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With 2022 set to have the highest number of weddings on record—as destinations around the world continue to reopen after extended closures due to COVID— now is the perfect time to start planning your honeymoon. In this guide you'll find holiday inspo separated by theme (from beach getaways to mountain adventures, desert escapes to forest retreats and city tours) and broken down by type (classics, up-and-comers, and picks for more adventurous types) to help narrow down the perfect romantic vacation for you and your loved one.
To the Beach
Nothing says honeymoon more than soft sand, swaying palms, and shockingly-blue water. As all the world’s islands and beaches vie to be the ultimate iteration of paradise, so, too, do their resorts, outdoing each other with plunge pools, ocean views, and over-the-top butler service.
The Classics: French Polynesia
Tahiti has been a byword for paradise since the 18th century when European sailors first dropped anchor in the island’s turquoise lagoon. Today, the archipelago that surrounds it remains a markedly more pristine option than nearby Hawaii, with thousands of sandy atolls and islets to explore. Major hospitality stalwarts like Four Seasons, St. Regis, and InterContinental are well represented on idyllic Bora Bora; The Brando—a private paradise once owned by the eponymous actor—is a worthy competitor with, perhaps, the single most beautiful beach on the planet.
For complete privacy, try renting a villa from Tahiti Homes, which easily bests accommodation marketplaces like Airbnb or VRBO by offering friendly concierge service. Or try Motu Nao Nao in the lagoon of nearby Raiatea—the mecca of Polynesian tradition—which is poised to flex its eco-chic muscles, both in its nature-inspired design and tasty local menu. Its three villas can be rented separately, or for complete privacy, honeymooners can lease the entire island.
The Classics: Thailand
Thailand, the trailblazer of Southeast Asia’s hospitality industry, has touted itself as the ideal destination for every stripe of traveler for five decades, thanks to ample beaches that match perfectly with Bangkok’s bustle and the quiet jungles and mountains of the north.
Although Phuket’s Sandbox program—to attract international travelers with a quasi-quarantine scheme—was only a moderate success, it’s primed the rest of the country to welcome back eager visitors as COVID’s ongoing threat begins to (hopefully, and finally) dissipate. Our favorite ocean-side resorts include Amanpuri, the OG Aman; Banyan Tree Phuket, with a new well-being program; Four Seasons Koh Samui, on the Gulf Coast; and Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve.
Under the Radar: Grenada
Book your rooms now before Grenada blows up—the island group just south of the Grenadines (the famed home of Mustique) is poised to become the Caribbean’s next it destination. Named a Culinary Capital by the World Food Travel Association, Grenada is looking beyond its island cuisine to attract the glitterati with the hotly anticipated openings of the Kimpton Kawana Bay Resort and the Six Senses La Sagesse later in 2022.
Under the Radar: Todos Santos, Mexico
Think of Todos Santos as the more down-to-earth version of Cabo, where smaller properties are gaining traction among discerning travelers by offering more privacy and locally themed design and dishes. Paradero made waves when it opened last year, and Rancho Pescadero is eager to add to the area’s cache with its prime, 30-acre oceanfront location that’s completely overhauled into a wellness haven rivaling the likes of Tulum.
Best Design: Saint Lucia
While the majority of Caribbean resorts lean into pastels or plantation shutters, Jade Mountain pivots hard in the opposite direction: crushed coral slabs, wooden slatting, and jewel-tone tile work that all seamlessly come together in a strange and fantastical manner; like a nest of concrete thatch perched on the side of a cliff overlooking the sea. Each of the 30-some suites has only three walls; the fourth replaced by a gushing infinity pool and unobstructed views of the conical Pitons mountains. And if the architecture doesn’t lure design buffs, guests will be riveted by the fresh fish served nightly with vegetables grown on-site (plus a handful of worthy Indian dishes to boot).
Best Design: Uruguay
Hugged by Argentina and Brazil, Uruguay often shies away from the limelight of Latin America but “that quiet appeal is exactly what makes it perfect for a honeymoon,” says Tom Marchant of Black Tomato. “It’s an exceptional canvas for luxurious relaxation and adventure.” Make a beeline for José Ignacio and stay at the inimitable Playa Vik, a gravity-defying structure with sweeping views of the sunset just steps away. Playa Vik makes its glorious return this November, debuting a new yoga and wellness shack (read: definitely not a shack) in collaboration with Isabella Channing.
For Adventure: British Virgin Islands
The public opening of Richard Branson’s coveted Necker Island has brought refreshed attention to the BVIs, further bolstered by his next luxury project, Moskito Island. But the archipelago’s biggest draw is its storied reputation as one of the best places on the planet for small-boat cruising. Consider sailing islet to islet on a private charter, spending your days swimming and snorkeling in the shallows of private bays and lagoons. The Moorings is the area’s charter stalwart with a slew of private yachts crewed by experienced captains; try Yachtlife for something splashier. And if you're looking for an equally splashy place to rest your head before or after you set sail, try Rosewood’s new shiny riff on the iconic Little Dix Bay, located in Virgin Gorda.
Close to Home: Puerto Rico
Thousands of miles away in sentiment, but not much farther a jaunt than Miami when flying from the American Northeast, Puerto Rico entices with surf-able beaches in the low-key West, but the real paradisiacal sands are on the smaller isles of Culebra and Vieques. Score a private villa rental, then spend your days down on Culebra’s Playa Flamenco and bask in Vieques’s bioluminescent waters by night.
To the Mountains
A winter wonderland can be just as alluring as a holiday in the tropics, and there are plenty of destinations primed for sweaters, all ending in cozy evenings by the fire with your new spouse.
The Classic: The French Alps
“France is full of intoxicating views, but Alpe D’Huez offers up some of the best,” Gordy Megroz, author of 100 Slopes of a Lifetime, notes. “Massifs and snow-caked pyramidal peaks loom in the near distance, and Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps, dominates the skyline to the north. Take in all of this while skiing one the longest trails in Europe, La Sarenne, which winds past a gurgling brook and a hut where you can stop and eat classic French dishes.” Megroz recommends staying at Hotel Au Chamois d’Or. “The comfy rooms are bathed in blond wood and linen, the fireplace is always well stoked, and the spa has numerous offerings,” says the expert.
Under the Radar: Québec, Canada
Popular among our northern neighbors, Québec is starting to gain some serious worldwide attention as more than just a quick weekend getaway. With charming stone-and-brick architecture dating back almost 500 years, many aspects of Canada’s Francophone province feel even more like a French fairy tale than the motherland. Stay at the towering Fairmont Le Château Frontenac with views over the St. Lawrence waterway, then head up to the Charlevoix region and strap on some skis to test out the brand-new Club Med Québec, Canada’s first mountain resort that blends an all-inclusive experience with five-star service and amenities.
Best Design: Iceland
What was once a casual pastime among locals, “hot pot” bathing—as it’s known—has become an international sensation, with dozens of elaborate structures built around fjords and lagoons that harness the country’s plethora of mineral-rich water. Blue Lagoon near the airport in Keflavík started the trend several decades ago and recently one-upped itself with its high-end Retreat Spa resort. Travel around the island, stopping at Sky Lagoon, Geosea, and even some of the public pools, like Hofsós, to take in all the creative architectural iterations of this destination’s sleek, natural materials.
For Adventure: Norway
The crags of Lofoten preside over a hushed realm of seaside hamlets where rorbuer, fishermen’s shanties, have been adeptly transformed into romantic cottages with ’grammable views from the picture-frame windows. The region has become a year-round favorite for active romantics who want to fill their itineraries with scenic hikes or kayaking excursions. In the winter, pair the rugged peninsula of islands with Tromsø up north for some of the best whale watching on the planet, or head south to second-city Bergen and cruise among the nation’s most famous fjords. When booking, let 62°NORD plan your adventure.
Close to Home: Colorado
No one does romance in the Rockies better than Dunton Hot Springs, a former ghost town transformed into a luxurious Relais & Chateaux enclave, situated just across the mountain from Telluride. A specially tailored Mountain Romance Package promises flowing champagne in your luxury log cabin, a spa visit for two, plus a half-day out among the surrounding 14,000-foot high peaks with a private guide. For those with extra time, tack on a visit to Crested Butte, the base of operations for the ultra-luxe Eleven Experience for a stay at the private Sopris House, a beautiful chalet that was once the town’s saloon. Expect nothing less than private backcountry skiing during the day and private chef-ery by night.
Desert & Plains
The austerity of the desert calls out to wanderers (and wanderlusters) as a place of great quiet, and on the savanna—unencumbered by modern buildings and roads—thousands of animals roam. Ahead, the perfect retreats to enjoy nature’s silent beauty along with your loved one.
The Classics: Tanzania
“Fly camping is one of the most romantic experiences you can have” explains Elizabeth Gordon, cofounder and CEO of Extraordinary Journeys. “Sleep out under the stars in accommodation offered by some of Africa’s most luxurious safari camps and follow the migration but not the crowds.” Gordon’s top pick is the luxurious Chada Katavi in Katavi National Park, located in western Tanzania; “an ideal destination to pair with the pristine beaches of nearby Zanzibar,” she adds. The best beaches are on the west coast up to the northern tip of the island—try Kilindi Zanzibar or splash out at the ultra-private Mnemba Island.
The Classics: Morocco
An easy flight from the East Coast of the United States, Morocco’s Bedouin fantasy extends far beyond the fronded palmeraies of Marrakech. Marchant of Black Tomato recommends a coveted triad of secluded stops for his guests: one of the most popular itineraries the travel planning firm offers, Kasbah Tamadot in the High Atlas Mountains; Dar Ahlam in the remote province of Ouarzazate, “an oasis with sweeping views known as the door of the desert”; and a stay at Terres des Etoiles in Agafay.
Under the Radar: Namibia
Where the oldest desert on the planet, the Namib, collides with the sands of the Kalahari, Namibia was sharply ascending in popularity before the pandemic thanks to a number of new, smartly designed lodges. With most travelers eyeing more classically popular African destinations, Gordon of Extraordinary Journeys recommends Onduli Ridge as a promising new addition to her portfolio of favorite stays. “The property offers magnificent views of the country’s highest mountain, Brandberg, and has only six romantic suites, so the service is outstanding. I highly recommend that couples take advantage of the star beds—nothing’s more romantic than an evening spent gazing at the beautiful southern sky with your new partner.”
Best Design: Zambia
Often overlooked, or relegated to the middle of one’s itinerary as a brief interchange between safari stops, Victoria Falls is well worth a prolonged visit for a romantic journey upriver down the flowing Zambezi, which carves a path across a vast expanse of quiet desert and plains. Allyson Johnson, editor of National Geographic Books’ 1000 Perfect Weekends endorses the spa at the Royal Livingstone Victoria Falls Zambia Hotel by Anantara, “where you can get a massage with a waterfall view.” Our pick is the stunningly articulated Thorntree River Lodge by African Bush Camps; a string of villa-sized cottages positioned right along the river where yawning hippos can be spotted from your icy plunge pool or soothing shower.
For Adventure: Botswana
Like a time machine set for the 1700s, Natural Selection’s coterie of camps along the Makgadikgadi Salt Pan inspire our adventuresome spirit. Behind the velvety tent curtains at Jack’s Camp, guests will not only find a lavish dining hall complete with a spacious, kilim-lined tea room attached, but a rambling museum of artifacts that help tell the tale of the region’s natural history. It is believed that the origin of humankind can be pinpointed to the area when it was once an inland sea; today, it’s a place of wild desolation that can be explored on quad bikes. The most intrepid guests can camp out on bedrolls under skyscraping baobab trees and visit Kubu Island, a site of ancient worship.
Close to Home: New Mexico
One needn’t travel all the way to Africa for an opportunity to reconnect with the vastness of nature and its kingdom of animals. “We love Vermejo,” Gordon recommends. “It’s perfect for couples seeking something unique and safari-like paired with the convenience of a domestic destination. A four-season destination, it’s absolutely breathtaking no matter when you go.” Pair your stay with a stop at Bishop’s Lodge near Santa Fe, part of the Auberge Resorts Collection, which sits on more than 300 acres of a secluded, cactus-clad reserve.
Forest & Jungle
Whether it’s a steamy equatorial canopy or a mossy, old-growth forest, there’s unquestionable romance hidden in the shade of trees—and some of the world’s most pristine reserves boast world-class retreats along their edges or tucked deep within.
The Classic: Patagonia, Argentina & Chile
The triad of Explora’s lodges completes the perfect circuit through the three main destinations of Patagonia: the rocky clefts of Torres del Paine, the glacial shelves of El Chalten, and the lush lake lands of Patagonia National Park. Tack on a visit to Chiloé, an isolated island due north of Patagonia with significantly less tourists. A stay at the boutique Tierra Chiloé marries the uniqueness of rolling landscape and sea views with rich local culture and customs. For something decidedly more jungle-y, a stop at Awasi near the stunning Iguazu Falls will not disappoint.
Under the Radar: Cambodia
Thailand’s neighbor “glows with rich culture, the people and their hospitality are unrivaled, and the sights and activities are beyond compare,” Marchant says. “For a honeymoon in the jungle, there’s no better place than Shinta Mani Wild, situated amongst 865 acres of protected forests and waterfalls—a deeply sustainable luxury experience.” There’s an abundance of intrepid things to do in neighboring Cardamom National Park, including zip-lining over canopies, river safaris, and night hikes. At the end of the day, you can unwind at the property’s stunning pool, enveloped by foliage.
Under the Radar: Wales
While tourism numbers surge once more in nearby Ireland, the quiet lees and tree-lined valleys of Wales—named to the UNESCO World Heritage list in July—remain unencumbered by throngs of travelers. Ring around the country, where the forest meets the shore, stopping in a smattering of boutique inns like the newly opening Albion, Penally Abbey, Bodysgallen Hall, and Roch Castle. Don’t miss out on a stop at Penderyn Distillery, whose all-female blending team is credited with reviving the local whisky industry after a hundred-year absence.
Best Design: Ubud, Bali
The reopening of Indonesia’s borders looms as vaccination rates increase; Bali is poised to be the first destination within the island nation to welcome visitors back after prolonged closure. Ubud, deep within the heart of the island’s jungle, has long been synonymous with wellness and traditional medicine; the luxury hotels that have sprung up as a result have given the enclave an international reputation for compelling design too. Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, tops our list for melding traditional decor with riverine surrounds, but don’t sleep on other five-star resorts like Amandari, COMO Uma Ubud, Four Seasons at Sayan, and Capella Ubud.
For Adventure: Vancouver Island
Canada’s British Columbia makes a strong case for skipping the dozen hours it takes to get down to Patagonia. The provincial capital, Victoria, sits at the tip of Vancouver Island—a vast realm of greens around the size of Belgium. Start with high tea at the Empress Hotel, then make your way to two of the country’s best stays: Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge, with 25 glamping-style tents hidden in a coastal rainforest, and the Wickaninnish Inn in the township of Tofino. Fill your days with hiking, horseback riding, canyoning, heli-fly fishing, and storm watching, a local pastime.
Close to Home: Vermont
Twin Farms is an all-inclusive retreat in the best way possible: meals (and alcohol) and activities are yours for the choosing, that is, if you can ever manage to extricate yourself from your cabin. Each guesthouse on the sweeping property is designed in a unique style—from a “Studio,” which features more modern touches (not to mention an original work by Cy Twombly), to a “Cottage,” styled like a turn-of-the-century provençal villa. Guests dine in the main farmhouse, and each meal is exquisitely prepared like a parade of homegrown dishes that accentuate both the season outside and the years of experience the kitchen staff have garnered in renowned restaurants all over the planet.
In the City
From chic global capitals to emerging places of encounter, an urban honeymoon is the perfect choice for couples with culture on the brain. Think scintillating cuisine, compelling art and architecture, and late nights out on the town.
The Classic: Paris, France
We’ll repeat it time and time again: Paris is always a good idea, especially when crossing the pond is a breeze aboard the all-business class airline La Compagnie, sporting brand-new aircrafts with ample socially distanced space. Upon arrival, check out the spate of new hotels that are already proving worthy contenders to the bastions of hospitality. You know the go-tos well, from the Hotel de Crillon and the Georges V to the ever-chic La Reserve and Le Bristol; now, there are even more chic places to rest your head.
For the couple after something new, fresh, and up-and-coming, start at the much-anticipated Cheval Blanc Paris. Then head to colorful Pigalle, home to Hôtel Rochechouart—be sure to check out the property’s rooftop bar with a full head-spin of views—and HOY, a new concept hotel, plus Hotel Wallace in the 15th arrondissement. “Don’t miss the incredible Airelles Le Grand Côntrole, Versailles for a chance to live like a king and queen,” Jack Ezon, founder of EMBARK Beyond, says. This game-changing resort is situated in three wings of the actual Château at Versailles, facing the L’Orangerie with an Alain Ducasse restaurant to descend to when hunger calls. Imagine the chateau virtually to yourself when the hordes of tourists leave.
Under the Radar: Antigua, Guatemala
A sprawling grid of cobbled roads and alleyways, 500-year-old Antigua hides under the shadow of not one, but four brooding volcanoes; the closest, Volcán de Agua, with its near-perfect witch’s-hat peak, sits only six miles south of the city. In town, sprawling mansions, rooftop cafes, and vibrant markets hide behind colonial walls that converge at audacious cathedrals. The brand-new Villa Bokéh, a Relais & Chateaux property housed within a rambling estate on the outskirts of town, is a beacon attracting luxury travelers to the destination. It’s the perfect jumping-off point to the country’s wild, jungle-clad recesses; particularly Lago Atitlan, where visitors can stay at Villa Bokéh’s long-established sister property, Casa Palopó.
Best Design: Takamatsu, Japan
Travelers near and far missed out on not one, but two Olympics due to the pandemic, but next year’s Setouchi Triennale will hopefully be the mea culpa we’ve been waiting for once borders reopen: a veritable design Olympics held over 105 days and featuring more than 150 international artists. Everything from installations to sculpture work will be displayed across 12 scenic islets in Kagawa Prefecture, accessible from capital city Takamatsu. Couples can stay within the exhibition at Benesse House on Naoshima or hook up with Inside Japan Tours for a cross-country ryokan tour, stopping at elegant inns like Beniya Mukayu near Kanazawa and KAI Kinugawa in Nikko.
For Adventure: Melbourne, Australia
As we eagerly await the reopening of Australia’s borders (tentatively pinned to early 2022), we’ve been daydreaming the perfect itinerary Down Under, which starts with an extended stay in what’s often voted one of the world’s most livable cities, and for good reason. The unofficial capital of Oz’s food and beverage scene is getting two major luxury hotel openings in 2022 when the Ritz-Carlton and the Shangri-La start calling the city home. Use Melbourne as your base for a road trip into the arid outback just beyond (a stop at Brae is a must for any foodie), then head to the Mornington Peninsula—think: Martha’s Vineyard meets Bordeaux.
Close to Home: Napa & Sonoma, California
Okay, so we’re cheating a little bit here, but in truth, any major American city makes for the perfect mini-moon jaunt. The townships around Napa and Sonoma, however, inspire travelers to linger longer, and you can easily pair Healdsburg and Yountville with San Francisco if you need a dash of big-city vibes (we’re particularly excited about the opening of The Line Hotel in 2022). Following a strong comeback after devastating fires, America’s premiere wine regions are poised to marry luxury digs with their high-end vino with stays at the newly opened Four Seasons Napa Valley, the freshly refurbished Stanly Ranch (part of the Auberge Resorts Collection), Milliken Creek Inn, and Alila Napa Valley.
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