When it comes to honeymoon destinations we’ve done it all… We’ve whisked lovers off to beach breaks in the Maldives, villas along the Amalfi Coast and city breaks in Paris. But the best post-wedding flyaways are tailored-to-fit and veer off the beaten path. We’ve found one-of-a-kind hotels and honeymoon hotspots for couples thinking beyond the beach…
Say ¡Salud! to Spain’s wine region
Get acquainted with the term Denominació d’Origen Qualificada (or DOQ) at Terra Dominicata, a romantic, rustic estate sitting pretty by the Serra de Montsant range. Its DOQ is Catalan’s wine region, famed for rich reds, which got a PR coup when a group of friends revived its vines, earning praise from Paris’s pickiest sommeliers. Spend your stay taking a private tasting at Clos de l’Obac winery (run by Bill Gates’ mate) or picnicking at Trossos del Priorat, or simply sipping the hotel’s own vintages by the pool, doting on that DOQ view.
Desert drives and mountain highs in Oman
Take three letters away from ‘romance’ and you get ‘Oman’. Coincidence? We think not. The evidence is compelling: mountaintop retreat Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar (dubbed an Amazing Hotel by the BBC) in the sultanate’s rugged interior offers abseiling and gorge trekking (in spring pink roses carpet the valleys). Pair a stay here with a night in the desert. Magic Camps will drive you out over the dunes, pitch your tent and bring a butler to serve you mezze, then give you some alone time under the stars.
Farm frolics in the French countryside
The cosmos is captured in fairy-tale stay Domaine des Etangs: space-y artworks, a solar-system hanging in the library and telescopes aimed at the sky enhance its out-of-this-world feel – its estate-to-plate cuisine bears a Michelin star, too. However, its most joyful experiences are more down-to-Earth: boating on the lake, cosying up in the gardens, roaming the forest with a naturalist or helping to bathe and brush the resident Limousin cows.
A bite-sized intro to San Antonio
Hidden in the Mexican highlands of Colima, Hacienda de San Antonio is a coral-pink casa with a plant-strung courtyard and a backdrop of volcanoes and coffee plantations. Its virtues include luxuriant gardens and a vast, view-blessed pool, but you get a bountiful Smith Extra too, including a bottle of mezcal and a bike tour of the area. Plus, you’ll be given a picnic to take on a whip around Epazote Lake and get a taste for the local produce on coffee and cheese tours.
Megafauna and fynbos in South Africa
Stay at Morukuru Beach Lodge between early-July and mid-October and your nearest neighbours will be the whales breaching from the Indian and Atlantic oceans, plus a few dolphins and sea lions and the other wild things wandering the bush. There are just five suites here – all suitably romance-inspiring – and you needn’t leave your bed to watch these sea giants play. But if you do roll out, guides will talk you through the kaleidoscopic flowers of the fynbos and there’s some serious twitching action here (oh hey, flamingoes and cape vultures).
Blind taste tests in an Arctic forest
In the snowbound climes of Rovaniemi (Santa’s official address) the Arctic Treehouse Hotel has the cosiest of cabins, each overlooking a glittering Alpine vista. It’s cold outside, but leave your love nest for sledding, heli-skiing, tobogganing and such. For an experience as unique as a snowflake, be led blindfolded into the tundra for a taste test, watch auroras while floating in a lake, or get up close on a night flight. While you’re in the forest swing by the spa too, to enjoy a sausage in the sauna (yes, really) and chase a steamy session with a snow dive.
Spy Indonesia’s coral gardens from your own yacht
Only available for exclusive charters, Sequoia Yacht offers total seclusion in the Pacific Ocean. Just you, your sweetheart and team of 10 staff will sail through the Coral Triangle, stopping for scuba diving in vivid under-the-sea-scapes, kayaking sessions, paddle-boarding and meals whipped up by your private chef, served on deck. Each island hop brings a new surprise: volcanoes to hike, hatchling turtles (from April to October) and fragrant markets.
Seek out secrets in LA
Chateau Marmont, California’s most discreet stay, turns 90 this year, marking nearly a century of star-spangled legends and A-list anarchy. If these walls could talk, they’d remain as tight-lipped as the friendly staff, but stories of ménages à trois, drug-laced parties, hallway motorbike races and various starlets and rock gods falling from windows and roof terraces (and surviving) abound. Part of the adventure is making anecdotes of your own and discovering the hush-hush perks of staying: the secret bar with no name and its secret menu, the Japanese restaurant that opened not with a bang but a whisper, and the Chateau’s rabble of rumoured ghosts.