Dream Honeymoons: Villa Havens
For dream holidays with friends, your go-to plan for years has been renting snazzy vacation houses to share for communal fun. So, when you sat down to devise your honeymoon a deux, he said: “Let’s get a house somewhere awesome.” You nodded — then frowned. “Wait a minute,” you said, coyly twisting his tie and pulling his face toward yours. “We’ll be living in a house for the rest of our lives. Let’s get a hotel.” A discussion ensued, which resulted in the perfect compromise: a house at a hotel. “That’s the best kind of house,” you said. “Butlers, private beaches, room service, intimate plunge pools. Now more than ever honeymooners have a penchant to hide away from everyone else — even when already traveling to a far flung corner of the world. Luckily, a slew of superlative haunts across the globe offer dazzling villas, each set apart from the rest of the resort, but completely supported by its coddling staff and accessible to its beguiling amenities. Try these New Orleans Bride-tested romantic roosts to sequester with style.
Mystique Santorini | Greece
Sunsets get rave reviews in Santorini. But this Greek island, rimmed by a caldera and cobalt lagoon, also pulls gravitas for its mysterious connection to the legendary lost city of Atlantis. Feel the magic at Mystiques, a symphony of classic, curvy, white Cycladic architecture and Greek-style enchantment. With suites and villas hewed into the cliffs, like opulent caves, the hotel ensures couples can gape at panoramic views of the breathtaking Aegean Sea. Choose from three commodious villa options, each with private pool, complimentary champagne breakfast and personal fitness room. When not luxuriating in your suite, explore Oia, hike, sail around the island, gobble feta cheese and sample Greek wine.
Entre Cielos | Argentina
M is for marriage, Mendoza and Malbec, to that tremendous triad, add another group of three that start with V—vamping, villas and vineyards. To fulfil every oenophile’s fantasy, stay at boutique-y Entre Cielos Luxury Wine Hotel & Spa, a member of Small Luxury Hotels, located in the heart of the Argentine wine country. Here, bike paths beckon, as do vinotherapy treatments (think: wine baths), hot air balloon rides, lazy afternoon swims, yoga and picnics galore. Surrounded by 1200 vineyards, the hotel facilitates winemaker meet and greets and peerless tastings. Snuggle together in a vineyard Loft Suite Limited Edition, a stilt-footed, glass-walled, elegantly appointed bungalow that lords over the vines — complete with an outdoor tub.
Mandarin Oriental Canouan | Caribbean
Vanish from the radar on tiny, hilly Canouan, part of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Already intimate with just 26 suites and 13 villas, the swish Mandarin Oriental exudes barefoot elegance. Loll about on its pink sand beach, tee off at its Jim Fazio golf course or ascend by funicular to the mountain top to be massaged in an atmospheric wooden spa hut. Back at your hillside-ensconced Patio Villa, a vast haven, with sleek Italian-designed interiors and equipped with personal golf carts, sip a cold drink on your terrace, which seems to hover above the sea. Dinners can be set up by your butler in unique locations — such as a private island or on the 13th-hole of the golf course.
San Ysidro Ranch | Santa Barbara, CA
Canoodle like John and Jacqueline Kennedy who honeymooned at this lair amongst swaths of southern California’s storied wine country. Alternatively, you could write a book as Winston Churchill did here or rest by the pool as Audrey Hepburn preferred — her iconic sunglasses in place. You get the picture. That could be the two of you, strolling beside the lilac and olive lined lanes, exploring the veritable acres of untrammeled terrain, smelling the sea from your cottage’s terrace. Splurge on the 2,000-square-foot Kennedy Cottage, replete with an immense courtyard and sigh-worthy ocean views. Known for exceptional dining, with 17 miles of hiking trails and in-room spa service, this luxe ranch can customize sunset sails, private yoga, sound meditation, wine tastings and more.
Four Seasons Resort Bali At Jimbaran Bay | Bali
Write your own rendition of “Eat, Pray, Love” in faraway Bali, a paradise of emerald-hued rice paddies, leafy jungles, fragrant flowers, playful monkeys, mystical temples and churning seas. Tuck into this legendary resort’s airy, stand-alone suites, each boasting such breathtaking extras as an outdoor tub surrounded by a private stone-walled garden and views of the unfathomably cobalt sea. Built to evoke a Balinese village of yore, the hotel pampers couples with extra touches, such as baths drawn with rose petals and incense, outdoor pools filled with flowers petals, dinner in the garden, breakfast floating on trays in the suite’s pool and indigenously designed spa treatments. Diversify at the resort’s other magical property near Ubud, Four Seasons Sayan, where the River Villas have rooftop meditation decks.
Banyan Hill Estate | Seychelles
In the exotic, impossible to imagine Seychelles, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean off the coast of East Africa, Fregate Island appears like a mirage. Here, sweethearts can take over not just their own villa, but their own peninsula. Banyan Hill Estate, with a private pool and plenty of space to play, includes private butler service. Be assured your assistant knows all the best places for sundowner cocktails and dinners al fresco. Activities, such as snorkeling, windsurfing, scuba diving and deep sea diving, fill sun-dappled days, while memorable conservation-oriented moments (think assisting with turtle hatchings) provide lovebirds with a sense of giving back to the locale.
Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Bungalows | Scottsdale, Arizona
Romance ignites in the dramatic desert terrain that surrounds vibrant Scottsdale. With otherworldly rock formations, crayon-box colorful sunsets, cacti as tall as human beings and plenty to do — from award-winning golf courses to cowboy adventures by horseback to dune driving — this western city has a notable gastronomic portfolio. Check into the buzzy Andaz, set on 23 acres near Camelback Mountain. It blends midcentury modern design with local art and culture to showcase its Sonoran Desert environs. Isolate blissfully in Albers House, a two-bedroom villa, stashed away from the rest of the resort in a section aptly called The Retreat. Soaking tubs, an outdoor shower and a fireplace await.