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Forget Paris, These Are The Most Stunning Honeymoon Destinations for 2019

After taking on all that stress of planning and executing the perfect wedding day, honeymoon travelling calls for once-in-a-lifetime luxuries like no other. But the boarding pass can’t be a ticket to just anywhere, it has to be a destination both people connect with, a place that will forever mark their first steps together. From private islands and fairytale castles to wild safaris and magnificent deserts, this list has a thing for every honeymoon couple that doesn’t want to go to the mainstream destinations. So forget about Paris, Maldives, Hawaii and the like, and plan a trip to these places instead.

Not Austria, But Scotland

Image Credits: Shutterstock
Image Credits: Shutterstock

Instead of planning a honeymoon to Austria, pay a visit to the Scotland Highlands that are a much more dramatic mountain landscape—complete with rocky cliffs reminiscent of Agatha Christie novels and villages straight out of Sir Walter Scott books. Visitors look at the mainland studded with historical gems from the Victorian era and swoon at the medieval strongholds present. The isles around the area too offer rugged sceneries, white sand beaches, and a taste of dignified whisky that you’ll never forget. The hilly capital, Edinburgh offers a mixture of Gothic architecture and new-age alleyways rife with Monarchical history waiting to be explored. Peek into the iconic pubs, have romantic meals in castles perched on hill tops, and spend time in boutique hotels around the city.

Where To Eat:

Ondine

This plush seafood restaurant is an ode to the age-old fishing tradition in the area, serving shellfish from Scotland’s eastern coast. Enjoy a burst of flavours from the fresh and sustainable produce along with a stunning view through the floor to ceiling windows overlooking Edinburgh’s historic Old Town.

Price on request
Book on Ondine  

The Balmoral Bar

One cannot visit Edinburgh and not indulge in the whisky-based cocktails offered around the city. The Balmoral Bar located in the city’s chicest five-star hotel, The Balmoral Hotel, offers an ambience of sophistication and flavourful drinks unlike those you’ve ever tasted. We suggest you take your drinks here and then head to Number One, the hotel’s chief Michelin-starred restaurant.

Price on request
Book on Rocco Forte Hotels

Where To Stay:

Inverlochy Castle Hotel

Image Credits: Inverlochy Castle Hotel
Image Credits: Inverlochy Castle Hotel

During a week-long visit to Inverlochy, Queen Victoria spent her time sketching and painting. She penned down her thoughts about the castle, writing, “I never saw a lovelier or more romantic spot.” Built in 1863, the fortress has a Gothic revival exterior and a cosy interior with seventeen bedrooms available for guests looking for five-star comfort but deeply rooted in tradition. The property has a view of lush gardens and evergreen trees along with myriad shades of blue from the nearby waters.

Price: Starts at INR 51,447 per night
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The Carnegie Club at Skibo Castle

Image Credits: The Carnegie Club at Skibo Castle
Image Credits: The Carnegie Club at Skibo Castle

Once you drive through the gates of The Carnegie Club, it’ll feel like time has stopped and you’ve entered another era. This 16th-century fortress in the eastern Scottish Highlands was formerly the private residence of industrialist Andrew Carnegie. Think kilted bagpipers, textured walls, furnishings that transport you to another time. Offering a wide array of activities including salmon fishing, horseback riding, and falconry, the property has an extraordinary golf course that one can’t miss out on, and you have to apply for membership at the club to join in.

Price: On Request
Book on The Carnegie Club

Islands To Visit Around Scotland:

While most people think of the isles around the so-called mainland as an after-thought, your honeymoon trip will be a lot more wholesome if you incorporate these into your travel plans. With deserted white sand beaches and picturesque green pastures, the isles offer postcard-worthy visuals you’ll carry with you long after your stay is over.

The Isle of Jura

Literary lovers will have a field day discovering the nooks and crannies of this isle because it’s the spot George Orwell chose to write 1984 at. You can indulge in the aromas of Single Malt produced at the village distillery or even venture on a romantic hike around the countryside while enjoying scenic views of the conical mountains, The Paps of Jura.

Isle of Skye

Image Credits: Shutterstock
Image Credits: Shutterstock

A fairytale town come to life, the Isle of Skye offers an idyllic experience with its foggy and rugged mountains and prismatic skies. Called ‘cloud island’, it's the second largest island in Scotland and also the most beautiful. Explore the magical, clear waterfalls at the Fairy Pools of Glenbrittle and the streets of Portree, a town seemingly untouched by hectic, modern life.

Not Spain, But Chile

Spain seems to have become mainstream thanks to Bollywood, which is why the more jaded travellers are choosing Chile instead. Yes, the flight is a bit longer but this country running along the southern Pacific coast has once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Stay on a Chilean ranch, and you’ll never run out of dinner conversation. Visit magnificent vineyards producing some of the world’s most aromatic wines, drive up the lofty terrains of Patagonia mountains and the Atacama desert, you won’t be able to stop photographing the landscape. The sky looks dramatically different, and the colours of the terrain are a constant surprise. Chile is ideal for adventure seekers who also enjoy a bit of extravagance. The capital of the country, Santiago, is the hub for cosmopolitan energy, bustling bars, historical museums, and harmonious blends of cultures. Relish Chilean cuisine and also walk the streets that inspired literary geniuses like Pablo Neruda and Isabel Allende to craft many a tale about the vibrant city.

What To Do:

Soak in the wonder of the Atacama Desert

Image Credits: Shutterstock
Image Credits: Shutterstock

Venture where most travellers don’t go and discover hidden volcano trails, hiking routes, and the magnificence of the driest non-polar desert of the world. At the heart of it lies the rustic town of San Pedro de Atacama where the journey begins and takes you on an adventure like no other.

Rent a bike

Ride through Valle de la Luna or the moon valley or take in the beauty of the Piedras Rojas also called red rocks set against the backdrop of snow-capped volcanoes. At night, grab your partner’s hand and admire the star-strewn night sky and let time pass you by.

Indulge in wine tastings and strolls through the vineyards of Chile

Drive an hour away from Santiago and you enter the world of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenère, and Franc. Visit the wineries of Lapostolle & Clos Apalta, which live by their motto ‘French in essence, Chilean by birth’, and you can even horse ride or cycle around the vineyards tasting fresh produce while also learning about the notes and flavors of your favourite wines of the area. Most of the wineries also have luxury lodges where you can spend a day or two strolling through the green pastures.

 

Where To Stay:

Huilo Huilo Montaña Mágica, Chile

Image Credits: Huilo Huilo Montaña Mágica
Image Credits: Huilo Huilo Montaña Mágica

Situated right in the middle of Chile’s Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve, the Montaña Mágica Lodge is a man-made treasure that definitely makes its way to the list of some of the most unique resorts around the world. The volcano-looking property boasts of a perennial waterfall that cascades down the middle of the cosy, wooden rooms that the guests occupy. One can revel in the magnificence of the Patagonian rainforests or even ride on the longest zip line in south America here and then de-stress at the spa.

Price: Starts at INR 20,000 per night
Book on Huilo Huilo Montaña Mágica

Not The Maldives, But Fiji

For that perfect romantic beach honeymoon most people’s first thought used to be the Maldives. However, those who can afford the more exotic are choosing to sip on Pina Coladas at the Fijian Islands. Remote, exclusive, and far away from reality, you can relax in resort-wear by the pool, and enjoy the tropical luxuries offered here. From private islands and snorkelling in clear blue waters to pampering yourself with the niceties available at the many deluxe spas, the area is ideal for those looking to spend a lovely time in the lap of nature. And, you’d be among the few in your circles to have visited this luxury destination. With other-worldly views of rainforests, coral reefs, and endless oceans, these 330-or-so odd, palm-fringed islands offer spectacular visuals to feast on. Only a third of these islands are inhabited, and the closest landmass is New Zealand.

Where To Stay:

Many of the resorts in the islands are private ones. You have to land at Nadi or Suva and then travel via sea or private hotel planes to most of these properties. Depending on what kind of a traveller you are, you can spend your days getting massage therapies, diving or enjoying the local delicacies. Keep in mind that most of these places have all-inclusive packages and curated menus, so if you are vegetarian be sure to inform the hotel in advance.

Kokomo Private Island Resort, Fiji

Image Credits: Kokomo Private Island Resort
Image Credits: Kokomo Private Island Resort

The entire resort is encircled by the Great Astrolabe Reef, which boasts of schools of fish you’ve never imagined before swimming in the clear, cobalt water with you. The ideal resort for adventure seekers, it invites divers from all over the globe to explore the world down under. Choose from the twenty one open-plan beachfront villas, each complete with their own infinity pool, garden, rainforest shower, and butler service or you can go for one of the five grand, hilltop residences ranging from three to six bedrooms, which offer a panoramic view of the nearby islands.

Price: Starts at INR 3,30,000 per night
Book on Kokomo Private Island Resort

Royal Davui Island, Fiji

Picture this—sugary-white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, silhouettes of tall palm trees rustling against the setting sun; that’s exactly what Royal Davui has to offer. They have exclusive honeymoon packages including couples massages and spa therapy sessions, secluded picnics, and breathtaking views of the Beqa Lagoon. The sixteen luxury bures are tucked far away in between the tropical trees so that you feel like you’re the only ones there. Try and book the villas facing the sunset instead of the sunrise if you want to sleep in and enjoy a cocktail or two in the evening.

Price: Starts at INR 97,000 per night
Book on Royal Davui Island Resort

Laucala Island, Fiji

Image Credits: Laucala Island
Image Credits: Laucala Island

Another private island resort, nestled right in the middle of a coconut plantation, Laucala is actually an entire self-sustaining community on its own. All the sourcing is done locally from building material to ingredients, even livestock and herb gardens are looked after by the community. There was a time when guests had to ‘apply’ to visit this tropical haven so you can just imagine how seriously they take exclusivity. The twenty five ocean-facing villas are so far away from each other that you actually need to take a golf buggy from one to the other. Each has its own pool, two bathrooms, a drawing room, and some even come with a deck to sit and soak in that bright sunshine. Indulge in the resort’s many activities like golfing, horse riding, spa services, watersports, and fishing among others. You must also try the five restaurants and bars on the property varying from Asian and authentic Fijian cuisines to pool-side ones serving casual, barbequed finger foods.

Price: Starts at INR 4,26,000 per night
Book on Laucala Island Resort

Turtle Island, Fiji

Renowned for being the backdrop of the 1980 romantic film, The Blue Lagoon, this thirty-year-old property is powered with solar energy, adorned with traditional Fijian elements, and blends together a vision of sustainable living and luxury that will stay with you long after you leave the island. Almost each of the fourteen villas have exclusive beaches across the island that you can wander off to with your beloved. Interact with the local villagers, partake in cultural activities, and, of course, jump into the water, because there’s something special for all kinds of honeymooners.

Price: On Request
Book on Turtle Island Resort

Not Kenya, But Zimbabwe

When one thinks of African wildlife, the first thought that comes to mind is Kenya. However, the landlocked country of Zimbabwe will be a journey into the wilderness like no other. Travel through the varied patchwork of landscapes, from Highveld and Msasa trees to relaxed townships and lush mountains. You can easily spot the big five—leopard, lion, rhinoceros, elephant, and buffalo in its national parks, and even take in the wondrous archaeological sites and stand in awe of the vast Victoria Falls

What To Do:

Image Credits: Shutterstock
Image Credits: Shutterstock

The ideal playing field for most adventurers, the best time to visit the country is between February and April when the Victoria Falls are at their peak. The biggest attraction is the safari in the nearby Hwange National Park which happens to be one of Africa’s best. Stop over at the capital city of Harare and get an insight into the culture and arts the country boasts of. An unmissable experience is that of exploring the remnants of an ancient civilization at Great Zimbabwe which dates back to 11th to 15th centuries AD.

 

Where To Stay:

Mpala Jena Camp and Suites, Zambezi National Park

Image Credits: Mpala Jena Camp and Suites
Image Credits: Mpala Jena Camp and Suites

Exquisite and luxurious, the Mpala Jena Camp sits right by the banks of the Zambezi river and is only about 12 miles upstream from the Victoria Falls. A shady grove right in the lap of nature, the views are unparalleled. Consisting of four huge safari tents and one magnificent two-bedroom suite, nothing says luxury like this. Complete with a bathtub, deck and outside showers, the camp also features a plunge pool and day bed to lounge around. Arguably one of the best spots to view the wildlife you’ll be able to spot lions, elephants, buffaloes, hippos, crocodiles, implas and zebras. Thanks to the water body even birdwatching is common. Water sports enthusiasts can even go white water rafting from here.

Price: Starts at INR 72,000 per person
Book on Great Plains Conservations

Victoria Falls River Lodge, Zambezi Crescent

Image Credits: Victoria Falls River Lodge
Image Credits: Victoria Falls River Lodge

Another set of deluxe cottages by the Zambezi river, the Victoria Falls River Lodge has 8 thatched luxury tents and four exclusive tree house house suites. However, especially made for every honeymooner’s delight it also boasts of one double storey starbed treehouse. This magical room seems like it’s suspended above the river and the rooftop allows for a romantic night of stargazing together. There is also a private pool, bathtub, twin rain showers and a personal butler. For escapades into the wild, safaris with a peek into the natural habitat of the animals is a must.

Price: Starts at INR 83,000 per person
Book on Victoria Falls River Lodge

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