The planning, the prepping, those endless checklists: Figuring out all the wedding hoopla is part one of your romantic adventure together. Part two—your honeymoon—is next on your list. Do you want to escape from it all and just chill on a beach? Explore a cool city, trek through exotic temples, or spend a good part of your lazy day being pampered? Or maybe a minimoon is needed to tide you over until the Big One‚ or a stay at an eco-friendly resort that feels naturally perfect.
This year for our annual Brides Honeymoon Awards, we've come up with a giddy mix of old-school and hip, OTT luxe and surprisingly affordable places to kick off your new life together. We've winnowed our choices and given the gold to getaways that will deliver the best memories ever, whether your fantasy trip is sipping a jalapeño margarita in a beach cabana on the Riviera Maya, visiting the ancient pagodas in lush and lyrical Chiang Mai, or having a heli-adventure picnic in Alaska's Denali National Park. Start dreaming now...
Below, see all of the award-worthy hotels and resorts that have our hard-to-impress editors' stamp of approval!
This story originally appeared in the June/July 2019 issue of Brides, on sale beginning April 30.
The Best All-Inclusive Resorts
You can punt on the age-old question of where to stash your wallet when wearing only a bikini. Blissfully, every little thing is included in these getaways.
Above: Bawah Reserve, Indonesia
Located in the middle of the little-known Anambas archipelago, the reserve is seriously remote, but all you have to do is get yourself to Singapore (and that’s not that hard), where a butler meets and escorts you to a private seaplane. Once you alight on the gin-bottle-blue lagoon surrounding your bungalow, everything—spa treatments, kayaking, cooking classes, sunset cruises—is taken care of.
Hermitage Bay. , Antigua
Tucked into a hidden cove on the southwest coast of Antigua, this private boutique resort has 30 beautifully appointed suites with views of Caribbean blue water and the lush mangroves nearby. Those views—along with the meticulously prepared organic fare, restorative daily yoga or Pilates classes, and days spent lazily lounging on your private deck—restore your wedding-frazzled nerves in no time at all.
Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall. , Jamaica
Whether you stay at Ziva, the neighboring adults-only Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall, or Jewel Grande Montego Bay Resort and Spa, this trio of all-inclusives in Jamaica afford you the laid-back luxury of relaxing by Montego Bay’s calm blue waters or alongside one of the many cool pools. Or hey, why not immerse yourselves in a stress-relieving soak tub at the spa? Kick off the honeymoon with a smoochy candlelit meal in an oceanfront gazebo; later, learn a new sweet skill together at a chocolate-making workshop on-site with pastry chef, Wouter Tjeertes.
Paul Gauguin Cruises
Who hasn’t dreamed of sunning on white sand beaches? You’ll be introduced to many pristine examples as this small-ship cruiser glides along in the South Pacific, stopping at Fiji, Tonga, or the Society Islands, where there are multiple riches to explore, from snorkeling and scuba diving to hiking and beach-chair napping. Wave hi to the clownfish in Bora Bora’s rainbow-colored coral reefs or hike into the verdant Garden of Eden nature sanctuary in Tahiti, just two of the intriguing day trips at your beck and call.
Sanctuary Cap Cana. , Dominican Republic
For those who like lots of choices, this sparkling mega-resort in Punta Cana delivers big time: miles of shimmering beaches, five pools, a pampering spa, ocean kayaking, Ping-Pong, meditation classes, bar-hopping, bands, shopping, restaurants galore, and (deep breath) lots more. Still, the hard choices come down to simple things, like whether you should book a Swedish, Thai, deep tissue, or shiatsu massage (the Four Elements Ritual treatment allows you to try them all!)...or come dinnertime, whether to eat teppanyaki prepared by your own private chef or tasty tacos from the retro VW van food truck at Sanctuary Town across the way.
Sandals. , Barbados
There’s something crazy-fun about the sunny swim-up suites at this all-inclusive resort, where you can vigorously backstroke down the river pool in the morning, or hop in the soaking tub for two after a long hot day on the white sands of Maxwell Beach. Outdoorsy types have plenty to choose from: scuba diving, kayaking, boogie-boarding, or simply gliding along in a glass-bottom boat to check out the cute tropical fish in the turquoise waters below. When you work up a ferocious appetite, the 18-plus eateries (sushi, spaghetti, fresh seafood, and more) make it easy to appease the hungry beast. On a rainy day, newlyweds can book a happy hour mani-pedi that includes an exfoliating scrub and hydrating massage.
Serenity at Coconut Bay. , St. Lucia
St. Lucia’s lush southeast coast plays host to this couples-only all-inclusive that holds 36 spacious plunge-pool suites spiffily furnished with mahogany four-poster king beds and cozy couches. Your own private butler will book in-suite spa treatments for you and your beloved or arrange a romantic candlelit pool cabana dinner. Our suggestion: Schedule a day trip and explore the other side of the island by visiting Diamond Falls and indulging in the hot springs and mud baths at Sulphur Springs.
Viceroy Riviera Maya. , Mexico
Secluded and serene, this Playa del Carmen getaway ensures you have all the time in the world to just chill. Our choice of room: a beachfront villa so you’re steps away from the water, whether you’re eager to bodysurf with your betrothed or take a dip in your private plunge pool. At night, nibble fish empanadas or roasted octopus at La Marea, then head back for a nightcap and stargazing on your terrace, as the butler prepares the nightly aromatherapy turn-down service.
Best Romantic Cities
You’re a couple who likes to explore new worlds, going to museums and temples and tapping into the local scene. Think of these places as your gateway to enrichment.
Above: Hotel Amparo, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Housed in a 300-year-old former mayoral residence, this five-room hotel with its abstract art and mid-century modern furniture feels fresh, even edgy, in this colonial town. Plus, it’s a quick walk to historical treasures, like the 17th-century Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel in all its neo-Gothic glory.
137 Pillars House. , Chiang Mai, Thailand
This elegant hotel, located an hour’s flight from Bangkok, holds noteworthy tales to share with the curious visitor. From its tasteful interiors and tropical gardens to its proximity to so many historical spots, the getaway provides relaxation (there’s a spa) and real immersion in the culture. Our tip: Plan a walking tour of Chiang Mai’s old city with its exquisite temples and pagodas. Later in your stay, completely unwind with the restorative Sleep by Design Therapy for sweet dreams.
Casa San Agustín. , Cartagena, Columbia
The cobblestone streets and colorful colonial houses in this 17th-century coastal town invite visitors to explore its vibrant history and engaging culture. Your home base—Casa San Agustín, an impeccably-restored boutique hotel within easy reach of a host of fortresses, churches, and museums for those historically inclined, as well as a private beach on the island of Baru for sun worshippers.
El Rey Court. , Santa Fe
We're kind of partial to the cowboy Western attitude at this 86-room getaway built on the original Route 66, from its adobe-style architecture, cool swim club pool area, and tequila and mezcal tastings at the funky La Reina bar. Even more important, though, are all of the historic sites and landmarks to visit, unique places to shop in the Palace of Governors square, and restaurants like Cafe Pasqual and Sazón that promise the ultimate in Southwestern fare.
Jaya House River Park. , Siem Reap, Cambodia
Situated alongside the Siem Reap River, this discreet 36-room hotel has tastefully-appointed rooms, two elegant pools, and a well-staffed spa for those days when pampering is in order. Its proximity to the wonders at the Angkor World Heritage Site is perfect for honeymooners seeking cultural adventures, ensuring memorable moments viewing awe-inspiring temples, ancient cities, and unforgettably lush surroundings. Book a special excursion, one that will take you out of your world into villages on the outskirts of Siem Reap with a guide and chef to introduce you to the local culture.
The Silo. , Cape Town, South Africa
It's hard to believe that this five-star hotel was once a grain elevator in the historic silo building that now houses the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA), which boasts Africa’s largest collection of contemporary African art. Set high above the V&A Waterfront in the Mother City (what locals call Cape Town), this honeymooners' haven allows culture-seekers to explore and experience the area riches easily. Once you've had your fill of its sights and sounds, relax and sip Shiraz back at the Silo Rooftop bar. Or schedule next day's fun: a 30-minute helicopter ride to sister property, La Residence, in the heart of Franschhoek, for an alfresco lunch in the Persian Alley restaurant overlooking the vineyards.
Villa La Coste. , Provence, France
Ahhhh, Provence! If you and your beloved have dreamed of honeymooning in the iconic French countryside, this au courant boutique hotel has 28 villa suites (10 with private pools) to choose from, with modern canopied beds, 24-hour concierge service, private terraces in view of the lush Luberon Valley, and your own personal yoga instructor upon request. Foodies will be pleased with the fresh seasonal produce at the restaurant or the savory Argentinean cuisine at Château la Coste, thanks to chef Francis Mallmann, whose open-fire grilling technique was celebrated on Chef's Table.
Best Honeymoon Beach Resorts
You want to luxuriate in a distant land on an epic beach with a frosty beverage in hand. Paradise found!
Above: Belmond Cap Juluca, Anguilla
Located in the British West Indies on the shores of Anguilla, this laid-back luxe resort is the most blissful place to do a whole lot of nothing. Its 108 guest rooms and suites—sanctuaries of calming neutrals smartened up with black wooden shutters and arabesque tiled floors, and all with expansive verandas or balconies made for drifting off mid page-turn—are a stone’s throw from the white-sand beaches that line Maundays Bay. You could go snorkeling at the rainbow-colored coral reefs just offshore, go for a sail in one of the hotel’s Hobies, or tool around in one of the two-person kayaks. Or not. Opting instead for: Nap, swim, sun, spa, repeat. No judgments.
Conrad Bora Bora Nui. , French Polynesia
You may not have known that overwater-bungalows were a thing before you began planning your honeymoon. But now you do, and the ones at this resort (which is located on its own private island and only reachable by boat) are the absolute gold standard of the genre. The garden and lagoon suites and villas are lovely, with fully retractable windows for optimal indoor-outdoor living, crisp white linens, and an updated take on traditional Polynesian architecture, but we’re all for giving in to the dream. Because really, there is little better than waking from a nap in your overwater hammock in your overwater villa, grabbing your snorkel and diving from your terrace into the clearest, most unbelievably cerulean water on earth.
Faarufushi. , Maldives
Five minutes at this low-key elegant retreat will totally erase the long-haul flight (or two) it took to reach this tiny atoll in the middle of the Indian Ocean. (And let’s be clear, we’d happily circumnavigate the globe twice if it meant a chance to return). Suites, whether oceanfront or overwater, are all glass and wood with vaulted timber ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows for views of endless blue. But chances are you’re not here to look at the unreal water through a pane of glass, you’re here to experience it, so go ahead, book the catamaran sail, take a scuba lesson, and do the night snorkel—if you’re lucky, you may see manta rays, those graceful gentle giants, gliding through the dark sea.
Golden Eye. , Jamaica
This beach resort on Jamaica’s north coast was built around the vacation villa where author Ian Fleming wrote all of his James Bond books. That was, of course, before legendary music producer Chris Blackwell (Bob Marley, Cat Stevens, U2) took it over and turned it into the super stylish oceanfront oasis it is today. Touches of 007 remain (Bond books and a few black and white photos), but the lofty villas, Fleming’s restored five-bedroom house, and the more modest wooden beach huts (so right for couples) feel totally of the moment—whitewashed interiors with pops of bright blue and sunny orange, louvered windows, and batik-printed robes. It’s all just so casually glam and rock-star cool.
UNICO 20° 87° Hotel Riviera Maya. , Mexico
There are certain hotels that have the power to make you feel like the sexiest, coolest, best version of yourself just by checking in. This adults-only resort—an easy hour’s drive south from the Cancun airport (the numbers in the name are its coordinates)—is one of them. You’re a half hour from Tulum’s Mayan ruins and plenty of nearby natural cenotes for freshwater swimming, but leaving the property is a tough sell when your room has a swim-up pool, the ocean is the perfect temperature, and the spa offers a volcanic stone massage that you know is going to dissolve that last seating chart–related knot in your neck.
Rosewood Mayakoba. , Riviera Maya, Mexico
Located on a pristine, quiet stretch of the Yucatan coast, midpoint between the high rises of Cancun and the buzz of hipster Tulum, this 129 all-suite resort is a jungle-meets-ocean oasis you’re not going to want to leave. It’s a toss-up between the lagoon suites—a teak motorboat winds its way through the resort’s network of emerald green waterways to drop you at your door—or the beachfront ones with private plunge pools and direct sand and sea access. Either are equally fabulous places to return to after an afternoon of knockout cocktails, fish tacos, and hammocks swaying above the sand at the property’s adults-only beach club, Aquí Me Quedo.
The Cove at Atlantis. , Paradise Island, Bahamas
There are plenty of beach retreats on Paradise Island, but this is the pick if you want all the bells and whistles of a big name resort (think access to a dozen pools, attentive beach service, a hopping casino, and more restaurants than some small towns). It’s also one that has managed to keep an authentic Bahamian feel, by going out of its way to showcase the island’s homegrown appeal. This means decadent lobster quesadillas and conch salad at the buzzy beachfront restaurant Sip Sip, on-location exhibits by Bahamian artists, the chicest pool cabanas decorated by a local textile designer, and rooms that channel the surrounding sea and sky with plenty of breezy white and cool blues.
The Datai Langkawi. , Malaysia
Truly far away from it all, this tropical island retreat pretty much defines barefoot luxury. To maximize ocean time, book a beach villa, where your outdoor lounge area opens onto a stretch of white sand. Do try to get out of your beach chair for a rain-forest walk—and a chance to spot a white-bellied sea eagle—with resident naturalist Irshad Mobarak.
Turtle Island. , Fiji
There’s exclusive, and then there’s Turtle Island exclusive, where only 14 couples at a time can stay on this private 500-acre island in Fiji. Built in the traditional Fijian style with vaulted ceilings made from woven palms and accented with textiles inspired by tribal patterns, the villas punctuate the jaw-droppingly beautiful Blue Lagoon. (Sound familiar? It should, as the ’80s movie of the same name starring Brooke Shields was shot here). The limited number of guests, paired with the loveliest, friendliest, most hospitable staff, means just about anything is possible. Want lunch on an empty beach on the other side of the island? Or a massage twice a day? No problem. Add in a legitimate and long-term commitment to the environment and some of the best snorkeling in the world, and you’ll have booked that second honeymoon before your plane touches down back home.
Best Wellness Getaways
Chances are, you two need some TLC after the hoopla. These spa-happy places deliver the right kind of pampering treatments to keep those cortisol levels in check.
Above: Quinta da Comporta, Portugal
If waking up and going for a sunrise walk along undulating sand dunes doesn’t soothe the soul, then the meditation and yoga classes, and a few sessions in the hammam followed by a body scrub with rice grains and a deep-tissue massage, should. This lovely boutique wellness hotel replenishes your energy and calms the post-nuptial kookiness with its holistic treatments.
Chablé Maroma. , Riviera Maya, Mexico
This resort on a quiet, near-private swath of wide Riviera Maya beachfront is for those who are (or strive to be) committed to wellness. There’s daily yoga, a separate juice and smoothie menu, Mayan-inspired spa treatments, and two-hour sweat sessions with a shaman. But don’t fret if your predilections sway a bit more hedonistic. There’s also mezcal margaritas by the pool; an ambitious wine-paired tasting menu at Bu’ul, the resort’s fine dining restaurant; and all rooms have outdoor terraces with swaying hammocks and private plunge pools. It’s all about balance, right?
Couples Tower Isle. , Jamaica
On the island’s leafy, less-developed north shore is where you’ll find the Jamaica-based resort brand Couples’ flagship property (there are two Couples resorts in Negril and two in Ochos Rios). And as you may have gleaned from the name, Tower Isle—like the other Couples properties—are adults only and laser-focused on couples. With four swimming pools, six restaurants, five bars, and only 228 rooms, your odds of scoring a sun chair and a prime table are high. But what really makes it a honeymooner’s Eden is its spa—bright white treatment rooms clustered around a serene plunge pool and inventive treatments (definitely opt for the bamboo fusion massage that uses heated bamboo rods) that will keep you coming back—a temptation that makes booking one of the Oasis Spa villas—with unlimited spa offerings—a no-brainer.
Halcyon House. , Cabarita Beach, Australia
For those couples looking for a stepped-up version of a classic Aussie beach vacation, this is your spot. Just north of Byron Bay, in the seaside town of Cabarita Beach, this former faded surf motel has been turned into a dreamy, 21-room manifestation of summer. Rooms are whimsical and cheery: Walls are upholstered in bold patterns and hung with mismatched artwork arranged in playful vignettes, while bathrooms go big on brass fixtures and bright Mediterranean tiles. The food at Paper Daisy nails nouveau Aussie—fresh and healthy but still super tasty—but the real bonus is the brand new day spa, with the prettiest pink and white treatment rooms, heavenly facials using the cult-favorite Australian line Sodashi, and a hamman-style steam room.
Hoshinoya. , Tokyo
After a long day of full-on exploring in one of the world’s most fascinating, fast-paced cities, this modern take on a traditional Japanese ryokan is heaven to come back to. When you check in you’ll ditch your shoes (guests are encouraged to go barefoot) and don kimono-style robes when you’re wandering around the hotel. The spa offers traditional therapies that all start with a soak and stretching and end with an oil treatment. But the real reason you’re here is for the 17th-floor rooftop onsen with indoor and outdoor soaking tubs that are fed by underground hot springs. Blissfully bobbing in saline-rich water while gazing up at the sky in the center of Tokyo is quite an experience.
Le Barn. , Bonnelles, France
This rustic-chic retreat, set on 500 acres in the Rambouillet forest just 35 miles southwest of Paris, is where young, hip Parisian professionals come to recharge. In addition to the stunning surrounding nature—forests of silver birch and oaks just right for long hikes and horseback rides—there’s an osteopath and Ayurvedic massage therapist available seven days a week, just waiting to work out any lingering wedding stress or chronic aches; yoga and Pilates classes; saunas; outdoor Nordic baths; and, talk about stress-reducing, there’s no set check-out time.
Manchebo Beach Resort and Spa. , Aruba
This all-inclusive oasis is pared down in a great way: The 72-room retreat on Aruba’s spectacular Eagle Beach is a breath of hibiscus-scented air on an island where it’s easy to wind up in a generic, high-rise hotel. With superfood smoothies, a menu packed with immune-boosting entries, complimentary yoga and Pilates, and a breezy spa that channels Bali with its thatch-roofed, teakwood cabanas, it’s wellness doubling as an indulgent beach getaway.
Ojai Valley Inn. , Ojai, California
Located a few miles outside of the Los Padres National Forest and about 90 miles north of Los Angeles in the magical mountain-backed town of Ojai, this Spanish hacienda-style resort has been attracting honeymooners since it opened in 1934. With three pools (we suggest a cabana at the adults-only Indigo Pool), a golf course, proximity to fantastic hiking, beekeeping and cooking classes, live music, surf lessons...there’s plenty to keep you busy. But there’s even more to keep you relaxed. The spa, which has the rare blend of traditional and next-level wellness offerings, is one of the best in the West. You can play it straight with a massage or facial using ingredients harvested on-property, but why not also try a sound-energy therapy session or the Kuyam Experience, which involves desert clay, dry heat in a sauna-like room, and a guided traditional Chumash narrative?
Best Minimoon Hotels
You’re plotting a major getaway down the road but want a spot for right now to celebrate the big day.
Above: Acre, San Jose del Cabo, Mexico
Bocce ball, mezcal tastings, and yoga in a mango grove (ok, there’s an exotic petting zoo too!) are a few of the fun diversions at this boutique-y Baja destination that gives you the choice of a villa or a tree house for an über-romantic sleepover. Indulge in sunny days and the kind of minimoon you want after all the wedding hoopla, giving you a taste of the great escape to come. Speaking of taste, the farm-to-table fare ensures you’ll be eating healthy too, mezcal shots or not.
Hotel Joaquin. , Laguna Beach, California
Already lauded by design and fashion magazines, this revamped roadside motel is now a fresh surf-side escape for those who like mid-century modern interiors that feel cozy yet cool. Airy ocean-view rooms afford spectacular vistas, and the retro-feel of the SoCal spot is underscored by quirky touches like record players and vinyl instead of TVs in suites, or the menu options at Saline (its guests-only eatery) such as Kumamoto oysters from the Pacific Northwest served with absinthe jelly and champagne mignonette.
Kimpton Angler's Hotel. , Miami Beach
Sometimes, after a blowout wedding, you want the party to continue, and what better place to whoop it up than South Beach? Situated close by the historic Art Deco District, this cool getaway with its airy terraced rooms has a sunny rooftop pool for lounging around and people watching—but you might decide to book an in-room spa treatment instead, like the uplifting couple's massage with cinnamon-spiked aromatherapy and soothing creams. Those planning a buddymoon will like all the ways your crew can live it up, from hitting the Minnow Bar for drinks after lazing on the beach (try their signature Honey Dude cocktail with gin, vermouth, honeydew, and matchato) to booking a half-day boat excursion to Angler's Reef in Miami Beach to explore oceanic wonders.
Sound View. , Greenport, New York
If an inviting atmosphere with modern sophistication is at the top of your honeymoon list, look no further than the laid-back vibes the North Fork has to offer. At the very top of that list is the Sound View—a waterfront hotel founded in 1953 which underwent a full renovation in 2017. Each room offers a minimalist take on beachy class, not to mention wall-to-wall ocean views. Think: the feeling of a boardwalk hotel, with the utmost luxury and relaxation and world-class dining at the on-site The Halyard restaurant.
The Moorings Village. , Islamorada, Florida
What's unique about this luxurious yet low-key resort (a former coconut plantation)—other than the swaying palms and blow-your-mind sunsets—are the charming villas with their lovely porches to while away the hours when you're not paddleboarding or snorkeling or—fancy this—fly-fishing in the Florida Bay mangroves. In other words, there are many ways to enjoy this sanctuary of calm, whether you snuggle in and simply take in the views or go for the lap pool and tennis courts. Make sure to book a romantic dinner at sunset on the veranda at French-fusion restaurant Pierre's in Morada Bay.
Sands Hotel and Spa. , Indian Wells, California
In an exclusive enclave near Palm Springs, this superchic 46-room hot spot delivers in all the right ways: There’s a cool pool area with striped cabanas, spirited decor by interior designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard (we love the retro prints, pretty saturated hues, and Moorish vibes) and an Instagram-worthy Pink Cabana bar and restaurant that recalls old-school tennis and racquet clubs and serves healthy Moroccan-inspired Mediterranean fare. Rest assured you can live it up or laze around in high style here on a minimoon.
The Scott Resort and Spa. , Scottsdale, Arizona
This cool resort in the center of historic Scottsdale has just the sort of retro-hip vibe that's fun, not pretentious. Our tip: Book a parlor suite or a room facing the lagoon, and shortly after arrival, schedule a pre-massage detoxifying soak and sugar scrub at the LaVidorra Spa. Spend a day in Old Town exploring its charms or stay put and relax in a cute cabana by the pool. When night falls, congregate with others at the fire pit for a craft cocktail (try the smoky rum-infused Romeo and Julieta) before heading to dinner—just the two of you lovebirds—at the Canal Club, with its yummy Oaxacan pizzas and delish Caribbean-inspired cuisine.
Tourists. , North Adams, Massachusetts
Close to cultural hotspots such as Mass MoCA (contemporary art) and the Clark (European and American paintings and sculptures), this cool retreat on the banks of the Hoosic river in the northern Berkshires is a relaxing post-wedding getaway for those who like to chill with a museum visit or two and maybe sample the craft beers at the brewery nearby.
Best Honeymoon Getaways
Consider these places when you want to power down and leave the outside world behind—sort of the equivalent of switching on the “do not disturb while driving” message. Welcome to the places where you can totally unplug.
Above: San Luis, Avelengo, Italy
The lakeside chalets surrounded by stands of spruce and larch are dreamy at this Italian Alps retreat (as is the lodge-like indoor pool), but for total privacy and a chic Swiss Family Robinson vibe, opt for one of the plush tree houses where an Alpine breakfast is served alfresco on your bough-level terrace.
Ashford Castle. , County Mayo, Ireland
This painstakingly renovated, incredibly sumptuous 13th-century castle hotel, set on 350 acres of gorgeous western Ireland countryside, is the perfect place to play at landed gentry. Go for afternoon rambles on the shores of Lough Corrib, fly-fish in the River Cong, ride horses, or visit the on-site falconry center. That you’re now calling each other “my lord” and “my lady” is no one else’s business at all.
Asilia Jabali Ridge. , Tanzania
The eight tree-house style stilted bungalows—enclosed by teak shutters and nest-like thatched roofs—hide between boulders on a soaring granite outcrop, offering unparalleled panoramic views of plains and otherworldly baobab trees in Ruaha, Tanzania’s largest but still off-the-radar national park. After a day spent lion- and elephant-watching, go for a dip in the infinity pool before it’s time for sunset G&Ts.
Awasi Atacama. , San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
It doesn’t get much more remote than this high-end, 10-suite lodge in the Atacama, South America’s sprawling Mars-like desert. During the day, your guide will take you in your private 4WD to discover the desert’s hidden treasures: petroglyphs, geysers, stunning canyons, and, surprisingly, flamingos that flock to the region’s mirror-surface salt flat lakes. Have dinner at the open-air restaurant where the chef uses local herbs and rare ingredients sourced from the surrounding desert (and a glass or two of the excellent Chilean Malbec) before returning to your private adobe suite to cuddle up under an alpaca blanket on the patio for the most brilliant stargazing of your life.
Blackberry Mountain. , Walland, Tennessee
Many resorts make this claim, but this secluded mountain property in bucolic central Tennessee—adventure playground, wellness retreat, and foodie mecca—really does have something for every guest, like trail running, yoga, foraging for mushrooms with the resident naturalist, or just parking it in an Adirondack chair with that book you haven’t had time to read yet. Of the 36 cabins, our favorites might just be the Watchman Cabins, located on the peak of Blackberry Mountain and a close walk to the Firetower (a former 1940s lookout turned restaurant) and a 20-foot outdoor heated soaking tub, where you can catch both sunrise and sunset from your private deck.
Capella Ubud. , Bali, Indonesia
When you arrive at this 10-acre retreat several miles outside of Bali’s spiritual and creative mecca of Ubud, you’re handed a kit that includes insect repellent, sunscreen, and a map before you make your way to one of the retreat’s 22 black canvas tents with private saltwater plunge pools. If it all sounds a bit dramatic, that’s the point. Star designer Bill Bensley has created a luxurious take on the sort of Dutch-explorer tented camp you’d expect to see in the early 20th century, including plenty of carved teak furniture, checked Balinese fabrics, and lots of cheeky brass monkeys. Go on a jungle trek, hike up an active volcano, visit nearby artist studios, and definitely get a Javanese massage at the hotel’s epic rain-forest spa.
Dhigali. , Maldives
On this slip of a coral atoll, it’s all about the water. If you don’t snorkel or dive, now is the time to learn as the “house reef” that surrounds the resort is one of the best places to glimpse marine life in the area. If you’re more comfortable skimming the surface, there are other fun options, including sailing, kayaking, Jet Skiing, stand-up paddleboarding, and windsurfing. After a sun-drenched day of activity—and lounging by one of the three pools definitely counts—you’ll be thrilled to return to your suite, especially if it’s one of the 24 overwater bungalows where the lapping of the Indian ocean will lull you to sleep.
Four Seasons Resort Lanai. , Hawaii
Forget everything you think you know about Hawaii—the crowded beaches, the sunburned tourists, the hotel buffets—you’re headed to the tiny island of Lanai and one of the chicest, most exclusive resorts in the entire state (and just a short 30-minute flight from Honolulu). You’ll be psyched to sit on the quiet beach, go for a dip or snorkel, or just scan the horizon for humpback whales. Another restful plan: Lounge by the lagoon-style pool sipping a frosty beverage while ogling the surrounding tropical gardens. Rent one of the hotel’s rugged Jeeps and go exploring, or opt for an up-country horseback ride; just make sure you’re back in time for a sushi extravaganza at the hotel’s Nobu restaurant.
Golden Rock Inn. , Nevis
With just 11 beautifully designed suites (New York art scene royalty Brice and Helen Marden are the owners, as evidenced by world class art throughout the property) across 100 acres that were formerly part of a sugar plantation, this ultra private, un-resort resort is the perfect home base from which to explore the Caribbean’s lush Nevis island. Go spearfishing, mountain biking, or hike up the island’s highest peak—the trailhead is on-site—to catch a sherbet-toned sunset. Or take it easy by the freshwater pool and have a late lunch (get the spiny lobster salad sandwich) at the Rock, the hotel’s restaurant, while chattering green vervet monkeys look down from the surrounding mango and avocado trees. Don’t be alarmed when the occasional donkey wanders past.
Sheldon Chalet. , Denali National Park, Alaska
This hexagonal, five-guest room lodge—mere miles from the summit of Alaska’s Denali—is next-level remote. You can spend your days helicoptering around Denali National Park, going on glacier treks with mountaineering guides, snowshoeing, and soaking in nearby natural hot springs, before retiring to your cozy room (with plenty of fur throws and enormous windows) that's just right for watching the aurora borealis from bed.
Taylor River Lodge. , Almont, Colorado
From late May through mid-October, this eight-cabin retreat framed by remote Taylor Canyon’s towering evergreens, granite cliffs, and wide blue skies opens its rustic-chic doors to fly-fishers, nature lovers, and lovebirds looking to duck off the grid for a few days. The surrounding mountains have single-track mountain bike trails and picturesque hiking paths, and there’s an on-site climbing wall, as well as archery and hatchet throwing. After playing hard all day, a good soak in the saltwater pool or one of the hot tubs followed by steam and a sauna at the pine clad Bathhouse will hit the spot. And if you’re still vertical, end the night with s’mores around the communal fire pit. It’s like a deluxe summer camp for grownups.
The Lindis. , Ahuriri Valley, New Zealand
Set on 6,000 pristine acres and surrounded by snow-capped mountains (yep, the very ones in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy), forests, and wetlands, this high-end lodge on New Zealand’s South Island is perfect for the couple who craves equal doses of adventure and coddling. For true adrenaline junkies, the nearby Ahuriri Valley has some of the best hang gliding in the world. For those who prefer terra firma, take a spin on one of the lodge’s e-bikes or consult the resort’s “walk menu” for guided and self-guided rambles. After a meal of locally raised beef or crispy salmon hooked in a nearby alpine stream (paired, naturally, with a bottle of New Zealand sauvignon blanc) you’ll be ready to head to your spacious suite to dream about tomorrow’s adventure.
Tierra Chiloé. , Region de los Lagos, Chile
In the sleepy archipelago of Chiloe, just off the southern coast of Chile and nestled among UNESCO wooden churches and traditional stilt houses, you’ll find this beloved all-inclusive resort. Its 24 rooms go heavy on blonde wood, handwoven rugs, and huge windows that overlook the Pacific. Lazy days are for horseback riding, hiking, and cruising around on the hotel’s boat, Williche, followed by a repast of just-plucked oysters and pisco sours, camp fires, and trying to spot the Southern Cross in an impossibly starry sky.
Timber Cove. , Jenner, California
Mention of the California coast usually conjures up images of wide, palm-backed beaches packed with lithe, suntanned aspiring actors. But that’s Southern California, and this 46-room, recently reimagined historic resort is in Northern California—and that’s an entirely different world. This swath of Sonoma coastline, a three-hour, white-knuckle drive up windy Highway 1 from San Francisco, is ruggedly beautiful, a misty, mystic part of the state where ancient redwoods and steep cliffs tower above crashing waves. The public spaces and all of the suites are airy and bright with a clean-lined, mid-century modern appeal and throwback touches, like Pendleton blankets and record players with a choice selection of vinyl. Definitely go for an ocean suite, where you’ll have your own living room, fireplace, and sprawling redwood deck with endless views of the Pacific.
Best Honeymoon Eco Retreats
You want to stick with your small footprint lifestyle while still having the trip of a lifetime.
Above: Manapany, St. Barts
This boutique hotel on the sleepy, still-wild north shore is helping change the island’s reputation for unabashed excess. Water is heated by solar panels, only electric cars are permitted, towels are made from bamboo, and all-natural cleaning products are used. And yet you’re hardly roughing it. This is full-on luxury, just with an eco mission and plenty of places to take in views of the Caribbean while sipping chilled Veuve Clicquot (it is still St. Barts).
Gal Oya Lodge. , Sri Lanka
Peaceful and remote, this low-key eco lodge promises an enlightened getaway for those desiring serious downtime. Private bungalows are nestled in the verdant wilderness adjoining the Gal Oya National Park, home to 123 species of mammals, including the Sri Lankan leopard and all manner of birds—boobies, flamingos, and stodgy pelicans. Do a morning trek to the top of Monkey Mountain, watch elephants swim between islands on Senanayake Samudraya lake on a boat safari, or take a class in traditional Sri Lankan cookery. Spiced yams, river-fish curry, and Kankun, a dish of leafy greens, are a few recipes you’ll ace with chef Premarathna.
La Donaira. , Cadíz, Spain
There is true privacy at this organic farm set high in the wild and picturesque Andalusian mountains in southern Spain. With only nine immaculately-furnished rooms (two are yurts), the mood is relaxed and romantic with lazy days spent visiting the bee spa and its knowledgeable beekeepers, riding the rugged trails on one of the Lusitano horses bred at La Donaira, doing a meditative mountain walk, or practicing your backstroke in the open-air spring-fed pool. As far as meals go, fresh, organic (of course), home-grown food is served—a welcome change for those who’ve whooped it up and indulged for months during nuptial celebrations.
Pikaia Lodge. , Galápagos
Adventurous couples will love the trek to Santa Cruz island located in the middle of the Galápagos archipelago, one of the most ecologically diverse areas of the world that is protected by law from over-development and tourism. The beautiful lodge is home to sophisticated suites designed to maintain environmental sustainability as well as give you awe-inspiring views and comfortable, luxurious digs. Each day, choose from a variety of pastimes: hiking to see giant tortoises, taking a day tour to one of the other storied islands on an ocean-going yacht, viewing underwater wonders while snorkeling, or simply staying put by the infinity pool or swimming on a nearby secluded beach.
Playa Viva. , Juluchuca, Mexico
We like the sound of “ocean view, from a tree house,” especially when it means you’re gazing at the Pacific Ocean from a king-sized bed or calm-inducing hammock. A half an hour from Zihuantenejo, this 200-acre getaway was developed with core eco concerns in mind, and nature lovers will get their fill of its eye-opening natural landscape while visiting the estuary, lagoon, and the turtle sanctuary. Those couples in search of restful pastimes such as yoga classes and meditation moments won’t be disappointed.
Time and Tide Miavana. , Madagascar
The digs themselves are spectacular: Each of the well-appointed villas have such amazing views of the area’s white sand beaches and clear blue waters that you may not want to leave. But a helicopter ride to a natural preserve—or even just one of the fun lemur treks—will pique your curiosity, so you’ll want to see more. One night, schedule a sleepout under the stars in the wilderness, or plan an extended safari to visit the great parks of Zambia, an adventure that promises a wild and wonderful time.
Coolest Honeymoon Hotels
Here’s where those stylish global gadabouts are all headed: Places that look as fabulous in person as they do on an Instagram feed.
Above: Hôtel des Grands Boulevards, Paris
Rooms in this 18th-century town house are charming, with canopy beds and rooftop views; if it were anywhere else, you would hole up except for trips to the glam main bar or the rooftop bar. But this is Paris—and the buzzy 2nd arrondissement—so get out there!
Casa Pueblo Tulum. , Mexico
With 16 beautifully designed rooms—white hand-plastered walls, polished concrete floors, and Caribbean ipe wood touches softened by hand-loomed Yucatan textiles and locally sourced patterned tiles—this minimal-mod, light-filled boutique hotel is a landing pad for global nomads. It’s not on the beach (but close enough) and a short taxi ride away to the town’s best bars and eateries, but with its own restaurant that serves excellent smoothies in the morning, tasty salads at lunch, and simple but delicious roasted meats and veggies for dinner, you may have trouble pulling yourself away from this serene, light-filled oasis for what’s become an increasingly busy boho town.
Dimora delle Balze. , Sicily, Italy
The Sicilian town of Noto has become one of the desirable places to have a wedding and this chic boutique hotel with its magical castle setting was the site of one of the most-viewed nuptials in 2018: This is where fashion influencer Chiara Ferragni married Federico Leonardo Lucia (better known as Fedez). But if you're looking for a spot with less notoriety, don't let the headlines scare you away from everything that makes this unique Italian getaway special, from the nearby picturesque beaches, its proximity to art and history, and Dimora's intimate and restorative spa.
Epi 1959. , St Tropez, France
Bohemians who like their luxury low-key make this oasis a home away from home. With its 10 recently refurnished cabins and supercool nod to the pre-glitzy Saint Tropez of Brigitte Bardot, this insider's getaway is gorgeously relaxed, with gardens landscaped by American designer Madison Cox and spiffy decor (think pastel hues, wicker furniture, and scalloped-edge parasols) by Italian interior decorator Monica Damonte. A few steps from the beach, the hotel's charming restaurant has a deliciously spare menu, offering crab legs, langoustine, and fresh seasonal produce.
Heckfield Place. , Hampshire, England
For those who fantasize about living in a magnificent 18th-century country estate and strolling the grounds, this elegantly restored Georgian house with its 400 acres of walled gardens and woodlands holds many pleasures. Equal parts grand and intimate, honeymooners will feel pampered in any of the rooms, especially the Long Room, which has a vaulted ceiling, outside dining terrace, painting of Virginia Woolf in the bedroom, and a "guest keeper" (think Carson on Downton Abbey) who makes sure you have everything you need.
Hotel San Cristóbal. , Todos Santos, Mexico
Just a 40-minute drive up the Pacific coast from tourist-packed Cabo San Lucas is where you’ll find the cool kids, sipping mezcal cocktails or waxing up their boards at this 32-room, hip and happy beachfront hotel in the arty, colonial town of Todos Santos. Hike or borrow a hotel bike and explore the miles of trails in the surrounding Sierra de la Laguna foothills, poke around the art galleries, chill by the pool, catch waves, and if you’re lucky, catch a glimpse of migrating gray or humpback whales from your ocean-facing, outdoor soaking tub.
Little Beach House. , Barcelona, Spain
On a quiet, off-the-beaten-path stretch of pine-backed shoreline, a 30-minute drive south of Barcelona and directly facing the Mediterranean, is this 17-room gem that feels more like a friend’s beach house than a hotel. Set up on one of the striped chaise lounges, go for a late seafood lunch at the hotel’s restaurant House Kitchen, or just hang out on your terrace. If you’re feeling the pull of Gaudis and tapas bars, make it a city/beach stay—the hotel offers a free shuttle to (and a discount at) its sister Soho House in Barcelona.
Lo Sereno Casa de Playa. , Troncones, Mexico
In the dusty, no stoplight town of Troncones, a 30-minute drive from the crowded beaches of Mexico’s Zihuatanejo and Ixtapa (and the region’s international airport), you’ll find this intimate beachside retreat with 10 modern rooms (lots of dark wood and polished concrete) all with sliding wooden doors that lead to open air terraces and views of Pacific. Troncones has excellent surf breaks and a charming main street with a handful of well-curated shops and just-hip-enough restaurants. The hotel and the town are the type of under-the-radar spots you definitely want to be in on.
Playa Grande Beach Club. , Dominican Republic
It’s hard to get off your phone and stop taking photos at this nine-cottage resort on an unreal stretch of the Dominican Republic’s still-wild north coast. The bungalows reference the island’s Victorian-era gingerbread architecture with white lattice woodwork, pastel-hued doors, and green tin roofs, while the decor inside nods playfully to Indonesia and Palm Beach—ikat prints, wicker furniture, and pink and green tile floors. The resort is far from the island’s all-inclusive mega resorts, and there’s blissfully not much to do besides read by the pool, ride loaner bikes around the enormous property, cool off in the Caribbean, and go for evening drinks on the veranda at the Clubhouse, a gorgeous, throwback-modish space with slow-turning ceiling fans, potted plants and plenty of rattan. Turns out, this is plenty.