Awards season may be over but a Hollywood-worthy honeymoon will always be in vogue. Invite some silver screen magic into your honeymoon with these destinations you drooled over in your favorite films.
From a slender Central American gem visited by James Bond where you can touch the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean on the same day (Panama) to the Indonesian island that brought Eat Pray Love’s Elizabeth Gilbert back to life (Bali), these 12 locations are ready for their close up.
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"I had no idea how delightful Panama was going to be." These words were uttered by British spy Andy Osnard (Pierce Brosnan) in the 2001 thriller The Tailor of Panama. It’s a sentiment that many express when greeted by the startling good looks of this underrated isthmus. Another James Bond actor, Daniel Craig, jetted in for Quantum of Solace in 2008 when Panama stood in for scenes depicting Haiti and Bolivia. More recently, season three of the Netflix smash hit Money Heist showcased the archipelago of San Blas, which has over 365 storybook islands that seem too gorgeous to be real.
There are countless reasons to visit Panama but island hopping is a very good one. First, spend a few days discovering the capital, Panama City. Spot ruins and hunt for hidden pirate treasure in the old town of Casco Viejo, visit the supremely famous Panama Canal and check into the sail-shaped JW Marriott Panama, the most recognizable building in Panama City’s skyline. Thereafter, make your way to the earthly paradise that is Bocas del Toro. At this nine-island archipelago, there are starfish-strewn beaches and water taxis that shuttle you from one intriguing destination to the next. For sweet seclusion and a honeymoon to remember, make Azul Paradise on Bastimentos Island your honeymoon hotel. Over-the-water bungalows are the It bag of the travel world and this resort has 10 romantic havens teetering over the deep blue Caribbean Sea.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Back in the 1960s, screen icons Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton made Puerto Vallarta their home, which subsequently catapulted it into a must-visit destination for the glitterati. Arguably one of the most famous couples in the world, they fell for each other while filming Cleopatra and then fell madly in love with Puerto Vallarta where Burton was filming the 1964 drama Night of the Iguana.
To start your very own love affair with this Pacific coastal city, stroll along the Malecón beach boardwalk and traipse through the appropriately-named Romantic Zone where the air is perfumed with bougainvillea, or steal kisses under the El Salto waterfall, and lodge at former palm tree plantation. If you like the idea of swimming in the largest swimming pool the city has to offer, a sea turtle rescue program, award-winning restaurants, and a 22,000-square-foot spa, then the Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa is an idyllic location worthy of your epic romance.
Blue Crush (2002) had us dreaming of big wave surfing at the start of the noughts and the 2020 Netflix romantic comedy The Wrong Missy with David Spade proved that love can blossom anywhere—even on a corporate retreat.
Hawaii has been the star of many Hollywood motion pictures including The Descendants, Along Came Polly, George of the Jungle, Pearl Harbor, Battleship, The Hunger Games, Jurassic Park, Godzilla, Kong: Skull Island, 50 First Dates, and the side-splitting romantic comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Cinephiles will be pleased to know they can stay at the exact hotel where the Jason Segel film was shot, the Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s North Shore. The movie’s stars stayed on the resort while filming and it’s home to infinite secret, secluded spots that feel like you’re on your own private island and beach. Over on Maui, you can say aloha to the honeymoon of your dreams at another A-lister hotel, the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea. This sophisticated home away from home has movie-set good looks, open-air hale thatched huts for pampering, and adult-only serenity pools you’ll definitely develop a crush on.
The 1953 classic Roman Holiday was lived, loved, and filmed in Rome. Make like its stars Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck and share the glory of a romance as radiant as the Roman moonlight at the Colosseum, the Spanish Steps in Piazza di Spagna, and at the infamous Trevi Fountain. Throw in a coin and make a wish at the fountain before sauntering over to Capitoline Hill to admire the sculptures à la Matt Damon in The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999). Other films tempting us with the promise of the Eternal City are La Dolce Vita (1960) and the refreshing Netflix comedy of errors Love Wedding Repeat (2020). For lodging in Rome, one hotel fit for a movie set is Sofitel Rome Villa Borghese, which is within walking distance from the city’s most celebrated (and romantic) spots.
Three words to describe Salta: pinch me, please. This province in the north of Argentina is the place to be for outdoorsy adventurous couples. Owing to the otherworldly landscapes here, Salta is often falsely rumored to be the filming location for the race scene in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. It was, however, the scenic setting for the Argentine dark comedy Relatos Salvages (Wild Tales), which received an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film in 2015. Salta’s awe-inspiring Las Conchas Gorge and multicolored Yacoraite Formation could certainly be mistaken for extra-terrestrial movie sets though.
This province has impressively diverse terrain and is nicknamed "Salta la linda" ("Salta the pretty"). The Tropic of Capricorn crosses it by the north and it’s a charming compendium of salt flats, forests, deserts, and mountains. At the heart of all of this is a darling capital city of the same name. While in Salta city, stay at gaucho-inspired boutique hotel Legado Mítico before embarking on a wine-fuelled adventure at Estancia Colomé. The unmissable ticket in all of Salta however, is the Train to the Clouds. You’ll feel on top of the world and dizzy with excitement while slithering through the Lerma Valley on the third-highest high-altitude train in the world.
Los Cabos, Mexico
After visiting on his honeymoon, Ben Stiller’s character in The Heartbreak Kid (2007) was so enamored by Cabo that he moved there entirely. The romantic comedy was shot at Esperanza, Auberge Resorts Collection, the only private beach resort in Los Cabos. Actors Nasim Pedrad and Lamorne Morris (who played the couple Aly and Winston in New Girl) reunited in the 2020 Netflix release Desperados, which was also shot on this eye-popping property though in the movie it was given the fictional name of "Las Playas Resort."
Cabo is Baja California’s most glittering location with no shortage of romance-centric activities or impressive honeymoon hotels. There’s on-site diving at Montage Los Cabos and private plunge pools with splendid views of the Sea of Cortez at Solaz, a Luxury Collection Resort, Los Cabos. Newlyweds at JW Marriott Los Cabos Beach Resort & Spa can turn up the heat in a modern version of the traditional Mexicantemazcal sweat lodge and Viceroy Los Cabos always wins in the romance department. The resort’s Nidito Love Nest Package allows guests to buy out the nest-like beach bar, Nidito to create their own unique love nest for the evening. Another hot ticket in town, clamor for reservations at A Taste of Culture with Clase Azul in The Shoppes at Palmilla. There you’ll sip stylishly on the country’s finest premium tequila and mezcals while exploring Mexico’s rich culinary history. For a taste of Hollywood, stay at Nobu Los Cabos (owned by screen legend Robert De Niro and Chef Nobu Matsuhisa) where delectable dining and sumptuous views are guaranteed.
A United Kingdom (2016) is based on the moving real-life story of African prince Seretse Khama who meets a white British woman while studying law in London in the late 1940s. Set to become king of Botswana, their affair caused diplomatic ripples and ultimately instigated the African country’s independence from Britain. Love conquered all for the prince (played by David Oyewolo) and his English bride (Rosamund Pike) amidst a backdrop of roaring sunsets and vast plains. For a wildlife-rich, sustainable and luxurious honeymoon fit for the history books, choose Botswana’s Xigera Safari Lodge. Named for the pied kingfisher of the Okavanga Delta, Xigera is a member of Beyond Green, a sustainable hotel brand that launched in April 2021. Come for romantic jaunts on glass-bottom mokoros (traditionally designed canoes) and exhilarating wildlife viewing on open-back vehicles.
Punta de Mita, Mexico
Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit has been the location for hundreds of movies and it’s the coastline for Bradley Cooper’s revved-up Maserati drive in Limitless (2011). For those seeking an equally luxurious vacation at this treasured Pacific Ocean destination, look no further than Conrad Punta de Mita. All rooms have ocean views and there are activities by the bucketload like zip-lining, seasonal whale watching, sailing, and of course, surfing. Enjoy precious time together taking in the sights of Punta de Mita, take a day trip to Sayulita and pose for photos at the colorful flag street, or journey to Hidden Beach at the Marietas Islands, a lover’s beach that is completely enclosed within an island cavern and is only visible to the blue sky.
If you’re going to get stuck in an infinite time loop at a wedding in the desert, it might as well be with someone special. This was the perplexing premise of Palm Springs (2020) starring Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti who spend numerous sun-kissed days together before ultimately promising each other forever. If endless sunshine is also a top requirement for your romancing, then the desert city of Palm Springs beckons. In the flick, the lovers sneak into a neighbor’s pool to cool off, but you won’t have to trespass if you stay at the fabulous Kimpton The Rowan Palm Springs, which has the only rooftop pool in the city. Over in Coachella Valley (another celebrity enclave), Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa has a pool waterfall for you to soak under on its 23 acres of palm tree-laden, Mediterranean-inspired grounds. In case you need more convincing of Palm Springs’ allure, Elvis and Priscilla honeymooned here, too.
In the worldwide smash hit Eat Pray Love (2010), Elizabeth Gilbert (played by Julia Roberts) eats in Italy, prays in India, and does her loving in beautiful Bali. This film is the ultimate love letter to the Island of the Gods and it had millions of viewers dreaming of cycling through rice fields, enjoying the tropics with the partner of their dreams, and finding balance. You may find restoration in Bali as Gilbert did with a stay at COMO Shambhala Estate, the ultimate wellness escape. This year, the "retreat for change" opens with an array of soul-soothing activities like private meditation classes, cultural tours, and water blessings. If you’re a social couple with a love of hip and happening hotels, look no further than W Bali in Seminyak in the vibrant heart of Bali’s nightlight and restaurant scene. It’s all about balance, right?
Nowhere conjures images of white sand heaven quite like the Maldives. Give your honeymoon the Hollywood treatment at this Indian Ocean paradise where tinsel town’s elite vacation. They also make movies here like the 2016 blockbuster Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. While in the Maldives, why not stay at a hotel that’s frequently heralded as one of the best island resorts in the world?
LUX* South Ari Atoll pulls out all the stops and has made countless couple’s dreams come true. It’s situated on Dhidhoofinolhu Island, a mouthful with mouthwatering restaurants, shallow, crystal waters, water villas and beautiful beach pavilions. Their signature Collectable Experiences packages are not to be missed whether that’s Eat Sleep Repeat or Couples Goals in the Maldives, which will grant honeymooners day use of the LUX* presidential villa, guided stargazing, picking a secret gift for your other half at check-in (which the dedicated staff handles entirely) and a private beach bonfire with your own pop-up bar. This is about as close as it gets to picture-perfect.
Jamaica has a long history with Hollywood. James Bond writer Ian Fleming found inspiration to write every single one of the spy novels while living there. The Bond films Live and Let Die and Dr. No were also filmed in Jamaica. In 1998, a getaway to Montego Bay was just what the doctor ordered for Angela Basset in How Stella Got Her Groove Back and Cool Runnings, the 1993 comedy about Jamaica’s Bobsled team filmed in Kingston and Discovery Bay.
Jamaica as a lover’s destination is also just as popular now as it was back when The Beach Boys said "Jamaica, oh I want to take ya" on the catchy, sun-kissed anthem "Kokomo." The song was the soundtrack for the 1988 movie Cocktail, which starred Tom Cruise as everyone’s favorite handsome bartender. Make like Cruise and his on-screen love interest Elisabeth Shue and go horse riding on the beach, play fight in the sea, snuggle by a fireplace under the stars, stroll on sandy paths, and sip umbrella drinks. Stay and play at any one of the four all-inclusive Couples Resorts in Jamaica so you can leave your wallet (and worries!) behind.