Your marriage vows are planned and the wedding cake is on its way, but you still can’t figure out where to go for that all-important honeymoon! Try one of the following exotic and opulent spots and be prepared to put your friends’ honeymoon photos to shame (prices quoted are per night for two people in a double room).
For Adventure Down Under Longitude 131, Ayers Rock, Australia. Uluru, as the Aboriginal people call majestic Ayers Rock, has a revered place in the hearts of Australia’s native inhabitants. The ultimate way to experience the pure light and mystery that infuse the area is to book a stay at Longitude 131. The eco-sensitive resort seamlessly blends into the borders of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, and your luxury tent looks straight out onto the rocks for front row seats to majestic sunrises and sunsets. Romantic outback dinners make the most of the scintillating southern night sky; private guides for sunrise walks and park treks are part of the package. 15 rooms, bar, pool. $1,355, including meals, drinks, activities, and transfers.
For “Out of Africa” Fantasists Mombo Camp, Okavango Delta, Botswana. Deep in the Moremi Game Reserve, in the beautiful Botswana bush, this deluxe-tented camp anticipates your every desire while getting you as close to nature as possible. How close? Well, you might find buffalo sleeping underneath your platformed room, or you might hear baboons skittering across your tent top. Your knowledgeable guide drives the open safari car that will take you in search of lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards and other creatures that inhabit the reserve. Meals will amaze you with their intricacy (African-inspired Contintental fare) as will the rooms with their African elegance. The staff is ready to respond to your every need, and the location is magnificent. 9 rooms, pool. $2,400, including meals, drinks, activities, and transfers.
For Cold Comfort The Ice Hotel, Québec, Canada. To some, a vacation means lounging in a skimpy bikini on the sand; for others it means five layers of long johns! If the latter sounds right for you, spend one of your first nights as man and wife in the crystal-like grandeur of Québec’s seasonal Ice Palace Hotel, built out of 500 tons of ice and 150,000 tons of snow. After a gourmet dinner, drinks are served in ice-cube glasses on a carved ice bar. When you retire, a double mummy sack snuggled in a stack of furs (on top of a slab of ice) will keep the two of you just millimeters apart and out of the negative-degree temps. If, however, the cold puts a damper on things, head over to the charming Auberge Duchesnay, where a room is held for you (gratis) until morning. 34 rooms, restaurant, bar. $400 including meals and some beverages.
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For Tropical Island Dreamers Pacific Resort Aitutaki, Aitutaki, Cook Islands. Nick and Jessica went to Turtle Island, ruining its Blue Lagoon mystique forever, but the South Pacific still has some hidden treasures. Aitutaki is a pristine island set within a lagoon completely enclosed by a barrier reef. As a result, the crystal waters are ideal for snorkeling or swimming, and the undisturbed snow-white sand perfect for lounging. This is a destination that is synonymous with relaxation, but the island is also an excellent place to experience true South Pacific culture, dancing, and food. 30 rooms, restaurant, bar, pool, spa, beach. $520.
For Garden Delights Ubud Hanging Gardens, Bali, Indonesia. Put your beach fantasies of Bali aside and embrace this lush corner of the world. Perched on the hills of the Ayung River Valley and surrounded by a rain forest is Ubud Hanging Gardens, a resort where thatched villas set on wooden pillars are interspersed with, well, hanging gardens. The greenery is lovely, it’s true, but the plunge pools are the ne plus ultra in aqueous luxury. These are not your typical plunge pools — each one is positioned to allow guests to gaze out upon the resort’s verdant and peaceful surroundings. Other diversions include spa treatments, yoga, and Balinese cooking classes. 38 villas, restaurant, bar, pool, spa. $266.
The Beach as Pleasure Dome The Datai, Langkawi, Malaysia. Relax in a magical enclave where pristine rain forest meets an unspoiled beach and sparkling sea. The plush and modern hotel is designed for comfort, and the crack staff is waiting to fulfill your every sybaritic dream. Yet for all the emphasis on luxury, The Datai is surprisingly in tune with the diverse ecology that comprises the island: virgin rain forest, wildlife, a grand waterfall, and limestone caves. The best way to appreciate the surroundings is to occupy one of the rain forest villas, set up on stilts and connected to the main resort by a suspended walkway. Emerge from your posh villa for superb Thai, Malaysian, or French meals and, of course, the gorgeous Langkawi Beach. 103 rooms, 3 restaurants, bar, 2 pools, spa, 18-hole golf course, beach, 2 tennis courts. $515.
For Culture Buffs Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, Machu Picchu, Peru. Cocoon within a ruin in the Andes Mountains, 8,000 feet above sea level. One of the many unique aspects of staying at Sanctuary Lodge is the opportunity to take a private sunset tour to the Sacred Valley of the Incas with a local shaman (who shares secrets of the sacred site). After your spiritual journey, indulge in earthly delights that include champagne and a multi-course dinner in the Orient Express-run hotel. Opt for a room with a terrace so you can soak in the views of the magnificent mountain peaks and Urubamba River in the valley below. 68 rooms, restaurant, bar. $782 including meals.
A Wonder of the World? River Club, Victoria Falls, Zambia. For the ultimate in thundering falls and shrouds of ethereal mist, Africa has the answer in Victoria Falls. Just upriver from the falls is River Club, a unique amalgam of British civility and natural wonder. Manicured lawns lead to treetop duplexes that have only three walls, leaving your rose petal-covered bed open to the soothing sound of the flowing Zambezi River. Mosquito netting keeps the bugs out, electric fences protect you from roaming wildlife, and a top-notch staff will deliver a gin-and-tonic to your claw-foot tub when the moment calls (or you can opt for a champagne picnic on a private island in the middle of the river). Staff will also escort you to the falls, and if you feel the need to get wet, guides will give you the skinny on rafting and bungi jumping. 10 chalets, pool. $920, including all meals, beverages, Victoria Falls tour, boat rides, and some activities.
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