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.
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.
You just know there’s an exceptional honeymoon resort out there with your (married) names on, but you just can’t seem to find it. Sarojin is it! Set on Thailand’s castaway Andaman Coast, it’s one of those resorts that’s pushed a little further in terms of design, service and romance with dinner next to a jungle waterfall or a private cruise on a sexy speedboat.
For a union of mind, body and soul, a spa honeymoon at Ananda is great value with many treatments and activities included. Book a private pool villa or save a little and stay in a valley view room to soak up views of the Ganges from your bed and bath. Visit Rishikesh at nightfall for Ganga Aarati (lighting of lamps and chanting).
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.
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.
When it comes romance in the Lake District, the new Gilpin Lake House blows everything else out of the water – or should that be lake? This stunning outpost of Gilpin Hotel has six luxury suites, massages a deux in the Jetty spa and Champagne in the open-air Japanese Ofura Tub. It is also licenced for exclusive weddings. Wordsworth would be proud!
From nautical hideaways on the water at Fowey in Cornwall to a dinky cottage in the Cotswolds or Yorkshire Dales, there’s something so civilised about a self-catering hideaway in the UK, not least the privacy and affordability. Stock up on your favourite treats, and throw another log on the fire.
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!
There’s a powerful romance about American road journeys from Jack Kerouac’s On The Road to legendary tales of driving California’s Big Sur. For honeymooners who crave the freedom of the road, a fly-drive is the perfect bonding adventure. Exsus ups the ante with a convertible Mustang, America’s best boutique hotels and insider tips on top restaurants and activities.
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.
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.
One of the original design hotels in a spectacular jungle setting, The Datai Langkawi has always stayed ahead of the in-crowd. Pool villas have private plunge pools with built-in Jacuzzi and day bed for intimate lounging. The Beach Club bar has dreamy Andaman Sea views or you can explore the surrounding rainforest by mountain bike.
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.
How could I not include Venice – one of the all time classic honeymoons with iconic hotels such as the Cipriani. Everyone from Lord Byron to George Clooney has been beguiled by this floating city. Take a gondola ride, sigh over the Bridge of Sighs, tour the Doges Palace, appreciate art at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, explore the glass works of Murano and sunbathe at The Lido.
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!
From walking on glaciers to basking in the midnight sun, a summer honeymoon in Iceland is magical. Or go in winter for the Northern Lights. Stop over in hip Reykjavik before heading to the Hotel Ranga, not only home to great food and natural spring hot tubs but also one of Iceland’s best spots for a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis.
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.
Sir Richard Branson famously bought Necker Island for a song and built it up to be one of the world’s most exclusive private islands. Hire the entire island with friends and family or book a room just for the two of you during a ‘Celebration Week’. Adrenaline junkies will find all the toys from kite surfing to racing around the island on mini catamarans.
Closer to Africa than Italy, Sardinia is a tried and tested honeymoon hotspot, especially in late spring and early autumn. Honeymoon boltholes range from the all-singing all-dancing Forte Village with its choice of eight hotels and some of the best sports and spa facilities in the Med to luxurious boutique hideaways such as L’Ea Bianca Resort.
What an incredible way to start married life. The buzz of Cape Town with its iconic Table Mountain and nearby winelands contrasts wonderfully with the adventure of spotting the Big Five on safari. And what better place to unwind than Mauritius, renowned for its pampering hospitality. An odyssey that’s bound to cement your vows.
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.
Essential Detail’s portfolio is like a cherry-picked box of romantic one-off hotels all owned and run by folk who know and love the Caribbean and who really care about your honeymoon. The London-based team will recommend the perfect hideaway for you both, be it a glamorous beachfront retreat in Jamaica or a barefoot private island hotel in the Grenadines.
One of you loves culture, the other wants to fly ‘n’ flop. Or perhaps you just want two bites of the honeymoon cherry. Either way, Sri Lanka and the Maldives is a winning combination. And if you’re thinking of marrying overseas, Sri Lanka has everything in place for memorable weddings, with the Maldives the perfect honeymoon escape.