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Of the 4,400 passport-wielding Americans polled last year by Emirates, over 70% admitted to being more excited about their honeymoons than their weddings.
We get it. A honeymoon is supposed to be the most romantic, unforgettable trip of your life. To make certain that your honeymoon exceeds all of your (admittedly, very high) expectations, be sure to plan a getaway that reflects you and your partner’s personalities and distinct travel style.
Whether your dream getaway features deserted beaches or luxe city escapes, we scoured the globe to find an underrated, up-and-coming or perfectly timeless destination for every couple. Believe us — you’ll definitely want to say “I do” to one of these extraordinary honeymoon spots.
Best Beach Honeymoons
Tourism is surging on this laid-back beach paradise, showing a leap of more than 12% from 2017 in the first months of the year. Less than two hours by plane from the coast of Florida, Jamaica is an accessible, affordable answer for couples who want to switch their clocks to island time. Opt for a worry-free all-inclusive in either Negril or Montego Bay, in the west, or veer your rental car off the beaten path to explore the rugged Blue Mountains in the east. During your stay, take a romantic boat rides to a private stretch of beach, go bamboo rafting and take a cooking class designed exclusively for couples.
TPG Tip: For an all-inclusive experience, use your points at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa, or book a Ralph Lauren-designed villa at the Round Hill Hotel. For a boutique stay, opt for the brand new Skylark in Negril, with its 28 tropical-influenced Mid Century-modern rooms.
Gili Meno, Indonesia
Mention Indonesia, and for many travelers images of Bali immediately come to mind. But the Gili Islands (especially the smallest of the three, Gili Meno) are supremely tranquil — largely because there aren’t any cars allowed and the crowds are blissfully thin compared with Bali. The soft, white sands and clear waters make the island a perfect honeymoon destination for divers hoping to see giant turtles and tropical fish.
TPG Tip: Karma Reef Hotel offers a perfect high-end, romantic glamping experience on Gili Meno. Guests staying for three nights or more may enjoy a complimentary couples spa treatment, dinner for two or a private snorkeling tour in addition to a cozy beach bungalow or safari-style tent.
The Greek Islands
Although just under 230 of Greece’s 6,000 islands are inhabited, many travelers tend to stick to the supremely popular Mykonos and Santorini. While these islands are beautiful, they can also be crowded and overpriced, especially during high season. Opt instead for a trip to Crete’s quaint Chania region, where you’ll find ivy-covered B&Bs and white-washed hotels overlooking quiet beaches. Sifnos, on the other hand, is a small, picturesque island just a few hours away from Athens by ferry, also known as the “Island of Flavors.” Famous for its culinary offerings like thyme honey, marzipan and mastelo pastries, and lamb cooked in a traditional clay pot, Sifnos is perfect for couples with appetites.
TPG Tip: Beginning in September of 2018, travelers who head to Crete can book a room at the latest Casa Cook outpost in Chania. Splurge on a suite with private gardens and an infinity pool. Either way, plan to add on a day or two in Athens, especially if you love history and want to sample modern Greek cuisine.
If you and your significant other are seeking the pinnacle of luxury and are prepared to splurge (or cash in all your points and miles) this island nation with more than 1,200 islands is hard to beat. There are a number of ways to reach these far-flung islands using points and miles. Once there, reservations at the Conrad Maldives start at 95,000 Hilton HHonors points per night, while the St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort can be booked for 90,000 Starpoints per night. During a honeymoon in the Maldives, reserve plenty of afternoons for snorkeling with manta rays and reef sharks.
TPG Tip: Make sure to factor the seaplane cost (around $700) into your budget if you plan to stay on some of the farther islands.
Best City Honeymoons
Right, so Paris is romantic. We knew that already. But beyond the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, the City of Light is bursting with new and classic sights that will enchant even regular visitors. Spend days drifting in and out of well-loved museums like the D’Orsay and the Rodin, as well as the brand new L’Atelier des Lumières. Come dusk, relax along the Seine or in the Luxembourg Gardens with a bottle of wine and a picnic basket. Carve out time during your Parisian honeymoon for a day trip to the nearby Loire Valley for wine tasting and châteaux exploring.
TPG Tip: Keep your eyes peeled for cheap flights to France from the United States. We’ve seen some deals in 2018 for $450 per person, round-trip.
Filled with thousands of temples and shrines — approximately 2,000, to be more specific — Kyoto is the perfect honeymoon destination for newlyweds seeking a rich cultural experience while still embracing the requisite romantic vibes. While Kyoto has a variety of points hotels (including a Hyatt Regency and Ritz-Carlton), travelers should consider bedding down in a traditional ryokan, or Japanese inn. Some of these historic properties even have private Japanese onsens (hot spring spas) in the rooms. Food options range from Michelin starred spots to street food, so there are meal options for all budgets.
TPG Tip: Plan your honeymoon during the particularly colorful seasons of either spring or autumn. For a brief period of time between March and April, pale pink cherry blossoms perfume the city. From mid-October onward, Kyoto is blanketed with the fiery hues of fall foliage.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Wine tastings, tango classes and fine dining — all with Latin flair. Could there be anything more perfect for a spirited honeymoon than a trip to the so-called “Paris of South America?” Shop for hand-made leather goods as you stroll tree-lined boulevards, and make sure to eat dinner at a closed-door restaurant, which is actually dinner served at a chef’s home. Best of all, the exchange rate leans strongly in favor of the US dollar right now, meaning once you touch down, your honeymoon will be relatively affordable. Travelers can also add a mini-moon to the Argentinian side of the Iguazú Falls, a spectacular collection of more than 250 individual cascades.
TPG Tip: In Buenos Aires, stay at the Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt Recoletos, a chic Category 5 property that will cost you 20,000 World of Hyatt points per night.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
After the stress of wedding planning, opt for an easy-to-reach destination like Puerto Rico (you don’t even need to fret about packing a passport). With a thriving salsa dancing scene, year-round balmy climate and exceptional food (order the mofongo), there are more than a few reasons to put a trip to Puerto Rico at the very top of your newlywed to-do list. And though tourism is starting to steadily tick up after Hurricane Maria battered the island last year, locals can still seriously benefit from your dollars.
TPG Tip: For peace of mind, avoid planning your honeymoon during hurricane season. And consider spending at least one night at the recently-opened Serafina hotel in Condado.
Best Unexpected Honeymoons
The rolling hills and ancient castles of the Irish countryside make for an entirely different kind of honeymoon — without compromising any romance, of course. Snuggling by the fire at a local pub while sipping pints of Guinness or strolling along the rugged edges of the Cliffs of Moher is the perfect way to spend a relaxing, low-key honeymoon with your new spouse. In Dublin, stay at The Shelbourne, a Category 9 Marriott property fresh off a multi-million euro renovation.
TPG Tip: For tips on how to arrive, check our guide to booking Aer Lingus awards using points and miles. Don’t forget, Aer Lingus’ AerClub mileage program is now a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner, too.
Skip the crowded streets of Barcelona and head instead to the Rioja province of Spain — a region famed for its wine-making and pintxos (Basque country’s version of tapas). After you’ve satisfied your appetite for fine Spanish wines, stop at a Galician beach, visit the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and spend at least one day hiking through the Picos de Europa mountain range.
TPG Tip: Explore Spain using the country’s advanced network of high-speed trains — and get there by way of a flight deal (round-trip fares to Bilbao have, in the past, been spotted under $360).
Willamette Valley, Oregon
If you love wine but can’t stray too far from home, Oregon’s Wilmmette Valley has a few hundred boutique wineries for you to visit during your Pacific Northwest honeymoon. Many are small and family-owned, meaning this kind of tasting experience will be entirely different compared to the more commercial Napa Valley. Romantic sunsets, visits to lavender farms and relaxing spa experiences will complement all the pinot noir you’ll be sampling with your loved one.
TPG Tip: Take your honeymoon here next May, during Oregon’s official wine month, and stay at the Atticus Hotel, which opens in the spring of 2018 with 36 cozy rooms and suites, some of which feature balconies, freestanding tubs and roaring fireplaces.
Travel back in time during your honeymoon with a trip to the colorful, stuck-in-time island of Cuba. One of the few Caribbean islands still largely untouched by the tides of tourism, visitors will discover vibrant towns like Cienfuegos reverberating with Afro-Cuban jazz, as well as the rolling hills and tobacco fields of Viñales. Walking along Havana’s broad seaside malecón, watching the waves cast arcs of ocean spray onto the road, will transport you to a past era.
TPG Tip: Make sure you’re clear on all the requirements for entering Cuba, as well as other important details about using credit cards.
Check out the TPG guide on maximizing your points, miles and credit cards for your wedding and honeymoon.
Featured photo of turquoise sea water, Glyka Nera, Chania, Crete, Greece. (Photo by Gatsi/Getty Images)
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