|Ponta Dos Gachos in Brazil serves up a private bungalow beach experience to honeymooners.|
There are as many destination weddings and honeymoon options as there are couples in the world, so we reached out to a few specialists to get their recommendations, with a focus on top places for a second wedding.
Laura Allen, Century Travel: I had a couple in their 50s who did a three-week honeymoon. It was mostly more of a relaxing-type trip, so lots of beach and food and wine. They started in Mustique in a private villa rental and then they went to Anguilla where they did a suite at the Viceroy and then they went to St. Barths where they stayed in the Hotel Saint-Barth Isle de France. It was a total of 19 nights, all business-class.
For a second wedding with kids, go to the Four Seasons Nevis. For luxury, it has great kids activities and options for people to do different things.
Susan Farewell, Farewell Travels: This Icelandic honeymoon was a wonderful example of how a modern couple with almost unlimited resources would choose to spend their money and time.
|Iceland offers a mix of countryside fun and luxurious accommodations.|
[I arranged] a private car with a driver/guide who was instructed to take them to many beautiful places (some right near the road, some they would hike to) I’ve personally visited. One day, they hiked on a glacier and happened upon a bottle of champagne and glasses that we had arranged to be planted in the ice itself.
On the day they arrived, from the airport, they were taken directly to the Blue Lagoon where they had admission to the Exclusive Lounge section. I arranged for his-and-her massages in the water. Afterwards, they had an Icelandic brunch at the Lagoon’s LAVA restaurant. Another day, I arranged for one of the country’s high-profile chefs to cater a picnic for them near a waterfall.
They spent a few days horseback riding, white-water rafting and staying in a private cottage in the north of Iceland—an area called Skagafjordur. It was as if they owned the countryside.
For accommodations, they had a fun variety over the course of the two weeks including the Antarctic suite at the Hotel Ranga (which is about 62 miles east of Reykjavik). Iceland has very high standards, so their four-star hotels are actually more like five stars in some places. The hotel has some themed suites that are unbelievable. The Antarctic one has a giant Jacuzzi and black-and-white leather sofas.
|Four Seasons Maui is an ideal place for honeymooners, especially in the fall when it’s quieter.|
Right now, I am actually putting together a honeymoon for another couple going to Iceland in the fall. I’m going to get them on a Sheep roundup, which not many tourists do, but should. The Icelandic people (all ages) gather up the sheep who have been roaming freely all summer. It’s quite an experience—one that money cannot buy.
Laurie Gluck, Gluck Travel: For a truly luxurious, unusual, over-the-top wedding,
I recommend Europe or the South Pacific.
When one thinks of Tuscany, two thoughts come to mind—romance and wine, not a bad combination for a wedding. The Villas in Tuscany range from a one-bedroom to over 50 rooms. To entertain guests before or after the wedding, Tuscan cooking classes, wine tours and wine tasting and excursions to Florence, Pisa, Umbria and Rome can be arranged. Shopping excursions are a favorite with the women. A personalized bottle of fine Italian wine can be given to each guest as a thank-you for attending the wedding. And, of course, a fireworks display after the wedding.
|Chalkley Treehouse on the Lions Sands Game Reserve provides secluded open-air tree house for utmost privacy.|
A couple can rent an entire Irish castle for their special day with a full staff. All of the guests staying at the castle will receive daily maid service, a small gift on the pillow each night and three meals a day. The wedding can be arranged inside the ballroom of the castle or overlooking the rolling hills...Imagine being married in the legendary Dromoland Castle, the bride arriving in a horse-drawn carriage. After the ceremony, a dozen white doves are released while the band plays the couple’s favorite songs. For the reception, 18th-century china is set on tables decorated with dozens of white roses. The guests are treated to horseback riding around the grounds of the castle, or a few rounds of golf. Excursions to the Cliffs of Mohr, Dublin, the Blarney Castle and Waterford can be arranged.
In Kauai, Hawaii, couples can be married in the Fern Grotto. An elaborate luau with a full culture show can be arranged for the reception. Or get married aboard the luxurious Paul Gauguin cruise ship. This option gives the bridal couple and their guests seven nights of luxury with everything included—meals, drinks and watersports.
Michelle Thurston, Your Travel Concierge of Naples: Peter Island Resort & Spa in the British Virgin Islands is a beautiful location. I know with so many beautiful places, [choosing a destination] can be a difficult part of the planning. This is a resort that will not disappoint. It has a very casual feel with an informal warm welcome.
The spa is the ideal location for the perfect destination wedding, and the resort has some spectacular venues for that special day: The Coconut Garden Grove behind the spa is a favorite with honeymooners and just steps away from the beach; Sunset at the Loop is a spot high upon the hills that overlooks the ocean (perfect for a sunset wedding ceremony); Deadman’s Beach is the ideal location if couples want to feel the sand in their toes; Crow’s Nest Villa is the resort’s four-bedroom private villa; and the six-bedroom, private Falcon’s Nest Villa will wow your guests.
Stacy Small, Elite Travel International: I did a second wedding and honeymoon at Rosewood’s Tucker Point in Bermuda, which is a gorgeous setting for this type of occasion. The villa-style suites are very private and romantic; the location is terrific and easy-to-get-to and perfect weather in the spring/summer season (wedding/honeymoon season). [It also] has Bermuda’s largest private beach.
For a honeymoon, a favorite recommendation is Laucala Island in Fiji. It’s perfect for honeymooners wanting an over-the-top exclusive and private romantic getaway. I also had clients stay there for their 25th wedding anniversary recently.
And I have to recommend Ponta Dos Ganchos [in Brazil] as well for honeymooners looking for all-inclusive luxurious over-the-top private bungalow beach experience (no kids allowed, so ideal for wedding/honeymoon experience). Private bungalows, private decks with plunge pools, no kids, amazing food and wines and a phenomenal staff: They will do a romantic evening in your suite with a private dinner served on the patio, massages en suite, or a private Jacuzzi/bath with roses.
|Falcon’s Nest Villa of Peter Island Resort & Spa has six bedrooms that overlook White Bay Beach.|
I highly recommend Four Seasons Maui to honeymooners, especially in the fall (shoulder season) when it’s quieter. The serenity (no kids) pool with a swim -up bar and poolside spa treatments is amazing. We are very excited about all the enhancements going on at Four Seasons Lanai. It’s also perfectly romantic, and a bit more secluded. That is a great combo with Four Seasons Maui for honeymooners, and you can watch the dolphins swim right off the beach from your private Lanai.
April Schmitt, Divine Destination Weddings & Honeymoons: Total buyouts are becoming a more common request. Boutique resorts are often the most requested. However, current trends are the private islands that can be bought out for the ultimate tropical destination wedding experience. Vomo Island Resort in Fiji is an example of luxurious pampering and brilliant eco-adventure. Large private yachts like the Jackie Onassis allow guests to arrive by helicopter and be married at sea. Couples value privacy and total control over the properties while their guests enjoy the wedding festivities.
For the adventurous romantic couple on their honeymoon, the ChalkleyTreehouse on the Lions Sands Private Game Reserve [South Africa] is a secluded open-air tree house, set safely above the plains and wildlife...As evening arrives and the night sky begins to twinkle, the tree house is lit with lanterns and a romantic dinner is delivered.
The next big thing to hit the destination wedding market is at the Dolphin Encounter in the Riviera Maya. The trainers are preparing the dolphins to open up for weddings next year. The dolphins can be the reception entertainment or they can be trained to participate in the wedding.