You Can Restaurant-hop on a Candlelit Boat at This Romantic Overwater Resort
Editor’s Note: Those who choose to travel are strongly encouraged to check local government restrictions, rules, and safety measures related to COVID-19 and take personal comfort levels and health conditions into consideration before departure.
With glass-walled villas and suites floating in a serene lagoon where tropical bird songs are the only sound, Rosewood Mayakoba — in Mexico’s popular Riviera Maya region — is one of the most romantic resorts in the world.
But if an outdoor rainforest shower, canopy bed, and private plunge pool aren’t enough, the Over the Water Romance experience takes things to the next level.
The experience includes butler service and extras such as daily breakfast for two, a $100 nightly resort credit, and round-trip airport transportation — plus a romantic Champagne dinner arranged by the Celebrations team that’s not only the best way to sample the resort’s restaurants, but will likely also be the highlight of the trip.
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Waikiki, Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii
Honeymooners love Belize, a gorgeous slice of Central America that serves up beach paradise with a side of tropical forest. Belize City, the nation’s largest urban area, is perfect for active couples, who can go kayaking or snorkeling and visit the nearby Mayan sites Xunantunich and Cahal Pech or the jaguar preserve.
Belize is also home to many all-inclusive resorts, which will save money on food and drinks. Xanadu Island Resort, located at Ambergris Caye overlooking the second largest barrier reef in the Caribbean Sea, offers an array of complementary activities, such as kayaking, bird watching, paddle boarding, and bicycle rentals. And if you want to stretch your dollar into a really luxurious stay, you can even rent your own private island off the coast for less than $500.
With affordable, quick flights to choose from and many sights still untouched by tourism, Cuba is a unique, budget-friendly honeymoon experience. Find yourself a deal on an Airbnb in Vedado, a mostly-residential neighborhood just a 10-minute drive from Old Havana where old mansions and authentic eateries abound.
The retro cars and architecture are just some of the ways Cuba will leave you charmed. Explore Old Havana, where you can learn how the country’s iconic rum is made at Havana Club, and have lunch at the top of La Torre, where the ham and cheese sandwich is second only to the view. End the night with a traditional cannon ceremony at El Morro Castle, where you’ll get a dose of history while watching the city lights come alive.
For sunshine-filled relaxation, hit the white-sand Cayo Lago Del Sur or Varadero Beach, and plan a day tour to see the tobacco fields of Viñales by horse.
A short trip from the East Coast, Bermuda treats honeymooners like royalty.
Stay at The Reefs Resort & Club, which has four restaurants and bars, two tennis courts, and complimentary kayaks, paddle boards, and snorkel gear. Up the ante with the resort’s honeymoon package, which also includes an ocean view room for five nights, a welcome Rum Swizzle, Champagne, and chocolate-covered strawberries upon arrival, a 60-minute couples’ massage, and a romantic dinner on the beach.
Rosewood Tucker’s Point, located on a private pink-sand beach, has plush bedding with Italian linens, separate showers, and oversized soaking tubs – many with views of Castle Harbour or Harrington Sound.
With an array of free or affordable activities to do in Bermuda, like walking the Royal Naval Dockyard or visiting the Unfinished Church, couples don’t have to feel guilty splurging a little bit on their accommodations.
No matter what part of Jamaica you plan on visiting, there is likely an all-inclusive resort to fit your needs. With several Sandals-branded resorts around the island, many other hotels have followed suit, offering food and drinks included in your honeymoon stay.
These savings can allow you to splurge on other sources of entertainment, like horseback rides through the surf or waterfall climbs, ensuring your honeymoon will be made up of happy memories you will reflect on for years to come.
Napa and Sonoma Valley, California
There is no lack of luxury in California’s Napa and Sonoma Valley, but you can experience it all on your own terms. Kick the celebration off with a little bit of everything – $30 will get you a flight of champagne at Domaine Carneros winery, a French chateau-inspired spot with beautiful formal gardens perfect for photo opportunities.
Stay at the Carneros Resort & Spa, where you can book a luxury suite or hide from the world in a luxury cottage. With delicious food options onsite and an extensive spa, you will never have to leave the compound. Another attraction not to miss? The Napa Valley Wine Train, where you can take in all the sights with lunch and wine included. Compare different tour operators before you go for the best price.
Head into the village center of Sonoma for a quaint shopping experience at local boutiques, and check out a Spanish-style mission. Save a few bucks by bringing your own wine, cheese, and blanket for a romantic moment in the park on the square, or have a fresh, French meal on the rustic outdoor patio at The Girl And The Fig.
Much more low-key than nearby Cancun, Tulum, on Mexico’s Riviera Maya, is an ideal honeymoon location, minus the tourist traps.
Perched on the Caribbean coast, it is near the Mayan ruins, making for a great adventure after long days of relaxation on the beach. The Jashita Hotel, a boutique hotel, not only has a white-sand beach oasis that is just begging for lounge chairs and cocktails, but it also offers diving and fishing. A swim-up bar and adults-only pool round out its offerings. Yoga and golf are also available to guests.
A generally less expensive alternative to Thailand’s famous tourist destinations, Vietnam has a little something for every kind of honeymooner. Like to hike? Visit the Valley of Love in Dalat or enjoy scenic views of the Muong Hoa Valley or Fansipan mountain.
And when you’re ready to relax, head to one of the most beautiful and affordable honeymoon spots in the country, Con Dao, with its secluded white-sand beaches and scenic trails. Six Senses Con Dao starts at $3,400 for a customizable vacation, which includes some meals, shared road transfers, and more special offers.
About 20 minutes from the hustle and bustle of the Canadian side of Niagara Falls is a small, quaint town called Niagara-on-the-Lake. Nicknamed “The Loveliest Town In Canada,” it truly lives up to the hype.
With a plethora of outdoor cafes and local, independent shops situated in Colonial Style buildings, it is the perfect venue for a romantic stroll or a delicious cocktail. The town is also nestled in the heart of Canadian wine country, where you can sip on ice wine and wines made from local produce, like peaches.
Spend the afternoon tasting at Peller Estates and have a romantic dinner for two among the grapes. If you want to escape to the city for some more action, Toronto is about a 45-minute drive.
Travel + Leisure‘s 2016 Destination of the Year, Portugal is less expensive than Spain and many other popular European destinations. After hopping on a common flight deal, you’ll see the country doesn’t skimp on old-world charm, offering ancient castles and fishing villages alongside chic urban areas and beach retreats.
Portugal is a great option foodie couples, as the culinary scene is exploding and dining options are fairly cheap. (For a special meal, we recommend you try Belcanto, the first restaurant in Lisbon to earn two Michelin Stars.)
Find yourself in the Douro region in the north, full of lush eucalyptus fields and vineyards, the vibrant city of Porto, or the Algarve down south, with white sand, turquoise water, flowing sangria, and unparalleled seafood.
If Hawaii tops your honeymoon list but doesn’t seem feasible when it comes to cost, consider bustling Honolulu, on the island of Oahu.
While it’s still Hawaii, it usually is the cheapest destination from the continental U.S. in terms of airfare, and with a public transportation system that could put even the largest U.S. cities to shame, honeymooners can forgo renting a car.
With hotels ranging in price from high-end to budget-friendly, honeymooners can plan accordingly. The Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel is mid-range and does not skimp on the romantic views. The hotel also has a variety of packages for honeymooners, including a “Make Room For Romance” deal and offers that come with a free rental car.
A boat, filled with candles and flowers, will pull up to your deluxe suite at sunset. Love-themed decor is strung from the ceiling and a bottle of Champagne awaits on ice.
You’ll be whisked away to your first restaurant, Agave Azul, where a waiter will greet you dockside with your appetizer, blending Asian and Mexican flavors in sushi and seafood dishes like shrimp with mango-ginger chutney or crab gyozas with a coconut and tamarind sauce. Here, you’ll be presented with a wine list, where you can order a bottle to pick up with your main course.
As you enjoy your sushi, your boat will cruise through the mangrove-lined canals of Mayakoba, past wildlife winding down for the night and stunning residences, set to the soundtrack of your choice.
Your second stop is Punta Bonita, where your waiter will present you with either roasted totoaba, a fish native to Mexico’s Gulf of California, served with baby corn stew, or smoked rib eye with mixed root vegetables and spinach sauteed with rosemary butter and mole, before you set sail and continue your journey.
When it’s time for dessert, you’ll pull up to Casa del Lago, where you’ll be handed either mango and passion fruit cheesecake with vanilla ice cream or carrot cake with honey pineapple and cream cheese frosting.
As you conclude your meal, your boat will slowly make its way back to your suite, where your butler will have prepared one more romantic surprise to end the perfect date night. You’ll never want to dine on land again.
Nina Ruggiero is Travel + Leisure’s deputy digital editor. A New Yorker living in Los Angeles, she’s happiest on a beach, a cobblestone street, or in a hotel bathtub with a view. Find her on Instagram @ninamarienyc.
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