Honeymooning in Ultimate Bliss

written by | Posted on June 3rd, 2013

Beach Villa at Hayman at Australia's Great Barrier Reef

the nam hai, vietnam

Consider The Nam Hai in central Vietnam’s Hoi An. Just a few short years back, Hoi An, a few miles south of Danang (the resort offers complimentary shuttle to Hoi An from Danang), was a charming backwater port full of peeling French colonial buildings. Today it’s a different scene altogether. Where fishing shacks once stood, modern resorts now exude comfort and luxury along pristine beaches that give new meaning to the oft-used phrase “hidden paradise.” Good news for couples seeking the romance of yesteryear, though? This UNESCO World Heritage Centre and thoroughly Vietnamese city has retained all the pastel charm of a faded era.

Here, The Nam Hai, part of The Leading Hotels of the World and GHM collections, and a Virtuoso member, was built with honeymooners in mind. It’s an all-villa tranquil retreat surrounded by one of Southeast Asia’s most beautiful gardens. Newlyweds will find a hideaway where serenity intertwines with sprawling South China Sea panoramas along Ha My Beach. Luxury, 1- to 5-bedroom villas, private infinity pools, a world-class spa and the joys of Vietnam’s unparalleled cuisine while being pampered in unprecedented splendor astonishes. At first glance, The Nam Hai seems like a row of striking villages resembling a diorama of Vietnam’s 2,500 years of recorded history. Its interior mirrors Hue’s ancient royal tombs and follows the dramatic harmony between wind and water as guided by the tenets of feng shui.

When not exploring enthralling Hoi An, guests have the option of relaxing on the beach or lolling around three massive swimming pools. The spa offers treatments for couples in a pagoda built over a splendid lotus pond. Meals are served in one of Nam Hai’s many private retreats—nooks decorated with Vietnamese lacquer and diaphanous silk—while being attended by a private butler.

Rates run from $365 per night dbl for oceanview bungalows; $1,200 for 3-bedroom villas.

The resort’s proximity to Danang makes Hoi An easy to reach from the U.S. west coast on a number of airlines, including Cathay Pacific, Korean Air and Asiana (roundtrip fares run from approximately $2,000 pp.)

thenamhai.com or lhw.com

hayman, australia

If the land down under beckons, then newlyweds need not look farther than Hayman, Australia’s much-lauded Great Barrier Reef resort. Built on a sheltered tropical private island, Hayman is an experience in itself offering romantic seclusion amid a spectacular setting. The 210-villa resort, also a member of The Leading Hotels of the World, spreads over more than 700 acres on the northernmost spot of the Whitsunday Island Group off the Queensland coast where tranquility and natural beauty reign. The property’s dominant themes are leisure; there are four restaurants, a spa and 24-hour butler service.

Honeymooners will not only savor what’s billed as “a front row seat to the Great Barrier Reef,” but will also experience an entire world of relaxation and sun-draped activities. There’s tube riding, waterskiing and wakeboarding, as well as diving and snorkeling, not to mention helicopter rides and seaplane adventures that offer a bird’s-eye view of the area’s stunning reefs. Golf or tennis, anyone?

For the rest of the year Hayman is offering a 3-night Romantic Escape package tailor-made for honeymooners. Accommodations are in the well-appointed Pool Rooms—overlooking the Hayman pool—and include breakfast on a verandah overlooking the Coral Sea, a 3-course gourmet dinner, complimentary champagne and accessibility to windsurfing, waterskiing and catamaran sailing. Rates start at approximately $1,300 pp dbl.

Hayman might be far from the maddening crowd, but it’s easily accessible from Australia’s international airports, including Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane via the Great Barrier Reef Airport located on nearby Hamilton Island, although flights into Proserpine and Mackay offer alternatives. To get from Hamilton Island to Hayman, newlyweds can opt for a luxury launch transfer from Great Barrier Reef Airport or a seaplane transfer.

hayman.com.au or lhw.com

oberoi vanyavilas, ranthambhore, india

If the call of the wild is in the glittery plans of newlyweds, then the Oberoi Vanyavilas in Ranthambhore, India, fits the bill.

Constantly ranked as one of the world’s top properties in major travel publications, this all-luxury tent jungle resort is located in southeastern Rajasthan, about 80 miles from Jaipur (Air India has regular flights to Jaipur from Delhi and other major Indian cities; fares from Delhi run approximately $150 pp). Although the resort may seem remote, its isolation, peacefulness and wonders will make honeymooning there an unforgettable experience. The resort’s tiger tracking safaris will heighten any honeymoon, as guests will find the property an unparalleled base from which to explore the surrounding wildlife reserve knowing that the Oberoi Vanyavilas’ traditional luxury and pampering await after a day spent in the wild.

The Oberoi Vanyavilas’ most prominent landmark is a photogenic river running through it. There are also lakes and fountains throughout, all seen from the sun-splashed sun decks that surround each of its 25 luxurious tents.

The tents, patterned after a maharajah’s traveling tent, also have a private garden and are furnished with four-poster beds swathed with embroidered canopies; the floors are carved from exotic woods. Serenity is the order of the day and the spa is famous for its trademark Indian Spice Wrap treatments.

The resort offers a special Honeymoon package of unique amenities like floral baths, complimentary chocolates and other boutique experiences that newlyweds will find irresistible.

Rates are approximately $2,700 for six nights and climb to $4,700 for 12 nights.

(800) 562-3764 or oberoihotels.com

taj exotica resort & spa, maldives

Few places, with the exception of those famous waterfalls on the U.S.-Canada border, are as synonymous with honeymoons and romance as the Maldives, the island nation on the Indian Ocean long considered one of the most captivating settings on earth.

The Maldives are so alluring that in the three decades since they soared to the forefront of chic destinations, more than 10 million tourists have visited—and although there are well over 100 resorts on the islands, few are as attractive and as welcoming to newlyweds as the Taj Exotica Resort & Spa.

The 64-room property sits on a private, remote island and fronts a pristine beach on one of the largest lagoons in the Maldives. Its luxury villas are like movie sets for making memories. The resort’s palm-thatched villas are built entirely over water, with private sundecks offering 180-degree ocean views.

The Taj Exotic Resort & Spa is lauded for its elegant cuisine. Perched over water, the award-winning Deep End restaurant, known for a whimsical touch that manages to blend Mediterranean with Asian specialties, is the culinary destination in the Maldives.

Some guests, basking in the afterglow of a wedding and lulled by the soothing mood, may opt for dining in their room, or may choose any location on the island for memorable private outdoor dinners attended by a private butler. A highlight is the Jiva Grande Spa—a sanctuary offering an enigmatic range of Indian wellness signature treatments and rituals.

A Honeymoon package ($5,600) runs through October. It includes four nights in a lagoon villa, breakfast and a substantial spa discount.

Although there are no direct flights from the U.S., the Maldives are easily reached from India or Singapore; Air India and Singapore Airlines have regular service, with fares varying depending on the season.

(866) 969-1825 or tajhotels.com

viceroy bali

Much has been written about Bali, the Indonesian tropical wonderland famous in music and prose. And while many consider it to be so popular in the tourism radar that it has lost part of its appeal, Bali remains among the most popular getaway Asian honeymoon havens.

Built on a serene ridge above Bali’s Valley of the Kings, Viceroy Bali, a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, is a luxurious 25-villa retreat for couples seeking an exclusive, exotic and elegant destination.

Once a favored royal retreat, the resort—which boasts of being ultra-friendly to its LGBT guests—offers five categories of expansive yet intimate villas with private pools and attentive discreet service. Facilities include an award-winning restaurant, spa, gym, onsite helipad and convenient access to Bali’s wonders. The resort is an idyllic local sanctuary for honeymoons and weddings amid sophistication and luxury.

Its Australian owners adhere to the philosophy that after the “high drama of a wedding, newlyweds deserve an escape that is theirs alone, complete with absolute privacy, intimate surroundings, decadent dining, sensual pampering, heart-stopping scenery and romance galore.” Viceroy Bali meets all this criteria.

The resort also offers trips to Ubud for shopping sprees, dining in cozy eateries and strolling through galleries; bicycle treks through rice paddies to visit ancient temples; helicopter tours for a bird’s-eye view of coastlines, volcanoes and monkey forests; snorkeling, diving and other compelling experiences.

Valid through the end of the year, a 3-night Honeymoon package (from $1,716 per night dbl; extension nights $572) offers accommodations in a spacious pool villa, spa treatments, 6-course dinners, champagne, flower baths, private butler, breakfasts, airport transfers and many other amenities tailor-made for newlyweds.

There are no direct flights from the U.S. to Denpasar, Bali’s capital, but a number of airlines—including Singapore Airlines, EVA and Cathay Pacific—offer convenient flights from various destinations.

viceroybali.com

goway gets romantic

Bronwyn Hodge, Goway’s Asia product and marketing coordinator, concurs that Asia might be the planet’s most exotic honeymoon destination. “There are so many choices that choosing a particular one can be daunting,” she says.

Goway’s packages are carefully designed so newlyweds “stay in some of the best beaches in the world in places like Thailand and Bali. There are elephant treks in the rainforest or camel rides in the desert. There are also visits to opulent palaces, exotic temples and forts,” Hodge adds. “Besides, Asia is very affordable. A lot of resorts cater specifically to honeymooners and offer amenities like free nights, room upgrades, massages and wine. When the time comes, I can’t wait to plan my own honeymoon in Asia—although it might be hard to decide where to go.”

As a result, Goway has put together a collection of impressive packages:

Thailand—Island Hopping: This 10-day package includes accommodations in five-star hotels ($1,429 pp) and the opportunity to experience Thailand’s fabled islands. Couples will bask in some of Southeast Asia’s most romantic deluxe properties like the Surin (Phuket), Zeavola (Phi Phi) and Nakamanda (Krabi). Honeymooners also receive special bonuses like a large fruit basket, flowers and bottles of sparkling wine. They may also opt for an extra night in Phuket (during selected travel periods) at no extra charge and enjoy complimentary spa treatments. A 3-day extension in Chiang Mai’s Elephant Jungle Camp is also available.

Bali Beach Escape: Goway’s 8-day Beach Escape (from $999 pp) includes accommodations at the plush, private InterContinental Bali Resort on fashionable Jimbaran Bay. It features island tours, airport transfers and spa treatments. Other perks include one free night, wine, and flower and fruit arrangements.

India—Golden Triangle with Oberoi: On this 8-day package (from $2,279 pp), Goway takes honeymooners for a visit to the Taj Mahal (the world’s most illustrious monument to love), embarks on a boat ride on the Ganges, offers camel rides in the Jodhpur Desert, leads tiger safaris in Ranthambore and features strolls along the beaches in Goa. Accommodations are in opulent palaces and forts. Options include custom packages with a private car, driver and a guide to help visitors explore India independently.

goway.com or gowayagent.com

Archived related articles (available on recommend.com/magazine/issue-archive):
Starry-Eyed Bliss in Exotic Surroundings (June 2012)