If adventure gets you high, if old-world charm excites you, if your idea of romance is staying in luxury, then New Zealand is the destination for you. Picture-postcard scenery, the tranquility of wilderness and plenty of options to shop and wine and dine in style…this country has everything to rekindle your spark of love.
St Moritz, Queenstown
This is the adventure capital so get ready to go bungee jumping, jetboating, gondola riding and exploring the fjords. The uber cool St Moritz is the last name in luxury, offering spectacular views of lake Wakatipu. Don’t forget to shop at Shotover street and Beach street and enjoy lip-smacking food at Skyline Restaurant.
Heritage Hotel, Christchurch
Your passport to old-world romance. Heritage hotel also has the super luxe Champs Elysees Beauty-day spa that you would love exploring with your beloved. Christchurch’s appeal lies in the cultural precincts, the colonial-style dining opportunities, punting and high-tea at the Avon River at Mona Vale Gardens and Homestead.
Treetops Lodgeand Estate, Rotorua
Set amidst 2,500 acres of forests, Treetops Lodge and Estate combines the excitement of outdoors with a superb luxe touch. Outside the lodge, Roturua, with its hot water beaches, geysers and mud pools, is the place to be for couples spa therapy. A must-visit is the Polynesian Spa where you can soak in style in the thermal waters and mineral pools.
And don’t forget to check out Willow which stocks hot new designer labels while you are gallivanting around town.
Skycity Grand Hotel, Auckland
Do you and your partner love food? Stay at the five star Skycity Grand Hotel where you can sample Peter Gordon’s world-class cuisine. And after you have enjoyed your meal, cruise or sail along the Viaduct Harbour, get to the top of the Rangitoto Island and chill with a picnic on the beach at Motuihe. Enjoy some amazing views of the city by visiting the Sky Tower, the tallest man-made structure in New Zealand. With stunning islands and twin harbours, beach lovers can have a ball in Auckland.
The world’s iconic city for falling and staying in love forever, Paris’ honeymoon appeal is eternal!
Grand: Sofitel Paris Le Faubourg
Characteristically Parisian with opulent interiors, the former headquarters of a famed fashion magazine is stylishly situated in shopping heaven. The must-see hot-spots of Hermes, Le Musee D’Orsay, The Louvre and Buddha Bar, are within walking distance!
INFO: Doubles from Dhs1,043. visit www.hotel-bel-ami.com for more.
2010 is a very exciting time in romantic Rajasthan, with a plethora of heritage properties opening their doors in royal welcome.
Grand: The Leela Palace Kempinski, Udaipur
The Leela, the newest and grandest of the properties, is built in the style of the Maharaja's palace and offers the ultimate honeymoon experience. Unbelievably romantic, all 80 rooms afford breathtaking views of Lake Pichola. Arrive in a boat, like royalty did, and let local musicians shower you with rose petals.
Doubles from Dhs2,058. visit www.theleela.com for more.
Petite: Raas Haveli, Jodhpur
Jodhpur’s first boutique hotel is located in the heart of the ancient walled city. Charming alleyways leading to the hotel are too narrow for cars. Instead, vintage-style turquoise rickshaws transport guests through streets and bustling bazaars. Moghul-style gardens and dazzling views of the nearby 15th-century Mehrangarh Desert Fort make Raas the chicest honeymoon retreat in Rajasthan.
INFO: Doubles from Dhs1,178. visit www.raasjodhpur.com for more.
Sea-shells and shore
Seychelles, renowned for its blue and white tropical beaches, is one of the most splendid destinations in the world.
Grand: Desroches Island
Desroches is the ultimate private island hideaway, with 14 kilometers of powder-white beaches and luxurious villas scattered in a grove of coconut palms. This exclusive coral island is perfect for nature lovers with a penchant for the finer things in life.
INFO Suites from Dhs2,040 per person per night, including all meals, teas and coffees, soft drinks and beverages, and all non-motorised activities.
Go to www.desroches-island.com for more.
Spicy and souk-ed
Colourful and charmingly chaotic, Morocco’s fragrant spiced-up markets and ancient buildings are etched with character and mystique.
Grand: Sofitel Marrakech Lounge Spa
Designed in a contemporary Andalusian style, the idyllic Sofitel Marrakech Lounge Spa is only a short walk from the Medina’s fashionable luxury boutiques, restaurants and nightclubs. With an impressive list of five-star facilities and located in the prestigious Hivernage area, this is the place to mingle with beautiful people and to see and be seen.
INFO: Prestige Suite from Dhs1,980. visit www.sofitel.com for more.
If wooing is an art, it is no wonder the Italians have produced masters like Michelangelo to do their romantic bidding!
Grand: Villa Mangicane, Florence
Villa Mangicane is a magnificent 15th Century villa situated atop the breathtaking Arno Valley; stunning terraced gardens, a gorgeous façade designed by Michelangelo himself and only 15 minutes from Florence, museums, art, fashion and more are at your fingertips.
INFO: Doubles from Dhs2,690. visit www.mangiacane.it for more.
Petite: Casa Angelina, Amalfi Coast
Contemporary style and a spectacular location make Casa Angelina the definitive honeymoon spot. Star-gaze on the edge of the magnificent infinity pool and sip cocktails at the Oriental-inspired bar Marrakech, or kick-back for melodious classical serenading at The Ravello Festival (March to October) that is held in the magnificent surroundings of Villa Rufolo.
INFO: Doubles from Dhs1,390. visit www.casaangelina.com.
For a splash of glamour-filled romancing, there is no place better than the Cote d’Azur, with its glitzy Riviera towns, palm lined boulevards, and beautiful people at play.
Grand: Cap Estel, Monaco
On a secluded peninsula in the Mediterranean, Cap Estel’s gated mansion epitomises Riviera glam. Surrounded by palm trees and beautiful terraced gardens, with an elegant restaurant, Cap Estel is an A-list hang out and the ultimate luxury honeymoon hideaway.
INFO: Rooms from Dhs1,992–59,680. visit www.capestel.com.
Petite: The Muse Hotel, St Tropez
Muse is a chic honeymoon retreat minutes from central St Tropez, with 15 suites, 10 of which are equipped with private pools. Each suite is named after a muse such as ‘Edith’ after Edith Piaf and ‘Catherine’ after Catherine Deneuve. Luxury guest services include Bentley shuttles to the beaches, sun-butlers, and access to the most exclusive restaurants thanks to the exceptionally connected concierge team.
INFO: Rooms for Dhs2,087-Dhs7,894. visit www.muse-hotels.com for more.
Aptly named ‘The Paris of the Middle East’, Beirut is ablaze with magical verve. We promise that you will want to keep going back for more of the infamous Beiruti hedonism.
Grand: Le Gray
The chic modern hotel is Beirut’s new hot-spot. The city’s most beautiful people frequent Le Gray’s popular rooftop bar before heading out to Skybar. The poolside, though quaint, is hot. The fact that it is a five-minute-walk from Saifi Village and Downtown is an added bonus.
INFO: Rooms from Dhs1,277-Dhs2,555. visit www.campbellgrayhotels.com for more
Albergo is quaint and romantic, with a perennial autumn-hued, mystical ambience. Neatly tucked away in busy Germnayze street, which is crammed with innumerable bars – the city’s ultimate hip joint.
INFO: Doubles from Dhs1,095. visit http://www.albergoitaliaasmara.com for more.
Star-studded skies and the beautiful herds of sinuous wildlife make the Kenyan experience an unparalleled one indeed.
Grand: The Sanctuary, Ol Lentille and Ol Seki Mara
We love The Sanctuary for its huge private houses overlooking Mount Kenya. Luxury abounds with a private butler, chef and tour guide. At Ol Seki Mara Camp in the Masai Mara enjoy the sumptuous suites, adrenalin-fuelled wildlife tours and a hot air balloon-ride over the plains at sunrise.
INFO: Rooms from Dhs1,368-Dhs2,737. visit www.ol-lentille.com.
Petite: Giraffe Manor, Nairobi
Giraffe Manor, located in the heart of Nairobi, is famous for its resident herd of endangered giraffe. The manor house was originally fashioned in the style of a Scottish hunting lodge and has six bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms.
INFO: Rooms from Dhs1,423 half board. visit www.giraffemanor.com for more.
A desert romance
This is desert romance at its best. Spending hours staring into nothingness and each other’s eyes is the perfect recipe for a new romantic beginning. The desert resort by Anantara is located in Liwa desert’s Rub-al-Khali or empty quarter, the largest uninterrupted expanse of sand in the world. To enjoy it in the most luxurious way, the resort offers a palatial villa done up in rich hues. A Moroccan hammam with double-heated marble beds, Jacuzzis, steam rooms and water fountains alongside an ice-room complete your desert luxury experience.
For a hint of adventure, set out in the desert on camel back and traverse the majestic dunes.
INFO: Doubles from Dhs1,690. visit email@example.com for more.
Soaked and Sunned
With spectacular jungle and coastal scenery, luxurious boutique hotels, welcoming people and sprawling tea plantations, Sri Lanka is made for lovers.
Grand: Kahanda Kanda
Interior designer George Cooper’s home has turned into a stylish and award-winning abode. Enjoy yoga, cooking classes and bike rides through rice paddies. The five beautifully designed suites are surrounded by lush panoramic views of the palm-fringed jungle and the stunning Indian Ocean.
INFO: Suites from Dhs1,460. visit www.kahandakanda.com for more.
Petite: Apa Villas
Apa Villa Thalpe is a small boutique hotel, just outside of Galle, on the stunning Sri Lankan coast. Get a taste of the culture by exploring the fascinating local town and villages. If it’s tropical gardens and paddy fields you’re after, check in to Apa Villa Illuketia, a 200- year-old colonial plantation house located five kilometres inland.
INFO: Doubles from Dhs584. visit www.apavilla.com for more.
Float away at the beautiful Anantara Resort Spa, Bophut, providing the perfect destination for newlyweds looking for relaxation and romance. Set on Thailand’s sunkissed island of Koh Samui (just a 45 minute flight from Thailand’s capital, Bangkok) the resort ripples with lotus filled lagoons which are met by the clear blue waters of Bophut bay. Transcend time with an utterly blissful spa experience at their internationally renowned spa (with an extensive selection of divine treatments on offer, finding ways to pamper oneself couldn’t be easier), or while away the hours lazing by the tropical infinity pool, sipping on young coconuts freshly cut from the surrounding Palms (you needn’t move from your lounger all day). If you prefer something a little more active, the resort also boasts tennis courts, a gym, regular yoga classes and a magical stretch of beach – perfect for sunset strolls or runs along the golden sands.
With three stunning restaurants and bars to choose from guests are spoilt for choice for dinner and lunch options. For the ultimate in dining experiences, opt for the resorts ‘dining by design’ option; friendly staff will arrange a private, candle-lit dinner for two set on the beach or overlooking one of its stunning lotus pools, serving delicious Thai cuisine. Rooms also continue the romantic scene- spacious suites overlook luscious gardens, pools and Bophut Bay and feature Anantara’s signature, made-for-two, terrazzo bathtub which can be filled with rose petals and mood setting candles at the touch of a button.
Imight prove difficult to drag yourself away from the dreamy surroundings of the resort, but if you do manage to venture out, the island’s traditional Fisherman’s Village is no more than a ten minute walk from the hotel Whatever you indulgence may be, Bophut’s Anantara Resort Spa will take to a whole new level of loved up luxury.