The trend of splurging on farther-flung honeymoons is on the rise, according to Wedaways.com, which offers custom luxury travel planning. Couples also are delaying honeymoons in order to travel at the best time for a particular experience, such as an April cherry blossom visit to Japan, a December ski holiday in St. Moritz or the September wine harvest in Tuscany. Here are four hot spots for newlyweds, along with the best way to arrive in comfort and style.
The appeal: For those who love reveling in (or over) the sea, it’s hard to beat French Polynesia, popularly known as Tahiti. But there’s more to this honeymoon haven than an overwater bungalow on Bora Bora. Couples will find many Instagram moments — another driver of today’s honeymoons — in several arresting archipelagos with a wide range of accommodations.
The approach: To marvel at the lush, deep-bayed island of Moorea, first get cozy in a modern cottage at Moorea Beach Lodge, home to spectacular sunset views from a broad stretch of sand. Then take a private excursion with Te Moana Tours to swim with stingrays and black-tipped reef sharks before a barbecue picnic on a private islet and a scenic cruise. On remote Rurutu, in French Polynesia’s Austral Islands, family-run inns such as Vaitumu Village can arrange for couples to swim with whales in season, clamber into coral caverns above the waves or ride horses on the beach.
The airline: United Airlines’ new nonstop, year-round service to Papeete from San Francisco includes its luxurious Polaris class with plush bedding and access to the posh Polaris Lounge. From there, it’s a short flight to Rurutu or ferry ride to Moorea. mooreabeachlodge.com, vaitumuvillage.com
CORNWALL, UNITED KINGDOM
The appeal: Whether or not you’ve seen Masterpiece Theatre’s “Poldark,” you can appreciate the beauty of Great Britain’s southwestern corner, even without star-crossed lovers in 18th century costume embracing on its rugged bluffs. But romantic walks along the coast and through cobblestoned lanes also lead to England’s best surf breaks and some of its most ambitious restaurants. Art aficionados will be impressed by the Tate St Ives, a recently expanded branch of London’s Tate Gallery.
The approach: The Scarlet, an adults-only, eco-luxury boutique hotel, takes full advantage of its perch overlooking Mawgan Porth Beach. After long walks — perhaps along the coastal path from the iconic promontory of Land’s End (52 miles south) to the open-air theater at Minack — or surfing at Fistral Beach, a soak in the hotel spa’s cliffside hot tub is ideal. Head chef Mike Francis employs the bounty of the Atlantic as well as Cornwall’s sustainable farms at the esteemed The Scarlet restaurant, where afternoon tea features artisan breads and the only tea grown in the United Kingdom.
The airline: Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class is the ultimate way to fly to London’s Heathrow Airport; freshen up at its landmark Clubhouse Lounge before meeting a Virgin Atlantic chauffeur for a ride to a hotel. Spend a night in town before driving approximately four hours to Cornwall. scarlethotel.co.uk
The appeal: The majestic Matterhorn and other snowy peaks of the Swiss Alps are piquing honeymooners’ interest, according to Wedaways.com. While other European destinations on the rise — Santorini in Greece, Portugal’s Algarve region and the Moroccan city of Marrakech — mainly attract sun lovers when it’s cold elsewhere, Switzerland enthralls skiers in winter and hikers in summer, as well as chocolate lovers and rail fans year-round.
The approach: Cox & Kings’ new, 12-night private journey, “Switzerland & Snow-Capped Alps,” provides a romantic way to explore the region, including train rides on the Glacier Express and the 10,135-foot-high Gornergrat Railway; a sleigh ride through alpine meadows and past frozen waterfalls; and a horse-drawn carriage ride in scenic Fex Valley. Visiting picturesque Chillon Castle on an isle in Lake Geneva, fondue-tasting and a chocolate-making workshop also are on the itinerary, which begins in Zurich.
The airline: Several carriers offer connecting flights to Zurich from Las Vegas, but those traveling April through October can fly Edelweiss Air nonstop, with lie-flat business-class seating on cushions with adjustable firmness. coxandkingsusa.com
The appeal: Hong Kong tempts food lovers with everything from street fare to Michelin-starred restaurants, while shoppers find a similar array from sidewalk bargains to precious Asian art and antiques. Diners can work off the calories by ascending the Dragon’s Back trail high above the city; those tired from shopping treks can view a skyscraper light show during an evening cruise along Victoria Harbour.
The approach: Overlooking Victoria Harbour, the flagship Mandarin Oriental makes a perfect home base for gourmets. Pierre, its Paris-meets-China restaurant, boasts two Michelin stars and a six-course tasting menu, while the hotel’s Man Wah earned a star for its exquisite dining room and classic regional dishes; the dinner-only, train-inspired Krug Room is an exclusive partnership with the famed Champagne maker. Shoppers and food lovers alike may alight at the Landmark Mandarin Hotel, Hong Kong, in the city’s luxury retail district; its Amber restaurant also won two Michelin stars and its MO Bar hosts the first international outpost of New York’s popular PDT cocktail bar.
The airline: Business and first-class passengers on Cathay Pacific’s nonstop flights from San Francisco or Los Angeles enjoy spacious pods with seats that recline flat and lounge access, including to the Wing, the carrier’s sumptuous Hong Kong oasis. The latter is renowned for its Noodle Bar, Long Bar and elegant shower suites, as well as a new Champagne Bar for first class. mandarinoriental.com/hong-kong