You’ve said your vows —now what? It’s time to launch your new life with a memory-packed vacation. But, where to go? The options can overwhelm, especially if you want a trip as unique as your wedding. That’s why we’ve scoured the globe for some of 2020’s most exciting honeymoon possibilities.
Just an hour from Paris, in France’s Loire Valley, immaculately restored Chateau du Grand-Luce anchors a characteristic village, so idyllic it might come from the pages of “Beauty and the Beast.” A bonafide castle retreat with just 17 distinctive guest suites, the 18th-century Neoclassic masterpiece was built by a baron to showcase the most modern and opulent design elements of his era. To whit, the 40,000-square-foot mansion lords over 80 acres of garden, boasting interiors abundant with priceless antiques and furnishings — tapestries, artwork, fabrics, gild, crystal and woodwork. Days pass languorously with picnics on the lawn, afternoons around the swimming pool, and energetic explorations of the historic maze, all supported by bespoke valet service. Base at The Chateau to explore the region’s famous castles and wineries.
Room to Book: The Baron’s Suite, a four-room enclave — like having a mini-chateau all to yourself.
Add On: Begin in glamorous Paris. Choose the lavishly urbane Le Bristol, the City of Light’s’ most splendid hotel, where some rooms vaunt views of the Eiffel Tower.
For the ultimate contrast to wedding hubbub, cast yourself into the realms of farther flung Africa, among the red sands of the remote Namib region, the world’s oldest desert. A six-hour drive or one-hour flight from Windhoek, the nation’s capital, Sonop appears as a mirage amid red sand dunes, otherworldly boulders, grazing antelope and vast open spaces. Built into a cluster of immense rocks, the resort comprises a handful of fully kitted out upscale tents, complete with transportive antiques (from photographs to books to luggage chests to silver candlesticks), chandeliers, luxurious beds and clawfoot tubs. Gourmet meals, a swimming pool and spa, and guide-led activities, such as game drives, sunrise breakfast atop the dunes, and fat tire bike rides through the wilderness fill the warm desert days.
Room to Book: All one bedroom tents sport outstanding views.
Add On: Sonop’s sister property, Omaanda, near Windhoek, overlooks a wildlife watering hole. Thanks to its collaboration with Naankuse, Namibia’s revered conservation trust, your stay supports displaced animals and the environment.
Get your “Game of Throne” groove on in Iceland, where many of the popular series’ scenes were filmed. The land of glaciers, geysers, rainbows, waterfalls, Northern Lights and rumbling volcanoes inspires awe and encourages a yen for active pursuits. To immerse — literally — in Iceland’s largesse, choose The Retreat at the Blue Lagoon, a spa hotel like no other place on Earth. Built to connect with the island nation’s number one tourist attraction, the Blue Lagoon, a thermal water pool complex just 20 minutes from Keflavik Airport, the upscale hideaway has been hewed into an ancient lava field. Sleekly designed, rife with windows, it has its own mineral-rich healing waters, restaurants, a subterranean, warren-like spa, and activities from yoga to guide-led mountain hikes. Don’t miss the do-it-yourself Blue Lagoon Ritual, a three-station experience, which includes a variety of body masks.
Room To Book: The romantic Lagoon Suite has a private pool, perfect for honeymooners.
Add On: Visit northern Iceland with a trip to Deplar Farm, an all-inclusive countryside hideaway geared to please extreme sport enthusiasts.
Thirsty? Wine aficionados can unwind from wedding stress when they explore an unexpected wine region — the United Kingdom. Touted for terrain and a climate that mirrors the Champagne terroir in France, four of England’s counties have made award-winning inroads with both sparkling and still wines. Visit Hampshire, Sussex, Surrey and Kent for an imbiber’s assortment of vineyards, wineries and gastronomy — not to mention history. Join a qualified customized wine tour led by passionate oenophiles, such as Justin Lay of English Wine Tasting Tours or drive yourselves (on the other side of the road) at any pace you like. Plan to include culinary stops in Whitstable for oysters, at Michelin-starred Fordwich Arms (Chef Daniel Smith’s savvy restaurant is located in a decades-old pub), Macknade Fine Foods and Chesil Rectory — among others. Not to miss wineries and distilleries include Chapel Down, Denbies Wine Estate, Simpsons Wine Estate, Biddenden Vineyards, Hambledon Vineyard, Bombay Sapphire Distillery and Bolney Wine Estate, though the country has some 500 wine-land options. Base in historic inns, such as The Spread Eagle (one of England’s oldest coaching inns), located in Midhurst.
Room to Book: Choose the Queen’s Suite at The Spread Eagle Hotel, where Elizabeth I stayed. It even has a 15th-century wig closet.
Add On: Rather than rushing, linger in the magnificent historic cities found in these counties — such as Canterbury and Winchester. For a treat, book a bread making class at Artisan Bakehouse in West Sussex.
Two swimming holes, scores of antiques, a rushing river, spring wildflowers, nearby wineries, barbecue joints galore and a coterie of artistic residents define the little Hill Country town of Wimberley, less than an hour from Austin. An easy flight or drive from New Orleans, this Texan village beneath the cypress trees ensures chill out mode for honeymooners looking for a casual break. Glamp at the Collective Hill Country, a retreat which overlooks Montesino Ranch. Romantic and secluded, the upscale hideaway redefines camping with spacious, opulent tents. Each features en-suite bathrooms, a wood burning stove, sumptuous fabrics and 1,500 thread count linens on the king-sized beds. Spend your days exploring the Hill Country’s array of wineries (and breweries), zip lining, diving into the famous Blue Hole natural pool or just relaxing on your tent’s ample deck. Farm-to-table gastronomic dinners and stargazing complete the evenings. Sign up for the camp’s Beer, Brining and Branding class — a must for gastronomes.
Room To Book: The Summit Tent Honeymoon Suite
Add On: If the bucolic life gets too quiet, head into Austin for some live music and a meal.