Romantic Honeymoon Destinations for Life After COVID
Let’s dream for a bit about the future. COVID-19 is still very much a threat around the world, but I know we all long for the time when it’s safe to go out and experience one of life’s great pleasures: travel.
Portugal – for “Old World” ambiance and culinary delights
Carmo’s Boutique Hotel – Among gently sloping hills, dramatic river valleys, and medieval towns you will find Carmo’s Boutique Hotel. Located in northern Portugal, just on the outskirts of Portugal’s oldest village, Ponte de Lima, Carmo’s is an idyllic retreat that offers guests chic, one-of-a-kind tent suites or elegant classic rooms to choose from. Each well-appointed space features eclectic styling, Portuguese cotton bedding, and a deep soaking tub for ultimate relaxation. Unwind in the tranquil gardens enjoying the stunning mountain views, savor traditional Portuguese cuisine and delectable wines, go horseback riding, or indulge in the truly unique spa treatments on offer. The historic town of Ponte de Lima is only 50 minutes by auto to the city of Porto, another historical must-see destination.
Gran Cruz House – Look no further if you are looking to explore enchanting narrow cobblestone streets and immerse yourself in Old World charm. Magical Porto on the Douro River is renowned for its history of producing Port wine and being a main transport hub for hundreds of years and there is something mystically romantic about this jewel of a city steeped in history. Perfectly located Gran Cruz House, features seven individually designed rooms inspired by the different varieties of the wine Port wine and showcases original artwork in each one. Lodgings are warm and welcoming, with stunning views over the Douro River. After wandering around quaint winding lanes and shopping at the delightful local shops, dine at on local, fresh-caught Portuguese seafood delicacies and traditional dishes presented at Gran Cruz’s restaurant, Casario. Before you turn in for the evening, marvel at the night lights glowing from the opposite bank as they reflect and shimmer on the Douro.
Corsica – for stunning beaches, impressive cliffs, and the blue, blue sea
Littariccia – A natural paradise in the Mediterranean, Corsica has something for everyone from sun worshipers, to foodies, and for the more adventurous types. With its dazzling beaches, rugged cliffs, and legendary hiking trails, there is much to see and do. Littariccia, in Porto Vecchio, is an ideally located bed and breakfast made up of three stone houses. It has a rustic simplicity and relaxed vibe that will make you feel at home and well cared-for. The colorful villas and rooms feel invigorating as you open the doors and windows to take in the fragrant sea air. At breakfast, be amazed at the spectacular view of the azure sea below as you start your day lounging on the large terrace balcony. Littariccia is just a stone’s throw from the crystal clear waters and velvet sands of Palombaggia beach, where you can spend the day soaking up the sun and frolicking in the warm waters. If you rent a car you can experience Corsica’s beautiful and diverse terrain and landscape as you explore the island, from the traditional villages inland, to the laid-back, carefree towns that dot the coast.
Morocco – for vibrant markets and mystical, ancient cities
Kasbah Bab Ourika – Perched high on a hilltop surrounded by the Atlas Mountains and overlooking the Ourika Valley, sits the Kasbah Bab Ourika. Guests will experience an oasis of understated luxury with rooms and villas that feature sumptuous textiles and authentic design touches focusing on using locally sourced natural materials and handicrafts. Surrounded by olive groves and citrus orchards, lounge poolside and be enveloped in peace and tranquility, or indulge in a relaxing massage or vigorous hammam treatment on offer at the spa. For something more lively, immerse yourself in traditional Moroccan culture and visit a souk (bazaar or market) where you’ll find local delicacies, textiles, handcrafted wares, and everything in between. Enjoy artisanal local cuisine and international dishes at Kasbah Bab Ourika’s restaurant and settle back afterwards to admire the spectacular sunset! The staff can also arrange camel trekking and hiking excursions for you if you crave a bit of adventure.
Le Jardin des Douars – In the Atlantic coast port city of Essaouira in Morocco lies a secluded escape hidden away from the rest of the world in the Essaaouira hills. Be greeted by vibrant color palettes, warm earth tones, and traditional textiles embraced by the distinct rounded archways and window frames of Moroccan culture and architecture. Unwind in the swimming pool and have lunch on the terrace amongst the palms fluttering in the breeze. At dinner, let the flicker of candlelight hold you under its spell as you try savory dishes such as their special tajines and signature couscous. The experience at Jardin des Douars wouldn’t be complete without a pampering visit to the spa for an indulgent massage or hammam treatment.
South Africa – for pristine nature, wildlife, and dramatic sunsets
Babylonstoren – Situated on one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms, Babylonstoren is heaven for “clean eaters” and anyone who values sustainability and the farm-to-table lifestyle. The grounds of this rural setting include a manor house, farmhouse, and other structures dating back to the 18th century, two restaurants, extensive gardens, a vineyard, a greenhouse, orchards, and a pool and spa. The fabulous breakfast is complete with freshly baked bread and pastries from their bakery, and the restaurants are committed to using seasonal, locally grown produce from the gardens. Babylonstoren will pamper you with delicious, healthy cuisine in a beautiful setting with an attention to detail remaining a high priority. There are an array of unique lodgings available to guests. Whether you choose to stay in one of the private garden cottages, the spacious fynbos cottages, or in the farmhouse, the light and airy spaces are perfectly harmonized with whitewashed walls, understated color palettes, and natural materials to ensure a blissful and serene stay.
Argentina – for adventure, empanadas, and breathtaking scenery
Posada de Luz – Nestled in the Quebrada de Humahuaca mountain valley is Tilcara, in Jujuy province in northern Argentina. This region is known for its stunning crimson and terracotta-hued rock faces and indigenous villages. Posada de Luz offers rooms with an inviting, rustic simplicity and cozy charm. Its earthy tones and laid-back vibe marry perfectly with the natural surroundings. The proprietors at Posada de Luz are dedicated to using ecological practices to protect the environment. Treat yourself at breakfast to homemade pastries, bread, and fresh squeezed juices. Its location is ideal as it’s situated within walking distance of the town square and local market of Tilcara, which is a delight as you browse the stalls of locals selling their hand-crafted wares. I came here with my husband some years ago and from our vantage point of our room’s terrace, we watched a fantastic evening storm roll over the valley while we sipped delicious, local Argentinian wine on night. A wonderful memory.
The colorful colonial town of Purmamarca and the vast, other-worldly expanse of the Salinas Grandes salt flats are nearby, both of which are well worth the trip.
Washington state, United States – for mountain landscapes, fragrant forests, and dramatic waterfalls and coffee.
Salish Lodge & Spa – There is a certain spirit, a certain “feeling” to the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. If I had to describe it, I would say it had to do with the crisp mountain air, unspoiled wilderness, warm easygoing hospitality, and a commitment to sustainable living. Located on a dramatic cliff overlooking the impressive 268 foot Snowqualmie Falls, Salish Lodge & Spa is a place of ultimate relaxation, done Pacific Northwest style. With interior decor embracing contemporary clean lines combined with a touch of the woodsy outdoors, the Salish makes for a peaceful getaway. All rooms feature a fireplace, and either a deep soaking tub or luxurious spa shower with dual shower heads. Savor dishes prepared with locally-sourced, seasonal homegrown ingredients (including honey from their own bees), in The Dining Room, which boasts stunning views over Snowqualmie Falls and River. If you are feeling particularly indulgent, treat yourselves to a couples fireside massage treatment at the award-winning Salish Spa. The Lodge is now owned by the Snowqualmie Indian Tribe and the Tribe takes great care to honor Snowqualmie Falls and the land around it as it is their most sacred site. Outdoor enthusiasts will have plenty of activities to choose from year-round as it’s a paradise for winter sport lovers, and also has a myriad of outstanding hikes to do in the warmer months.
France – for romance, world-class gastronomy, and outstanding wines
Le Moulin du Roc – Housed in a 17th century mill amongst the dramatic cliffs of the Périgord region of France, Le Moulin du Roc is an enchanting hideaway. The sounds of a babbling brook, the heady scent of lush gardens, and the authentic history surrounding you are just a few of the enticing elements at this idyllic spot. Each room is uniquely decorated in a charming and elegant style. I highly recommend the terrace rooms as you can lounge the afternoon away as you indulge in a glass of wine from their extensive wine cellar, one of the best in all of Périgord. Dine at the establishment’s intimate restaurant, Ròda, where refined dishes are created with the freshest products of the region such as the famous black truffle from Périgord. Do not miss exploring the region’s truly ancient history as you visit prehistoric caves, and gaze in wonder at medieval villages and castles straight out of a storybook. Magical!
Château des Fines Roches – Rising up out of the dizzying rows of grape vines, this fairytale castle stands proudly in the heart of the illustrious Châteauneuf-du-Pape vineyards in the southern Rhône Valley. A quintessentially French establishment, the classic furnishings are warm and opulent without feeling ostentatious. My husband Pascal and I stayed here a while back and I will always remember the absolutely fantastic meal we were served while dining outdoors on the terrace. The generosity and thought put into the many dishes presented to us made it a truly unforgettable experience that we still talk about to this day. A long soak in the bath in one of the castle’s turrets with the warm night breeze blowing through the open window will always stick with me. Bicycle rental, massage, and wine tasting are some of the activities on offer at Château des Fines Roches.
Italy – for delicious food, history, beautiful scenery, and warm hospitality
Borgo Canonica – Located in the heart of the Puglia region in southern Italy, Borgo Canonica invites you to slow down the pace and completely unwind with an exceptional stay in an authentic trullo, something unique to the Puglia region. These iconic white stone huts with conical shaped roofs date back to the 1800’s and have been painstakingly restored with thoughtful care to preserve the integrity of the original structures. Sheer tranquility awaits you here as you soak in the surrounding nature and rustic atmosphere. Natural materials such as ancient stone, wood, and iron blend seamlessly with chic, contemporary touches creating an intimate and cozy space to cocoon yourselves in. Simple purity at its finest.
Villa le Barone – Set in the picturesque rolling hills of the Chianti region, Tuscany, Villa le Barone is a lovely, romantic destination. Surrounded by olive groves and fragrant cypress trees, this historic manor home has been owned by the Della Robbia family since the 16th century. The villa and its guest rooms and suites embody Tuscan charm, and there is a rustic elegance that feels warm and inviting. We particularly enjoyed the fantastic salt water infinity pool and wandering around the landscaped grounds and gardens just in time for a gorgeous, fiery sunset. The proprietors of Villa le Barone remain committed to running a sustainable business, using solar power, recycling whenever possible, and never using pesticides in their gardens and grounds.
Greece – for sun, cerulean waters, and relaxation
Captain Zeppos – Let the outside world fade away as you recline on your lounge chair and gaze out at the warm and peaceful waters of the Aegean Sea. Captain Zeppos is a place of understated luxury where you can bask in the sunlight reflecting off the pristine, white stucco walls and do nothing. Or do everything! They can arrange a variety of water activities including kayaking, canoeing, scuba diving, fishing, as well as providing spa services and bicycles for guests. Take a short stroll to Pollonia village where you’ll find Greek taverns, bakeries, and markets and get your fill of fresh-caught fish and seafood and local delicacies.
The Captain Zeppos family continues to strive to provide service and amenities that are as eco-friendly as possible to respect the well-being of the planet.
– Valerie Torres
PS: I am not affiliated with any of the establishments suggested, but I have chosen places that I, or friends and family of mine have visited and remember fondly.