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The engagement is official, the date is set, and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have a wedding to plan. With all the excitement, the couple, both avid travelers, probably haven’t had a moment to think about where they will honeymoon. But we have.
Here’s where the royal couple might consider for their honeymoon — and why you’ll want to book a trip to one of these dazzling destinations yourself.
Back in 2003, Harry spent a while being a “jackaroo,” or Australian cowboy, rustling cattle on a ranch in Queensland. Since then, the prince has returned Down Under many times, both on official business and for leisure. His charity, the Invictus Games, which supports injured veterans, will hold its flagship event in Sydney next October. It’s clear the continent has a special place in his heart, so perhaps he’ll consider showing it off to his new bride.
The couple seems to be into adventure and roughing it — within reason. So Harry should cast his gaze on Sal Salis, a glamping-style eco lodge in one of the most remote places on earth: Western Australia’s Cape Ranges National Park, a two-hour flight from Perth. The camp has just 16 wilderness tents, including a new Honeymoon Tent, all built according to strict sustainability and low-impact principles that include 100% solar power and carefully managed water usage (guests only get 20 liters per person per day for showering).
Since the royal couple is getting married in May, they could even jet directly from London down to Perth aboard Qantas’s new non-stop Dreamliner route and stay at the camp during prime season to swim with whale sharks along the pristine Ningaloo Reef.
Harry’s been to Brazil and Chile, but if he wants another stamp in his passport and the chance to study conservation efforts to inform some of his charitable work at home and abroad, Ecuador, one of TPG’s recommended places to go in 2018, should be on the couple’s honeymoon shortlist.
Mashpi Lodge, perched up in the cloud forests of the biodiverse Chocó region, a three-hour drive from Quito, is the perfect blend of privacy, luxury and mindful management. Like Harry and Meghan’s chance romance, the 22-room Mashpi Lodge almost never came to be. The 3,200 acres of old-growth forest it now stands on was marked for logging. However, Roque Sevilla, a former Quito mayor and amateur naturalist, bought the land in 2001 and created a nature preserve to save it. No trees were cut to build the lodge and Sevilla hired and trained locals to build and staff the lodge; today, the property continues to aid in ongoing conservation efforts as an alternative to jobs in logging and other deforestation activities. Guests can visit the lodge’s huge collection of rare butterflies, hike with a resident biologist, swim in secluded waterfalls and ride the Sky Bike, a raised cableway that crosses through the forest canopy.
Given the UK’s long and close history with India, Princess Di’s iconic trip in 1992 and Markle’s own humanitarian travels there, Harry and Meghan might think about touring the subcontinent for their honeymoon. Sure, there are fabulous palaces galore, from the shocking-pink Rajmahal Palace in Jaipur to the romantic Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur. But the active and health-focused young couple might instead opt for a retreat at one of the most exclusive spa and wellness centers in the world, Ananda in the Himalayas.
The spa has a royal pedigree — it’s set on the grounds of a Maharaja’s Estate — and has emerged as a favorite of other high-profile jetsetters, including Oprah. It was also the retreat of choice for Harry’s great-granduncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten, when he was the Viceroy and then Governor-General of India.
Ananda is located in the Himalayan foothills, up winding mountain roads from the spiritual center of Rishikesh. The Beatles came to the town for enlightenment in 1968, and visitors still flock here from all over India — and the world — to participate in the joyful Aarti fire-lighting ritual, which takes place at dusk along the banks of the Ganges. During their stay, the couple can indulge in a multi-day wellness program focused on de-stressing (perfect for post-nuptial decompression), go hiking in the mountains, where they might even spot leopards and, of course, do yoga daily — an activity Markle has declared “my thing.”
Will and Kate might have spent their honeymoon sunning on the shores of super-exclusive North Island in the Seychelles. Don’t be surprised if Harry and Meghan one-up the elder royals, though, by visiting the all-new Miavana, situated on Nosy Ankao, a private island off the northern coast of Madagascar.
The eco-resort has just 14 solar-powered villas, each with its own private pool deck and direct access to the beach. Thanks to included scuba lessons, guests can explore the surrounding coral reefs just offshore. If they get bored, the couple can island-hop, take a flying safari aboard one of the resort’s helicopters, head out on a fishing expedition, or simply visit the lodge’s Cabinet of Curiosities containing “treasures collected from around Madagascar” — dinosaur bones, detritus from sunken ships, elephant bird eggs and so on. Thanks to the remoteness and limited communications signals, the paparazzi is unlikely to be bother them here.
The couple loves Botswana — they spent Markle’s birthday there and the center diamond in her engagement ring comes from the country. However, the actress visited Rwanda last year as an ambassador for Canadian charity World Vision and an advocate for UN Women, and has described the experience as “incredible.” So she might want to take her prince to the country she loves so deeply. If they plan correctly, they might even be able to fly RwandAir’s new A330 service from London Gatwick (LGW) to Kigali (KGL) once it launches May 26.
Rwanda has no shortage of exciting new places to explore. Wilderness Safaris’ stunning new Bisate Lodge, whose gorgeous thatched villas perch within an ancient volcanic cone in Volcanoes National Park, is the perfect base for trekking to see the country’s endangered mountain gorillas. They might also book a jaunt to One&Only’s Nyungwe House, a luxury complex of six wooden villas set in a working tea plantation, where they can mountain-bike, kayak and track rare chimpanzees through the surrounding primordial rainforest.
Markle is a fervent foodie; in fact, she even named her lifestyle blog, The Tig, after Tignanello, one of her favorite Super Tuscans. Maybe she’ll convince her favorite uomo to take her on an epicurean escape by booking into Rosewood’s Castiglion del Bosco.
The Tuscan resort, situated near the renowned winemaking town of Montalcino, is owned by the Ferragamo family (of fashion fame) and includes an 800-year-old wine estate complete with a medieval castle, a church and even an entire village. Many of the property’s 17th– and 18th-century buildings have been restored and now house the hotel’s 23 suites and 11 private villas. Of those, the newly opened Villa Agresto stands out thanks to the privacy it affords, surrounded as it is by olive groves and its own vineyard, not to mention an enormous (and romantic) fireplace in the living room, a private infinity pool and five bedrooms so the couple can bring along friends if they like. During the day, Markle can indulge in gastronomic pursuits at the hotel’s La Canonica Cooking School, whose classes incorporate locally sourced cheeses and meats as well as vegetables and herbs from the property’s organic kitchen garden.
Featured image by Samir Hussein / WireImage
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