Love’s a Trip
The wedding's a wrap, the guests are gone, and now the real fun begins. these eight perfect honeymoons will launch your new life together.
SANTA BARBARA :: Retreat to the Stars
San Ysidro RanchSan Ysidro Ranch
Like a Hollywood power couple, flee the paparazzi (or the new in-laws) at San Ysidro Ranch, in the rolling hills outside Santa Barbara. Five miles from downtown, this classic California spread was the site of Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh’s wedding and John and Jackie Kennedy’s honeymoon. THE LOVE NEST: Twenty-one romantic cottages are scattered among orange, lemon, and plum orchards on the 500-acre ranch. Each is outfitted with French antiques, a private patio, and a wood-burning fireplace. (Doubles from $399; 800-368-6788, www.sanysidroranch.com) DOUBLES PLAY: When you’re not goofing around the hillside pool, explore the coast on horseback. You’ll trot through sand dunes with views out to the Channel Islands, and among butterflies as you circle the state’s largest monarch reserve. (Two-hour rides from $85; Arriba Horse Adventures, 805-551-8567, www.arribahorse.com)
Zihuatanejo: Purely Mexico
Trade Acapulco—that circus was for the wild days of dating, right?—for Zihuatanejo, a little Mexican fishing village 150 miles north. This Pacific-coast enclave is home to long stretches of golden beach, rocky islets, and wildlife sanctuaries, not to mention some stellar snorkeling and scuba sites. THE LOVE NEST: The beachfront Hotel Villa del Sol, a collection of 70 adobe-style villas, sits amid gardens of palms, banana trees, and hibiscus. A honeymoon package in the Lagoon Suite—with its cathedral ceilings, private patio, plunge pool, and, of course, hammock—includes two bottles of champagne, a five-course candlelit dinner on the beach, and a massage for couples. The four-day stay starts at $3,610 (011-52-755-55-55-500, www.hotelvilladelsol.net). DOUBLES PLAY: Spend a day with Carlo Scuba chasing marine creatures big and small—from manta rays to sea horses—at Caleta Bechon reef. (Two-tank dive, $75; 011-52-755-554-6003, www.carloscuba.com)
Maui: Historic Hana Coast
Hotel Hana-MauiBeachside Bliss: The undisturbed calm of the coast-side Hotel Hana-Maui
Steal away to Hana. The little eastern hub of Maui, a former stronghold of ancient Hawaiian chiefs, or ali’i, abounds with volcanic seaside cliffs, lush tropical forests, and remote beaches. THE LOVE NEST: The most romantic hideaway in the small town is Hotel Hana-Maui, an elegant plantation-style ranch by the sea. The Romantic Paradise package—including four nights’ lodging in the junior garden suite, breakfast, two massages, and a dinner by candlelight—starts at $1,806 (800-321-4262, www.hotelhanamaui.com). DOUBLES PLAY: The resort offers coast or trail rides on horseback (one-hour ride, $50). Or book a hotel guide and hike to the Seven Sacred Pools of Ohe‘o Gulch, a series of 24 lava-rock pools emptying into the Pacific, or to Pa‘iloa, a spectacular black-sand beach in Wai’anapanapa State Park.
Lake Tahoe: High Sierra Heaven
Royal Gorge's Rainbow LodgeCold-Weather Pot of Gold: A snow-entrenched lodge at Rainbow Lodge
The Royal Gorge is a nordic skier’s never-never land. Not only does the country’s largest cross-country area, an hour’s drive north of Lake Tahoe, boast 9,172 acres of High Sierra terrain; it also receives an average annual snowfall of more than 600 inches. THE LOVE NEST: Royal Gorge’s Rainbow Lodge, a 1920s bed-and-breakfast made of hand-hewn timber and local granite, is a ten-minute drive from the main trailhead. Get out to glide, sure, but hold back at least one day to hole up in your wintry hideaway at 7,000 feet, with no TVs or phones to distract you. (Bridal suite with kitchen essentials—coffeemaker, fridge, microwave—and equally essential views of the Sierra, $195, including breakfast; 800-500-3871, www.royalgorge.com) DOUBLES PLAY: Stop at the resort’s shop to rent gear (skis, boots, poles) for $20 per day. And if you lose yourselves on the 200 miles of groomed trails, you’ll inevitably circle back to one of the ten warming huts, perfect for a break and a steamy mug of black tea.
Santorini: You, Me, and the Sea
SantoriniEven post-Olympics, Greece Shines: The brilliantly colored Santorini
On the far northwestern end of Santorini, nearly toppling off sheer cliffs that drop to the Aegean Sea, sits Oia, a tiny Greek village of white houses and blue-domed churches. Start your own story in this history-packed place, from the ancient winding pathways to seas that Homer’s heroes once ruled. THE LOVE NEST: On the outskirts of town, an enclave of caves—used as homes, stables, and wineries by fishermen and farmers 300 years ago—has been renovated into the luxe Perivolas Traditional Houses. These cozy yet spacious homes are furnished with local antiques and have private stone patios overlooking the sea. (Doubles from $450, including breakfast; 011-30-22860-71308, www.perivolas.gr) DOUBLES PLAY: If you can tear yourself away from Perivolas’s pleasant labyrinth of vineyards and fig trees, have the hotel staff arrange a five-hour sailing trip to little-visited Santorini beaches and the minuscule islands of Thirasia and Aspronisi.
Bali: Indonesian Dream
Four Seasons Resort BaliFollow the White-Lily Road: Bali’s Four Seasons Resort
The ultimate honeymoon destination? With white-sand beaches, a lush volcanic interior, and a laid-back vibe, it doesn’t get better than Bali. But don’t get stuck on the tropical-paradise image: This 2,159-square-mile Indonesian island is also a world of adventure. THE LOVE NEST: The extravagant Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay covers all your needs: It’s well stocked with sailboards, a Hobie Cat, and canoes; its spa offers traditional Balinese massage; and there’s even an Indonesian cooking school. On a hillside by the bay, you’ll have your own private thatch-roofed villa, complete with a sundeck, outdoor shower, and plunge pool. (Doubles from $575; 011-62-361-701010, www.fourseasons.com/jimbaranbay) DOUBLES PLAY: Don’t miss a sea-kayak trip to remote beaches, unreachable by foot, on Bali’s southern tip. Equipment is available to Four Seasons guests at no charge.
The Adirondacks: Luxury in the Wilds
Six million acres of towering evergreen forests, mirror-smooth lakes, and ancient mountains pack Adirondack Park, the largest publicly protected wilderness area in the lower 48. In the center of this boundless playground, find the Point, a resort that impeccably blends its wild setting with no-expense-spared extravagance. THE LOVE NEST: Prepare to splurge on one of 11 rooms in four lodges, with overstuffed armchairs, feather beds, and wood-burning fireplaces. Breakfast in bed is de rigueur, but don’t spend all of your time cuddled up with your sweetie—or that copy of Huckleberry Finn from your room’s little library. (Doubles from $1,250, including all meals, beverages, and activities; 800-255-3530, www.thepointresort.com) DOUBLES PLAY: Snag a pair of snowshoes from the Point’s overflowing gear stash and take ’em on eight-mile-long Upper Saranac Lake, or over the trails on the resort’s 75 acres.
Puerto Rico: Go-Slow Mode
Puerto Rico may be a U.S. commonwealth, but it’s far from the madding pace of American life. The 3,435-square-mile island has all the tropical accoutrements, from rugged mountains to banana and sugar plantations and palm-lined beaches prettier than postcards. THE LOVE NEST: Erase the hectic States from your mind in one of the Horned Dorset Primavera Hotel’s 22 new suites. The two-story Spanish Colonial–style townhouses in Rincón, on the secluded western end of the island, have mahogany and teak furniture and private terraces with pools overlooking the Straits of Mona. (Seven-night honeymoon package, including all meals and transportation, sea-kayaking and snorkeling trips, two massages, and a bottle of Dom Perignon, from $9,370; 800-633-1857, www.horneddorset.com) DOUBLES PLAY: Some of the best surf breaks in the world can be found a seashell’s throw from the hotel. West Coast Surf Shop (787-823-3935, www.westcoastsurf.com) offers surf lessons for $30 an hour and rents surfboards for $25 a day. Or rent a Hobie Cat from Taino Divers, in Rincón ($80 a day; 787-823-6429, www.tainodivers.com) and sail beyond the breaks.