Would you prefer to watch zebra trotting past your safari camp or sip a negroni out of a private infinity pool? Dine in an exclusive treetop pod or eat under the stars at a lantern-lit beach table that’s set up just for the two of you? We understand that everyone’s definition of their dream holiday is different, but, drawing on our experience, we have a suggestion for the best place to celebrate after your big day – whatever your ideal honeymoon hotel. Here are just seven of our favourites (and one great rail journey) for kicking off your happily ever after.
Close to Phuket and the seductive coastline of Phang Nga, The Sarojin is a secluded boutique hotel providing pampered privacy against a stunning backdrop. Be sure to pick out a Pool Residence for their enormous onyx plunge pools, the perfect spot for a late-night cocktail and some stargazing as you soak. Then, spend your days being leisurely by the divine infinity pool or languidly explore the 7-mile stretch of sand. Alternatively, task the Sarojin’s full-time ‘Imagineer’ to put together a personalised itinerary just for the two of you that could involve drinking champagne at a secret waterfall, going scuba diving at sunrise or rafting down jungle rapids. Lastly, leave the evenings free for incredible dining experiences. There’s everything from private barbecues on the beach or in your garden to a sunset cruise for just the two of you, followed by a candlelit dinner on your very own private island.
Lying some 30 minutes off the Cambodian coast, Song Saa Private Island is a castaway escape that ticks everything you’d expect on a blissfully secluded, barefoot luxury retreat. Infinity pools, shaded day beds, quiet sandy beaches, a restaurant with 360-degree views. Check, check, check and check again. Whether you stay in a villa perched among the canopy or in one suspended over the sea, you’ll have a private deck and plunge pool. Step down into the waters, join a guided snorkelling safari or try water skiing. Or, you might want to take a Cambodian cooking class before kayaking through mangrove forests and following the forest trails with the resident naturalist. Then, take a cruise to a local fishing village or board a traditional longtail boat and head off for a private picnic before you kick back on the beach with a cocktail. It’s all capped off by superlative dinners, served overlooking the sea, by your pool or on the beach.
Perched on the rim of Tanzania’s incredible Ngorongoro caldera, Crater Camp is possibly the most romantic tented camp in the country. Emerge from the cotton sheets of your tastefully pared-back safari tent, step outside and you’ll feel like you’re gazing back in time. You’ll spend your days here exploring the crater, tracking wildebeest, lion, elephant and the elusive leopard, or heading out on nature walks with expert guides. Between games drives meet the local Maasai peopels, comparing their uniquely traditional lives to your own. After dinner on the crater floor, around a roaring fire, you’ll swap bush tales and gaze up at an African sky filled with a billion stars. The modern world will never have felt further away.
Close to Zanzibar lies Mnemba Island, one of the most glamorous coastal retreats in Africa. Simple yet unashamedly elegant beachside bandas overlook the Mnemba atoll (a scuba diver’s delight) and provide barefoot luxury. Relax and unwind in the exclusivity of your own stretch of beachfront or try the watersports and activities that range from fly fishing to paddle boarding and windsurfing. The house reef is within swimming distance and you may heaped with delicious mezze while romantic candlelit dinners are served on the beach following a sunset dhow cruise encounter dolphins on your way in or out. Here, lunch is served on large wooden carved Zanzibari platters.
The Purnama is a superyacht masquerading as a traditional Indonesian phinisi schooner and considered to be among the most luxurious liveaboards in Asia. Finished to an extraordinary high spec, it’s a heavenly way of exploring the coral reefs, Spice Islands and little-visited corners of the Indonesian archipelago. When you’re not snorkelling with turtles, trekking to ancient villages, surfing a secret break or looking for birds of paradise and Komodo dragons, you can water ski behind the boat before enjoying tailored spa treatments, cocktails on deck and fresh-caught seafood, served al fresco or as a lantern-lit beach barbecue. If the mood takes you, you can even fall asleep on the top deck, under the stars.
Stood on a bluff above Lake Sarmiento, striking, sweeping Tierra Patagonia celebrates its wild surroundings while seeming to sit effortlessly among them. Its elegant, innovative design ensures a contrasting comfortable escape from the dramatic Patagonian scenery. The lakes and peaks of Torres del Paine National Park loom large and fill the panoramic windows. Set off into this incredible landscape with expert guides and explore the surroundings pampas, hiking to spectacular mountain viewpoints or trekking atop a glacier. Alternatively, ride out with a local huaso from a ranch for an authentic peak inside their lifestyle before enjoying a traditional Patagonian asado or try your luck catching salmon on a fly-fishing excursion. Boat past icebergs or go in search of guanaco and condors. When you’ve had enough action for the day return to the lodge for a swim in the indoor pool and outdoor Jacuzzi or a massage in the spa before indulging yourselves with a glass of Chilean wine as the sun sets on the striking pinnacles of the Paine Massif and swapping tales from your adventures around a log fire.
This seemingly traditional Twenties fishing lodge located on the banks of the Waikato effortlessly combines the great outdoors and gourmet food to stunning effect. Although it’s still renowned for producing trophy sized rainbow and brown trout, today it is celebrated as one of the finest properties in New Zealand. From your exclusive cottage within what feels like a private country estate, stroll through the Lodge’s landscaped gardens to the spectacular Huka Falls or soak in secret pools. Activity options are almost endless with jet boating, bungy jumping and other adrenaline activities on offer. More intimate, special romantic options include in-room spa treatments, horse treks, helicopter trips to acclaimed wineries or active volcanic islands and private dining in one of twenty different locations including the wine cellar, jetty pavilion and the orchard.
For decades, the Venice Simplon-Orient Express has been synonymous with everything that is sophisticated and glamorous in the world of luxury train travel. Today the enchantment and romance are as strong as ever. The Orient Express train now visits a number of Europe’s most enchanting cities. Alongside the traditional, classic journey from London to Venice via Paris (or vice versa), you can now travel to London from Vienna, Verona, Prague or Budapest. There’s an annual journey from London to Berlin as well. For the ultimate luxury rail journey, we suggest that the most discerning traveller should secure a berth on the very special, once-a-year departure from London to Istanbul, a six-day journey that recreates the original 1883 route. The sheer romance of this experience is unmatchable. On board, settle into your private cabin, complete with personal steward. Unpack your tuxedo and evening gown as you can never be too overdressed on the Orient Express. Mingle with fellow passengers in the bar car for pre-dinner cocktails prepared by the head barman while a pianist plays period pieces. Enjoy Michelin-starred dining in the beautifully restored restaurant cars before a night cap and discovering your cabin has been converted into a cosy sleeping compartment. Fall asleep lulled by the rhythm of the train to wake in another country.
Arguably Scandinavia's most iconic accommodation, the original ICEHOTEL is situated in the depths of Swedish Lapland where come winter the frozen Rover Torne becomes the means in which this structural feat exists. And now, due to the opening of the ICEHOTEL 365, bedding down in a room carved from ice isn't just restricted to the region's cold season. So, whether honeymooning in winter or summer, the ICEHOTEL will welcome you with cool arms. What better excuse is there to snuggle up with your partner than a night in an ice room? And, don't let fear of the cold put you off, these rooms are surprisingly warm. Wrap up in the reindeer skins and sleeping bags provided for a truly unforgettable experience - this is bucket-list material that will make your honeymoon that extra special. Add in a spot of husky-mushing, reindeer sledding and gourmet Scandi dining and you're in for the ultimate Arctic adventure. The on-site ice church may even get you itching to renew your vows!