There are some moments in life that are completely unrivalled when it comes to experiencing that mythical feeling of euphoria. It’s things like popping bubble-wrap, flipping your pillow onto the cool side in the middle of the night, finding a £20 note in your coat pocket, seeing the waiter come out with your food, scoring a last-minute goal against your best-mate on FIFA 13, beating your “property expert” brother in a game of Monopoly, and enjoying a pee after you’ve been holding it in for what felt like nineteen years (#roadtripproblems).
But you can forget about all these for a moment because nothing feels better than throwing the wedding bash of the year.
Done right, this is your chance to seal the deal, snog the love of your life, kiss your best man on the forehead, and celebrate your incredible love story in the best way possible, by which we mean: inviting your best friends and favourite family members to a lavish venue in the countryside where you get to drink middle-of-the-range wine, sip on whatever unknown tipple swilling about your hip flask, steady yourselves with delicious canapes, and then hit the floor to dance the night away; the most suspect, cheesy and totally infectious music ever envisaged flooding out of the laughter-filled marquee and into the starlit night, where a hundred fireworks are salsaing across the purple darkness.
That’s what a wedding should look like.
And it’s all because of your drop dead gorgeous bride, who was gracious enough to spend the last year planning every. single. little. detail. From the dessert garnishes to the colour of your napkin rings, to the tribute act crooning out your favourite Elvis tunes.
Well, here’s your chance to say thank you - organising a honeymoon so staggering, so unique and so out of this world, the memories you make on this most romantic of adventures will fizz and whizz across her eyes like an out of control Catherine wheel from now until the end of eternity.
That’s what a honeymoon should feel like.
And it’s why we’ve pulled together this list of secret honeymoon destinations, which are so god darn extraordinary we guarantee they won’t stay hush-hush for long. Now get ready to scoop up the love of your life, carry her into a luxury bedroom adorned with rose petals and bottles of bubbles and kickstart your life together in the most lip-biting, smile-stirring and heart-stopping way possible. It’s what every great love story deserves.
There are paradise islands and then there are paradise islands - the kind that blows every jittering spark of your imagination and redefines everything you ever knew about a dream escape, your happily ever after getting the best start ever. Cayo Espanto is the latter. It’s everything you could want and a million things more. It’s glistening azure water and white sand beaches, hammocks for two strung between curved palm-trees, and private pools on the oceanfront-doorstep of your own luxury villa. Unless, of course, you would prefer your villa to come with a glass bottom overlooking the exciting waters of the Caribbean, complete with tropic fish and exotic corals.
And that’s not all. Not by a long shot. The real piece de romantic resistance is the royal treatment every couple receives. It’s customised pampering at it’s very best, your personal butler making sure every wish is met, while a quick snap of your fingers will see dive boats, scuba masters, snorkelling experts and fishing guides collect you from your door and take you on the tour of a lifetime. Oh, and before you go, tell them what makes your taste buds trip the light fantastic and they’ll make sure every meal dances with your favourite foods.
Cheesy summary: This is a place of a million pinch-yourself-moments.
Once upon a time, this Indonesian paradise was only whispered about - a place of golden beaches that only the most serious surfers knew about, shared by few and loved by even less. And it still has that allure because only a handful of lucky couples have discovered Indonesia’s best-kept secret - a place where mystical waterfalls splash through tropical rainforests and rivers wind their way down the hidden hillsides into the turquoise waters of the ocean below.
This is Shangri la for experience-seekers of every kind. It’s an island of staggering swells, treks, trails, horse rides, heavenly hikes and some of the finest dining you’ll find in any pocket of the planet. And then there is the resort itself. Luxury in every sense of the word, where every villa is designed to thrill your senses. From the tropical hillside manors to the treetop hideaways, to the shoreside Quintas - everything moment is there to indulge your dreams. Private pools, personal butlers and spas overlooking the sandy beaches and crashing waves - this is a wild paradise surrounded by the awe-inspiring Indian Ocean.
Cheesy summary: It doesn’t matter which way you gaze, you’ll be met by a total tonic for tired eyes.
It might be a long time since you were a child, but I bet the wonder of Enid Blyton’s imagination has always been simmering at the back of your mind. Well, you need to be prepared for all this to burst back to life like a fully-blown technicoloured hot spring because deep in the beating heart of southern Chile lies the Huilo Huilo Montana Magica Lodge, a place so far-fetched you’ll rub your eyes, splash cool water on your face and spin your totem to make sure you’re not dreaming.
Hidden inside a 300,000-acre nature reserve, this extraordinary hotel is as magical as any experience can be; the gorgeous and gigantic volcano-shaped building spewing water down its rocky facade like transparent lava. It’s a display you get to watch with wide eyes and dropped jaw from your suite - the moss and vine covered exterior merging in with the surrounding forest. It’s ethereal. Total bliss. An escape from everything you have ever known, and it all starts the moment you set foot onto the treetop rope bridge - alfresco hot tubs, sparkling waterfalls, rainforests treks and relaxing spa springs.
Cheesy summary: The best wedding gift you can ever give her is a lifetime of adventure. Montana Magica celebrates this like nowhere else on earth.
If love is meant to be thrilling from start to end, then there’s only one place to whisk away the love of your life, smile at the sound of champagne playing the flute, look her in the eyes, smile like it’s your last and say, “as soon as I saw you, I knew life’s greatest adventure was about to begin” and that’s the ultimate boudoir beneath the stars - The Chalkley Treehouse.
Floating atop a majestic centuries-old Leadwood tree, this lavish bedroom is where every romantic adventure should take flight, levitating above Africa’s endlessly perfect plains; the great animals of the Dark Continent roaming beneath you, while flickering lanterns waltz above you. Close your eyes and you can paint the picture yourself. A quintessential safari jeep taking you to this stranded treehouse as the sun sets on the world, a delicious picnic laying in wait, along with bottles of fine wine and the most star-speckled sky your imagination can conjure. This is where you get to spend the night.
Cheesy summary: It’s one of the most naturally beautiful settings in the world, where adventure dances with romance.
If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a trillion times: the Amalfi Coast is the best kind of rare; dramatic in every sense of the word. It’s a delicious cocktail of unrefined shorelines, pastel-coloured fishing villages, terraced vineyards, lemon groves that cling to the cliff-sides, and vibrant houses stacked on top of one another in ways that defy logic. And Le Sirenuse is the only place to enjoy every second of it; the simple pleasures of pretty Positano, the spectacular beauty of the Amalfi Coast, and the most breath-snatching sunrises and sunsets to ever climb and fall on the edge of the world. It’s the personification of romance. The apotheosis.
But it’s Le Sirenuse that steal the show for those madly in love; a hotel that’s as stylish, chic and imperfectly-wow as the vertiginous town around it - every single detail vying for your attention. The candlelit dining room, quaint pool terrace, cutesy spa, deluxe suites and the cobbled streets outside; the hidden secrets of this entire region best explored from the preloved seat of a worn out Vespa, and only a worn out Vespa.
Cheesy summary: We don’t like the word impossible. But this place is impossibly romantic. Every nook and cranny of it.
There aren’t many places where you can forget the rest of the world completely, but this is sure as sh*t one of them. It’s picture-perfect, private-island bliss, the sort you find in glossy magazines but never believed you’ll stumble across in real life; your heart skipping beat after beat and your eyes yanked open in the most idyllic way possible. It’s the sort of paradise a child would draw.
It’s thatched-roofed villas floating on top of azure waters, soft as silk Frette linens and luxury daybeds that sit on the start of an endless ocean view. It’s sitting on the edge of long timber walkways, your toes splish-splashing about in the warm waters of the Maldives largest lagoon, the crescent-moon of brilliant white sands slipping away into glittering blue; the whole moment complimented by the tropical palms and exotic foliage. This is where you want to spend your first days of hand-holding and midnight-dancing, snorkelling amongst corals, strolling through the warm sands at midnight and clinking cocktail after cocktail - Mojitos, Hemingway Daiquiris, Mai Tais and Bay Breezes. It’s rolling out of bed and into the crystal clear waters
Cheesy summary: For those that don’t like visiting the same place more than once, meet the exception to the rule.
Somethings have to be seen to be believed before the mind can translate the magical madness in front of your wide eyes and dropped jaw; your hand squeezing your wife’s in total disbelief. That’s what this hotel suite is. It’s seeing the unbelievable. It’s walking into a dream. It’s staying in a vintage Boeing 727 sat high in the jungle canopy of Costa Rica; a 1965 aeroplane that’s been refurbished into one of the most unique suites ever envisaged. Romantic, secluded, adventurous and utterly one-off - a testament to your love story if there ever was one.
But this is no gimmick. This is luxury in its most exciting form; luxury that makes your nerves rattle, your smile widen and goosebumps climb up your arms like vines enveloping a jungle cedar. It’s cockpit views across coastal rainforests and infinite oceans, cliff-side pools, sun-seeking decks and evenings sipping local wines amongst your treetop neighbours - sloths, toucans, monkeys and more. It’s plane crazy, the very best kind (excuse the pun).
Cheesy summary: If love is about finding somewhere beautiful and getting lost, then this is it the place to do it.
And there we have it.
Seven secret spots to add to your list of magic moons. It’s not an easy decision. But you can sleep easy knowing, no matter which one you pull from the hat, the memories you make will never fade. Never-ever.
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