Among an abundance of reasons that exotic, go-slow islands are a magnet for honeymooners, the sense of escape, of jetting off to otherworldly landscapes where gentle, rolling waves and rustling palms can’t quite muster the strength to interrupt your conversation, is the most compelling. Who doesn’t picture Robinson Crusoe-style hotels and beach afternoons doused in golden light when the word ‘honeymoon’ is muttered?
It’s amid these enchanting settings that memories of the day are consolidated over drawn-out suppers, new chapters are penned and adventures are seized upon while still riding the thrill of getting hitched.
But where to begin? The choice may be overwhelming but the genuine expertise is sadly limited for the one holiday you want to get right.
Cue Turquoise Holidays, the bone fide island aficionados with 20 years of rigorous research, recces, connections and kudos to warrant such a title. From the Maldives’ most flawless beaches to the best diving in Tahiti, their far-flung, paradisiacal island knowledge is truly exceptional, making them a safe bet for couples angling for that standout, seriously personalised honeymoon. Perhaps most importantly, they’re with couples every step of the way, getting to know what really makes them tick and helping them navigate the enigmatic world of island travel.
To celebrate their 20th anniversary, we’ve worked closely with Turquoise Holidays to showcase five of our favourite island honeymoon destinations, with once-in-a-lifetime hotels suggested for each.
The Mini Moon (closer to home, bohemian paradise)
The birthplace of Hippocrates, KOS was passed from one civilisation to another, as its layers of Roman, Byzantine and 1980s architecture would attest. This cultural mosaic is also depicted in the taverna menus, as is the rich volcanic soil lining its valleys and bearing the island’s infamous juicy melons. This is an island where carpets of wildflowers meet long strips of white sand, and the rugged Dikeos mountains peer over a cobalt blue sea.
Stay – OKU Kos
Modern minimalism meets Greek village charm, OKU Kos may riff on traditional architecture but smooth lines and restrained earthy tones assume a more bohemian bass note. Manicured flowerbeds and paths trace the exterior of whitewashed cubist buildings, recalling the labyrinthine spirit of a quaint Greek village. The tempo is slow and pleasantly undemanding: yoga on a milky-white beach precedes languid, poolside afternoons in a shaded cabana, or a gentle paddleboard, parting velvety, early evening water along the shorefront. Couples can delve into the island’s history by visiting the crumbling Byzantine citadel of Paleo Pyli or the Cortinthian ruins of Asklepion, or they can marvel at the flamingo-dotted salt flats of Alykes along with the island’s many natural wonders. Whatever adventures await, that ravishing sunset with shrimp saganaki and baklava cheesecake is enough to lure honeymooners back to their sumptuously simple, rattan-clad rooms.
The Maxi Moon (blow the budget, far-flung)
Moorea, The French Polynesia
Just ten miles from Tahiti lies its fairer little sister, Moorea, a mountainous Polynnesian island where vibrant green meets a calm, translucent lagoon. Island rhythms take their cue from the laid back Tahitan lifestyle and reefs bursting with marine life are a siren call for divers and snorkelers. The water dictates most activities, from kayaking and paddle-boarding, to skirting the coast on a catamaran and watching a crimson sunset burn the horizon.
Stay – Hilton Moorea
Patches of ink appear to stain an ethereally blue lagoon. Above it overwater bungalows hover like storks, their thatched roofs and timber stilts concealing any hint of the top-drawer tech and luxurious modern touches inside. Below it, a kaleidoscopic flush of tropical fish and coral can be viewed in theatrical style through the room’s glass panel floor, or up close with a snorkel and quick slide down the ladder attached to the private deck. The same piercing sunsets can be savoured from the garden pool suites, wrapped in lush gardens with their own cellar. This is the far-flung, blow-the-budget honeymoon where gourmet suppers are accompanied by Polynesian dance shows and fresh, zingy Mai Tais round off couples spa treatments using ancient Tahitian massage techniques.
The Adventure Moon (climbing, jungle, diving etc)
Koh Yao Noi, Thailand
A brisk 30-minute motorboat ride from Phuket lies Koh Yao Noi, an unspoilt Thai island off the Andaman coast where jungle-meets-beach for landscape and local culture continues to hold sway. Buttermilk beaches are sandwiched by cliffs, dense rainforest and gin-clear waters, the most notable being Laem Had Beach where the Koh Yao Yai sandbank sweeps through the ocean in satisfyingly perfect curves. Couples can explore the pocket-sized island of Koh Nok with a kayak, encounter turtles in Phang Nga Bay or adventure into its King Cruiser Wreck with a diving instructor. Back on land, fresh and spicy seafood takes centre stage on most menus – a hallmark of Southern Thai cuisine.
Stay – Six Senses Yao Noi
Sea View Villas peppered along the fringes of Six Senses Yao Noi on Southern Thailand’s Koh Yao all, as the name suggests, possess knockout views over the iconic limestone mountains or karsts which surge vertically out of Phang Nga Bay’s vast expanse of emerald water. Everything, from alfresco Champagne breakfasts and romantic Thai suppers along the beach to restrained wooden villas dressed in fresh linen, twists like flowers towards this magnificent vista. The magnetic allure of Yao Noi’s location guides the spa’s soul nourishing treatment, and invites moonlit dips or a generous interpretation of gin and tonic hour, prepared by a 24-hour butler. But for a serious serving of romance, the sort that will imprint itself in couples’ shared memories for years to come, book into ‘The View’ for its glorious infinity pool, private cinema and trippy glass floor revealing a waterfall cascading through thick jungle beneath.
The Maldivian Moon (private island)
A spec of flawless sand forming part of the South Ari Atoll, Moofushi island embodies barefoot luxury at its best, where island-time and a warm breeze sieving through palms lowers heart rates and stylish villas subtly weave into the landscape. Whether fly-and-flop or more intrepid diving is on the agenda, this Indian Ocean island rarely fails to charm even the most discerning traveller with its impeccable good looks and euphoric dose of seclusion.
Stay – Constance Moofushi
Honeymooners will relish the privacy of Constance Moofushi’s wow-factor large water villas which appear to drift away from the island, as well as their open air baths for a soak under a starry ocean sky. Dining ramps up the barefoot luxury brief, scattering tables along the sand with a buttoned-down code complimenting lofty standards of cooking – expect a delicious blend of Mexican and Mediterranean plates. Oils pressed from Indian Ocean herbs are kneaded into the backs of couples enjoying a relaxing marine life show through the glass-bottom floor. Slightly less sedate activities fix on a dizzying 32 dive sites (including some of the world’s best) which surround the island and where honeymooners can swim alongside majestic whale sharks, manta rays and turtles.
The Mountain Moon (aka Pitons)
St. Lucia, The Caribbean
Even those living in the Caribbean can’t help but swoon at St Lucia’s magnificence – its jungle-clad mountains, waterfalls and lovely beaches lapped by impossibly turquoise waters. Activities reflect the island’s diversity of landscape and tempo: from hiking volcanoes and tearing through dense jungle on zip wires to more relaxing snorkelling trips out to its coral-laden seas. While the jagged, soaring peaks of Gros and Petit Piton seem to dominate both the landscape and many itineraries, the Old World, photogenic town of Soufrière, with its colonnaded balconies and pastel houses that seem to tumble down the lush hillside, is well worth a visit, as are the old plantation estates on its outskirts, such as The Fond Doux Estate – a cacao plantation. But honeymooners will be forgiven for simply sprawling out along one of the island’s glorious stretches of sand, most of which are flanked by rainforest or cliffs and slope into calm and balmy lagoons.
Wedged rather dramatically between tropical rainforest and the mighty Pitons, Sugar Beach is a scatter of 96 rooms and villas which cling to a hillside which meets a glorious white beach. Beneath the calm turquoise bay lies a national marine reserve – a treasure trove for diving enthusiasts or leisurely afternoon snorkelling. Above the surface, couples can lean into the watersports with kayaks, paddleboards, Schiller water bikes and windsurfers all waiting for seabourne adventures. Thrill-seekers can clip onto the nearby Pitons’ zip lines – whizzing past lush tangles of tropical jungle, waterfalls and trickling streams. Interiors are Old World Caribbean – louvred shutters blink out onto yolky sunrises splitting across the horizon and four poster beds dressed in cool, crispy sheets tempt long lie-ins. When not decked in their linen best for the Great Room’s tasting menu, couples can kick back at The Bayside on the beach, for a vibrant spread of fresh seafood and hearty salads, or for long, lazy suppers under a ceiling of stars.
Feeling inspired? Speak to Turquoise Holidays’ expert (and incredibly friendly) team who will guide you through the steps and choreograph your dream honeymoon here.
Call 01494 678400 or complete an enquiry form
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