How do you imagine your honeymoon? Whether you want to go on safari in South Africa, eat your way through Italy, or kick back in Hawaii, we’ve got a perfect trip for you.
For the Well-Balanced Newlyweds
Circling above the clifftop landing strip that is the Lanai Airport, taking in gorgeous views of one of Hawaii’s least-visited major islands, you can’t help but think that you and your new spouse are basically going to have the place to yourselves—and you’ll have not one but two home bases from which to explore it. After all, what could be more honeymoon-minded than the idea that two is better than one?
As you step off the small plane that shuttled you over from Honolulu, you ask yourselves, what are we in the mood for first? Should we head to the beachside Four Seasons Resort Lanai to take a sunset cruise and enjoy a meal with an ocean view? Or, do we head to our room at Sensei Lanai, a Four Seasons Resort, the hillside sister property that specializes in wellness? After all the stress of nuptial preparations, you choose the latter.
Upon arriving at Sensei, you stroll the secluded grounds, taking in the adjacent horse ranch and the fanciful garden, with its koi pond and sculptures by artists such as the late Fernando Botero. Dinner is at the on-site Sensei by Nobu restaurant, but first you meet with a Sensei Guide, who builds a program that is sure to help you slow down after the frenzy of the last few months. There’s yin yoga, barefoot forest bathing, a collaborative art course. You start with a heat-mapping session, designed to help you understand your body’s movements and specific needs and create a healthy baseline—which is sort of what a honeymoon should do for your marriage, if you think about it.
While you’re intrigued by the menu of activities for physically fit types, what immediately piques your interest are all of Sensei’s opportunities for pampering: You take a dip in one of the 10 onsen-style soaking tubs, and later you rent a hale, a luxe wellness hut that includes an outdoor rain shower, hot and cold soaking tubs, a steam room, personalized scented oils, and a lovely tea and snack service.
You could simply stay at stress-relieving Sensei for the entirety of your trip, but the following morning you feel obligated to head down to the Four Seasons Lanai for a sunrise hike; after all, the destination of this outing is a viewpoint where you can take in Pu‘upehe, aka Sweetheart Rock. Looking out over the stunning vista, you reflect on how you’ve promised to stay together in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer—and it occurs to you that your vows should also have included “for sun-rises and sunsets.” —Richard Morgan
For the Wild Ones
You’ve never thought of safaris as especially romantic (practical khaki gear doesn’t really send your heart racing), but as soon as you arrive at Singita Lebombo Lodge, you find yourself overwhelmed by love—for the landscape, the animals, the privacy, and the memories you’re about to make.
The lodge’s location alone—set among magnificent rock formations and below a sky untainted by light pollution, on a private concession in South Africa’s Kruger National Park—is enough to make you and your other half swoon. Upon entering the oasis of calm that is your glass-fronted contemporary suite, you head straight for the soaking tub (which, yes, is big enough for two). You close your eyes to fully unwind, but not for long, as without even getting out of the tub you’re able to watch giraffes and elephants ambling by.
Inspired, the following morning you head out on a game drive, huddling together in the back of the Land Rover, giddy with anticipation. Will you spot a leopard in a tree? See lions tracking their prey? Will a wildebeest cross your path, or a hippo lift its head from the river? In case you’re not feeling connected enough with the landscape, after breakfast (served by staffers in a remote part of the reserve, sparkling wine included) a healer leads you through a sound bath that further immerses you in your surroundings.
In the afternoon, you recover from the rugged road by lazing around the pool and treating yourselves to a massage at the spa. At dinner, you can’t help but toast to your good fortune. Despite the property’s remote location, the food is far from rustic—tomato and burrata salads, smoked salmon with lettuce grown in the garden, and perfectly grilled steaks, accompanied by chenin blanc and pinotage from some of South Africa’s finest wineries.
On your last day, you leave your luggage in your suite, packing only the basics for Night Camp, Singita’s new sunset-to-sunrise, sleeping-under-the-stars experience. You’re both excited, if a bit scared, but you’re together—and the night turns out to be unforgettable. After dinner cooked over an open fire, you lie in your tent, on your pillow-soft mattress (you’re not really roughing it, after all), and gaze up at the Southern constellations. The only sounds you hear are the crackling of the fire, the occasional call of a lion or a leopard in the distance, and the whispered “I love you” before you fall asleep.—Mary Hollan
For the Hopeless Romantics
When you check into the Hôtel de Crillon, a Rosewood Hotel, you briefly consider spending your whole trip in your room. After all, you can see the Place de la Concorde from your window, and your bed just might be the most comfortable you’ve ever slept in—never mind the croissant crumbs littering the sheets after you indulge in a room-service breakfast with one of the world’s best cappuccinos.
Outside the door is Paris, though—and it’s everything.
It’s browsing the books and posters of the bouquinistes in their green boxes along the Seine, crossing bridges not to go anywhere specific but because the views from the middle of the river are irresistible.
It’s wandering through the Musée d’Orsay, where you marvel at van Gogh’s self-portrait, a painting you’ve only ever seen in pictures, and the Musée Rodin, where you take in every curve of The Kiss.
It’s lying next to the love of your life on a blanket in the Champ de Mars, staring up at the Eiffel Tower not because you’re too afraid of heights to go up (although that might also be true) but because everything is perfect just like this.
It’s hopping on a sightseeing cruise down the river, something you’ve always thought was a horrible tourist cliché—until you get on the boat and discover that you love being a tourist.
It’s strolling through the Marais, popping in and out of the boutiques and shops, before slipping into the hidden Jardin des Rosiers–Joseph-Migneret, where you enjoy a fresh baguette, a wedge of Brie, and a bottle of Burgundy—all purchased from artisan sellers on the same block.
It’s walking hand in hand down cobblestoned streets as the sun sinks low, the lamps come alive, and the city fills with hopeless romantics just like you.
Finally, back at the Crillon, long after night has fallen, it’s sitting in chef Paul Pairet’s new restaurant, Nonos, lights low, trading bites of the Canuts + Cucumber appetizer (which will test the bonds of your new betrothal when there’s only one bite left). Paris, you agree between sips of Ruinart rosé, is the perfect place for your honeymoon—but why stop there? Next year is your anniversary, after all.—Rob Carpenter
For the Hungry Honeymooners
Your goal is to devour the best that Italy has to offer, from its art and history to its food and wine. Whether your priority is what’s on the museum walls or the kitchen table, Tuscany is the obvious destination. You begin your journey, of course, in Florence, where Michelangelo’s David and Botticelli’s Birth of Venus vie for your attention. To stay in the middle of the action, you check into the city’s most historic hotel, the Helvetia & Bristol. The location was once home to a Roman bath, and you spend your first morning in the new subterranean spa, sighing and squealing as you alternate between thermal baths, steam rooms, and saunas.
Florence’s compact city center is very walkable, and in one action-packed day you manage to visit the Duomo, Piazza della Signoria, Uffizi Galleries (for the Birth of Venus), and San Lorenzo Market before you take in the sunset while toasting with spritzes at La Terrazza, the rooftop bar at the Hotel Continentale. After aperitivo, you cross the Arno River for dinner at Michelin-starred Borgo San Jacopo, where you luxuriate in chef Claudio Mengoni’s tasting menu—with wine pairings, of course.
Just when you feel Stendhal syndrome coming on, you escape to the countryside for a few days of relaxation. Driving through the rolling hills of Tuscany, you feel as if you’re in a postcard, and when you arrive at Borgo San Felice—a Relais & Châteaux hotel set in a collection of restored stone buildings—your heart skips a beat. Is this real life?
Seeking to cover every inch of the vineyard-laced countryside, you rent a Vespa and motor over to the Renaissance city of Pienza to visit the hanging garden at the 15th-century Palazzo Piccolomini. Your gastronomic exploits, meanwhile, include learning to make local specialties like pici pasta at Podere il Casale, a farm and restaurant in the hills of the scenic Val d’Orcia. Of course, there’s also the wine tasting—at Tenuta Perano, an estate in Gaiole in Chianti run by the noble Frescobaldi family’s 30th generation of wine-makers, and at the humbler Poderi Boscarelli, a small, family-run winery that has produced Vino Nobile di Montepulciano since the 1960s.
Over a final meal of pappardelle with wild boar ragout at Borgo San Felice’s superb Osteria il Grigio, you reflect on your time under the Tuscan sun. Perfect as it has been, it makes you wonder about the rest of Italy, from Lake Como in the north to the Amalfi Coast in the south. Whoever said you’re only allowed one honeymoon? —Laura Itzkowitz
For the Sun-Seeking Sweethearts
You might find yourself, as you gaze from your balcony into beautiful blue water, wondering what your future as a young couple holds. Wonder no longer; rather, look out at the other balconies that line the facade of The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba. Most of these, you notice, are occupied by couples as well—a card catalog of connubial circumstance that (perhaps) reveals your future.
While there is a kids club and a family pool, this Ritz-Carlton is full of couples who are on getaways, having left their children with the grandparents. Most of the chaise longues set up on the white-sand beach are occupied by these veteran, medium-vintage couples. In their presence, as you sip rum cocktails delivered by men zooming around on all-terrain Segways, you feel the warmth of the sun and the familiarity of long-term commitment. You hear queries like, “Honey, did you put on sunscreen? Remember what the dermatologist said.” You notice that he reads a Kindle while she reads a paperback, and that they are as mild and gentle with each other as the waves of the lapping sea are on the pristine beach.
The beach, of course, is why you’re here, and though you could while away the day in that chaise longue, you know you’ll create more memories by saddling up for a horseback riding experience on the north coast at Rancho La Ponderosa or by taking a sunset cruise aboard one of Red Sail Sports’ luxury catamarans—along with all the other couples lacing their hands together in contentedness.
Back at the Ritz, you indulge in the lavish spa’s Deseo pa Dos couples experience—a honey scrub and aromatherapy massage that culminates with 30 blissful, solitary minutes in the hydrotherapy bath. Is it cliché to have chocolate-covered strawberries and Champagne afterward? Yes, but you’ll love every second of it.
On your last evening, over the smooth jazz of a local trombonist at Casa Nonna New York, the resort’s very good Italian restaurant, you’ll hear your neighbors making small talk over handmade pansotti di zucca and decadent veal ragù agnolotti. (No Lady and the Tramp spaghetti-sucking here.) Strangely, you find eavesdropping on the chitchat— witnessing how love changes, grows, and lasts—almost as relaxing as your massage. You’re grateful to have glimpsed a future that might be yours.
That night, in the casino, you play Double Diamond slot machines and hope that in life and love, as well as in Aruba, you hit the jackpot. —Joshua David Stein