The World's 20 Most Incredible Luxury Hotels for Honeymooners

by Sherelle Jacobs, The Telegraph, May 14, 2018

There’s nothing like the thundering 21-gun salute of a royal wedding to signal the start of the summer nuptials season. Prince Harry is set to marry Meghan Markle next Saturday in what is expected to be a peony-strewn pageant featuring silver-plated trumpets and an elderflower wedding cake. But in a surprise move, Harry and Meghan will delay their honeymoon until later in the year and return to work within days of their wedding.

They are in sync with a growing trend: couples are now devoting a bigger proportion of their wedding budget to their honeymoon than ever before. After the venue hire, the post-nuptial holiday represents the second-biggest cost. Delaying that blowout trip of a lifetime by several months or even a year after the wedding (and counting up those honeymoon contribution requests from wedding guests) makes sound financial sense. It also opens up a world of choice as couples are then not tied to travelling in the season in which they married.

Royal honeymoons have certainly become increasingly far-flung with the passing years. The late Queen Mother honeymooned at her own home, Glamis Castle in Scotland, where she came down with whooping cough. The Queen stalked deer at Lord Mountbatten’s estate in Hampshire. Prince Charles and the late Diana, Princess of Wales, opted for a Mediterranean cruise on the Royal Yacht Britannia.

• The world's 50 best honeymoon hotels and destinations

But this was before the age of the private island resort. Prince William and Kate were the change-makers, splurging on a private atoll in the Seychelles where guests can watch turtles nesting on the beaches from their plunge pools. It signalled a departure from royal protocol. Pippa Middleton followed suit, opting for The Brando, a coral-necklaced island cast adrift in the Pacific Ocean that once belonged to Marlon Brando and offers everything from Polynesian dance classes to stand-up paddleboarding. And one wonders where Princess Eugenie can honeymoon after staying at Calala, the four-villa Nicaraguan castaway island where she got engaged.

Will Meghan and Prince Harry do things differently though? Their love for African safaris is well-known; they enjoyed their first official date in August 2016 at Meno a Kwena tented camp in Botswana, a hideaway in the Okavango Delta, where lily-peppered deltas collapse on to Kalahari Desert sands. Meghan’s engagement ring also contains a diamond sourced from the country. The bookies are tipping Namibia, with its lonely desert landscapes and abundant wildlife. But the guessing game is so much more fun when you widen the net. From Africa’s most exclusive wilderness lodges to the world’s most lavish private islands, here is Telegraph Travel’s pick of the best honeymoon hotels fit for royalty.

1. Ngoma Safari Lodge, Botswana

Warning: couples may be awoken in the middle of the night by elephants slurping from their plunge pool. Paying attention at dinner is impossible, what with distractions such as zebras grazing the floodlit waterhole below. There are also no televisions in the eight exclusive suites – instead full-length glass windows look out to the lodge’s round-the-clock wildlife channel. If you can deal with such nuisances (a big ask I know), you’ll be rewarded a stay at the most exclusive address in Chobe National Park, complete with four-poster beds and private pools.

Best time to go: May-Sept

Seven nights’ all-inclusive from £4,389pp, through Africa Sky (01342 889469;

• Read the full review: Ngoma Safari Lodge

• The 50 greatest hotels in the world

2. Azura Quilalea Private Island, Mozambique

Think flower-speckled baths in tubs overlooking the ocean, sipping on baobab fruit smoothies by your villa’s private plunge pool or spotting turtles on the beaches. A protected marine reserve splashing with dolphins and sea manatees surrounds this Robinson Crusoe-style island in northern Mozambique’s Quirimbas archipelago. Guests can swim straight into the super-close house reef from the beach. The raised swimming pool looks out to sea and the spa treatments are indulged from the top of a cliff. Villas have showers with ocean views.

Best time to go: June-Oct

Seven nights’ all-inclusive from £5,099pp, through Turqouise Holidays (01494 678400;

• Read the full review: Azura Quilalea Private Island

•  The best hotels in Mozambique

3. &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, Namibia

The setting is a vast and desolate one: vast dunes and stark outcrops. The skies are so clear here that a resident astronomer offers nightly stargazing sessions at an observatory, and there are skylights over the beds. Couples spend their days having candlelit picnics in the desert, dashing about on quad bikes or tracing ancient rock paintings. Down time at the lodge typically follows – by the pool with water sourced from an underground spring, by the roaring indoor fire of one’s lodge, or on one’s private viewing deck.

Best time to go: April-Oct

Four nights’ all-inclusive from £2,850pp, through Mahlatini Luxury Travel (028 9073 6050;

• Incredible hotels to visit in your lifetime

4. North Island, Seychelles

It’s hardly cheap – but you are paying for the ultimate in privacy as well luxury at the private island where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spent their honeymoon. With just 11 two-bedroom villas spread across the boulder-strewn beaches, guests are more likely to encounter a tortoise sunbathing on the sands than a fellow guest. For visitors that can pull themselves away from their circular plunge pools, activities are a spur of the moment thing – from walks with the resident naturalist to impromptu yoga sessions under the takamaka trees.

Best time to go: March-Oct

Seven nights’ all-inclusive from £18,129pp, through Tropical Sky (01342 331799;

• Read the full review: North Island Seychelles

• The most romantic Seychelles hotels

5. Cheval Blanc Randheli, Maldives

Interiors are blistering white, with occasional paroxysms of violently bright art. So perhaps it’s understandable that so many insist this is the Maldives’ edgiest, most luxurious resort. Villas come with butlers (and bicycles) and no less than three rain showers. From full-blown tasting menus, to boiled eggs topped with caviar for breakfast, the dining is aptly indulgent, too. Guests can watch manta rays silently slide beneath the ocean’s surface from their infinity pools. The resort’s Guerlain spa occupies its own nearby island.

Best time to go: Nov-April

Seven nights’ B&B from £5,900pp, through Cazenove+Loyd (020 7384 2332;

• Read the full review: Cheval Blanc Randheli

• The most romantic hotels in the Maldives

6. The Brando, French Polynesia

For an island once owned by the late Marlon Brando, arrivals – by private seaplane – are befittingly Hollywood. Pippa Middleton honeymooned here, spending her time paddleboarding with her beau and sipping champagne in the forest canopy bar. With designer chairs ringing the private plunge pools and a vegan menu (optional) in the main restaurant, it’s aimed at trend-conscious types – as well as wellness fanatics judging by the giant nest spa set high in the treetops where “sacred queen’s baths” are the speciality.

Best time to go: June-Aug

Seven nights’ all-inclusive from £16,263pp, through Kuoni (01306 747008;

• Read the full review: The Brando

• The best hotels in French Polynesia

7. Belmond Hotel Caruso, Amalfi Coast

For those who prefer their honeymoon suites with flaking, frescoed Gothic arches and Italian marble bath tubs big enough for six. This medieval palazzo set on a rocky spur high above Ravello may have a commanding air, all marble hallways and cathedralic ceilings, but it’s also fabulously romantic, with its climbing rose gardens and infinity pool that appears suspended in the clouds. Opt for one of the rooms with clifftop terraces, perfect for candlelit private dinners, and don’t miss the champagne and caviar breakfasts.

Best time to go: May-Sept

Seven nights’ B&B from £2,130pp, through Citalia (01293 831970;

• The best luxury Amalfi Coast hotels

8. Cotton House, Mustique

One of the few luxury hotels on the mellow, mangrove-braided island of Mustique, so adored by Britain’s aristocracy. It’s cute as a button, all sugar-pink walls and fluttering muslin, and even the entry-level cottages – with their secluded, lush verandas and white four-poster beds – are wonderful for honeymooning couples. Duplex suites have plunge pools and balconies designed with couples’ spa treatments in mind. Make sure your stay includes a Tuesday night – pretty much the entire island attends a complimentary cocktail party.

Best time to go: May, June and Nov

Seven nights’ half-board costs from £2,385pp through Carrier (0161 492 1354;

• Read the full review: Cotton House

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9. Longitude 131°, Australia

If it’s good enough for William and Kate who bedded down here for a bit of romantic respite in between duties during an official visit to Australia in 2014… Guests struggle to scrape themselves away from their verandas with their views of Uluru, which like a chameleon changes colour with the shifting light and shade of the day. Even in the evening, it’s hard to move from the outdoor daybeds flanked by fire pits where guests can relax with a G&T, watching the sunset darken to a star-speckled black. But with complimentary sunset outback jaunts and base walks of Uluru on offer, failing to get out and explore the magnificent scenery surrounding you would be unforgivable.  

Best time to go: May-Sept

Fifteen nights’ all-inclusive from £9,980pp, through The Luxury Holiday Company (020 7590 0770;

• Read the full review: Longitude 131°

• The world's most amazing hotel views

10. Four Seasons Desroches, Seychelles

From its animal sanctuary that looks after 150 Aldabra tortoise to its anti-gravity yoga pavilion, the Seychelles ’ newest luxury outfit is both a wildlife haven and a rip-roaringly fun adult playground. Days are a sand-and-sea-sprayed frolic of diving, sunset beach volleyball, private fishing outings and outdoor cinema sessions. And every night is cocktails-o’clock at the top of the hotel’s mock lighthouse bar. All suites have their own pools and indoor-outdoor bathrooms. Villas also have private dining areas and gardens, and direct beach access.

Best time to go: year-round but April-May and Oct-Nov are best for diving

Seven nights’ half-board costs from £5,300pp, through The Ultimate Travel Company (020 7389 4646;

• The world's most romantic hotel bars

11. Amanpulo, Philippines

Set on a private island that forms part of the cashew and coconut tree-clad Cuyo Archipelago, Amanpulo is completely encircled by a four-mile (6km) beach. Couples can enjoy diving, private picnics or long walks where they might spot a sea turtle nesting site. Casitas have swinging hammocks and either enjoy sea views or are tucked into the forest canopy. But it’s the villas that come with their own private chef, butler and lap pools that offer privacy. At the sea-view spa set high in the trees, opt for a sunset meditation session for two followed by a Hilot massage using banana leaves.  

Best time to go: Nov-May

Seven nights’ half-board at Amanpulo from £4,590pp, through Audley Travel (01993 838155;

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12. Angama Mara, Kenya

It’s all about the views from this tented lodge high above the Great Rift Valley – whether it’s the sunsets that blaze across the hilltops each evening from the main veranda, or the views from breakfast of the Maasai Mara plains. Glass-fronted tents deliver equally extraordinary views, which can be enjoyed from the deck rocking chair or a king-size bed under an electric blanket. Safari walks, game drives and picnics on the former set of the film Out of Africa can all be arranged, too.

Best time to go: June-Oct

Seven nights’ all-inclusive from £4,990pp, through Steppes (01285 601050;

• Read the full review: Angama Mara

• The best hotels in Kenya

13. Wild Coast Tented Lodge, Sri Lanka

Elephants take late-night strolls through a secluded stretch of beach at the foot of this stylish safari lodge bordering Yala National Park. After a day spotting leopards or sloth bears in the surrounding forests, guests can unwind in their funky cocoon-shaped tented lodge with four-poster beds and outdoor tubs. These are generally dotted around watering holes for maximum wildlife viewing, though some have foliage-shrouded plunge pools that peek at the waves splashing on the sands. Don’t miss the ocean-facing spa for treatments, using local ingredients such as tea and cinnamon.  

Best time to go: Dec-March

Seven nights’ B&B costs from £2,550pp, through Scott Dunn (020 8682 5060;

• Read the full review: Wild Coast Tented Lodge

• Sri Lanka's best coastal retreats

14. Nekupe, Nicaragua

It’s five staff to each guest at this feng shui mountain lodge which gazes out to the cloud-forest-covered slopes of the Mombacho Volcano. You’ll feel like you have the place to yourself; the estate is so big that guests zip across it on quad bikes, and there are just four hilltop villas, plus a four-suite residence. From horseback riding and nightly stargazing to volcano-hopping excursions and mountaintop meditation, there is no shortage of activities. Nab a Grand Suite for a waterfall plunge pool and an outdoor hot tub.  

Best time to go: Nov-May  

 Five nights’ all-inclusive from £5,200pp, through Black Tomato (020 7426 9888;

• Read the full review: Nekupe

• The best hotels in Nicaragua

15. Thanda Island, Tanzania

Friendly whale sharks circle the waters and turtle nest on the beaches of this remarkable island in a private marine reserve off the Tanzanian coast. Guests can opt for one of the two traditional bandas or the luxury villa, which comes with its own Steiner piano, cigar humidor, wine collection, indoor aquarium and wraparound dining area with 180-degree ocean vistas. Guests can loll about in one of the bath tubs on the beaches, take a boat in search of elusive dugongs or partake in conservation tasks such as turtle tagging.

Best time to go: Oct-March

Seven nights’ all-inclusive from £7,531pp, through Yellow Zebra Safaris (020 3199 7660;

• The most amazing hotel experiences in the world

16. Fregate Island, Seychelles

Lying on the grass next to one of 2,200 Aldabra giant tortoises that rove an African island is pretty unbeatable as a honeymoon memory. Wildlife-loving couples might wake up to the sounds of some of the planet’s rarest birds, including magpie robins. Each of the 16 villas come with its own butler and infinity pool, and decks have ample space for candlelit private dining sessions.

Best time to go: year-round but April-May and Oct-Nov are best for diving

Seven nights’ all-inclusive from £14,170pp, through Elegant Resorts (01244 897581;

• Read the full review: Fregate Island

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17. Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur

The white Rajasthani pillars and lily-flecked ponds may look familiar; this former summer palace floating on Lake Pichola was Octopussy’s hideout in the 1983 James Bond film. Guests are greeted with a shower of rose petals, and the marble-clad suites include hot tubs and four-poster beds. Grand Royal Suites have glass-fronted bath tubs that overlook the lake. Film buffs should ask to take the 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom used in Octopussy for a spin. Perhaps followed up with dinner on the hotel’s 150-year-old boat, which used to belong to Udaipur royalty.

Best time to go: Sept-Dec and Feb-Mar

Seven nights’ all-inclusive from £3,500pp, through Ampersand Travel (020 7819 9770;

• Read the full review: Taj Lake Palace

• The best palace hotels in the world

18. Tongabezi, Zambia

The river makes it. Couples spend hours watching the rolling Zambezi from their lodgings’ plunge pools or private decks. In the Honeymoon House suite, they can enjoy frangipani-flowered baths in an outdoor tub while watching the river flare orange at sunset – or take it all in from their outdoor day bed. Staff can sort everything from pop-up bars on the sandbanks to “floating dinners” for two on a deck in the middle of the river. Not to mention the breathtaking boat trips and Big Five game drives.    

Best time to go: May-Sept

Seven nights’ all-inclusive from £4,425, through Abercrombie and Kent 01242 547702; (

• The best hotels in Zambia

19. Segera Retreat, Kenya

Even the chandeliers are made from recycled glass at this exclusive eco-lodge set in the bronze-hued savannah plains of Laikipia safari park. The latter boasts the second-highest density of wildlife in Kenya, the kind of place where hartebeests and zebra skip through the grasslands, and leopards and lions prowl in their wake. Solar power heats the outdoor baths in the private lodges back at base. But couples should spend at least one night in the Bird Nest treehouse, for 360-degree views that can be drunk in with a glass of champagne at sunset and from open-air beds.

Best time to go: June-Oct

Five nights’ all-inclusive from £7,195pp, through Cox & Kings (020 3642 0861;

• The best budget hotels in the world's most amazing locations

20. Nihi Sumba, Indonesia

Indonesia’s most romantic bolt-hole is framed by banyan trees and billows with more cotton than a Ralph Lauren factory. Honeymoon-worthy activities include sunset horse rides and Spa Safaris, which comprise a sunrise walk across rice fields, breakfast on a terrace suspended above the coast, and a cliff-edge massage. Sundowners and canapés in the bar down by the boathouse is a must – you might even witness a turtle release. All villas have four-poster beds, ocean vistas and private infinity pools.

Best time to go: March-Sept

 Seven nights’ all-inclusive from £3,499pp, through Trailfinders (020 7368 1200;

• Read the full review: Nihi Sumba

All packages include return flight, unless otherwise stated. For more inspiration on where to book, see our guide to the world’s 50 best honeymoons . For expert advice on planning a wedding, go to The Telegraph's dedicated weddings section .


This article was written by Sherelle Jacobs from The Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].

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