So you’re clear on the honeymoon dream: a long-haul tropical island with azure seas, white-sand beaches and 24/7 romance. But the practical reality of finding and booking it is much murkier – there’s a dizzying array of options out there. Here’s how to discover your perfect paradise.
Best for Foodie Adventures: Six Senses Con Dao, Vietnam
This idyllic island hideaway is as stunning as the nature that surrounds it. Crystal-clear seas, pristine but still wild beaches, limitless skies, and hardly any development… it’s reminiscent of Thailand 30 years ago. 50 eco-chic villas have incredible bathrooms and private plunge pools, and the spa sounds amazing, with open-air treatment rooms and sunrise yoga. Best of all? The Vietnamese food. The beachfront restaurant is elegant and refined (think lobster and scallop green curry), or there’s a fun market restaurant with authentic noodle stalls and exotic canapés.
Honeymoon highlight: Take a cooking lesson and learn to create hot and sour fish soup then beef in betal leaf. Recreate it all at home for a dinner party with friends.
Rates: From GBP 578/night, including breakfast, yoga and transfers
Best for Pure Escapism: The Jalakara, Andaman Islands, India
No Phones, no WiFi, just virgin rainforest and a sublime hideaway with all the spoiling benefits of a top hotel. Havelock Island isn’t the easiest place to get to, but boy is it worth the effort. This coral-ringed island has some of the most spectacular beaches on earth, and The Jalakara is home to the only infinity pool on the island. Food is delicious (British owner Mark is a chef) and the 7 boho-chic rooms are beautiful: one has a lily pond and hammocks, another has an Ayurvedic copper plunge pool; the tower room has 360-degree panoramic views over the sea. It’s hard to imagine a more idyllic place to disconnect from the world.
Honeymoon highlight: Kayak around the mangrove creeks at night; the starry skies and phosphorescence blew our minds.
Rates from GBP153/night, including breakfast
Best for YOLO Honeymoons: Bawah Reserve, Indonesia
This blissfully far-flung island is part of a remote archipelago of pristine coral islands cast adrift in the South China Sea. A private marine reserve, the snorkelling and diving are world-class, amongst black-tip sharks and eagle rays, or you can float across the crystalline water in a see-through kayak. Treetop suppers, guided jungle hikes and paddle-boarding… your days will be full of adventure (even arrival is thrilling, on an amphibious seaplane) and you can spend your evenings snuggled on beanbags at the outdoor cinema.
Honeymoon highlight: Book a meal at the impossibly romantic ‘Lookout’, a private dining perch for 2 in the Treetops restaurant. It’s gorgeously decorated with candles and lanterns.
Rates from GBP1453, all inclusive; i-escape has a 5 nights-for-4 deal (Sep 2018-Dec 2019)
Best for Affordable Romance: Reethi Faru Resort, Maldives
With a dreamy lagoon and colourful house reef, the prices of this coral-fringed island in Raa Atoll come as sweet relief to those who want the picture-postcard experience without the excruciating price tags of most Maldivian resorts. Reethi is simply designed but ticks all the paradise boxes: overwater villas with ladders into the turquoise Indian ocean; a superb watersports centre (dolphin safaris, catamaran sailing), and 6 restaurants offering various meal plans. Best of all is the dive centre, who can take you to dramatic overhangs and submerged islands where you’ll swim with Green turtles.
Honeymoon highlight: A ‘Robinson drop’ on your own deserted island, for a picnic.
Rates from GBP238, including breakfast
Best for Going Green: Song Saa Private Island, Cambodia
This luxurious resort with a conscience sits in a secluded archipelago 30 minutes by speedboat from Sihanoukville. All the honeymoon ticks are in place (sparkling infinity pools, four-poster beds, a bar and restaurant with 360-degree ocean views), but what sets this place apart is its admirable commitment to the environment and local community. The owners set up a marine reserve and employ 6 full-time conservation staff; you can trek through the rainforest and visit local villages with them. Even the architecture blends beautifully into its virgin environment; some villas are wrapped around trees in the jungle, others are suspended above the sea with steps down to the water, and all have private decks and plunge pools.
Honeymoon highlight: Take a guided snorkelling tour to Coral Reef island with the resort’s marine expert; you’ll see seahorses and parrotfish dart among vibrant corals.
Rates from GBP871, all inclusive
Best for Ultimate Relaxation: COMO Maalifushi, Maldives
For holistic living and divine pampering, COMOscoops all the awards. Their Maalifushi resort has a mind-boggling array of treatments to revitalise; more unusual ones include Taksu stress-busting massage, marine algae therapy and intensive healing facials, all delivered to the sound of lapping waves in their heavenly oceanside spa. Complimentary yoga classes and private meditation are also on offer. But don’t spend all your time in the spa! There’s also sensational diving, dolphin cruises, or you can charter the resort’s 68-ft luxury yacht for the day (and night).
Honeymoon highlight: Night snorkelling with whale sharks. You’ll be given a phone (keep it with you), wait for the call confirming a sighting, then jump in a boat and venture out to swim with these magnificent gentle giants under moonlight. Truly magical.
Rates from GBP754 including breakfast
Best for Low-Key Romantics: Slow Gili Air, Indonesia
All who’ve visited Gili Air rave about it. Part of a chilled-out archipelago near Bali, this tiny car-free islet is fringed by coconut palms and turquoise waters, and has an addictive slow pace of life. Architect-designed Slow is its most fabulous hideaway: just 10 enchanting villas with plunge pools and a beautiful spa. Days here fall into an easy rhythm of breakfast on your private terrace (tropical fruit salads, sunshine-yellow avos on perfectly poached eggs), followed by a bike ride to beaches for snorkelling, sunset cocktails and barbecued fish suppers by the sea. An idyllic place to unwind after a hectic wedding!
Honeymoon highlight: Watch the sunset at beach bar Mowies; get there by 5pm, grab a beanbag, order cocktails and watch the sky turn pink to the sound of chilled Balearic beats.
Rates from GBP266 including breakfast
Best for Royalty: North Island, Seychelles
This incredible sanctuary of just 11 beachfront villas on a private island is where William and Kate spent their honeymoon. It’s the epitome of barefoot luxury: you can only arrive by helicopter, open-plan villas have their own butler and private plunge pools, and fixed menus don’t exist in the restaurants. ‘Spoil, surprise and personalise’ is the island’s mantra, with over 100 staff to back it up. Spend your days scuba diving, paddle boarding or trying beach yoga. Spend your evenings under blankets of stars.
Honeymoon highlight: Head up short-but-steep Spa Hill for a sunrise breakfast – just the 2 of you.