It’s going to be the trip of a lifetime but there are so many fantastic honeymoon destinations to choose from…do you want relaxation, adventure, culture or all three? Here’s my list of the best honeymoon destinations from some of my favourite trips.
My favourite country in Europe is the ideal place for romance. Exploring the incredible ancient history, wine tasting in the countryside and Lady & The Tramp moments with a huge platter of spaghetti and meat balls. Mr S and I spent our mini-moon in beautiful Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, wondering through cobbled streets and enjoying the incredible architecture of the Duomo and the views of the Ponte Vecchio with a gelato in hand.
Elsewhere in Italy head to Rome for exploring ancient history and a more lively nightlife, Milan for super stylish shopping and Lake Como to take in the beautiful landscape.
Where to stay:
- In Florence choose between Tuscan-villa chic up in the hills and stay at Il Salviatino, or opt for the grand palatial option of The Four Seasons Firenze, for a stay closer to the centre of the city.
- In Rome, there’s the Hotel Eden with it’s roof terrace and Michelin-starred restaurant or Hotel de Russie a modern gem with a beautiful Italian Garden located right by the Spanish Steps.
- In Milan I would recommend Hotel Principe di Savoie for classic luxury but if you’re looking for something more modern the Bulgari Hotel and The Armani Hotel are both super-stylish.
- In Lake Como, don’t even hesitate Villa D’Este is the place! The hotel is located right on the lake and it’s simply breathtaking!
2. The USA
For our main honeymoon, Mr S and I opted to cross the pond to the USA. We started off in my second favourite city in the world, New York, for a taste of the fantastic nightlife, world class restaurants and lots of shopping. Next we flew west to California and stayed a few nights tasting glorious wine in Napa Valley, relaxing in Sausalito and exploring the highlights of San Franciso. After that was our road trip on the Pacific Coast Highway and a stop over in beautiful Big Sur and Santa Barbara before a few nights in Los Angeles. After our time in Bora Bora we headed back to LA before going to party in Las Vegas.
Vegas may seem a slightly unusual choice for a honeymoon but actually we loved visiting the clubs together, taking in the shows and sampling the top restaurants. Another great choice for a honeymoon in the USA is Miami where you can combine sun, fun and relaxation!
Where to Stay:
- In New York Mr S and I love the Gansevoort Hotels. For our honeymoon we stayed in the Gansevoort in the Meatpacking District which had a cool rooftop pool and bar and was a great neighbourhood for cool bars and boutique shopping. When we returned at Christmas, we chose The Gansevoort Park Avenue which was closer to Fifth Avenue, Central Park and some of the key sightseeing places.
- In Napa Valley, I highly recommend the gorgeous Calistoga Ranch, a beautiful property with its own vineyard. In Sausalito opt for Cavallo Point, a hotel with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge which is actually a converted military base. In San Francisco we stayed at The Cliff Hotel but I wasn’t a huge fan and preferred the St Regis where we went for dinner one night. In Big Sur, you must stay at Post Ranch Inn, one of the most beautiful and romantic hotels that I’ve ever stayed in, it’s literally honeymoon heaven. For Santa Barbara, The Four Seasons The Biltmore, ticks all the boxes of great service and beautiful accommodation.
Once you get to LA, I’d suggest a stay both in Santa Monica and Beverly Hills, it’s a big sprawling city and this way you get to see both sides. For Santa Monica, my choice would be Shutters on The Beach and in Beverly Hills, I absolutely loved the Beverly Hills Hotel which is part of The Dorchester Collection.
- In Las Vegas, stay at The Encore and choose one of the Tower Suites for extra special VIP service.
- In Miami, I’d recommend The Setai, rooms can be small in this city but at this Thai-inspired hotels every room is a suite! It’s a great couples retreat too as it’s quieter than the nearby SLS, The Shore or The Delano.
I’ve been to Thailand twice now and I absolutely love it for an exotic location. Hotels are super luxury, I love the culture and food and I don’t think you get better service anywhere else.
Visit Bangkok for nightlife and restaurants, Phuket or Koh Samui for beautiful beaches and relaxation, Chiang Mai for culture and Chiang Rai to see authentic Thailand.
Where to Stay:
- In Bangkok I’ve stayed at Lebua State Tower and at The Banyan Tree, both have incredible, but vertigo inducing roof top bars! For the ultimate luxury stay in the capital, choose the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok or The Peninsula.
- In Koh Samui I’d pick the luxurious Four Seasons for an indulgent stay away from the hustle and bustle and tourist traps. Or if you want to be more central, The Library Hotel is right on the beach and boasts stunning design and a blood-red pool.
- In Phuket, beautiful, heavenly Trisara is where to stay on the mainland but if you want to escape then The Six Senses Yao Noi is located on a small island Phang Nga Bay, Mr S and I got a boat there for lunch.
- In Chiang Mai, The Four Seasons Chiang Mai is the ultimate stay, with a location right on a working rice field.
- In Chiang Rai, The Four Seasons Golden Triangle is one of my all-time favourite hotels. Adjacent to an elephant sanctuary, you’ll watch elephant’s bathe in the morning from your own outdoor shower.
4. St Lucia
What I really loved about St Lucia was that the small island still felt untouched by too much commercialism. With beautiful rainforests and waterfalls and amazing food to try, the Caribbean is a fantastic honeymoon destination.
Where to Stay: All-inclusive, adult-only Jade Mountain is the absolute ultimate couples retreat. The room boasts absolutely stunning architecture and only three walls to allow unparalleled views of the glorious pitons.
Another great option for a stay in St Lucia is Sugar Beach – A Viceroy Resort, with a beautiful all-white beach villa, boasting your own private beach or plunge pool, two great restaurant options and three bars to choose from, Mr Silver and I also loved our stay here.
Nowhere says romance to me quite like France and a tour of this beautiful country would make that ideal honeymoon. Paris really is romance central and I can’t think of a better place to celebrate love than those beautiful boulevard, admiring the Eiffel Tower and indulging in some incredible gastronomy. For glamour Cannes, really is the place to go, La Croisette is incredible for shopping and daytime can be spent sipping champagne on a yacht whereas warm evenings can be enjoyed in some of the many stylish hot spots.
And once you’ve had your fill of Paris and Cannes, head to Provence for rural relaxation, history and beautiful landscapes.
Where to Stay:
- I’ve stayed in several hotels in Paris but my absolute favourite is the Plaza Athénée, the hotel is utterly legendary and the magnificent view just adds to the romance of the place. For a more super modern and stylish stay, I love the Grand Hotel du Palais Royal,with it’s fab location right by the Louvre.
- In Cannes stay at The Majestic, the restaurant and poolside atmosphere are just so fabulously elegant.
- The Benvengudo Hotel in Provence is a gorgeous little bolthole hotel, serving fantastic food.
6. French Polynesia
There’s something about those over water bungalows that just say ‘honeymoon’. I think it’s that romantic isolation and the surroundings of beautiful blue! I generally associate The Maldives with the lagoon villas but owing to the time of year, Mr S and I chose to travel to gorgeous French Polynesia for our honeymoon.
Bora Bora especially, is the most beautiful place that I’ve ever been and honestly, who wouldn’t fall in love all over again in this incredible place!
Where to Stay: For all out luxury stay in the Four Seasons Bora Bora, with absolutely stunning views you simply won’t want to leave your little beach hut for two! Most people associate Bora Bora with French Polynesia, but I’d recommend seeing more of the archipelago and checking the gorgeous island of Taha’a and staying in the Le Taha’a Island Resort and Spa.
7. South Africa
South Africa was my dream trip and a country that I absolutely fell in love with. I’d highly recommend travelling around the country in order to see some of the highlights that this incredible place has to offer. Of course Cape Town is an absolute must with the incredible scenery, food and culture with the bucket list ascension of Table Mountain and visit to Robben Island. From here it’s not far to the Cape Winelands and the beautiful vineyards of Fransschoek and Stellenbosch.
After your time here head up the Garden Route and experience the nature and wildlife in Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. On the way back into Cape Town I’d recommend a stop at Hermanus for excellent whale watching and beautiful beaches.
Of course no trip to South Africa would be complete without a wildlife safari at Kruger Park and Sabi Sands!
Where to Stay:
- If you have a stopover in Johannesburg, I’d highly recommend a stay at The Saxon. It’s the most beautiful hotel with a world class restaurant and historically relevant as Nelson Mandela stayed there to pen his autobiography.
- In Cape Town, choose between Ellerman House, with service so personal you feel like you’re in someone’s private home, or The One and Only Cape Town with it’s fantastic location on the V& A Waterfront.
- In The Cape Winelands, if like total opulence I’d recommend The Residence but for more a more modern hotel with fantastic views, choose The Delaire Graff Estate.
- In Plettenberg Bay rest your head in a beautiful treehouse hotel with a view, Tsala. And in Hermaneus enjoy breakfast with an incredible view at Birkenhead House.
- On safari split your time between Singita Boulders in Sabi Sands and Singita Lembombo, both hotels are incredible and give you the opportunity to see two different terrains and plenty of opportunity for viewing animals.
With it’s beautiful beaches, tropical weather and luxurious hotels, Bali has become almost synonymous with honeymoons. In South Bali, visit Jimbaran or Uluwatu for gorgeous beaches and a relaxed vibe or head to Seminyak for shopping and nightlife. Head further North to Ubud to soak the ‘real Bali’ and experience the fantastic religion and culture of the island.
A slight word of warning, Bali has become very commercialised and touristy since the first time I visited so choose wisely where you visit in order to avoid the hordes of people, terrible traffic and overpriced souvenirs.
Where to Stay:
- In Jimbaran, I highly recommend The Four Seasons Jimbaran, located right on the beach and with great service and a very family friendly environment. In Uluwatu check out Alila Villas Uluwatu, a luxurious design hotel perched on a cliff top and offering stunning views. Alternatively is the understated but super chic Bulgari Hotel Bali, where I stayed the first time that I visited Bali eight years ago.
- In Ubud, I’d highly recommend The Viceroy Bali, with a stunning location right in the heart of the jungle and perfect for visiting the incredible temples and cultural sites in the area. A little further out is the Four Seasons Sayan, as gorgeous property right beside the Ayung river.
One of my favourite trips of all time and if you’re going to travel all the way across the world, I’d say that honeymoon is the perfect time to do it. As it’s such a huge country with so much to see, I advise dedicating your first trip to exploring the East Coast.
We started with exploring the beauty of Melbourne, moving on to glamorous Sydney before heading into the centre of the country to see the mystical Ayers Rock. We finished up the trip by exploring the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest before relaxation time on Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays.
Where to Stay:
- In Sydney, I’d recommend Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney as it boasts a fantastic location and an epic view of the harbour. If you want something a bit more trendy, check out the QT, a gorgeous little boutique hotel. For super-luxe it’s the Park Hyatt which is right on the harbour. For trip out of Sydney, head to the Blue Mountains and stay at eco-chic wild life reserve, Wolgan Valley. Another option is taking a seaplane to Jonah’s on Whale Beach, a place very close to my heart as it’s where we got engaged.
- In Melbourne, we stayed at The Langham which had a perfect location, though the decor was a little retro. A more luxury alternative is the Crown Towers in the Casino, right next to the Langham beside the Yarra River.
- If you choose to visit Ayers Rock, definitely stay at Longitude 131, you’ll have your own luxury tent for two with a fantastic view of the rock!
- For a stay in the Daintree Rainforest, nothing could be more romantic that a treehouse right in the middle of the forest! Silky Oaks is a fantastic choice for luxury accommodation and getting back to nature.
- In The Whitsundays, qualia on Hamilton Island is honeymoon heaven. You’ll enjoy a stunning villa and lots of romantic activities such as couples spa treatments, romantic beach drop-offs and the best seafood!
For a honeymoon that’s a bit more outside the usual suggestions, how about a luxurious trip to Japan? Start by exploring the contrasts of old and new in Tokyo, with dinner at some of the world’s best restaurants and drinks while you admire the incredible views.
Take the bullet train to Hakone for a relaxing evening in a beautiful Ryokan, and nothing could be more romantic than drinking champagne in your own private onsen. For relaxation time at the end you can explore the beauty and culture of the unspoilt beaches of Okinawa.
Next travel to Kyoto where the history and beauty of the country is sure to inspire you. Finally finish up by letting your hair down and eating until you drop in Osaka – the wedding diet is over!
Where to Stay:
- In Tokyo, choose the super luxurious Mandarin Oriental, with world-class restaurants, incredible service and views across the city.
- Gora Kadan in Hakone is a traditional ryokan but also one of the world’s best places to stay. It’s the ideal place to experience ancient Japanese hospitality, a private onsen and a traditional kaiseki dinner.
- You may want to choose to stay in a ryokan in Kyoto but I stayed at The Ritz Carlton-Kyoto, a beautiful and well located hotel that blended a Western style hotel with beautiful Japanese motifs.
- We didn’t make it to Okinawa ourselves but Hoshinoya Okinawa, a beautiful luxurious ryokan, looks like the ideal place to finish your honeymoon.
PIN FOR LATER:
Have you been on honeymoon? Are you planning a honeymoon? Where are you thinking of going?