Most Romantic Honeymoons
For some, l'amour evokes images of Fabiolike hunks atop white stallions, heart-shaped beds, foamy bubble baths, and aphrodisiac snacks of chocolate, strawberries, and oysters. For others, just being alone sans seating chart can feel sexy and luxurious after months spent planning a wedding. Romance, simply put, doesn't come in one size and style -- which is why we're showcasing honeymoon destinations by personality on these pages. Whether your idea of a couples' love retreat involves side-by-side cliff-top massages, private cabanas with tropical cocktails on a deserted beach , or ramblings through exotic cities, you'll find the perfect postnuptial trip here. We've done the research. All you have to do is choose a place, practice whispering "husband" and "wife" in each other's ear, and prepare to fall head over heels all over again.
Viva la Mexico! Our neighbor just south of the border offers up a new, incredibly upscale resort in hot Los Cabos: Capella Pedregal.
Eat: Don Manuel's hacienda-style eats at the resort put a spin on traditional Mexican fare with food-and-wine and tequila-and-cigar pairings. Sample his delicacies in the restaurant or on the beach for an intimate dining experience.
Play: In the wintertime, hop on board a whale-watching boat. And all year round, indulge in any and all water sports. You won't be disappointed.
Love: Private terrace, plunge pool, rain-forest shower, telescope, view of the Pacific Ocean -- each of its 66 rooms boasts these amenities. Do you need more reason than that to book a stay? From $675; capellapedregal.com.
Picture still-intact medieval palaces perched high atop cliffs, overlooking lapping blue water and quaint cobblestone towns. In Ravello, on Italy's Amalfi Coast, you'll feel like you've stepped back in time.
Eat: Share noodles "Lady and the Tramp"-style. Well, maybe that's a bit uncouth for two-star Michelin spot Rosselinis, where foodies dig into haute offerings like buffalo mozzarella, cooked or raw, liquid or iced.
Play: There's a reason Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal, and D. H. Lawrence (who wrote parts of "Lady Chatterly's Lover" while in Ravello) all spent time here: Its unparalleled, stunning views make for a perfect muse. Go for long, picturesque walks that take you from sparkling sea to splendid hilltop -- and you, too, may find yourself inspired to jot down some pretty lines of prose.
Love: Get a taste of classic romance at the Hotel Caruso Belvedere, a 48-room Neapolitan-inspired 11th-century palace now returned to its original glory. From $924; hotelcaruso.com.
The flight is short to the incredibly upscale Amangiri resort, near Lake Powell, but this escape -- close to the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Park -- feels far from home (in a good way).
Eat: You won't need to venture out of the resort for superb eats. Inside its dining doom, an open kitchen reveals a wood-fired oven, where dishes are prepared with locally sourced goods.
Play: We're pretty sure you'll need a luxurious place to rest at night: During the day, you'll likely be exhausting yourself hiking, biking, boating, or swimming in the great outdoors.
Love: The suites here feel at once contemporary and rustic (think smooth white-stone floors paired with unfinished concrete walls), but most of all, they are stylish and swanky. From $600; amanresorts.com.
Hopping between the United Kingdom and the U.S. has never been so easy as in the Virgin Islands. Go out on the town in St. John (on the American side), and the next day, catch some alone time on private, unspoiled Peter Island (on the U.K. side). Just remember to bring your passport.
Eat: On British Virgin Gorda, be sure to make reservations at The Hilltop Restaurant at Biras Creek Resort -- for both the exquisite food and the jaw-dropping hilltop views.
Play: But before you go to the restaurant, check out some of the most beautiful beaches in the world at the nearby 140-acre nature preserve. Dip your toes in turquoise waters, and visit the cavelike phenomenon The Baths (only at off-hours; it gets very crowded).
Love: Let us count the reasons we love Caneel Bay resort on St. John: seven private beaches, 170 acres of unblemished beauty, 166 charm-filled rooms. From $495; caneelbay.com.
Snake charmers and storytellers should satiate couples seeking an otherworldly experience. In Morocco's fascinating city of Marrakech, an amazing culinary culture meets an ancient civilization, making for a magical experience.
Eat: Nosh your way through Marrakech, street food-style -- but for a fancy night out, head to L'Italien or Le Francais (helmed by Michelin-starred chefs Alfonso Iaccarino and Jean-Pierre Vigato, respectively).
Play: From inside the city's 12th-century ramparts, venture to Koutoubia Mosque, Jamaa El Fna square, the souks, the Menara, Agdal Gardens, and El Badi Palace, all awe-inspiring ancient landmarks that will take your breath away. After a day of sightseeing, be sure to visit one of the city's hammams, where you'll be scrubbed and doused with water until you're squeaky-clean. It doesn't sound especially fun, but the visit will leave you feeling invigorated and, yes, pampered.
Love: La Mamounia hotel, whose 20 acres of gardens were an 18th-century wedding gift to Prince Moulay Mamoun from his regal father, has reopened after a three-year renovation, revealing unmatched Signature Suites and three garden-surrounded Riads (which are like elaborately tiled palaces of their own, with private pools). From $775; mamounia.com.
A cosmopolitan coastal city alive with electric energy, frenetic activity, and cultural diversity, Hong Kong is the Far East's answer to New York City.
Eat: Don't skip the chance to sample dim sum or shark's fin at the splurge-worthy restaurant Fook Lam Moon.
Play: Take a vertiginous ride by tram up to The Peak for amazing views. At night, head to Victoria Harbour for a cruise set against the backdrop of a twinkling city skyline.
Love: At the beyond-fabulous Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hotel, rooms are spacious (averaging 540 square feet), modern, and super glam. Spoil yourself and order a specialty bath (one of seven offered) to be drawn in your own room. From $477; mandarin oriental.com/landmark.
You don't need to sign up for a safari to see the majestic animals in Kenya. Book a stay at the historic Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club in central Kenya, and experience the wild from the comfort of a deluxe resort.
Eat: The Club's elegant Mawingo Dining Room, which serves a formal nine-course dinner, recalls a more mannered time; male guests are asked to dress "smart casual" and female guests to refrain from donning miniskirts.
Play: Wander the property's 100 acres of gardens, relax poolside, go horseback riding, visit the animal orphanage, or join Aberdare National Park's walking safaris in search of wildlife. If monkeys are what you're after, head to Sweetwaters Game Reserve's chimpanzee sanctuary. Cap your visit with a little shopping: Woven sisal bags called kiondos make great souvenirs.
Love: The Club, founded by William Holden and frequented by Bing Crosby, recently underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation; most suites now come with rain-forest showers, fireplaces, and private verandas or balconies with impressive views of Mount Kenya. From $299; fairmont.com/kenyasafariclub.
Get lost at Faraway Bay, in the secluded northwest corner of Australia. Wine, water, and wildlife lovers will find each need met at this true escape from it all.
Eat: Catch dinner daily at Eagle Lodge, a cliff-top eatery that specializes in fresh seafood (like barramundi) and locally grown produce.
Play: Let the great outdoors be your playground. Bird-watch, fish, bushwhack, swim in freshwater pools -- and spy on sunning crocodiles in a lagoon.
Love: Poised above the Timor Sea, the exclusive and isolated Bush Camp is built from repurposed materials and has room for only 12 guests. Its slogan -- "You've never been this far away" -- isn't hyperbole. From $3,460 for three nights; farawaybay.com.au.
Where to visit within this vast beautiful haven? Reconnect on less populated Kauai, in a dreamy, bohemian spot off Hanalei Bay, voted the world's best beach. Need we say more?
Eat: Hop on a dinner cruise that takes you down the breathtaking Na Pali Coast. For a more sedentary dining experience, try Jean-Georges Vongerichten's brand-new Kauai Grill.
Play: Picnic and hike on Secret Beach Hideaway's 35 acres of lush tropical beauty, or just chill out on the sand. Waimea Canyon, Hawaii's version of the Grand Canyon, is also well worth checking out.
Love: Rent one of four swanky cottages -- with private butler service! -- at exclusive Secret Beach Hideaway, or book a suite at the new St. Regis Princeville Resort. Secret Beach, from $725; secretbeachkauai.com. St. Regis, from $850; stregisprinceville.com.
Punta del Este is to Buenos Aires what the Hamptons are to New York. Right next door is Jose Ignacio, a chic fishing village where a few high-end rustic retreats pepper the untouched coastline.
Eat: Though it's still a sleepy town, Jose Ignacio is actually home to some extremely lauded restaurants, among them Parador la Huella (which serves delicious sashimi).
Play: Swimming, kite surfing, horseback riding, fishing, spaing, and lying on a pristine beach for hours at a time: just some of the activities you'll find in this sanctuary.
Love: Indulge poolside, oceanside, or inside your bungalow at Casa Suaya, a lovely home away from home (if your home were hip, posh, and across from the beach). From $450; casasuaya.com.
Beach bums who relish privacy and a little (sriracha-style) spice in their lives should make their way to Koh Kood. The lesser-known Thai island -- close to the border of Cambodia -- is a last bastion of unspoiled island life.
Eat: Devour lime, spice, and everything nice at Soneva Kiri by Six Senses, where Khun Benz cooks authentic Thai at her riverside restaurant. Next, indulge your sweet tooth at the adjoining ice cream and chocolate parlor.
Play: You'll never want to leave this little slice of paradise, but try to find the time to tour Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia and the small islands of Koh Mai Si Lek and Koh Raet, where there's spectacular snorkeling and diving to be had (the resort arranges private excursions).
Love: Book a stay at the eco-friendly Soneva Kiri, and splurge on the Private Beach Reserve villa (with personal spa area and tree house). From $1,788; sixsenses.com/soneva-kiri.
For many sand lovers, Tahiti is the pinnacle of the island life. With its perfect beaches, lush fauna, and open-air villas, it's easy to see why.
Eat: La Carre -- overlooking the Lagoon -- elicits rave reviews for innovative bites like chorizo lamb on a skewer and smoked duck breast fillet salad.
Play: Sick of the beach? Never! But if you want to give your flip-flops a rest, explore the nearby Caves of Maraa and the three waterfalls of Faarumai, or visit the Gauguin Museum (this is French Polynesia, after all).
Love: At Le Meridien Tahiti, stay in a thatched bungalow perched just above turquoise waters, relax on a terrace, or cuddle up to satellite TV (for downtime from downtime). From $451; starwoodhotels.com/lemeridien.
With its awe-striking coastline, fresh breezes, and Zen vibe, Big Sur is the ideal spot to get in touch with your natural side. And the perfect spa to facilitate the meeting? Post Ranch Inn.
Eat: Run, don't walk, to the beloved Big Sur Bakery, where everything from raspberry doughnuts to pizza is an unmatched pleasure, and, of course, to the Post Ranch Inn's Sierra Mar, where chef Craig von Foerster distracts visitors from the beautiful view with treats like carpaccio of diver scallops.
Play: Hike the inn's majestic coastal property. At the lauded spa, go for new-age sessions with shamans and healing treatments from Reiki masters; take private yoga and even private massage instructional sessions for couples.
Love: For luxury-loving, eco-minded folks, there is no greater destination -- especially now, with the introduction of 10 new suites that were built from recycled wine barrels and overlook one of the world's most beautiful stretches of coast. From $550; postranchinn.com.
Marseille is France's oldest city, but that doesn't mean it's not stylish -- and the Sofitel Marseille Vieux Port is a shining example of its hip factor
Eat: The hotel's Les Trois Forts affords scrumptious views, but local spots, like the creole-flavored Aux Deux Herons, are worth venturing out for.
Play: After sampling the street scene and the sea life, check yourself in to the Sofitel's ritzy 6,458-square-foot spa with hammam, pool, and sauna.
Love: Upgrade to a junior suite for a large bathtub (a relaxation must) and sweeping views of the water. From $329; sofitel.com.
Miami is known for its lavish nightclub scene. Now all that extravagance is being funneled into spas. The best of them? Viceroy Miami, which manages to feel both sexy and sanctuary-like.
Eat: The hotel's Eos cooks up nouveau Mediterranean dishes, like lobster and sea urchin risotto; and the spa's Cafe Icon serves up on-the-go fare.
Play: The spa is a Marie Antoinette-style royal court as reimagined by style visionary Philippe Starck. Antiaging treatments abound (this is Miami, after all), but there are also new-age offerings (like Raindrop Therapy) to be had. Love Kelly Wearstler designed the rooms, so expect fantastical yet fancy decor. From $249; viceroymiami.com.
Barcelona may be associated with latenight dinners and parties, but the new Mandarin Oriental Barcelona is focusing on siestas and spa-ing.
Eat: At the Mandarin, dine outdoors on the garden terrace or indoors at the aptly named Blanc Mediterranean restaurant (decorated in white). Or go upscale at Michelin-starred chef Carme Ruscalleda's moments, which serves up innovative Catalan fare.
Play: Take a stroll through La Boqueria, a centuries-old food market. Then unwind in a private couple's suite at the hotel's world-class spa.
Love: The rooms, some with balconies that look out onto the bustling city, are opulent yet minimalist -- the better for concentrating on each other. From $474; mandarinoriental.com/barcelona.
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