A Kiss by the Beach

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montpelier plantation Many people in the U.S. have never heard of Nevis, the small sister island to St. Kitts—and that’s part of what makes it so alluring to honeymooners, particularly those looking for a unique retreat. And Montpelier Plantation increases that draw. This former sugar plantation is now a Relais & Chateaux property that has been restored to its 18th century greatness, earning a AAA four-diamond award with 19 rooms set along the slow slope to Mount Nevis. There’s a British elegance in just about everything here, from dining on its wide balcony to the proper armchairs in its stone-walled bar. Paired with its exotic Caribbean landscape, the resort practically screams romance. Of course, there’s more to honeymoons here than the view. Montpelier Plantation is an ideal hub for exploring the rest of the island, from hikes through the rainforest and tours of ruins of sugar plantations, to casual and unique boutiques, art galleries and seaside bars. Nevis’ tropical forests, populated with monkeys, rank among the most exciting in the Caribbean. And at the resort itself, staff can set up private in-suite dining or a gourmet picnic to enjoy at the beach or an island tour. But The Mill restaurant might be the most romantic of all, set inside a 300-year-old sugar mill that still has its original steps, floor and stone walls. Montpelier’s 7-night Honeymoon package includes one dinner at the Mill, a couples’ massage, four dinners at the Terrace restaurant and a beach picnic with champagne; rates start at $3,100.

cap est For young, hip couples seeking relaxation with a side of chic atmosphere, it’s hard to beat Cap Est in Martinique. Surrounded by its high-tech gadgets and modern, Far East-inspired decor, just about anybody can feel like a fashionista. Each of its 50 sexy suites contains a plunge pool and balcony or terrace, usually looking out to sea; many have outdoor showers as well. Inside, honeymooners find amenities including DVD-CD players, a phone with Internet and fax, and a plasma-screen TV that revolves around a pole to face just about any point in the room. The “sexy-chic” ambiance extends throughout the resort, particularly to Le Belem, its low-lit, red-hued fine dining restaurant with an impressive cellar of champagne, vintage rums and rack upon rack of wines. Complementing Le Belem is Le Cohi-bar, a cocktail lounge where couples can get cozy over traditional Caribbean cocktails. But the ultimate in exclusivity is at its spa, a facility measuring 3,200 sq. ft., but which hosts only three clients at a time to maintain its high standards of privacy and quality. With a hammam, balneotherapy, algae baths and an ice water pool, the spa offers just about any type of treatment a spagoer can dream of. Add all that to the easy romance of Martinique, with its inimitable blend of French culture, tropical scenery and abundant island colors, and you have a recipe for a honeymoon that’s tres magnifique. Rates at Cap Est start at $540 per room per night dbl.

w vieques Starwood Hotels & Resorts has brought the young, chic vibe of its W brand to Puerto Rico’s idyllic and virtually untouched offshore island of Vieques—and, naturally, it’s an ideal escape for honeymooners who want an exotic experience without traveling too far from home. On its 30 acres, clients find an abundance of romantic ways to pass the time: lounging on the private patios and balconies with ocean views that extend from its 157 rooms and suites; indulging in local, organic cuisine at its miX on beach restaurant, inspired by celebrity chef Alain Ducasse; and being pampered at Spa Chakra, the resort’s state-of-the-art facility offering island-inspired treatments and seaside yoga sessions. But this is more than just another W hotel. The W Vieques is one of only two W Retreats in the world. That may sound like a small change in title, but the difference is in its emphasis on privacy, luxury and nature—three essential components of any Caribbean honeymoon. Couples can stroll hand in hand through its Paradise Edge garden sanctuary, for example, or sip drinks in low-lit corners of its intimate bars. There’s even an outdoor terrace with plush lounge chairs and couches where honeymooners can snuggle at night by the light of a bonfire. The W’s Tempt Tease and Tantalize package includes a private candlelight dinner, couple’s massage, breakfast in bed daily and $100 credit for island activities with rates starting at $459 per room per night dbl.

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