Whether you’re looking to explore a new city together (ahem, Paris), scale mountains side-by-side, retreat to a secluded beach, or some combination of the three, these spots kind of do all the work. And while a honeymoon is a perfect excuse to check a far-flung destination off the bucket list, there are a bevy of romantic getaways stateside for more low-key affairs (or if you’ve burned up all those vacation days on the wedding itself). Needless to say, each of these spots are equally good options for re-igniting an old flame, or stoking one that’s been burning for many years.
The SanchayaJalan Gurindam Duabelas, Plot 5Lagoi Bay, Pulau Bintan, Riau Islands, Indonesia | +62.770.692200
With only 21 private villas and even fewer suites, this colonial estate takes up a surprisingly vast stretch of a particularly stunning white–sand beach on the Indonesian island of Bintan. While all modern-day creature comforts are accounted for—an Olympic size infinity pool, Bang & Olufsen in-room gadgets, and a world-class spa that harvests healing herbs from the on-site garden—the communal lounges, libraries, and dining rooms (the Tasanee grill serves up killer Thai street food) are decked out in Southeast Asian antiques and traditional heirlooms. Once you’ve had your fill of uninterrupted down time, consider venturing out to explore the neighboring rainforests.
One & Only Hayman IslandHayman Island Great Barrier Reef, 4801, Australia | +61.2.9308.0500
The One & Only on Hayman Island experienced crushing damage during Cyclone Debbie, so the resort is closed for renovations and repairs until 2018—devastating to us, as its' otherworldly sunsets and unfettered access to the Great Barrier Reef make it one of our favorite destinations anywhere. Historically, One & Only resorts are all about the experience, meaning that a stay on this private island at the northernmost tip of the Whitsunday archipelago isn’t just part of a trip, it is the trip. Of the 150+ guest rooms, a good chunk of the suites are designed so you can roll out of your four-poster bed and step directly into a private pool before heading out to snorkel nearby Blue Pearl Bay or hopping a seaplane to explore the reefs from above. The four on-property restaurants can quell just about any hankering from Italian to Pan-Asian, but to really up the wow factor, ask for a gourmet picnic to-go and enjoy it on a remote island. Thanks to a recent top-to-bottom overhaul (the property has existed in various incarnations since the 1950’s) this is also one of the more modern-looking of the One & Only outposts, a huge plus for those with a minimal aesthetic.
Laucala IslandLaucala Island, Fiji | +220.127.116.11.07
Malcolm Forbes purchased this Fijian island back in 1972 as a personal retreat, and for many years it was exactly that. It’s actually Dietrich Mateschitz (most famous as the billionaire inventor of Red Bull) who had the vision to turn the island into the exclusive resort it is today. The entire experience here is really intimate, with only 25 residences scattered across the property’s beaches and hills. Each one is more luxurious than the last, with amenities like personal butlers, private swimming pools, and hidden yoga platforms, and service that’s available to meet every possible need. When it comes to the classic private-island, white sand beach, luxury saltwater escape, you really can’t top this place.
The Four Seasons Golden TriangleThailand | +66.53.910.200
This tented camp in Thailand is an excellent option if you like adventure. A stay here will prominently feature elephant treks, boat outings along the river, and visits to the local Thai market. That said, this isn’t exactly a NOLS outfit—luxury tents feel incredibly isolated in the jungle, yet feature outdoor showers and hot tubs, luxurious bedding, and comfortable porches for sipping your morning tea. The service and in-house restaurant are incredible, and despite being isolated at a tent camp, the spa treatments (guests rave about the massages) want for nothing.
AmankoraParo, Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey, Bumthang, Kingdom of Bhutan | +975.2.331.333
This Aman holding in the mountains of Bhutan is actually split up between five different properties, each one with its own lodge, in a different alpine valley. A trip here stands out because you’ll have the chance to learn about the unique culture in the area—upon arrival, you’ll be paired with a driver and guide who will show you their country, based on your own curiosity and needs. We definitely recommend hiking to see Tiger’s Nest, a Buddhist monastery built into the mountainside that’s thought to be the first place where Buddhism was practiced in the Kingdom. The lodges themselves are an Aman-take on traditional Bhutanese style, and they’re set up like homes, with 5-8 rooms in each one. Find an evening to stargaze—the sky up here is unmatched.
AmankilaManggis, Bali | +62.363.41333
Bali’s lush forests and crystal-clear oceans make it a pretty romantic destination regardless, but the accommodations at Amankila take everything next level with isolated, stilted villas that are situated at the perfect height for optimal ocean views. If you take the walkways through the jungle from your room, you’ll find yourself at a three-tiered infinity pool with tiling that perfectly matches the dreamy green-blue hue of the bay it overlooks. The attentive service here is everything you’d expect from an Aman, and the concierge will set up one of the many adventures available from this isolated spot, including trips to a perfect beach, surfing, scuba diving, and more. But with cozy rooms, private patios, a great terrace restaurant, and suites with private pools, you probably won’t want to leave at all.
The BrandoTeti’aroa Private Island, Arue Tahiti, French Polynesia | +689.40.866.366
Much like Marlon Brando fell in love with Tetiaroa while filming Mutiny on the Bounty (he purchased the land for him and his wife Tarita in 1967), guests are instantly charmed by the island’s coconut palm groves and white-sand beaches. To further his commitment to sustainability, Brando enlisted the help of hotelier Richard Bailey to build the world's first ever post-carbon resort. Though by no means cheap (the all-inclusive rates start at $2,700 per night) The Brando’s lengthy list of activities (snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding) and indoor/outdoor accommodations—complete with sleek decor, plunge pools, and outdoor bathtubs—mean the pricetag makes sense. The island’s restaurants serve dishes comprised of ingredients plucked from the resort’s own organic fruit orchard and veggie garden.
COMO Shambhala EstateUbud, Gianyar Bali | +62.361.978.888
With an emphasis on holistic wellness, this stunning retreat calls upon certified specialists in yoga, Pilates and qigong, to personalized mountain biking, hiking and circuit training guides. In the Estate's main kitchen, you can design your own three-course menu (go for an authentically Indonesian dish) to cook with chef. During your stay, you’ll likely live at Glow, an all-day restaurant/café serving pressed juice, organic salads, and fresh Mediterranean fish.
Soneva FushiKunfunadhoo Island, Baa Atoll | +960.660.0304
The Soneva family of resorts may be situated on some of the most gorgeous land in the world, sure, but what really gets our hearts beating faster is their dedication to a form of tourism that goes even beyond sustainable. It’s called Slow Life, which breaks down to: Sustainable-Local-Organic-Wellness Learning-Inspiring-Fun-Experiences. Here, you truly disconnect from all the business at home, and connect instead with a stunningly, pristine landscape (including a UNESCO protected coral reef). There are 55 villas here, which have anything from three to nine bedrooms (making this epic for a big group of friends or family reunion), and the focus is equally on ensuring that kids have a great time, whether it’s in the open-air cinema, at the observatory, or riding bikes around the island. (It doesn’t hurt that they offer 60 kinds of ice cream.)
Cape Kidnappers446 Clifton Rd., Te Awanga, Hawke's Bay | +64.6.875.1900
This Relaix & Chateaux-managed property is located in Hawke's Bay, deep in the heart of New Zealand's rich wine country—which, geographically speaking, looks as if one took the rolling hills of the Napa Valley and set them down on the edge of a dramatic seaside cliff. The internationally known golf course (which meanders its way along the aforesaid cliffs) is part of the draw here, but guests also spend their time exploring the 6,000 acres of pasture—The Farm is actually a working sheep and beef operation, and touring around by foot or on a four-wheeler, to see the full acreage and get a glimpse of the sheepdogs at work, is highly recommended. The architecture features worn wood panels on the inland side and glass, view-facing windows on the other, achieving a barn-like effect that's tempered by modern features like a sleek infinity pool. Interiors echo the modern farmhouse vibe, with cozy wooden fireplaces in every room, rustic beams crossing the vaulted ceilings, and curtains done in soft blue French ticking. The owners have two other properties in New Zealand (Matakauri, a lakeside retreat a short drive from Queenstown, and Kauri Cliffs, which has beach access in Mauri Bay), so if you're making the trek from the United States, it's worth hitting more than one over the course of the trip. P.S. Everyone's obsessed with the chocolate chip cookies from the kitchen here, for good reason.
The Ritz-Carlton KyotoKamogawa Nijo-Ohashi Hotori, Kyoto | +81.75.746.5555
Situated on the banks of the Kamogawa river and overlooking a cluster of mountains, the Ritz-Carlton in Kyoto provides all the swanky amenities (spa, fine dining, impeccable service) one might expect, plus a slew of unexpected extras. While it’s the perfect home base from which to venture out into downtown Kyoto and surrounding districts, the hotel’s roster of activities offers plenty of reasons to hang around the property. Here, you can try your hand at Japanese floral design, soap making, traditional origami, and more. Sake tastings, matcha tea ceremonies, and master sushi classes can also be arranged for anyone who’s interested.
Waldorf AstoriaCrescent Rd., Palm Jumeirah | +971.4.818.2222
Only in Dubai could an archipelago in the shape of a palm tree be a thing. Located on Palm Jumeirah island, the Waldorf Astoria is a good option if the idea of being removed from the hustle and bustle of the city, and spending relatively more time relaxing by the pool/beach appeals to you. (There's only one road on and off the island—via the "trunk" of the palm tree—so it adds a bit of time to touring around.) It's family-friendly (one pool is adults only and the other for all ages), so a good option if you have kids in tow, as there are a handful of outdoor activities they can get into right on the property. The seaside rooms have balconies seemingly made for enjoying coffee with a view in the AM (the buffet breakfast downstairs is solid, too, though). Probably most notable about the suites are their oversized glass-and-marble bathrooms, with luxurious waterfall shower heads and soaking tubs. The spa is fantastic, and three-star Michelin Chef Heinz Beck has a restaurant here, too. Also on Palm Jumeirah: There's a path for walking/running/biking, which you can pick up right outside the Waldorf Astoria. About two and a half miles along the path, toward the center of the island, you'll hit a fun, little food truck area near the Atlantis.
Palazzo VersaceDubai Creek, Bur Dubai | +971.4.556.8888
This palatial hotel is 100 percent pure Versace, from the bespoke fabrics to custom furnishings all in the inimitable Italian fashion house's signature style. With 215 rooms and suites, more than a hundred residences, eight restaurants and bars (each with an al fresco terrace), three outdoor pools, and unobstructed views of the Dubai Creek and the city skyline, it basically doesn’t get any fancier than this. Consider it a must-see, even if you just stop in for lunch and a stroll through their gorgeously manicured gardens.
AnnandalePigeon Bay, RD3 Akaroa, 7550 | +64.3.304.6841
The Banks Peninsula (which is made up of two former volcanoes that have since eroded into a series of bays and harbors) has the advantage of feeling exceedingly remote, though it's just a short drive—and even shorter helicopter trip—from the Christchurch. Annandale is actually a fully functional sheep and cattle farm, with a stunning garden and orchard (needless to say, were sold as soon as we saw the greenhouse) and seemingly endless grounds for exploring on foot, on bikes, or in kayaks. The property itself has a main farmhouse—built in the 1880s and warmly restored—plus four private villas, each on their own section of the island. Food is prepared and delivered ahead of time and prepped for easy heating in the oven—everything is made with ingredients sourced on-site, and the result is immensely intimate dinners without even the interruption of staff. Honeymooners should ask about the Seascape beach cottage, an isolated one-bedroom along the beach with a fireplace, spa pool, and an all-to-yourself-view of Pigeon Bay, where you're all but guaranteed to see adorably miniature Hector's dolphins (seriously, Google them) seeking refuge.
Amanemu2165 Hazako Hamajimacho, Shima | +81.599.525.000
Located in Ise-Shima National Park, just above Ago Bay (home to some of the most unreal pearls in the world), a visit to Amanemu feels a little bit otherworldly. The property, just three hours by train from Kyoto, is dotted with hot springs, and its minimalist rooms are done up in the ryokan-style, include soaking tubs (with separate faucets for cold, hot, or mineral hot springs water). The surroundings are just as tranquil—think, wood, bamboo, and stone structures marked by low-hanging tiled roofs and sliding screens, plus beautiful hand-carved traditional motifs. There's an outdoor infinity pool, which you'll be hard pressed to actually get out of (it's pretty incredible for stargazing), and a 22,000-square foot spa with outdoor onsen baths, a yoga studio, and four treatment rooms tucked into the forest. Meals are taken at at the aptly named Restaurant, where a team of 12 chefs trained by the Masanobu Inaba of Conrad Tokyo spotlight the region's izakaya-style seafood offerings and bento boxes of sashimi and tempura come lunch.
Four Seasons Resort The Nam HaiBlock Ha My Dong B, Điện Bàn, Quảng Nam, Hoi An | +84.235.394.0000
Tucked in the quaint town of Hoi An (just three hours from Singapore and two from Hong Kong), The Nam Hai Hotel has been a favorite of Asian travelers for years—and its transition to a Four Seasons property has given Americans reason to take fresh notice. Located on the tranquil coastline (something of a rarity in this area), each villa has its own expansive ocean view. There are two world class restaurants on site, though you may like to try the local cuisine and explore the historic fishing village. If you’re feeling luxurious, head to the Heart of the Earth Spa for a body scrub and any massage that involves a tuning fork. There are plenty of water sports and children's play space to keep kiddos occupied. The recent addition of a cooking school is a must, where you’ll harvest herbs from their organic garden and learn to make traditional Vietnamese dishes.
Eros Hotel19, Ashoka Road, Connaught Place | +18.104.22.1689
For a modern stay in New Delhi, the Eros Hotel takes inspiration from East Asia, with a more minimalist decor (think: cool greys and contemporary Chinese furniture). The 320-room property is also home to several restaurants of varying origins, from the Italian-inspired Grappa to the Chinese-influenced Shang Palace that serves a menu of Sichuan and Cantonese.
Capella Shanghai Jian Ye LiJian Ye Li 480 West Jianguo Road, Xuhui District Sh
Located in the former French Concession neighborhood–a quiet, residential spot with tree-lined brick walkways–this boutique villa hotel is excellent if you're looking for a quieter stay in the city. The grounds are both historic and impressive: the buildings, all of which were built in the 1930's, are of the Shikumen-style architecture distinctive to Shanghai and include elaborate stone gates and brick detailing. Each room is technically a two-story home in which there's at least one bedroom, two baths, and a private patio. The service here is impeccable: a personal assistant contacts you prior to arrival to tailor your stay (say, for gluten-free meals or site-seeing plans), and the staff offers grocery shopping services for longer visits. Given its proximity to the city's stellar food scene, you may want to venture out for dinner, but it's worth booking at least one meal at Le Comptoir de Pierre Gagnaire, the hotel's in-house restaurant serving incredible authentic French food.
Hotel Des Arts Saigon76 - 78 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Dist.3 | +84.28.3989.8888
The Hotel Des Arts—located in the heart of downtown amidst the Opera House and Notre Dame Cathedral—is an aesthetic throwback to Vietnam's French colonial past. The polished herringbone floors and white paneled walls in each room—custom designed by Vietnamese artisans—are peppered with original artwork, and create a calming, retreat-like ambiance to counter the city's chaotic spirit. Elaborate marble bathrooms, a neutral palette, and the highest thread-count bedding add to the vacation-like feeling of total relaxation. The real draw, however, is the hotel's restaurants and bars—the Cafe Des Beaux-Arts oozes a kind of charm and glamour of a bygone era with its hand-carved bar and grand piano, the more industrial-looking Saigon Kitchen is designed to mimic the street food experience, while the upper floors house a more formal restaurant and rooftop bar with panoramic views. Ho Chi Minh is definitely a late-night city, but for those looking to relax, the Hotel Des Arts spa offers Korean, Japanese, and English-style treatments, plus the rooftop infinity pool is pretty breathtaking.