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10 Sweet Honeymoon Spots

Kick off your marriage with the trip of a lifetime. Here are 10 spots we can’t stop dreaming about.

—By Erin Meanley, Gloria Tebelman, and Julie Mashburn

1 Boracay, Philippines

Honeymoon-worthy:

Splurge on a treehouse villa at Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort & Spa. Each two-storey villa comes with a Jacuzzi on the balcony and your very own butler service. shangri-la.com

Just for Two:

The beaches on this island are unforgettably beautiful. Relax on the sand during the day, then hit the White Beach scene at night for drinking and dancing.

Best Season:

Weather in the Philippines is unpredictable, but January through May tend to give the country its best weather. Don’t worry about peak tourism during this time; it’s never too difficult to escape the masses.

Get There:

From San Diego, fly into Manila (roughly 23 hours with two stops at LAX and Hong Kong) then take a 1-hour flight to Caticlan, the nearest airport to the island. From there you are a mere 40 minutes away by car and ferry.


2 Cappadocia, Turkey

Honeymoon-worthy:

Hot air balloon tours are the classic way to experience central Turkey. For about 100 Euros per person, you get a view you’ll never forget. kapadokyaballoons.com

Just for Two:

Who needs a penthouse? For a unique experience, try the Kelebek Cave Hotel and stay in a tiny cave room for about 50 Euros (they also have huge presidential suites). Enjoy a Turkish breakfast in bed, with Turkish cay (tea), fresh cheese, and homemade jams. kelebekhotel.com

Best Season:

Spring (April to May) and fall (September to October) are the best times to visit. The weather is pleasant and the mosquitoes are MIA.

Get There:

From LAX, you can fly nonstop to Istanbul on Turkish Airlines (14 hours). From Istanbul, take a 1-hour flight to Nevşehir or Kayseri.


3 Shanghai, China

Honeymoon-worthy:

Want a New York City vibe in a foreign country? Architecture buffs, culture lovers, and foodies will go nuts in this inspiring city.

Just for Two:

Stroll through the former French Concession (Quarter) to window-shop or enjoy a romantic meal. About fifteen minutes by cab, the Bund is a walkable riverfront stretch that’s blowing up with cool restaurants. Try the new Unico for an upscale cocktail and the attached Colagreco, a white-tablecloth establishment, for seafood with a view of the river (colagreco.asia).

Best Season:

China reaches sweltering, humid temperatures in the summer. Weather mellows out in the fall and early spring, but keep in mind national holidays like Chinese New Year (early May) and National Day (early October) can make finding accommodations difficult.

Get There:

Flying from San Diego to Shanghai is about 21 hours with two layovers (San Francisco and Beijing). For more direct travel, fly non-stop from LAX (about 18 hours).


4 Sedona, Arizona

Honeymoon-worthy:

You’ve been to Phoenix a bazillion times, but Sedona is a whole ‘nother world. We could stare at those red rocks for hours.

Just for Two:

Go hiking, mountain biking, and take a helicopter tour over the Grand Canyon (papillon.com). Enjoy a little creekside dining at L’Auberge de Sedona (lauberge.com), where they just completed a $25 million reno, and afterwards: couples massages, cocktails, and stargazing.

Best Season:

March to May and then late September to November are peak seasons (more pricey), but all four seasons are pretty mild.

Get There:

You’ll have to fly to Flagstaff, often with a stop in Phoenix—so it’s better just to make the seven-hour drive yourself. Road trip!


5 Iguazu Falls, Brazil

Honeymoon-worthy:

The roar of 275 waterfalls cascading into lush vegetation will stir even the least adventurous couple. The falls span part of the border between Argentina and Brazil. For the full experience, take in the view from both countries!

Just for Two:

Take a helicopter tour over Iguazu and get a panoramic view of the 262-ft falls and an expansive look into the surrounding jungle. The Hotel Das Cataratas (pictured) is one of the few hotels in walking distance from the falls. hoteldascataratas.com

Best Season:

The high season for Brazil is December to March, with prices increasing around New Year’s and Carnival. (Go now before Brazil hosts the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016!)

Get There:

From San Diego, the flight into Brazil takes about 18 hours, with at least one layover.


6 Tuscany, Italy

Honeymoon-worthy:

Tuscany means romance…and wine. For Italophiles, there is nothing like staying in a restored castle surrounded by olive groves and vineyards. Parts of the Castello di Casole (pictured) date back to 900 A.D.; it’s now a luxury boutique hotel.

Just for Two:

How about enjoying a wine country tour, Italian language class, olive oil tasting, mushroom foraging, horseback riding, or bicycling through the countryside? Check out nearby Siena (20-minute drive), drink a Vernaccia in the famed town of San Gimignano, or ask the hotel to coordinate a vineyard picnic for you and your hubby.

Best Season:

Olive and wine harvests fall around September. The high season is May to the first half of October.

Get There:

To Florence, it’s about an 18-hour trip with two layovers (Los Angeles and Paris, for example). Then, rent a car and zip through the countryside for 45 minutes. castellodicasole.com


7 Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Honeymoon-worthy:

Europe! We can’t get enough of Amsterdam’s bicycle culture and neat little canals, not to mention all the history. In the museum district, the Conservatorium is a refurbished 19th-century music hall-turned-superrad-luxury hotel that just opened last year. conservatoriumhotel.com

Just for Two:

Rent bicycles and take a romantic day-trip out of the city. Star Bikes (starbikesrental.com) is right behind the central train station; hop on the ferry, cross into Amsterdam Noord, and soon you’ll be passing green pastures and friendly farm animals. Head for Zaanse Schans, a traditional Dutch town with windmills, a wooden shoe factory, and cheese farm!

Best Season:

It’s cheaper from mid-November through mid-April; the nearby bulb fields blossom April until mid-May.

Get There:

It’s about a 15 to 20-hour flight to Amsterdam, with one to two stops.


8 Switzerland

Honeymoon-worthy:

Get cozy in the Swiss Alps, with the majestic mountains just outside your window (pictured here is the Sheraton Davos Hotel Waldhuus). Fun fact: at 5,120 feet, Davos is Europe’s highest city! sheratondavoshotelwaldhuus.com

Just for Two:

Ski, snowboard, cross-country ski, ice skate, and paraglide over the Alps. (Wedding registry: hello, GoPro helmet camera!)

Best Season:

High-season fares are from June to mid-September. The ski season is generally from December to April, but with a few very high-altitude ski resorts open year-round.

Get There:

Fly 14 hours to Zurich, then rent a car and drive 2 hours to the hotel nestled in the mountains.


9 Maldives

Honeymoon-worthy:

If this island nation in the Indian Ocean is good enough for Prince William and Duchess Kate, it’s good enough for you.

Just for Two:

Take in a private sunset with dinner on a Coral Terrace at the W Retreat & Spa – Maldives (wretreatmaldives.com). Delicious all around.

Best Season:

The high (dry) season is from December to April, with prices at their peak around the holidays. Divers and surfers can enjoy cheaper resort prices during low season.

Get There:

Here’s where it gets ugly. The flight to Malé International Airport on Hulhulé Island is about 33 hours, with two connections.


10 Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Honeymoon-worthy:

After a full day of Arabian boat rides, visiting the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque (szgmc.ae) and souvenir shopping in the souq, go for a walk on the beach, and watch the sunset. (Psst: If your hubby’s a gearhead or sports car enthusiast, Ferrari World, the world’s largest indoor theme park, is in Abu Dhabi!)

Just for Two:

The Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi has the world-class spa, CHI. After all the wedding madness you’ve endured, you’ll want to make reservations for a Detoxifying Arabic Coffee Scrub or, better yet, a Four-Hands Abhyanga Massage (yes, two people work on just you!). shangri-la.com

Best Season:

December to March is when the temperature settles in the high 70s and low 80s—perfect weather for exploring this exotic city.

Get There:

Flying to Abu Dhabi will take about 22 hours with two layovers. But once you arrive, a limousine can transport you to the hotel in comfort and style.

 

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