Few travel decisions are as weighty as deciding where to honeymoon. No surprise many newlyweds choose all-inclusive resorts: Pay one price and leave worries and wallets behind. Imagine your most extravagant fantasies, from private torch-lit beach dinners to personal butler service, plus a whole range of activities in exotic locales that promote rest, relaxation, and romance à deux. These five resorts (narrowed down from heaps of idyllic options around the world) are the cream of the crop; they’re so swooningly romantic, you’d want to propose there if you weren’t already…married.
Soufrière, St. Lucia
The setting of this stunning boutique resort, 600 feet above St. Lucia’s rugged southwest coast, isn’t just dramatic: It’s a literal cliff-hanger. Architect/owner Nick Troubetzkoy and wife Karolin carved the hideaway from the bluff with unimpeded views of the iconic twin Pitons, St. Lucia’s UNESCO World Heritage site. And every element of the resort blends seamlessly with its stunning surroundings. Cocoon in one of the 28 suites, open on one side to nature, with soaring 15-foot ceilings and infinity pools that flow out of the bedroom and living areas. Each bathroom is unique, but all offer stainless steel showers and whirpool tubs for two. Your major domo, summoned by your cell phone, psychically intuits your needs, while James Beard Award-winning chef Allen Susser is at the helm of the resort’s culinary offerings, which uses ingredients from the resort’s two organic plantations.
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Rates from $1,658/couple ($1,894 high season); you must request the all-inclusive Romance package.
Insider Tip: Visit the resort’s second beach, Anse Mamin, savor burgers at its jungle grill, then amble into the adjacent working 18th-century plantation, noted for production of cashews to cacao (tours are available with Meno, a font of herbal folklore and local information).
Triple Creek Ranch
The ambience is nothing if not amorous at this remote, ravishing Relais et Châteaux retreat straddling 600 acres of Montana’s spectacular Bitterroot National Forest. The emphasis is on truly getting away from it all (many of the 23 lavish log cabins sit a half-mile or more from the main lodge). Lodge-pole beds, Western-themed quilts, majestic photos, and world-class local artworks impart a cowboy-chic aesthetic that honors the region’s ranching heritage. Low-key yet high-tech, you’ll be roughing it in style with modern conveniences from Blu-Ray players to private outdoor hot tubs, WiFi to wood-burning fireplaces. Foodies will salivate over chef Jacob Leatherman’s scintillating seasonal, farm-to-table fare and extensive wine cellar. All-inclusive rates depending on the season include trail rides, hikes, tennis, fly-casting lessons, snowshoeing, and more. Additional activities for a surcharge include helicopter tours, photo safaris (capture America’s Big Five of elk, bear, bighorn sheep, moose, and mountain lion), cattle drives, horseback riding, wildlife watching, and snowmobiling. We love the intensive weekend workshops focusing on photography, cooking, wine, and horsemanship.
Rates from $950/couple.
Insider Tip: The four-night Mountain Romance getaway packages offer a discount (additional days are even cheaper) on the Luxury Cabin plus heartwarming extras from a couple’s massage with champagne and chocolates upon arrival.
Hua Hin, Thailand
Thai kings chose Hua Hin, a town caught between mountains and sea about 125 miles south of Bangkok, for their summer palace. Today, amid seven acres of lush gardens and untouched beach, this relaxed retreat makes guests feel like royalty. Since its 1995 opening, Chiva Som has become the Holy Grail for stressed-out urbanites seeking to Zen and zone out: regular Elle Macpherson calls it “Club Med for holistic junkies.” Indeed, the high-powered clientele seeking a low-key holiday has included Serena Williams, David and Victoria Beckham, Jude Law, and Kate Moss. Upon arrival you’re met by a health and wellness consultant who, after taking your medical history, body measurements, weight, and blood pressure will tailor a personalized program from more than 120 treatments and activities to suit your needs (cooking classes, meditation, yoga, tai chi, stress management, massages, anti-aging regimens). Each stay comes with a daily massage, and coddling is guaranteed, thanks to a staff-guest ratio of 5 to 1. Though the resort is serious about wellness, no one scolds you for skipping Pilates or sipping wine while admiring the sunset. There are 58 pavilions and oceanfront bedrooms, the latter affording views of the Gulf of Thailand. The resort’s organic gardens supply most of the well-balanced meals. Is it any wonder that Chiva Som translates to “Haven of Life” in English?
Rates from $530/couple.
Insider Tip: Indulge in the South Indian Body Pampering treatment, derived from healing Kerala practices, in which three therapists simultaneously rub, scrub, and exfoliate your body until you glow inside and out.
Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun
With surprisingly sophisticated fare and an incomparable location on one of the area’s best beaches, this Secrets outpost offers stellar service in a sensuous setting. With lush tropical gardens on one side and pearly sands with azure blue waters, it’s easy to ignore the resort’s size (412 rooms, including swim-out suites that access one of 12 pools from their patios). The canny layout feels intimate with buildings staggered amid the 500 acres, abounding in nooks and crannies ideal for relaxing à deux. The design combines luxury with casual comfort, with island touches. Warm jewel-like tones distinguish both the rooms and restaurants. The seven eateries feature remarkably delicious fare for an all-inclusive resort, with the views at Oceana and bistro classics at Bordeaux among the standouts. To ensure you won’t sit too heavily in the lap of luxury, there’s plenty to do. Adrenaline addicts appreciate the array of activities, from windsurfing to water aerobics, scuba diving to dance lessons. But you can also choose to kick back in the sybaritic Secrets Spa by Pevonia, or chill underneath a palapa between the expansive infinity pool and that magnificent stretch of sand. Opt for the Unlimited-Luxury package, including 24-hour concierge and room service, as well as unlimited connectivity in case you can’t resist the lure of civilization.
Rates from $553/couple.
Insider Tip: Book ahead for the arguably the resort’s most popular options, a teppanyaki table at Himitsu (the only onsite restaurant requiring reservations) and the cabanas (we adore the luxurious double-decker option).
Fiji is legendary for its pampering private island gems. But Turtle Island—the setting for numerous Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue shoots—practically redefines romance, its natural splendor outshining even those beauties. Celeb honeymooners have included Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson, Trista & Ryan Sutter, and Olympic swimmer Grant Hackett and singer Candice Alley (don’t blame Turtle Island for the divorce rate). The awe-inspiring approach via seaplane skims shimmering blue waters, and the staff welcomes you “home” upon arrival with a booming “Bula!”. There are just 14 individual bures (thatched bungalows), one for each private beach. The resort was created partly to preserve the ecosystem, and the buildings were handcrafted with predominantly local materials. You’ll find four-poster beds, sunken Jacuzzis, double hammocks, Pure Fiji body products, and bespoke art. Each couple gets their own Bure Mama, part personal concierge and part butler, who tends to every whim. Explore the 500-acre landfall via hiking trails or horseback rides, then snorkel or sail through the iridescent water. She can organize intimate dining experiences like picnic beach lunches and dinners by lantern light on a floating pontoon. Or join the handful of other guests for community meals showcasing ingredients from the organic hydroponic gardens. After feasting indulge in the traditional Fijian kava ceremony; the friendly staffers (most from three nearby villages) delight in sharing their local culture.
Rates from $2,079/couple.
Insider Tip: Sustainability is important to owner/founder Richard Evanson; go deep-sea fishing and your catch could end up as a local specialty like kokoda, a Fijian take on ceviche.
Photo credits: Jade Mountain courtesy of Jade Mountain; Triple Creek Ranch courtesy of Triple Creek Ranch; Chiva-Som courtesy of Chiva-Som; Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun courtesy of Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun; Turtle Island courtesy of Turtle Island