These singular spots are perfect for couples that want to celebrate their union in a unique locale
February 13, 2020 – Atop the majestic Colorado Rockies. Under a canopy of ancient live oaks at a seaside Georgia resort. Aboard a stylish cruise in the South Pacific.
Idyllic venues such as these are ideal for couples that want to celebrate their honeymoons in a novel location. Whether beachfront, mountaintop, desert, or railway, they offer everything you could want for a special romantic setting.
Here are five that are guaranteed to put stars in your eyes.
South Pacific Idyll
Papeete. Moorea. Bora Bora. The names roll off the tongue like whispers on the wind. Could there be a more romantic honeymoon than sampling these dreamy places on a graceful sailing ship with only 148 guests? If you love the romance of the sea then sail away on a small ship from Windstar Cruises that takes you to one legendary Tahitian island after another. With the trade winds billowing in the sails, you’ll glide by Moorea, the inspiration for South Pacific’s mystical Bali Hai; swim, snorkel, or dive in Bora Bora’s crystal-clear lagoon; and relax on the pristine beaches of Papeete.
You’ll also have plenty of opportunities to explore lush rainforests; shop for black pearls and handmade crafts at island markets; try drift snorkeling among coral gardens; and experience the fascinating Polynesian culture — from tikis to taro to tiare flowers. Don’t miss the private Windstar beach party on one of Bora Bora’s tiny motus, followed by a kinetic fire-dancing performance.
On board you’ll enjoy an intimate vessel that feels like your own private yacht. Relax on board as your ship glides into small bays other cruise ships can’t reach and drops anchor in shallow waters teeming with schools of tropical fish. From the luxurious cabins and suites to the attentive crew and sophisticated dining, each intimate Windstar cruise promises magical moments for a honeymoon at sea.
Stroll the beach at sunset hand in hand. Dine under the stars in a secluded cove. Dance the night away under the palms. It doesn’t get more romantic than that.
All that’s left is trying to catch a glimpse of the elusive green flash before it melts into the horizon.
A Honeymoon in the Clouds
If you want a honeymoon that’s utterly secluded and dreamily peaceful, consider The Broadmoor’s Cloud Camp, a mountaintop retreat high in the Colorado Rockies. Perched 9,200 feet above sea level on the summit of Cheyenne Mountain, just 30 minutes via a winding mountain road from The Broadmoor’s main campus in Colorado Springs, the aptly named Cloud Camp may be in the wilderness, but it’s no “glamping” in the woods. Count on luxury accommodations and gourmet meals served in a Hollywood-worthy lodge surrounded by Colorado’s majestic high-country terrain.
The main lodge is a showpiece: a stone-and-timber structure whose walls are covered with Western memorabilia: dream catchers, tomahawks, American West paintings, spurs — and the buckskins Kevin Costner wore in Dances with Wolves. This is where formal dinners are served in a stunning banquet hall with two stone fireplaces, soaring ceilings, and a long communal table. But less formal are the pre-dinner cooking classes where couples can learn a few tricks in the kitchen from chef while enjoying a cocktail or two. (All meals and most alcohol are included at this all-inclusive retreat.)
Accommodations are in 11 well-appointed one- and two-bedroom cabins, as well as seven rooms in the lodge (including a honeymoon suite with a clawfoot tub and its own private access to a natural rock outcropping “balcony,” jutting out from the mountain and overlooking the valley below). But by far the most romantic room at Cloud Camp is the Fire Tower Suite – an actual two-room “suite” built atop the stone foundation of a historical fire tower. To reach the Fire Tower Suite you have to climb 145 wooden steps that wind up through the forested hillside, past towering pines and giant boulders. When you reach the top, the views of Pikes Peak and the valley below are truly breathtaking. The Suite consists of one bedroom with a double size bed and plenty of windows for stargazing (it’s impossible for anyone to see in, so no worries on keeping the curtains open at night). A few steps below the bedroom is an outdoor hot tub that is private to the suite.
You can spend your days hiking the mountain trails hand in hand; swinging lazily in the woods-shrouded hammocks; soaking in a hot tub; and watching the clouds swirl from a rocker on the lodge’s wraparound deck where eagles soar by and hummingbirds hover at their feeders. Other activities include sunrise yoga with a view, archery, pickleball, mule riding (on mules “retired” from the Grand Canyon), bird watching, and stargazing. It’s as active or relaxing a honeymoon as you wish.
Embrace the romance of the Old West married with the desert’s stark natural beauty for a one-of-a-kind honeymoon at The Oasis at Death Valley. Despite its ominous-sounding name, Death Valley National Park is a surprisingly romantic destination for couples looking for a different kind of getaway. You can spend part of your day immersed in the rugged, epic splendor of the 3.4-million-acre national park, then bask in the luxury of this historic resort, where the likes of Hollywood legends Clark Gable and Carole Lombard stayed during their honeymoon.
Check into one of the Inn at Death Valley’s newly renovated rooms or 22 casitas tucked among the palms. Enjoy the bougainvillea-laden date palm gardens with their natural spring, the perpetually 85-degree spring-fed pool, and the Spanish-style Mission Gardens, whose whitewashed adobe walls are adorned with Mojave Desert stones. The towering palm trees are reminders that The Oasis at Death Valley is, in fact, a genuine oasis.
Pamper yourselves at the Inn’s recently renovated spa, where the two of you can savor a massage or wellness treatment from an expert therapist. Soothing and serene, the new spa rooms are adjacent to the Inn’s swimming pool and overlook the property’s lush palm gardens.
How about a romantic dinner in the middle of North America’s hottest and driest desert? You bet. The Inn Dining Roomoffers regionally inspired sophisticated cuisine in a Western-themed setting. And if it’s a pleasant night, nothing beats dinner under the stars on the Inn Terrace.
Speaking of stars, what could be more magical than a starry, starry night. Death Valley’s clear, typically cloudless skies and its distance from sources of light pollution have earned it designation as the country’s largest International Dark Sky National Park. So for a bit of old-fashioned romance, find a spot where the two of you can gaze at the cosmos together. Or saddle up for a moonlight ride with Furnace Creek Stables and marvel as the valley transitions from twilight to moonlight before the full moon illuminates the desert expanses in a silvery glow.
For some couples, nothing but the romance of the rails will do. And there’s hardly a better choice than the iconic Grand Canyon Railway, which offers a once-in-a-lifetime trip from the retro-cool town of Williams, Ariz., to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. On the 65-mile, two-and-a-half hour journey on a track dating to 1901, you’ll scale the massive 5,000-foot-high Colorado Plateau. Witness the constantly unfolding drama of the American Southwest on a uniquely American experience that will create unforgettable memories.
Watch the train slide into long curves, wrap around corners, and inspire passengers with views of red buttes, scrub brush, and the pinyon pines of the high desert that stretch from horizon to horizon. Hold your sweetie’s hand, as you get lost in the moment while relishing a singular view of America.
With the wheels clicking a steady cadence, along the way cowboy singers stroll between the train cars to serenade passengers with classic trail songs of the Old West. Standards like “Cool Water,” “Song of the Sierras,” and “Twilight on the Trail” evoke images that reflect the western scenery outside your window.
The train’s stylish interior and excellent service are all part of the experience. The historic railway cars have been fully refurbished to their original authenticity and enhanced by modern accents. Seating choices include Coach Class, First Class, Observation Dome, Luxury Dome, and Luxury Parlor Class. All classes above coach feature attentive staff who serve soft drinks, mixed drinks (additional charge), and complimentary snacks, sweets, pastries, and hors d’oeuvres.
Begin your journey in Williams where legendary Route 66 still unfolds through town. The Grand Canyon Railway Hotel, located just blocks from the famed two-lane highway, makes a perfect base to explore the route as well as the town’s historic district. The modern hotel boasts comfortable rooms, a lounge, restaurants, and gift shops filled with Wild West, American Southwest, and Grand Canyon art and souvenirs. Not to mention the chance to watch the train roll up to the depot at the hotel’s front door. For train aficionados, that’s a honeymoon to remember.
Picture this: walking hand in hand under a canopy of ancient oaks while sunlight peeks through the dripping Spanish moss and birds serenade your union. Or strolling along the shores of the Black Banks River aglow with a setting sun. Or digging your toes into the sands of a five-mile-long private beach as the ocean breeze rustles the trees. These are some of the storybook settings for a romantic interlude at Sea Island, Georgia, the world’s only resort to earn four Forbes Five Star awards 11 years in a row. Since 1928, Sea Island has drawn visitors to the southern coast of Georgia with its rich natural beauty, array of activities, and Southern hospitality.
Stay at your choice of accommodations — from The Lodge, an intimate 58-room hideaway surrounded by ocean views and two of Sea Island’s three championship golf courses, to the iconic 265-room Cloister along the Black Banks River, to the private Sea Island Cottages and The Inn at Sea Island.
Among Sea Island’s multiple eateries, you can dine à deux in the Italian restaurant, Tavola, at The Cloister; enjoy the intimate Chef’s Table in the Georgian Room, Georgia’s only Forbes Five Star restaurant; or clink glasses in the romantic and rustic Wine Cellar — with your own sommelier!
Indulge in a couples massage in the 65,000-square-foot Forbes Five Star spa. Take a leisurely swim in one of Sea Island’s seven pools. Saddle up for a horseback ride along the beach. Sail among Sea Island’s salt marshes on the 71-foot-long river vessel, Sea Island Explorer. And request a complimentary rose petal bath at The Lodge to enhance the mood.
Looking for more? There’s also championship golf, tennis, fishing, falconry, shooting, biking, bowling, multiple water sports and nature activities.
Whether indoors or out, by candlelight or twilight, simple or sophisticated, Sea Island offers honeymoon options for every couple’s taste and fancy.
How to Explore
Recognized by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler on the 2019 Gold List of Favorite Cruise Lines and by USA TODAY readers for Best Boutique Cruise Line, Windstar’s fleet of small luxury sailing ships and all-suite power ships with 148 to 312 guests bring you closer to smaller ports and exclusive local experiences around the world. Visit windstarcruises.com or call 844-359-2921 for more information.
The Broadmoor is the gateway to the Colorado Rocky Mountains in Colorado Springs, The Broadmoor and its Wilderness Experience properties of The Ranch at Emerald Valley, Cloud Camp and Fishing Camp encompass 5,000 acres. The resort campus has 784 rooms, suites and cottages. It includes two championship golf courses, an award-winning spa and fitness center, nationally recognized tennis staff and program, 23 retail boutiques and 10 restaurants, including Colorado’s only Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond restaurant Penrose Room, as well as 10 additional cafes and lounges. Other activities include falconry, mountain biking, hiking, rock-climbing tours, fly-fishing, Wild West Experiences and more. The BROADMOOR Wilderness Experience properties are three unique, all-inclusive, boutique facilities that highlight a true Colorado experience while offering mountain rustic luxury along with The Broadmoor’s legendary service. In addition, The Broadmoor owns and manages three attractions that include the Pikes Peak Cog Railway, Seven Falls and The Broadmoor Soaring Adventure zip-line courses. Colorado Springs Airport, 15 minutes from the resort. With connections to worldwide destinations, Denver International Airport, 70 minutes north of Colorado Springs, hosts more than 1,600 national and international flights daily. Door-to-door shuttle or sedan service from both airports is available through Gray Line. Visit Broadmoor.com for more information.
The Oasis at Death Valley is situated in a lush oasis surrounded by the vast and arid desert of Death Valley National Park, Calif. — just 120 miles northwest of Las Vegas and 275 miles northeast of Los Angeles. This is one resort with two hotels — the historic, AAA Four Diamond, 66-room Inn at Death Valley and the family-oriented, 224-room Ranch at Death Valley. The entire resort has undergone a complete renaissance with an extensive renovation in 2018. It includes natural spring-fed pools, an 18-hole golf course, horse and carriage rides, world-renowned stargazing, and is surrounded by Death Valley National Park’s main attractions. Visit oasisatdeathvalley.com for more information or call or call 800-236-7916.
There’s no better way to make a grand trip grander than on the historic train to Grand Canyon. Travel over 120 round-trip miles through beautiful northern Arizona while being entertained by historical cowboy characters and strolling musicians. The Grand Canyon Railway has been departing daily from Williams, Ariz., since 1901. Spend a night in Williams next door to the train depot at the AAA Three Diamond Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. Just walking distance from quaint downtown Williams and Route 66, the modern hotel has a grand lobby, indoor pool and hot tub as well as Spenser’s Pub with its handcrafted 19th-century bar. Packages with train travel and overnight stays in Grand Canyon National Park and Williams are available. Visit TheTrain.com for more information.
Since 1928, Sea Island has been known as an exceptional destination appealing to those who appreciate gracious service and heartfelt hospitality. It is the only resort in the world to have received four Forbes Five-Star awards for 11 consecutive years. Located on the coast of Georgia, Sea Island features five miles of private beach; a beach club; tennis and squash centers; yacht club; shooting school; Camp Cloister; three championship golf courses, including Seaside and Plantation, home of the PGA tour’s RSM Classic; as well as the nation’s finest golf performance center. Guests may also enjoy nearby Broadfield, a Sea Island Sporting Club and Lodge, offering a variety of seasonal hunting, fishing, sporting and organic culinary opportunities. Sea Island entices families, conference attendees, outdoor and activity enthusiasts, and those simply wanting to refresh and recharge. Visit Seaisland.com for more information.
For more travel experiences available from the Xanterra Travel Collection and its affiliated properties, visit xanterra.com/explore.