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&beyond Mnemba Island Zanzibar

Recipe for romance

Is one assured of falling in love when on white sandy beaches fringed by beautiful palm trees and encircled by crystal clear turquoise waters of the Maldives?

Get your destinations right first!

Is one assured of falling in love when on white sandy beaches fringed by beautiful palm trees and encircled by crystal clear turquoise waters of the Maldives? The quick answer happens to be a booming ‘Yes’! The slogan for this island nation should read as ‘Falling in love – guaranteed’. A luxurious, tropical utopia in the middle of nowhere with complete seclusion guaranteed, it is no wonder that countries with similar natural beauty always tend to come out on top whenever one reads of romantic getaways.

Take for instance the forever beautiful Caribbean or the gorgeous islands that form part of Oceania. The ingredients that ignite the flames of romance in these locations appear comparable. Spreading one’s wings wider, the coasts of Mexico, Brazil and Africa also reveal exotic destinations – rustic, luxurious and romantic.

While staying on the path for exploring romantic destinations, let’s shift gear just a tiny bit and move our sights towards mountains. The colour schematics between the Alps and a tropical beach paradise are similar but put inversely on its head. The blue waters and white sand are replaced by blue skies and white snow, while the flower-filled liveliness of mountain valleys replaces the depths of the vibrant coral reefs.

Jumeirah Vittaveli Maldives
Jumeirah Vittaveli Maldives

Destination Weddings

Idyllic Island Getaways

Make your wedding unforgettable on the pristine islands of Maldives. The venues are infinite, on a resort’s sandbank, sailboat, on a special pavilion on the beach, or even underwater. For a taste of the local culture, we suggest having local Bodu Beru drummers provide the soundtrack, while you and your significant other get married in Maldivian dresses and plant a tree as a symbol of your married life together. Preferred stays: LUX* South Ari Atoll, Jumeirah Vittaveli Maldives, One&Only Reethi Rah

Achnagairn Castle Inverness
Achnagairn Castle Inverness

Fairytale Weddings

If you’ve ever dreamed of getting married in a castle, just like in the fairytales, it’s possible to do so—in Scotland, where you can have exclusive use of castles like Achnagairn in Inverness or the Eilean Donan castle. It’s a fantastic option for a weekend wedding, since these castles function as accommodation and venues for the dinner and drinks, all in an atmosphere that has retained its period features. Sweeten your trip with stargazing—if you go at the right time you could also witness the Northern Lights while soaking in the majestic landscapes.

&Beyond Mnemba Island Zanzibar
&Beyond Mnemba Island Zanzibar

Valentine’s Day Escapes

African Beaches

For romantic trips we recommend exotic locales like Zanzibar in Tanzania, with its pristine white sand beaches and the UNESCO heritage site Stone Town. This, paired with the amazing aroma from the spice markets, in-room wellness treatments, excellent scuba diving, sailing on a private dhow, tasting local specialities like African ugali as well as experiencing a bit of the local culture, will make for a rich and exceptional Valentine’s Day escape. Preferred Stays: Zuri Zanzibar Hotel & Resort, &Beyond Mnemba Island

Auberge du Soleil Napa Valley
Auberge du Soleil Napa Valley

Intoxicating Bliss

Plan an intoxicatingly blissful Valentine’s Day weekend getaway to Napa Valley, filled with private wine tastings at the best vineyards, such as the Trefethen Family Vineyards which produces the 1976 Trefethen Chardonnay. Pair this with panoramic views of the valley in a hot-air balloon, and wind down with pampering massages at renowned spas. Secure a reservation at Thomas Keller’s three Michelin starred French Laundry, a memorable treat for any romantic escape. Preferred Stays: Auberge du Soleil, Calistoga Ranch (Both winners of World Travel Magazine’s The 100 List 2018)

Mewar Terrace dining, Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur
Mewar Terrace dining, Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur

Romantic Getaways

Stay Like a Maharaja

Explore Udaipur and its surrounds on a luxurious private boat out to Lake Pichola with the love of your life or venture out on walking tours to the Aravalli Hills to seek out remote tribes and hidden temples. The sunsets from the Fateh Prakash Palace are stunning while spa therapies and yoga sessions pamper and rejuvenate. Wander around the many palaces, such as the City Palace Udaipur and the Taj Lake Palace to marvel at the majestic architecture. Preferred Stays: Oberoi Udaivilas, Taj Lake Palace (Both winners of World Travel Magazine’s The 100 List 2018)

Azulik Tulum
Azulik Tulum

Enchanting Natural Wonders

The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, beginning near Cancun and continuing along the length of the Riviera Maya in Mexico to Guatemala, is the second longest in the world, and definitely a must-see for couples who love diving and other water sports. The third largest Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve is home to 800 species of plants and 360 different animals. Be enchanted by the historic Tulum, Chichen Itza and wander Valladolid with a private van service. Turn up the romance with a pampering couple’s massage, a dinner with a private chef, and then a photo shoot with a photographer in one of the many stunning cenotes. Preferred Stays: Habitas Tulum (World Travel Magazine’s The Luxury 50 List 2018), Azulik in Tulum, Mar Adentro (World Travel Magazine’s The Luxury 50 List 2017)

Hotel Du Cap-Eden-Roc Antibes
Hotel Du Cap-Eden-Roc Antibes

Indulgent Honeymoons

Exceptional Indulgences

The glamorous French Riviera is an excellent location for your honeymoon, a dazzling combination of vineyards, breath-taking châteaus and private yachts. Your luxurious honeymoon highlights include a supercar driving tour, shopping in upscale boutiques, chartering a luxury yacht and lounging around the Mediterranean Islands, enjoying some of the best vintages around the vineyards on the south of France and pampering at a world-class spa. Preferred Stays: Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc (World Travel Magazine’s The 100 List 2018), Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat (World Travel Magazine’s The 100 List 2018)

Hotel Le K2 Palace Courcheval
Hotel Le K2 Palace Courcheval

Mountainous Extravaganza

The French Alps is home to luxurious resorts with some of the best skiing—accessible from the skies in a helicopter, if you so wish–paired with excellent Michelin-starred cuisine and pampering spa treatments. Over at the Italian Alps, enjoy unbelievably picturesque mountain landscapes in the famous Dolomites, including the Odle Mountains, and scenic villages like Lillianes and Mount Lussari Village, and gorgeous lakes like Lake Braies, Lago Blu and Lake Como. Indulge yourselves and visit wineries like the Alois Lageder, the name synonymous with the highest standards of quality in winemaking and then splurge on shopping at the boutiques in Cortina d’Ampezzo. The sights, coupled with world-class skiing and delectable cuisine, offer couples a wonderful and blissful honeymoon. Preferred Stays: Hotel Le K2 Palace Courchevel, Four Seasons Megeve Resort (World Travel Magazine’s The Luxury 50 List 2018) 

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© This article was first published in Oct-Nov 2018 edition of World Travel Magazine.

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