Ever thought about spreading your honeymoon budget over a number of getaways? However you want to spend your cash, Amanda Statham’s got some ideas from a road trip spotting the marine big five in South Africa to a cycling tour in Italy
One honeymoon for £6,000
1. Curtain Bluff, Antigua
If you want to blow your whole budget on just one incredible getaway, then a week at Curtain Bluff in Antigua is definitely the place. Recently reopened after a whopping £10 million refurb, this discreet resort has never looked so good. Set on a private bluff (rocky promontory), it overlooks two golden beaches on the island’s south coast – one hit by Atlantic rollers, the other lapped by the calm Caribbean Sea. But it’s not just the stunning location that makes guests return again and again. Great attention to detail and wonderful staff, who remember your name (and your favourite drink), make it all feel like a home-from-home (all be it a really posh one!).
Bedrooms, all with an ocean view, are tropically elegant – think massive verandas with plunge pools overlooking the beach, over-sized Jacuzzi baths, tiled floors and vast beds. Dining is a real treat here and wine lovers will appreciate one of the very finest cellars in the Caribbean, with 450 different labels and 25,000 bottles from all around the world.
All the usual high-end hotel activities are on offer here, including an excellent spa, pool, tennis courts, etc. But Curtain Bluff has plenty of extras, too – yoga and pilate lessons, a yacht for island excursions and snorkelling (the island’s best reef lies just offshore). And even better, it’s all included in your package. Did we mention that?
That’s right, the resort’s new ‘exclusive all-inclusive’ deal for honeymooners means there’s no nasty bill at the end for meals and drinks (and yes, that means Champagne!). Lots of exciting extras are thrown in too, such as water-ski tuition, paddle-boarding, and diving and snorkelling trips. Even private dining on your veranda is included for no extra cost. Honeymoon heaven indeed…
Go there: From £3,000 per person all-inclusive for seven nights at tropicbreeze.co.uk, including flights and transfers.
Two honeymoons for £3,000
1. The Table Bay, Cape Town, South Africa
Feeling Blue Planet-inspired right now? Then we’ve found the perfect honeymoon for you: a road trip spotting the marine big five (that’s whales, dolphins, penguins, sharks and seals, in case you didn’t know). Kick off your adventure with two nights at five-star The Table Bay in Cape Town. You’ll have time to explore the city, shop on V&A Waterfront and climb the famous mountain – when you’re not spotting seals, taking pictures of penguin colonies at Boulders Bay, or diving in a cage with Great White Sharks (now THAT is going to get some likes on your Instagram!).
Then it’s time to hit the road and move down the coast to Hermanus for whale watching and two nights at the dreamy four-star Les Baleines hotel. End your trip of a lifetime at four-star Hacklewood Hill Country House in Port Elizabeth, where dolphin tours are top of the agenda, along with some wine tasting, of course.
Go there: From £1,499 per person for six nights, including flights and car hire, with hayesandjarvis.co.uk.
2. Outrigger Beach Resort, Koh Samui, Thailand
Thailand is a popular honeymoon destination and for good reason: glorious climate, silky stretches of sand, some of the best service in the world and your money goes a long way. One of our favourite islands is Koh Samui and the beautiful Outrigger Beach Resort would put a smile on anyone’s face. It’s the only hotel on serene Hanuman Bay and honeymooners get to stay in a private villa with its own plunge pool, carved stone bath and massive terrace with day bed. You’ll dream about this wonderful space long after you’ve returned home. Nothing’s too much trouble here, from couples’ massages on the beach to a guided tour of the local markets. For authentic Thai cuisine, hit the nearby restaurants of Fisherman’s Village and for a night out there’s Chewang Beach.
Go there: For £2,500 per couple, including seven nights’ accommodation and flights at turquoiseholidays.co.uk.
Three honeymoons for £2,000
1. Villa Iriti, Corfu
Set high in secluded hills on the island’s north east coast, Villa Iriti is exactly what you want from a romantic hideaway, set in ancient olive groves and just a short walk from Agni Beach. Terraces with sweeping views of the sea and the Albanian Mountains are a choice place to chill out together – when you’re not in the pool or tucking into local cheese and wine in the country-style kitchen. A comfy lounge and massive bedroom complete the serene scene.
2. Italian escape, Lake Garda, Verona & Venice
If the thought of lying on a beach for a week makes you both shudder, then how about an active honeymoon? Specifically, a cycling tour of the beautiful Italian countryside. Starting at celeb favourite Lake Garda, the itinerary takes you to Verona, one of the most romantic cities in the world and home of the Romeo and Juliet balcony (yes, you really can relive that scene). Then it’s time to wind your way deep into the winelands of Soave, where you’ll enjoy tastings and get to rest those legs. Next up, it’s a cycle through Vicenza and Padov before leaving the countryside behind and reaching magical Venice, where you can make like George and Amal Clooney and explore the city by private boat.
Go there: From £1,080 per person for a seven-day tour at bspoketours.com, including three and four-star accommodation, flights, transfers, bikes, panniers and puncture repair kits, route maps, GPS trackers and assistance at any point. Electric or tandem bikes available for extra cost.
3. Indian adventure, Goa, India
Colourful, vibrant, exotic, India is unforgettable and that’s why we rate it as a top honeymoon destination. But can you go there for less than £2,000 for two? Well, yes, now you can, thanks to new company iqplanner.com and its five-day Goa itinerary.
You’ll take in Calangute and Baga beaches (famous for water sports), shop in the bustling markets and explore ancient forts, such as Aguada, a 17th-century fortress with lighthouse overlooking Sinquerim Beach and Chapora Fort, which has appeared in Bollywood movies. You’ll also get a chance to dance in the region’s most famous nightclub, Tito’s, and even have a flutter on a casino boat in Panjim. Like we said, unforgettable.
Go there From £902 per person, including flights, with iqplanner.com/adventures.
Four honeymoons for £1,500
1. Hotel Rum, Budapest
The Hungarian capital is routinely voted one of the most romantic cities in the world, and with its castles, bridges and islands and medieval cobbled streets, it’s easy to see why. Check into Hotel Rum – stylish, boldly designed and perfectly situated for getting to lots of the city’s cultural hotspots, such as Szimpla Kert or The Great Synagogue. On top of that, the hotel’s restaurant, Urban Tiger, serves mouth-wateringly good pan-Asian food (mains are around £7-£9 so order the lot, that’s our tip). Best of all, there’s a new rooftop bar, so you can do all your sightseeing, cocktail in hand, without even moving!
2. Le Jardin des Douars, Morocco
Make your money go further with a trip to Morocco, specifically the picturesque blue and white coastal town of Essaouira. Le Jardin des Douars is a stunning hotel in the hills above the beach, but just a 10-minute shuttle ride from the walled Medina and sandy beach. With lush gardens, 28 Moroccan-style rooms, couples-only restaurant, hammam and two heated pools, it’s an oasis to return to each day.
3. Hôtel Plaza Athénée, Paris
The French capital is eternally romantic, but where to stay? Check yourselves into the most glamorous hotel in Europe – Hôtel Plaza Athénée – for one amazing night. This darling of the fashion set (and Russian billionaires) is a true Parisian icon. From the elegant red flowers and awnings to the Dior Institute Spa, tourists and locals alike swoon. Try out superstar chef Alain Ducasse’s first haute vegetarian restaurant, or chow down on a perfectly cooked steak in the Relais Plaza Bistro. There’s also a beautiful courtyard garden and Le Bar, where you might spot a famous face or two. A destination in its own right, but close to all the sights (you can see the Eiffel Tower from two of its suites), Plaza Athénée is as chic as it gets.
4. The Rosewood, London
Currently the capital’s hottest hotel (Justin Bieber and Karlie Kloss agree) and a fabulous place to blow your honeymoon spend on three nights. Treat yourself to afternoon tea inspired by modern artists (including Banksy and Damien Hirst petit fours) in the Mirror Room, before sipping a glass of the hotel’s own-label Sloe Gin in the cosy Scarfe’s Bar, where you can sink into velvet armchairs beside a roaring fire. Then wind your way to your outrageously opulent bedroom, with its Italian marble and silver bathroom and Czech & Speake toiletries.
Go there: From £399 per night at rosewoodhotels.com.