These 2018 luxury honeymoon getaways promise romance, relaxation and a bit of adventure to kick off your life together.
By Susan Peck
After you’ve made it left-hand official, the next stop for just-married couples is the honeymoon. Today’s newlyweds are looking for a unique and Instagram-worthy trip that will make lasting memories for years to come.
Whether your definition of a dream honeymoon is five-star luxury and romance all the way, or an epic journey deep into a culture you’ve never explored, it should be exactly what you and your partner want it to be.
“Before you even get started with any of the travel plans the most important question to ask pre-honeymoon is ‘What is my ‘must-have’ on this trip?’ “ says Ron Otto, independent travel specialist for Direct Travel Luxe Detroit. “Once you answer this, you will be well on your way to deciding where you will go and what you will do.
Expectations are different for each person, and you don’t want to return home and find yourself missing out on the one thing you really had your heart set on experiencing.”
Otto — formerly a personal assistant to fashion designer Donatella Versace, where he learned firsthand about designing luxury vacations — says popular honeymoons today are “experiential and set in exotic locations where you can combine both relaxation and adventure.”
Linda Munson, travel advisor at Royal International Travel Service in Beverly Hills, points out that for many couples, this is the longest and “most anticipated vacation of their lives.”
“So they want to make the absolute most of the whole experience,” she says.
SEEN talked to top luxury travel experts to get the best bespoke honeymoon recommendations for the vacation of your dreams. Here is a gathering of the experts’ top trending luxe honeymoon getaways for 2018:
Bora Bora and Moorea: Part of the islands making up the French Polynesia, they are ultimate exotic beach destinations known for coral fringed lagoons, towering waterfalls and over-the-water bungalows with every service and amenity. Roseann Konke, travel specialist at Gateway Travel in Farmington Hills, likes to combine the tropical getaways with other destinations. “I find many couples like to do a west coast stop-over in either San Francisco or Beverly Hills because it’s just an eight-hour flight from Los Angeles to Bora Bora, or Moorea,” Konke says.
“Again, it’s combining the excitement of the city life and fine dining on the west coast and then the romance and privacy being on the peninsula of Bora Bora with no cars and miles of black and white sandy beaches or the beautiful mountains for hiking or biking in Moorea.”
Sri Lanka and Maldives: After the whirlwind of the wedding, an easy escape where you can decompress make the Maldives the perfect choice. It doesn’t get much better than Como Cocoa Island with some of the world’s best pristine sands, snorkeling and diving.
And then on to biodiverse Sri Lanka with its stunning coastline and beaches as well as mountains, lush mangroves, wildlife and fascinating ancient culture.
“I just planned a honeymoon where the couple first did an exciting safari in Sri Lanka, toured the tea plantations, took in the city life there and then ended in the Maldives staying in an over-water bungalow with panoramic views of the Indian Ocean,” Munson says.
Morocco: Indigenous Berber villages, ancient Kasbah architecture and camel trekking tours are all part of the stunning desert experience where you can picnic in the ruins of the Roman Empire’s most southerly outpost, weave through Fez’s labyrinthine alleyways and stargaze in the sublime darkness of the Sahara.
Visit Marrakech and check out the snake charmers, or hike the snow-capped peaks of the Atlas Mountains. Kasbah Tamadot is ideally positioned for total mountain chill-out as well as exploring the buzzing city. ”Something really romantic and special to do there is to visit one of the fine perfumeries and make your own honeymoon fragrance together to mark the moment,” Munson says.
European river cruising: “River cruises are trending with younger honeymooners,” Otto says. “Uniworld has river cruises exclusively for those 40 and under, catering to millennials that want to see many parts of Europe, including romantic Portugal and France, while staying in one luxury suite.”
Travel agents can arrange private tours at sightseeing spots, and the culinary experience is “top notch,” Otto adds. “One of the recent cruises had the Iron Chef Asia preparing spectacular dishes.”
Pop-up pods: There are pop-up bars, shops and restaurants — now you can have a glamping pop-up honeymoon. From the salt flats of Bolivia to the Thai jungle, a team will set up your glam pop-up tent for you and even move your pod to a few different locations. For something more local, check out Collective Yellowstone Retreat at Moonlight Basin in Montana, or Dunton River Glamping Resort in Colorado.
Mini-moons: When couples just want a quick three- or four-night getaway right after the wedding until they can take a proper honeymoon, the mini-moon is the perfect answer.
Travel experts recommend these luxury properties for a quickie vacay: Acqualina Resort & Spa in Sunny Isle Beach, Florida; Enchantment Resort in Sedona, Arizona; Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona and Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa in Rancho Santa Fe, California.
Wherever you decide to go for your honeymoon, remember that the experiences you have will make memories for a lifetime.
“Positive, strong memories are made by connecting to the destination in some way,” Otto says, “so getting out of the hotel room and experiencing the local culture and activities together as a couple is the very best way to do that.”
For more travel information:
28470 13 Mile Rd., Suite 200, Farmington Hills
Royal International Travel Service
31455 Southfield Rd., Beverly Hills
Direct Travel Luxe specialist Ron Otto