Want your honeymoon to be more memorable than a luxury beach escape…?

From newly accessible destinations to escapes tapping into 2019’s top trends, Jane Anderson, editor of 101 Honeymoons picks the hippest honeymoons around.

1. Genuine Japan

There’s nowhere hotter than Japan right now – it’s not just sports fans with their eye on the Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Olympics who are putting it to the top of their must-go lists. British Airways’ new flights to Osaka are helping travellers reach less explored parts of the country beyond Tokyo and Kyoto – not least the romance of Japan’s intimate traditional ryokan inns and natural hot springs.

Check in to Lamp-No-Yado Inn, a hideaway at the bottom of a cliff on the edge of the ocean for dreamy sunsets viewed from the open air hot baths. Art lovers can discover the Seto inland sea and Setouchi, with its triennial art show.

Specialists Inside Japan Tours tailor-make the spectacular honeymoon itineraries.

2. Visit the Pride Lands

The remake of Lion King movie is one of this year’s hottest releases, so bring it to life on a stylish safari to Kenya. The country, which inspired the location for the film, is home to the famous Masai Mara. Along with the chance to witness the Great Migration, there are other nature reserves to discover and the tropical beaches of its Indian Ocean coastline.

For accommodation fit for a (lion) king, Mahali Mzuri is the flagship safari lodge from Sir Richard Branson’s ultra luxurious collection.

Safari experts Mahlatini can create bespoke honeymoons in Kenya, including stays at Mahali Mzuri as well as Giraffe Manor and a camp on the edge of the Masai Mara and Serengeti, across the border in Tanzania.

3. Eco-friendly paradise

There’s no trend hotter than protecting our planet as we travel. The luxurious Azura Benguerra is not only the first eco-friendly resort in Mozambique, it was also hand-built by the local community and still operates in partnership with them. Along with solar-powered showers, rainwater harvesting and sustainable building materials, guests are also encouraged to bring materials for local schools and clinics as part of the ethos of giving back. The resort uses its Rainbow Fund to help protect the reef and turtles which nest nearby. Add on guided marine walks and sunset dhow cruises, plus villas with their own private infinity pool just steps from the beach, and you have honeymoon heaven.

Book with Turquoise Holidays which can also arrange island-hopping dhow safaris through Mozambique’s islands.

4. A-list Italy

When you’re one of the world’s biggest celebrities and can go anywhere, where do you choose? This summer, it’s Italy – long beloved of Hollywood’s A-list, the country of amore has seen Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra honeymooning around Cinque Terre and model Chrissy Teigen and John Legend visiting Portofino. Kate Hudson has been spotted on the Amalfi Coast, while Rosie Huntingdon Whitely and Jason Statham have been sunning themselves in ultra-chic Capri.

Stay on the island’s most glamorous retreat, the Capri Palace Hotel, a firm Hollywood favourite – Exsus arranges creative Italian honeymoons, including stays here. For more privacy, To Tuscany has a string of romantic villas for two, some with a private pool.

5. Brazilian style

After the success of its London to Buenos Aires route last year, Norwegian has followed it up with new flights to Brazil for 2019, the first ever low-fare flight route to the country from the UK. That leaves a few more pennies to splash out on exploring, from the glamour of Rio de Janeiro to the natural wonders of the Amazon, Pantanal and Iguacu Falls, or the spectacular beaches of Bahia and African influences of Salvador.

Locally-based specialists Dehouche tailor-make honeymoons to Brazil with real flair - from their inside tips on the hottest places to eat and party in Rio to a stay in hip Fernando de Noronha, the archipelago with the coolest hotels and spectacular snorkelling.

6. Quirky retreats

Minimoons are ever more popular with honeymooners looking for a short but sweet escape close to home before a longer holiday, or an unforgettable short-haul honeymoon.

Start with the perfect UK romantic retreat – the cottage collection from Rural Retreats includes former lighthouse keepers’ cottages, including one at the tip of the Roseland Peninsula, where the lighthouse is still operational. Other options include converted barns, shepherd’s huts, thatched cottages and even a renovated travelling fairground van.

Or how about a Treehotel? If you’re looking beyond the UK, cast your eyes north to Sweden where you can sleep high above the trees – choose between several quirky options, including the Birds Nest and the UFO, where a ladder descends when you unlock with your key on the ground. Book with Artisan Travel.

7. A Cambodian escape

One of this year’s hottest hotel openings is actually a tented camp – but forget any thoughts of basic canvas. Shinta Mani Wild in the Cambodian rainforest is built in a river valley among an 865-acre private nature reserve, with eco credentials galore as it protects the wildlife from illegal logging and poaching. There’s ‘60s styling – with Jackie O on a Cambodian jungle safari as the inspiration – and it employs local staff and expert naturalists with organic Khmer products in the spa. There’s also a freshwater swimming pool and you can choose a waterfall villa to doze off to the sound of the cascades. For adults (and teens) only, this is a firmly grown-up getaway.

Selective Asia tailor-makes Cambodian honeymoons, including Shinta Mani Wild and other hip properties around the country.

8. Everything’s peachy

Living coral – it’s the colour of the year according to Pantone, and hotels are warmly embracing this retro peachy shade. If you want your backdrops to be on trend, you can find it popping up everywhere from Australia to the Maldives, but for the ultimate coral stay, it has to be the US. Palihouse Miami, opening this year, will have two-tone apricot walls to fit perfectly with the vintage feel of the art deco beach area.

But for a dash of coral with actual corals, look to Hawaii. On Honolulu, you’ll find splashes of the colour on wallpaper and loungers at the Laylow Waikiki, part of the Autograph collection, while the iconic muted pink of the Royal Hawaiian hotel on Waikiki Beach isn’t far away. And offshore from Hawaii’s islands, go snorkelling or diving to see nature’s own living corals. Book with American Sky.

9. Natural paradise

There’s one location which ticks all the trend boxes – a favourite of celebrities, with strong eco credentials and some unforgettable experiences: Costa Rica. If sustainability is key for your hip honeymoon, you can arrange a Sustainable Wildlife holiday with Rainbow Tours, staying in small guest houses and hotels which hold the Certificate of Sustainable Tourism, while discovering some of the country’s diverse natural treasures, from rare orchids to sloths.

There’s no reason to sacrifice luxury for your romantic escape either – the company’s honeymoon range also features a Costa Rica in Style trip too, sleeping in a forest lodge on the Pacific coast, a spa resort by the Arenal volcano and a night on Cano Island where dolphins swim in the waters nearby.

10. Travel slow

Who wants to rush through their honeymoon – there’s nothing quite like savouring every minute and taking life slow. So swap leaping onto a plane for one of the world’s great rail journeys and proof that slow isn’t dull. Travel on the Orient Express and you needn’t fly at all with options to travel from London on the classic route to Venice and even Vienna or Prague.

For a luxury take on the Trans-Siberian Express, enjoy caviar and champagne on the Golden Eagle – you can even enjoy a private concert along the way. If you’re looking a little further afield, the Rocky Mountaineer in Canada is one of the most scenic train journeys around, while the opulent Maharajahs’ Express through India is unadulterated luxury. Book with The Luxury Holiday Company.

August 2019

By Jane Anderson of 101 Honeymoons