Choosing a destination for your honeymoon can prove nearly as challenging a task as finding "the one." And since honeymoons are supposed to be relaxing, we've taken the guesswork out of finding that perfect postnuptial destination for fall. Read on for five top honeymoon destination picks that promise to start your happily-ever-after off right.
What could be more romantic than a honeymoon in Paris? Audrey Hepburn hit the nail on the head when she said, "Paris is always a good idea." And Paris in the fall is especially nice since there are fewer crowds than in summer and more affordable prices, too. Paris offers an endless array of cultural pursuits like world-class museums, swoon-worthy sights, and some of the finest restaurants and bakeries in the world (bonjour, pastries!). But what makes the city of light so magical is its indescribable je ne sais quoi, which can only be truly discovered by getting lost among its many quaint side streets, charming boulevards, cozy cafés, and specialty shops.
Where to Stay: Le Meurice
Treat yourselves like royalty and check into Le Meurice, the hotel that earned itself the nickname "the hotel of kings and queens." Esteemed guests like Queen Victoria, Salvador Dali, and Beyoncé have all rested their heads at this sophisticated gem. Located in central Paris, just opposite the Tuileries Gardens and steps away from the Louvre, Le Meurice offers opulent decor (recently revisited by Philippe Starck), plenty of modern amenities, and a 3-star Michelin restaurant. If you're really looking to splurge, ask about the Belle Etoile suite, which occupies the hotel's entire seventh floor.
For the perfect Stateside honeymoon this fall, you won't find anywhere more romantic than California's Wine Country. Autumn is an excellent time to visit, when the summer crowds have thinned out and "crush" time offers visitors the chance to see the wineries in action as they harvest the grapes. Wine aficionados will rejoice, and foodies will exult in locally sourced epicurean delights. Romantics can take in the picture-perfect vineyard views on a hot air balloon ride, and couples looking for relaxation can pamper themselves with vino-themed treatments at top area spas.
Where to Stay: Auberge du Soleil
For breathtaking views over Napa Valley and a setting oozing Mediterranean flair, cozy up at Auberge du Soleil, an outstanding Relais & Châteaux-rated hotel. This exclusive country retreat boasts impressive guestroom amenities like jetted soaking tubs, original artwork, wood-burning fireplaces, and private terraces. And after a long day of touring the vineyards, guests can unwind at the hotel's incredible pool and spa.
Revel in post-wedding bliss in Riviera Nayarit, a low-key region on Mexico's Pacific coast. Nestled in the Sierra Madre, Riviera Nayarit is famous for its fine, white-sand beaches; blue waters; eco-friendliness; diverse wildlife (whale-watching is very popular); and authentic Mexican charm. Because it's your honeymoon, we recommend heading to the über-exclusive gated enclave of Punta Mita for some well-deserved luxuriating.
Where to Stay: St. Regis Punta Mita Resort
Because most of your time here will be spent at your hotel, stay at St. Regis Punta Mita Resort and be properly spoiled. Enjoy personalized butler service, a Remède spa, a separate adults-only pool, and easy access to two Jack Nicklaus golf courses.
4. ABC Islands
Start your happily-ever-after basking in the sun on Aruba, Bonaire, or Curaçao. Set in the Caribbean's sweet spot for weather, these three islands offer a near-perfect climate year-round, with a location blissfully removed from the so-called hurricane belt. Although Aruba may be the trio's best-known isle, don't discount laid-back Bonaire and Curaçao, where azure waters and fantastic coral reef diving attract visitors from around the world.
Where to Stay: Baoase Luxury Resort
For complete seclusion in an idyllic Caribbean setting, dive headfirst into paradise at Baoase Luxury Resort. Tucked away on stunning Curaçao, this Balinese-inspired retreat features fantastic diving and snorkeling in coral reefs located just outside of its own private lagoon. While you're here, spend some time, too, in the nearby historic UNESCO World Heritage site, Willemstad.
Adventurous couples should celebrate their nuptials with a spirited escape to South America. Explore the breathtaking landscapes of Patagonia, and tour romantic wineries set high in the Andes in Mendoza and just outside of Santiago. Once you've had your fill of the great outdoors, experience the cosmopolitan oasis of Buenos Aires. Often referred to as the "Paris of South America," the Argentinian capital offers a rich history, European sophistication, and Latin flavor. Whether you're enjoying a sizzling Argentinean steak at a local parrilla (steakhouse) or dancing the night away at a milonga (tango club), urban-minded couples will find plenty of ways to fuel their passions in this stylish city.
Where to Stay: Four Seasons Buenos Aires
For a contemporary luxury experience, check out the recently refurbished Four Seasons Buenos Aires, located in Recoleta, the poshest 'hood in town. Enjoy a tranquil escape from bustling Buenos Aires and relax at its Roman-style outdoor (heated) pool or posh spa. The hotel's staff is consistently doting and willing to do anything it takes to make your stay a memorable one.
Katie Goldstein is a freelance travel journalist based in New York City. In addition to Fodor's, her writing and photographs have appeared on Forbes and CBS.com. Keep up with Katie's adventures on her travel blog, Travelingpanties, Twitter, and Instagram.
Photo credits: Paris, Sonoma, Riviera Nayarit, Curacao all via Dreamstime.com; Four Seasons Buenos Aires courtesy of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts