10 exotic honeymoon retreats around the world

From soaking in Grenada's hot springs to Samba dancing in Brazil, we've rounded up the most incredible romantic destinations for a perfect post-nuptial stay.

Harper's Bazaar India

Newlyweds-to-be, make sure you bookmark this article. However you approach your honeymoon—as a time for adventure, an opportunity to relax as a couple, or as an extravagant, once-in-a-lifetime indulgence—it will undoubtedly be one of your most memorable trips. 

If you've gone through the effort to plan your dream wedding it only makes sense to make sure your honeymoon is just as fabulous.

From bathing in Grenada’s hot springs to Samba dancing in Brazil or snorkelling off the coast of Borneo and playing pétanque at a French farmhouse, we've searched the globe for the most desirable destinations and idyllic itineraries. Read on for our curation of the best post-nuptial paradises.

One & Only, Mexico

A quieter side of Mexico, away from well-trodden Tulum, is Riviera Nayarit on the country’s Pacific coastline. Here, flanked by rainforest and pristine beaches, you’ll find One&Only Mandarina, with its secluded treehouses and residences. This year, the hotel has unveiled hilltop villas that sleep up to 24 guests, with vaulted ceilings, walls of windows framing the spectacular scenery, ocean-facing hot tubs and private cinemas. If you’re seeking adventure, charter a plane and head north to Baja California, a peninsula covered by the Sonoran Desert. One&Only Palmilla, at the tip in Los Cabos, has two restaurants by Jean-Georges Vongerichten serving steak and sushi respectively. For peak whale-watching opportunities, time your visit (and nuptials) between late December and March.

Six Senses Douro Valley, Portugal

A haven for oenophiles, Six Senses’ Portuguese outpost is housed in a terracotta-hued 19th-century manor surrounded by sprawling vines that lead down to the Douro River. The area is one of the world’s oldest producers of wine, and the hotel’s offering reflects this: guided tastings take place every evening and in the library is a wine-dispensing machine that enables guests to sample the varieties at any hour. Indulgence is balanced by a holistic approach to well-being—take part in Pilates on the pavilion at sunrise, try an Ayuverdic treatment at the spa and sign down for a tailored sleep programme. The spacious bedrooms aid the latter, decorated with earthy shades and soft organic textiles. The location is blissfully remote—ideal for days spent with a book beside the pool—but active types can enjoy stand-up paddle-boarding on the Douro, creating beauty scrubs in the Alchemy Bar and pickling vegetables from the kitchen-garden. Delicious home-grown ingredients take centre stage at the Vale de Abraao restaurant, where dishes of duck confit rice, mushrooms with sweet potato purée and corn ice-cream are a must-try—particularly when paired with the sommelier’s suggested pour.

Silversands, Grenada

The Spice Island, so-called for its abundance of nutmeg-trees, is a place for adventure as well as tranquillity. Bathe in hot springs and swim with sea turtles, before retreating to Silversands at the northern end of the two-mile Grand Anse Beach. The hotel has 43 expansive suites and eight villas, and the longest pool in the Caribbean, as well as a pristine spa where treatments include reflexology and hot-bamboo massages. Dine at either of the two restaurants: Asiatique offers delicate pan-Asian dishes that incorporate homegrown seasonings, while the outdoor Grenadian Grill serves line-caught fish with salsa, plantain and coconut rice, against a backdrop of sorbet-hued sunsets.

Hotel das Cataratas, Brazil

Sitting on the border of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, Hotel das Cataratas, a Belmond hotel, offers the chance to fully unwind. Less than two hours by plane from Rio, this pink palace overlooks Iguazu Falls, the largest waterfall system in the world, comprising 275 different cascades. The surrounding national park shuts to visitors before sunset; as this is the only Brazilian hotel within its peaceful parameters, golden-hour views are reserved for Belmond guests. The spacious bedrooms feature mahogany furniture, floral Portuguese tiles and pillowcases embroidered with each guest’s initials to take home, and many have glorious vistas of the surrounding sub-tropical landscape. Explore the river and its waterfalls by boat or with a guide on foot, then enjoy lazy afternoons beside the pool, where lizards bask, hummingbirds flit and capuchin monkeys perch in the surrounding trees.

Capelongue, France

This newly refurbished hotel in the heart of Provence has beautifully landscaped gardens, abundant with lavender, roses and fig-trees, where you can curl up on a lounger with a good book, take a dip in one of two pools and try your hand at a game of pétanque. The tasteful suites come with ceramic-tiled bathrooms, objets d’art and giant rattan lampshades. Try the superb food on site at the Michelin-starred La Bastide (the Luberon beef tartare with coriander and Camargue oyster is exceptional), or indulge in a wood-fired feast at La Bergerie, before a nightcap of thyme liqueur at the bar.

Fairmont Royal Pavilion, Barbados

Widely considered the best-positioned luxury hotel in Barbados, Fairmont Royal Pavilion is set directly on a half-mile stretch of west-coast beach in Alleyne’s Bay. A palm-flanked driveway leads to the pink Pavilion, which houses 72 sea-facing bedrooms, some with private terraces—the ideal location for a sundowner. Enjoy reviving dips in the warm sea, excursions around the bay by kayak and long lunches of spiced flying fish accompanied by a sweet rum punch.

Gaya Island Resort, Borneo

As the world’s third-biggest island, Borneo has much to offer for a honeymoon that encompasses activity, adventure and downtime. Stay at the Shangri-La Rasa Ria, one of the few five-star resorts in the north state of Sabah, and take part in a sunrise nature trail up a peak with a champagne breakfast at the top. For rest and relaxation, head to Gaya Island Resort just off the mainland to indulge at its spa, followed by a snorkel and dive. Renowned for its wildlife, Sabah is also home to the Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort on the namesake river, where you can look for orangutans, proboscis monkeys, pygmy elephants and fireflies. Don’t miss the Borneo Rainforest Lodge, in one of the last remaining areas of untouched primary rainforest in Southeast Asia.

Lux Grand Baie, Mauritius

Mauritius may be synonymous with dreamy sunsets and laid-back beach lounging—and make no mistake, there’s no shortage of either—but even the most relaxed honeymooners want to experience a bit of buzz on their holiday. This is where Lux Grand Baie comes in: situated at the livelier northern end of the island, the modernist-style hotel combines the idyllic tropical scenery that befits its Indian Ocean setting with the outgoing, playful vibe of a French Riviera destination. Head up to the rooftop for cocktails and a dip in the pool at Bisou, order ice-cream from the swim-up bar at Beach Rouge, dine on superb Asian cuisine at Ai Kisu and then dance the night away in the basement nightclub. And of course, it wouldn’t be a honeymoon without an indulgent session in the spa; book a ‘hydrothermal journey’ for a chance to experience the Turkish hammam, heated pool, sauna and waterfalls at their therapeutic best.

Copacabana Palace, Brazil

As the undisputed grand dame of Rio de Janeiro, Copacabana Palace has hosted the breadth of high society throughout its 100 years, from Ella Fitzgerald to Princess Diana. Its white-stone walls pulsate with energy during Carnival in February, when live samba music drifts across the open-air restaurant Pérgula as guests sway, sipping potent caipirinhas and indulging in a brunch of black beans and tapioca, cheese-filled pasteis and fried plantain.

During the day, couples should avoid the queues and see the sights of Rio on a private helicopter tour of the city. A short cable-car ride takes you to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, where you can board your craft to explore the sandy expanses of Copacabana and Ipanema beaches from above, and enjoy unmatched views of Christ the Redeemer. In the evenings, indulge in Michelin-starred fare at the hotel’s candle-lit Italian outpost Cipriani, before heading out to join 90,000 others for a night watching the parades at the Sambadrome.

Banyan Tree, Thailand

With its serene beaches, tropical wildlife and ancient temples, Krabi—on the west coast of southern Thailand—is a superlative destination in which to unwind after your wedding. Begin your trip at the boutique Banyan Tree, staying in a villa overlooking Tubkaek Beach, from which you can snorkel around the spectacular coral reefs of the Andaman Sea. Then, take a short boat trip to the island of Koh Lanta to reach the peaceful Layana resort, whose spa is a restorative oasis offering aromatherapeutic messages, rejuvenating facials and invigorating scrubs.

This piece originally appeared in Harper's Bazaar UK.