Enchantment in the Maldives
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If you want a dash of the exotic, a bit of underwater enchantment and all the creature comforts while on honeymoon, head to the picturesque little island of Baros in the Maldives. Its eponymous boutique resort has all the trimmings: smartly furnished villas set variously on the beach, in tropical gardens and over the water (many with pools), an on-site spa and a range of dining options. But what lures most visitors is what lies beneath the water: the resort encompasses a Dive Centre and Marine Centre so you can snorkel in the local reef off the beach or jump on a boat for more dive destinations nearby.
Modern love in Venice
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Venice is one of the most romantic cities in Italy thanks to its glittering canals, incredible architecture, bridges and winding alleys. Get the most out of your Venetian honeymoon with a stay in a refurbished palazzo. Aman Venice’s spacious signature rooms are stylish yet restrained, and many retain original decorative details. Each is unique: the Grand Canal Suite has stunning views of its namesake; the Alcova Tiepolo Suite features 18th-century frescos by Battista Tiepolo; and the Sansovino Stanza has carved ceilings and wood panelling.
Into the wilds of Africa
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How about journeying to Africa for a honeymoon escape and staying in a lavish and well-equipped safari camp? If that appeals, look no further than Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp, located on the edge of the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. As well as all of the perks and highlights of interacting with the Maasai and the wildlife of the savanna plains, enjoy the privacy of the period-decorated accommodation (there’s an oversized honeymoon tent on offer), two plush mess areas and a pool pavilion and spa.
Mediterranean dreaming on Santorini
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Natural beauty, casual elegance and a carefree spirit are easy to come across on the island of Santorini; a place where the sun sets to the applause of captivated onlookers. In Oia, whitewashed buildings crowd the cliffs dropping into the Aegean Sea. One of them houses Canaves Oia Suites, a contemporary hotel decorated with a fresh and easy minimalism. Don’t think this means the suites aren’t lavish: there are Honeymoon Suites with private jacuzzis on the uppermost floors and also an Infinity Pool Suite with breathtaking panoramic views of endless blue seas.
A delightful Irish fling
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Take in the romance of rural Ireland in grandeur at Ashford Castle, overlooking Lough Corrib. Dating from 1228, it’s a five-star hotel with numerous bars and restaurants, a wine cellar, spa and day activities taking in everything from falconry to fishing. The separate Hideaway Cottage is best for total seclusion: a converted boatshed that’s close enough to take advantage of all the castle has to offer, it also comes with a personal assistant. If you want to stay in the castle, the Reagan Presidential Suite is the way to go (dare we say it’s sexier than it sounds).
On a sunny Spanish isle
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Looking for something a bit different for your honeymoon? How about a hotel suite carved into the side of a rock face adjacent to a refurbished military fortress on the island of Palma de Mallorca? Hotel Cap Rocat’s citadel has been transformed into fine lodgings but the three Sentinel suites built into the original lookouts on the cliffs above Palma Bay are really in a class of their own. Yes, the design is superb and the finishes are sublime but the standout feature is definitely the inviting infinity plunge pool on your own private patio. Get ready to slow down and savour some serious relaxation time.
Romance in rural France
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When you think of the French countryside, images of turreted châteaux, elegant gardens, tranquil lakes and picturesque woodlands come to mind. Throw in unique and considered accommodations and a Michelin-starred restaurant, and you’ve got Domaine des Etangs. In a rural setting of 1000 hectares, the property features rooms in multiple buildings, from the main château to converted farmhouses. The cavernous Venus suite is our favourite – who could resist a 30-square-metre bathroom with a freestanding tub and chaise lounge? Leave your room to take in the art and architectural details, the pastoral backdrop and walking trails or take a dip in the baths or pools.
French Polynesian island paradise
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Whether you realise it or not, when you imagine the ultimate island getaway, you’re probably picturing Bora Bora. Clear turquoise waters, overwater villas, swaying palm trees and white sand at the end of a winding timber pier – that’s Bora Bora. The place to stay? Four Seasons Resort. The amenities are top-notch, as you’d expect, but the overwater bungalow suites are where it’s at. All have sundecks and incredible views but the specialty suites also have plunge pools off the bedrooms so you can swim in or out.
An English country affair
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The charming Cotswolds encompasses quaint villages, rolling hills and a picture-book pastoral setting that’s ideal for a romantic rural sojourn. An historic home is just the ticket – look no further than the tastefully updated boutique hotel that is Foxhill Manor. Of the eight rooms available, the Oak suite is where you want to be: as well as a four-poster bed and a classic fireside lounge, you’ll find a pair of freestanding bathtubs set in the bay window of the room. Incomparable English service is a given.
Patagonia’s remote wilderness
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If your idea of a perfect honeymoon involves totally getting away from it all and experiencing some of the most pristine scenery the world has to offer, consider heading to Torres del Paine National Park in Chile’s Patagonia region. There’s no need to rough it; explore the park by day on foot or by horse, relax in an outdoor jacuzzi by the Paine River in the afternoon and sleep in a stylish, comfortable room at night at Explora Patagonia on Salto Chico Falls. For spectacular views, the Exploradores Suites are hard to beat. Did we mention the massages and sauna?
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On a privately owned island in Montenegro sits a village of 50 historic stone residences that have been turned into sophisticated accommodation for the guests of Aman Sveti Stefan. This is not your usual European resort: guests have exclusive access to the island, which is connected to the beach on the mainland via a narrow walkway. There’s a subtle atmosphere of intrigue, romance and seclusion but there’s also much to be explored should you want to leave the cobbled lanes and courtyards of the Aman, including the scenic coastline and historic towns… or you could always just retreat to a hydrotherapy suite.
Snowbound in Switzerland
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If you dream about being holed up in elegant lodgings with views of snow-dusted forests and pristine lakes, Switzerland is the destination for you. The Kulm Hotel in the resort town of St. Moritz embodies all of these notions and bundles them up into one beautiful, luxurious package. Pick the Rosatsch Suite for its contemporary styling or the Engadine for its incredible pine wood detailing. Both have balconies overlooking St. Moritzersee Lake and crackling fireplaces. On site, you’ll find several restaurants and an enormous spa complex with indoor and outdoor pools, grottos and saunas.
Tasmania’s natural splendour
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The multi-award winning Saffire Freycinet is one of the premier properties to stay at in Tasmania, if not Australia. With spectacular vistas of the Hazards framed by graceful architectural curves throughout the common areas, excellent on-site dining and spa facilities as well as the opportunity to partake in some very unique excursions (oysters harvested and shucked alfresco while standing in the sea, anyone?), it’s no surprise. Opt for a Private Pavilion for 140 square metres of ultimate indulgence: a separate bedroom, kitchen for chef-prepared in-room meals and a plunge pool to top it all off.
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Steeped in history, the Eternal City has a timeless allure. Take things up a notch and live like a monarch in the Napoleone Suite at Rome’s Residenza Napoleone III (the emperor’s one-time home). It’s definitely from another century – opulent furnishings, a canopied bed and soft lighting add to the ambience – but there’s no lack of space (there are two additional reception rooms) or mod cons. Although you’ll mostly be left to your own devices, there are concierge services and breakfast is served daily (on Bulgari silverware, no less).
At peace in Cambodia
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Honeymooners with an eco bent should visit the private-island resort of Song Saa in Cambodia. Just 24 villas, constructed of reclaimed materials and decorated in refined and contemporary style, make up this boutique property. There are jungle, beachfront and overwater dwellings to choose from, and one Royal Villa with its own dedicated staff. Produce is sourced locally and the resort also offers guests the chance to experience Cambodian culture and religion, local conservation efforts as well as the usual wellness treatments and water-based activities.
Paris. Always Paris.
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They don’t call it the City of Love for nothing. Paris is forever the perfect honeymoon destination. In terms of extravagance, you can’t go past the Ritz Paris when they have a suite with a replica of Marie-Antoinette’s bedroom at Versailles. If that’s a bit much, cast your eye over some of the other suites on offer: the Opera with dark-timber panelling and views of the Palais Garnier, the Maria Callas with its soft pink accents and backdrop of the Eiffel Tower or the refined elegance of the Coco Chanel Suite with a view of Place Vendôme.
Intrigue in Prague
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A charismatic city full of stately edifices and intersected by the calm, broad swathe of the Vltava River, Prague has always been the romantic drawcard of Eastern Europe. Stay in the Charles Bridge Suite at the Smetana Hotel and experience the grandeur of the historic city from this converted palace. There’s a private balcony with views of Prague Castle, its namesake bridge and the river, just made for sipping Champagne. Within the hotel, try the wine from estate-owned vineyards in France, visit the cigar club in the old chapel or get pampered in the Sisley Institute.
Glamour on the Côte d'Azur
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The celebrity hotspot of Cap d’Antibes is home to one of the most celebrated hotels in France that recently won the country’s coveted “Palace Award”. The designation means it goes above and beyond five stars and “contributes to French culture”. If you want to live it up, Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc is definitely the place. There are two restaurants, four bars and a chocolaterie on the property, while luxury accommodation is spread out across the extensive private grounds. And our pick of the suites? In the main Hotel du Cap, the Deluxe One-Bedroom for sweeping views of the parklands and sea and the Deluxe Junior atop the seaside Eden-Roc Pavilion for a panorama of the Mediterranean. Both have spacious terraces.
A refreshing Fiji experience
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If you’re thinking about honeymooning in Fiji, the freshly renovated Vomo Island Resort is a great choice. There are hillside and beachfront villas as well as private residences to choose from. The Beachfront Retreats, with their outdoor spaces and baths and vista of the sand and sea, are perfect for two. There are plenty of deserted beaches to discover, a renowned spa to relax in, gourmet food to be had, water activities to try and an adults-only bar right over the rocks on the beach.
Amore on the Amalfi Coast
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In the seaside village of Positano, you’ll find Le Sirenuse hotel among the colourful buildings perched among the hills above the sea. Understated and welcoming with whitewashed walls, handmade tiles and panoramic views, Le Sirenuse offers the chance to relax. Take in the blue waters, while away sun-filled afternoons and taste the fabulous food that the Amalfi Coast is known for. Choose a sea-view suite (try a Junior Superior or One-Bedroom suite – the latter has a bathtub overlooking the sea) and spend your time by the open-air pool and dining in one of the hotel’s three restaurants.
Off the grid in the Caribbean
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The quiet and relatively obscure nation of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean is the ideal getaway for honeymooners. Petit St. Vincent is a private island retreat located at the southern tip of the Grenadines and is just the place for a relaxing tropical retreat. The resort’s 22 stone cottages are dotted across the beach and hills and, because there’s no wi-fi, TV or even a phone, you can really unwind and enjoy the solitude. Expect impeccable service – you can hail a butler by raising the yellow flag by your cottage.