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Best Overall: Turtle Inn, Belize
Rustic-chic vibes are strong at Francis Ford Coppola’s popular Belizean hideaway, the perfect seaside place for a honeymoon. With 28 individual cottages—starting at $329/night—clad in plenty of locally sourced wood, thatched roofs, Balinese furniture, earthy tones, and beautiful textiles, it’s intimate yet encompasses everything one could desire.
The sparkling blue Caribbean’s a focal point, especially from the triangular infinity pool (there’s a second pool on the lawn by the sandy Laughing Fish bar). And the resort is complete with a PADI dive shop since snorkeling and scuba are favorite pastimes here thanks to in particular to the world’s second-largest coral reef system and whale sharks visiting April through June each year.
There are three distinctive restaurants: Mare for classic Italian with performances by mariachi bands and Garifuna dancers, seafood on the beach at Gauguin Grill, and traditional Belizean at Auntie Luba’s. It’s not the only indulgence, however, as guests can also visit a jaguar preserve, check out the ancient Maya architecture, zipline, and horseback ride through orchards.
Best Spa: Marriott Puerta Vallarta Resort & Spa, Mexico
There’s little doubt that just one day at this renovated and reimagined resort will have you forgetting any stress surrounding the wedding. The Ohtli Spa will see to that, with its transformative treatments inspired by ancient Huichol traditions—like the super-relaxing Rebirth Therapy session performed in a pool.
There’s also Puerto Vallarta’s largest infinity pool, complete with swim-up bar that pairs your piña coladas with 180-degree panoramas of Banderas Bay and the surrounding mountains. Many dining outlets (there are seven total) include Nosh, ideal for sunset bites; Las Casitas, where lobster tacos are the must-order; and Mikado, for tableside teppanyaki.
Plenty of activities are on offer around the resort when not ensconced in your bright, beachy room with balcony (from $129/night)—from learning the art of sipping tequila to kayaking, volleyball and attending baby turtle release ceremonies (June to November).
The ultimate excursion is to the Marietas Islands, specifically Playa del Amor (lovers’ beach), a secret spot accessible by swimming or kayaking through a 40-foot tunnel to a hidden beach and glittery blue lagoon.
Best Hawaii: Queen Kapiolani Hotel, Hawaii
It doesn’t get more iconic Hawaii than Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach, both of which are in view from this four-star retro-styled beach retreat. In fact, the latter’s white sands and turquoise waves are within stumbling distance of the recently renovated hotel, whose design is a throwback to the glory days of old Waikiki while the amenities feel perfectly modern. This is best evidenced in the 315 rooms and suites—each with a personal lanai and a cool pastel palette.
There’s an onsite surf school for those whose honeymoon goals are to hang ten (or simply stand up atop a wave), sunrise yoga, a running club, cocktail-mixing classes, lei-making, and ukulele workshops, plus a primo collection of vintage mid-century art celebrating the classic Hawaiian lifestyle.
The modern American restaurant DECK serves up major views alongside steaks and the local catch (there’s also room service), but Waikiki’s eateries, nightlife, and shopping are within walking distance, too.
Best Active Honeymoon: QT Gold Coast, Australia
Want to stretch your dollar abroad? Try Australia, specifically the spectacularly beautiful stretch of long, sandy beach known as Surfer’s Paradise on the Gold Coast. This pool-studded resort is as colorful as the ocean is blue, with vibrant splashes throughout the chic 297 rooms and slick bathrooms (from $110/night).
Not only is it a destination epic for surfers, but it’s also got some of the best humpback whale watching (at Hervey Bay) in the country, as well as waterfall hikes in the nearby national parks.
Three concept restaurants include an innovative izakaya eatery with ultra-fresh sushi and sashimi, while the hotel also claims one of the area’s top hangouts, the Stingray Lounge, with a resident DJ and coastal-inspired cocktails keeping energy levels high.
When the surfing, hiking and maybe even tennis wear on your muscles, book it to spaQ for the Suite Retreat, a couples’ massage using jojoba oil.
Best Escape: Avila Beach Hotel, Curaçao
If it’s good enough for Dutch royals, it should be good enough for you. Curaçao’s oldest operational hotel, constructed in 1780, is vintage, yes, but it’s modernized, especially with just-renovated rooms in the Blues Wing, where the views are king (hint: they’re built on a pier off the private beach for incredible Caribbean access). The setting is impeccable: white sand and azure water worthy that's could be an Instragram heartthrob. The infinity pool is pretty enough to compete with its environment, also embraced by both restaurants, which are open-air and serve local specialties such as keshi yena (stuffed cheese).
Also on offer: four bars, a fitness center, romantic beach dinners, and notably gracious hospitality on the part of local staff who actually remember your names, making the atmosphere even more wonderful (from $234/night).
Best Value: Playa Largo Resort & Spa, Florida
You don’t have to go far to get into the Caribbean spirit. Fourteen secluded acres of tropical landscape on Key Largo do the trick, too. This lush resort offers a super-private hotel-within-a-hotel concept called The Hammocks, with 10 two-story private bungalows hidden among rare hammock trees, not to mention quite personalized service across the board. Romantic offerings include the Chiminea package, which comes with s’mores, blankets and a fire butler to build your beachside bonfire.
The main resort is loaded with amenities, such as a waterfront zero-entry swimming pool, private beach, marina for fishing and all kinds of water sports, and the Ocean Spa for couples’ massages. There’s dockside dining, plus a new experience called Water Table at Sol by the Sea, giving lovebirds the opportunity to savor the sunset along with their seafood, toes in the sand (from $282/night).
Best Beach: Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort, Cayman Islands
It’s hard to imagine a more postcard-worthy setting than Grand Cayman island’s Seven Mile Beach, its powdery white sand and electric crystalline Caribbean water putting newlyweds under its spell. Of course, there are seemingly endless ways to enjoy it: snorkeling, splashing around with stingrays, paddleboarding, jet-skiing, kayaking, sailing, water-skiing, and even fly-fishing—not to mention the beachfront pool. Furthermore, couples can opt for biking and hiking, too.
There are four restaurants on property, including one with a raw bar and craft cocktails, plus a slew of other dining options in the capital of George Town nearby. Serene rooms with plush beds and coastal touches are the perfect place to relax (from $350/night), though the Botanika Union spa can’t be beaten when it comes to achieving supreme bliss.
Best Mexico: Hilton Los Cabos, Mexico
The only bummer about Los Cabos is that most of the beaches are too rough for swimming, but not the sandy stretch on the Sea of Cortez in front of this resort. A multi-million dollar renovation included a full revamp to its Beach Club, now equipped with cliffside cabanas and a full bar.
The 375 elegant rooms (from $330/night) keep to an appropriate blue and white theme, with whimsical wall murals and ocean views from each; the most appealing for newlyweds are definitely the 14 with private plunge pools, however.
Otherwise, couples can enjoy the adults-only infinity pool within easy reach of the main event, the beach, where standup paddleboards and other ocean craft are available for explorations.
Day and night, tuck into feasts of all styles at the six unique culinary concepts. And the holiday wouldn’t be complete without couples’ treatments at the spa.
Most Exotic: JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa
Yes, it’s a trek, but flight deals to Thailand are had all the time, putting this Phuket getaway comfortably within reach. Enter another world, one beside the pristine Mai Khao Beach on the iconic resort island. Every one of the Southeast Asian–inspired 262 rooms (from $260/night)—including 12 suites—faces the turquoise Andaman Sea, so warm and appealing.
There is no shortage of poolside space to lounge (there are three, and they’re huge!) for those moments surfing, kayaking and sailing don’t appeal. And also more than enough dining outlets to keep you sated. Eleven different restaurants and bars serve virtually whatever you could imagine (think wood-fired pizzas, sashimi and Angus steak), and there’s even a Thai cooking school so you and your honey can learn skills to bring the honeymoon home.
The Mandara Spa offers everything from massage to body scrubs, therapy baths and facials, and is a guaranteed great way to end a long day in the sun.