Getting married during the winter months may mean fairytale, snowy landscapes at home, but there’s no reason you can’t escape to the sun for a midwinter honeymoon.
We’ve picked some of the best getaways to turn up the heat — however far you’re looking to travel.
Love Close to Home
While most of Europe is shivering, temperatures can hit the heights of 70F in the Canary Islands during January and February. And the Gran Hotel Bahía del Duque Resort in Tenerife has 63,000sqm of tropical gardens, five swimming pools and eight restaurants to enjoy. Plus, if you check into the Casas Ducales, the villas have private plunge pools, a butler and 24-hour concierge service.
And Morocco, less than four hours away by plane, provides a city break so exotic you’ll feel as if you’re in a different world. Some of the suites in the 280-year-old family palace, Riad Enija, just off Marrakech’s main square, have private entrances and four poster beds. For boutique glamour, check in to the city’s Hotel La Mamounia, or lap-up some luxury at the Palais Amani riad in Fes, with its own hammam and a rooftop terrace overlooking the medieval medina.
Romance Further Afield
You don’t have to voyage too far to find your once-in-a-lifetime sun-soaked honeymoon destination: you’ll find perfect spots throughout Africa and the Middle East. Mozambique has wonderful white sand and turquoise sea for beach lovers, but without the hordes of tourists you might find in other Indian Ocean hotspots.
At Ibo Island Lodge, in the Quirimbas National Park, you can dive, snorkel or take a dhow safari in one of the country’s traditional boats, as well as sunbathing on the tropical island’s three beaches — one completely surrounded by clear blue sea.
If you’d prefer a safari break, you’re spoiled for choice: January is the start of the short, dry season in Tanzania so it’s the perfect time to visit. Sands River Selous is right in the heart of the vast Selous Game Reserve and there are just eight cottages, making your experience particularly exclusive. Book one of the hillside suites, with a personal plunge pool, or a riverside room.
The River Club, on the banks of the Zambezi in Zambia, has a gorgeous infinity pool — and isn’t far from the incredible Victoria Falls. And for a “pinch yourself” experience, view the animals from the river itself during a cruise on the five star Zambezi Queen sailing along the Chobe River that divides Namibia from Botswana.
If you’d prefer to escape to the heart of the desert, Bab Al Shams in Dubai is an Arabic fort around an oasis. Spend lazy honeymoon days riding a camel — or explore your adventurous side on a jeep safari. This idyllic hideaway in the dunes is just 40 minutes away from Dubai’s many shops and restaurants.
Passion, Far and Away
If you’re happy to fly long-haul, the world is your oyster. Head off the beaten track to Belize, where the dry season starts in February, to discover tropical rainforests, ancient Mayan ruins and a spectacular 174 mile-long barrier reef. Unwind in a hammock overlooking the Caribbean at the Matachica Resort and Spa on Ambergris Caye Island, a short flight from Belize’s mainland.
Or journey to Australia’s remote Fraser Island, off the coast of Queensland. You’ll feel like the only couple in the world at the romantic Kingfisher Bay Resort where you can take a whale-watching cruise and lounge on the white sand beaches. If you’d rather stay closer to civilisation, you’ll find the Chateau Yering Hotel less than an hour from Melbourne in its own 250 acre estate, with the wineries of the Yarra Valley right on the doorstep.
You’ll also get guaranteed winter sunshine on the beaches of Thailand and the Caribbean. Overlooking the beautiful Andaman Sea, every villa at the Banyan Tree Phuket has its own pool. You can be pampered at the spa or try anything from scuba diving and meditation to elephant trekking. And villas at Putahracsa Hua Hin on the Thai coast have private wine cellars, mini home theatres and indoor Jacuzzis as well as a private pool. This smart resort also offers wine tours and trips to a local floating market.
On top of the white sand beaches you’d expect in the Caribbean, St Lucia offers lush rainforest to explore as well as adrenaline thrills like mountain biking. Jade Mountain is the perfect escape with no phones, radios or TVs in the cleverly-designed “sanctuaries”, which have private infinity pools. Or head to Cap Maison set in a former sugar plantation, where you can dine at the cliff side restaurant, sip cocktails in the natural rock pool and celebrate your marriage in style by chartering the resort’s own luxury yacht.