Newlyweds looking to get away in winter? Laura French scouts out the options.
The mini-moon, the adventure-moon, the all out, blow-the-budget-moon; there’s a whole host of options for newlyweds jetting away after the nuptials these days, with holidays to suit every type of client – and it’s not just about the summer months.
Whether it’s a safari in South Africa or a fly-and-flop to Cyprus, a cultural trip to Sri Lanka or an enchanting escape to Lapland, there’s plenty of options for those looking to get away in winter too. We’ve rounded up some of the best to inspire you to sell the season to this dynamic, lucrative market.
1. Safari in South Africa
From the game reserves to the Garden Route via sugar-sand beaches, world-class wineries and culture-rich cities, South Africa seems to have been made for adventurous honeymooners on the hunt for winter sun – and at its heart is Cape Town, with its mountain vistas, blazing sunsets and burgeoning culinary scene. Premier Holidays suggests combining the city with a stay in Durban and the Elandela Game Reserve in Kruger National Park – home to white rhinos and white lions among its rarer species – then tagging on a beach stay in Mauritius for some well-earned beach-time.
Book it: A 13-night trip staying at Bantry Bay Suite Hotel in Cape Town (B&B), Elandela Game Reserve (full-board), Southern Sun Elangeli & Maharani in Durban (B&B) and Tamassa Mauritius (all-inclusive) costs from £3,299 per person, including flights and transfers in October 2020.
2. Escape to Saint Lucia
For a romantic escape with a dose of Caribbean flair, few places beat Saint Lucia. Gold Medal recommends the couples-only Serenity at Coconut Bay for newlyweds looking to cosy up in their own private plunge pool – think four-poster mahogany beds, personal butlers and gourmet dining in an atmospheric mansion – while Caribtours points to Jade Mountain for those wanting to reach the pinnacle of luxury. Suites at this celeb hotspot do away with the fourth wall so they’re half open to the elements in a totally secluded, romantic way, with a gentle breeze waking you up in the morning and private pools overlooking the soaring, silhouetted Pitons.
Book it: A week at Jade Mountain costs from £5,699 per person based on two sharing a Sky Whirlpool Suite with breakfast.
3. Get cultural in Sri Lanka
Clients struggling to decide between culture, beach and nature? Tie them all up in one with a twin-centre to Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Travel Gallery offers a 14-night trip taking in the Cultural Triangle – home to historic cave temples, ancient cities and the iconic Sigiriya rock – as well as the highlands and Kegalle, where clients will visit a local tea factory, get hands on with a cooking class and explore nearby Kandy. It ends with six nights flopping on the white-sand shores of OBLU by Atmosphere at Helengeli in the Maldives, where silver-tipped sharks and giant sea turtles glide back and forth at the house reef.
Book it: 14 nights costs from £4,150 per person including flights and transfers, with stays including Vil Uyana, 98 Acre Estate and the Rosyth Estate House.
4. Flop on the sand in Cyprus
Winter sun doesn’t have to mean flocking to the ends of the earth – “island of love” Cyprus stays relatively warm when the temperatures plunge in the UK, and there’s a whole host of resorts that cater to the honeymoon crowd. For one of the best, Cyplon Holidays points to the new Amavi Hotel, which opened in May and lays claim to being the first five-star couples-only hotel in the country. Set on a gold-sand beach, it boasts two infinity pools, a spa specialising in couples’ treatments and a rooftop restaurant overlooking Paphos’ twinkling lights, with dedicated honeymoon suites that promise private balconies with panoramic sea views.
Book it: Cyplon offers seven nights’ half-board in a honeymoon suite from £835 per person, including private transfers and flights from Gatwick on February 25, 2020.
5. Tour Japan
With the Summer Olympics on the horizon, everyone’s talking about Japan – but it’s just as magical in winter, when glittering snow caps the mountains, skiers flock to the slopes and hot springs steam and bubble in the misty air. “Japan might not be a typical ‘honeymoon’ destination, but it’s a great option for couples wanting to combine exploration, relaxation and romance on a memorable adventure,” says Emirates Holidays’ honeymoon planner Nasreen Yousaf. The operator offers a specially-curated, 13-night Romantic Japan trip combining Tokyo, the Japanese Alps, Yudanaka Onsen, Kanazawa, Kyoto and beyond, with Japanese tea ceremonies, visits to castle towns and more along the way.
Book it: The Romantic Japan tour costs from £6,135 including B&B accommodation, transfers, entry fees, Japan Rail Pass, guides and flights.
6. Glimpse the Gambia’s wildlife
Postcard-pretty beaches, captivating wildlife, sunny climes and budget-friendly luxury; welcome to The Gambia. For one of the most luxurious spots suggest Coco Ocean Resort & Spa. “It’s arguably the most striking hotel in The Gambia and is a great honeymoon option with its exquisite surroundings, beachfront location and world-class spa,” says Karen Durham, product manager for The Gambia Experience. For couples wanting to combine it with adventures in the African bush, she suggests adding on a stay at Mandina Lodges – a cluster of jungle abodes that float above the river, where baboons, lizards and exotic birds roam.
Book it: A week’s B&B at Coco Ocean Resort & Spa starts at £1,038 per person, including flights and transfers. A three-night half-board stay at Mandina Lodges can be added on from £349.
7. See the world on a cruise
For couples after a honeymoon with a difference – and wanting to tick off several spots in one big hit – look to the cruise lines. There’s plenty of options but for an especially romantic itinerary look to Celebrity Cruises’ Best of India and South Asia voyage. The 15-night trip combines time in Singapore, Phuket, Colombo, Cochin, Goa and Mumbai with two nights in Dubai, where the December departure coincides with New Years Eve and the city’s spectacular fireworks display.
Book it: The 15-night cruise from Singapore costs from £1,324 per person based on two sharing an Oceanview Stateroom on Celebrity Constellation (cruise only), departing February 16, 2020.
8. Go on a Lapland adventure
It’s not only about far-flung shores and winter sun, of course. For clients wanting to embrace the magic of winter – and jump on the ‘adventuremoon’ trend – direct them to Finnish Lapland. Inghams recommends Levi, where snowshoeing, skiing, snowmobiling, husky sledding and Northern Lights hunting take place against a backdrop of dusky pink skies and snow-covered forest. “Lapland is not just for families and it’s not just for Christmas,” says Jess Howell, product manager for Lapland. “From mid-January to late February the sun bathes everything in a rose-gold glow, and it makes for a stunning winter honeymoon.”
Book it: Inghams offers seven night’s B&B at the five-star Design Hotel Levi from £1,798 per person based on two sharing in March 2020, including flights and transfers.
Best of the rest
The Sarojin, Khao Lak, Thailand: Direct adventurous types to The Sarojin in Thailand, whose Adventuremoon Package combines six nights’ B&B accommodation with activities such as whitewater rafting, trekking in Khao Sok National Park and sailing, plus a private jungle dinner and more (from £2,800).
VARU by Atmosphere, the Maldives:If Only… recommends this new, ultra-luxe resort for its comprehensive all-inclusive plan, which throws in island activities alongside speciality dining and a free spa treatment on selected stays (from £3,419 for a week in February 2020, including flights).
Secrets St Martin Resort & Spa: Opening on February 1, AMResorts’ first property in the French Caribbean will offer newlyweds the brand’s signature honeymoon package, which includes a mimosa breakfast in bed, two couples’ spa treatments, a private beachfront dinner and more.
Sandals:Sandals likewise offers a free honeymoon package across its properties, with a bottle of sparkling wine and breakfast in bed among the highlights; suggest one of the Love Nest Suites for extra exclusivity including private hot tubs, butler service and other bonuses.
Ask the expert
Which destinations would you recommend for a winter honeymoon?
“Two of the best places for winter honeymoons will always be the Maldives and Seychelles. These destinations really do offer that ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ feeling that honeymooners look for, and there’s plenty for couples to do, including water sports, spa and wellness experiences, and romantic private beach dinners. The Maldives’ famous overwater villas make for a secluded and special place to stay, and there are so many new hotel openings there both this year and into the next, with interest in the destination growing. We can’t forget the Caribbean, either. Always popular with loved-up couples, there’s such a variety of experiences to be had there. We’d recommend sending honeymooners to the ever-popular Rendezvous or the iconic Jade Mountain, both in Saint Lucia, or Palm Island in St Vincent and the Grenadines.”
– Rebecca Bryson, head of sales, Caribtours
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