Beyond the blue waters of the Hawaiian Islands and the bright lights of the Eiffel Tower, there are still plenty more astonishing places to visit around the world. And what better moment to explore these new destinations than on an extravagant, over-the-top honeymoon? Here are the top five destinations to discover, according to Ponte Vedra travel agency, Travel Leaders’ honeymoon specialist, Jessica Siregar.
Bali is such a spiritual location, according to Siregar, that you can instantly feel it once the plane touches the ground.
“They have some of the most beautiful accommodations, like the Viceroy,” Siregar said, mentioning that the small, family-run boutique hotel was also named the top honeymoon hotel by Conde Nast.
Or looking for something a little more spacious? Try Capella Ubud. “It was so unique and had all these crazy antiques that were historical to Indonesia,” said Siregar about her visit.
“Wellness is a big trend in the market right now,” she added. “Not just going to a spa, but actually being kind to yourself and the environment that you're in - as well as the people.”
To appreciate Bali’s environment, the Viceroy offers transportation to the rice terraces in Ubud, according to Siregar, who recommended hiking the fields.
“We got to hike with a gentleman from the hotel, and all included,” she said.
She also recommends adding some adrenaline to the romance by mounting the Bali swing.
“One of my friends was not about it, but I was like, ‘Weeeee!,’ Siregar laughed. “You’re strapped in, they give you a push and it’s just really cool. The view is amazing.”
Regardless of what you choose in Bali, Siregar said there are no wrong answers.
“Everywhere told a story,” she said. “It’s great for adventure, shopping and enjoying the art and history of the culture.”
It’s only about a two-hour flight from Ft. Lauderdale to San Pedro, Belize, but don’t let the distance fool you. Siregar said Belize is the perfect spot for those with shorter honeymoon vacations, but with the same lust for adventure.
“You can have a Mayan jungle experience on the mainland by exploring Mayan ruins or by going caving in tubes underneath the Mayan tunnels,” raved Siregar, who mentioned this was one of her top personal destinations.
“You can also have the island experience where you’re on the beach and can swim with sharks and stingrays. The Blue Hole is the second largest reef in the world, so there's great diving,” she added and laughed. “Yeah, I’m definitely an adventure honeymoon specialist.”
With wildfires causing immense damage and death to the wildlife of Australia, Siregar said that’s even more incentive for visiting.
“When there’s a natural disaster, I always advise people to go to that destination. Those tourism dollars go towards their efforts in supporting anything that’s been destroyed,” she explained. “Plus, the US dollar is really strong there right now.”
Siregar receives daily check-ins from locations that partner with Travel Leaders in the outback and none of the areas have been affected.
“There’s a big itinerary for Australia,” she said. “I recommend visiting for at least two weeks so honeymooners can explore everywhere from the Great Barrier Reef, down the Gold Coast and the beaches.”
Siregar recommended honeymooning in Sydney for those who want to mix the city life with an adventurous twist - the Sydney bridge climb.
“You can see the water and Sydney Opera House, so it’s both exciting and very romantic,” Siregar said.
For a more relaxed stay, Melbourne, a hip, more eclectic city down under, is filled with small streets and street cafes, a similar vibe to European cities.
“Don’t forget the wine region and getting some pinot noir in your life,” Siregar added.
Australia is also the top country where travelers return to because of the people, Serigar said, so honeymooners can expect warm welcomes and kindness throughout the trip.
How can one not mention one of the most romantic countries in the world?
“So much Italy, it’s so romantic!,” said Siregar enthusiastically. “One of the top places right now is Castello Banfi. Banfi is a really famous wine that’s sold in the US. They have a castle you can stay in the Tuscany region right between Rome and Florence.”
According to Siregar, there hasn’t been a guest that has not fallen in love with the location.
The castle has a luxurious spa, multiple restaurants and winery tours. And with elevated excursions like hot air balloon flights, bicycling through the private estate or visiting one of the nearby cities or natural thermal spas, Castello Banfi can make honeymooners feel like they were married into royalty.
“You can even hike the Dolomites if you want some adventure and burn a little bit of that pasta, too,” Siregar said - not a bad idea.
The easy access through Dubai, the overwater bungalows and the view. This over-the-top destination combines the magic of Arabian nights with an underwater experience.
Readjust to the time zone in Dubai and then take a short, four-hour flight to the Maldives to stay in an underwater bungalow.
“The Maldives are all about relaxing,” said Siregar. “So you can chill, snorkel, dive, eat, drink with your significant other and very just be very romantic and happy.”
Before departure to the Maldives, Siregar suggested staying at the Armani hotel in Dubai - a piece of advice that was taken by previous clients who had an unforgettable experience.
“The fireworks and light show (provided by the city of Dubai) is right over the balcony where the hotel restaurant is located," she said. "They loved it."
Siregar mentioned that this luxurious destination is also a cultural eye-opener that can help realize that those across the world may not be so different from those at home.
“The couple took a tour and learned so much about Muslim culture,” Siregar said. “The woman said she was a little fearful when she got to Dubai because she’s blonde and blue-eyed - very ‘American’ looking. After the tour, she said how kind the tour guide was, how much she learned and that the people are amazing, with such big hearts and that she’s no longer afraid.
“When people from different parts of the world realize that they are all the same, that's ‘celebrating life through travel.’ It’s making this whole world one world.I didnt even set that up. That tour guide did it all himself.”
Siregar has worked as a travel agent for years and has dozens of successful honeymoons under her belt. Though travel websites like Travelocity and Kayak have affected the tourism industry, Travel Leaders in Ponte Vedra is alive and well, with offers that one can’t find on their own.
Regardless of where you choose for the ultimate honeymoon, the best part about travel is that there is no wrong answer.
Photos provided by Travel Leaders