beachfront dinners, Thai massages for two and private infinity pools.
With none of the glitz of neighbouring Dubai, Oman is perfect for adventurous couples in search of the real Arabia – and great beaches. From smooching in a romantic tent under a star-strewn desert sky to gawping at the eight-tonne crystal chandelier in the Grand Mosque, Oman delivers.
All your safari dreams come true at Ulusaba, Sir Richard Branson’s private game reserve in South Africa. Honeymoon packages include champagne, massages and a private dinner. Spectacular weddings are held under an Amarula tree surrounded by flaming torches. Book the exclusive Cliff Lodge which includes a private spa room.
Experience Trou aux Biches, a tropical village style resort which, not least after its £60m rebuild, is undoubtedly one of the finest hotels in Mauritius. It’s the only one with beach front suites with a private pool and it’s set on one of my favourite beaches. Couples can tie the knot in a chapel in the branches of a Banyan tree.
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.
Practically on the doorstep and boasting some seriously stylish hotels, southern Spain best suits an early or late summer honeymoon to catch the best climate and avoid the crowds. Seville is a spectacular starting point with its gold-encrusted Alcazar Palace. Add Cordoba and Granada, and you have three sumptuous honeymoon cities for the price of one.
Just a two-hour flight away, it’s easy to forget just how outrageously romantic the classic Italian cities are. Take in the glory of Rome, the sheer romance of Florence and wander the streets of Siena. Whether you’re culture vultures, followers of fashion or simply hopeless romantics, this Italian trilogy delivers.
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.
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!
Bali offers both a spiritual and hedonistic honeymoon. You can’t help falling in love with a place where there’s a temple or rice paddy at every turn, where cutting edge architecture rises from lush river valleys and honeymooners are treated like royalty. You’ll be safe in the hands of the i-escape team – they have sought out the best hideaways to suit every taste and budget.
Pink Gin Beach on the Spice Island of Grenada! How could newlyweds resist this exotic combination? The luxurious Sandals LaSource sits bang on this stunning beach, one of the best in Grenada. Bag yourselves a room with a tranquility soaking tub or a Skypool Suite with butler service at this couples-only all-inclusive.
Laluna is one of my favourite honeymoon retreats. Even its singsongy name makes me feel happy. Created by an Italian couple from a fashion industry background, this place is infused with the romance of the Spice Island of Grenada, the glamour of Italy and the gentle soul of Bali. Laluna is like Kate Moss – effortlessly chic and a little bit edgy.
A member of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Limited Edition collection, Kasbah Tamadot is a magical oasis just outside Marrakech in the clear air of the Atlas Mountains. Book a luxury Berber tent with private pool, enjoy intimate dinners set up specially for two, try the Hammam spa and explore the area by foot, mountain bike, 4X4 or mule.