Most Over-the-Top Honeymoon Suites
When agent Anne Morgan Scully of McCabe World Travel honeymooned in Hawaii almost 40 years ago, the height of luxury was a clamshell sink and a humble hot tub. Fast-forward a few decades and things are decidedly more extravagant for newlyweds in resort land. “The expectation of what a honeymoon suite should be has changed enormously,” says Scully, who regularly counsels couples on finding fabulous vacation destinations across the world. “It’s not only a matter of size but of having all the bells and whistles.”
Today’s top honeymoon suites, in her book, offer amenities such as private pools, sunken Jacuzzis, outdoor showers, and “major” terraces. “The terraces are getting bigger than the rooms,” she says.
Given the odds that this trip could be the most expensive and extravagant of a couple’s life together, Scully also stresses that being fussed over is high on the list of expectations for modern honeymooners: “Couples are very aware of whether the hotel staff ‘get them’ and are turned on to how much attention or privacy they need.”
So we went in search of the best honeymoon suites on the planet. Many of them come with round-the-clock butler service. Private plunge pools are increasingly a feature of high-end rooms, as are novelties such as walk-in “rain showers” and dedicated spa rooms within the suite, where couples can arrange for massages. Then there are the really decadent extras like screening rooms, top-shelf sports cars for guest use, and private workout areas.
Privacy, of course, tends to be a crucial concern for honeymooners, and resorts are increasingly catering to solitude seekers with stand-alone villas, suites separated from public areas of the hotel, and access to exclusive beaches or other natural features. (Certain villas at Parrot Cay, in Turks and Caicos, for instance, have direct access onto the beach from their terraces.) Over-water bungalows provide an even greater separation from other people. The presidential suite at the Palacio Duhau in Buenos Aires comes with its own separate entrance so that guests never have to mingle with the hoi polloi in the lobby.
Sometimes the luxury factor is a case of unique access, like at Eagle Island Camp in Botswana, where guests booking the Romance Suite have a personal game-watching drive with a dedicated guide. In other cases, it means getting the royal treatment: guests in the Crystal Penthouse Suite on Crystal Serenity cruises are ferried to and from the ship by limousine.
But no amount of champagne and limo service can make up for a hotel room lacking in romantic ambience. That’s why Dallas is abuzz about the honeymoon suite of the Stoneleigh, originally designed by legendary interior designer Dorothy Draper and recently revamped by her protégé Carleton Varney. “A honeymoon suite in gray and beige will never sell,” Varney declares. “People are desperate for color in this time of dreariness. They want a return to the glamour of yesterday.
The InterContinental Hong Kong’s Terrace Suite
The Romance: Situated on the waterfront in Kowloon, this 17-story hotel overlooks the bright lights of Hong Kong Island and Victoria Harbour. In the new top-floor Terrace Suite, couples can arrange to have an “Under the Stars” night camping out on their private terrace, which features an infinity Jacuzzi and dizzying views over the harbor. (The experience comes complete with mosquito netting, duvet, cushions, candles, and rose petals.) Rolls-Royce transfers, Dom Pérignon on arrival, a private dinner for two on the terrace, and 24-hour butler service round out the excursion.
The Reality: The two-night “Romance with Style” package includes all of the above plus a couple’s spa treatment, a private yoga or tai chi class, a “Romance Bath,” and breakfast. Price: an eye-popping $14,139.
Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora’s Otemanu Over-Water Bungalow
The Romance: Set at the very end of a string of thatched-roof bungalows snaking out from a motu (small island), the Otemanu Over-Water Bungalow affords the kind of privacy honeymooners crave while keeping them in the lap of luxury. The spacious one-bedroom suite has a plunge pool, deck, covered dining pavilion, and unobstructed views over the lagoon and of Mount Otemanu, the stunning jade-green volcanic rock that rises from the center of Bora Bora. A large glass floor panel—otherwise known as “Tahitian TV”—gives guests a fascinating perspective on the lagoon life below.
The Reality: The suite goes for $1,780 a night in high season.
Royal Suite at the Hôtel Plaza Athénée, Paris
The Romance: Fling open the windows of the über-lavish Royal Suite at this classic Parisian address and you’ll be greeted by the sight of chestnut trees lining Avenue Montaigne, the rooftops of Montmartre, and the Eiffel Tower. Inside, all is quintessential Parisian luxury, with 18th-century furnishings, two Italian marble bathrooms complete with Jacuzzi and two Turkish baths, and regal touches such as curtains embroidered with three kinds of gold thread. If you can ever bear to leave this mini-palace, take a tour around Paris in the hotel’s Maserati Quattroporte, yours to use for the duration of your stay. Then return to dine at Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, where you can toast your good fortune.
The Reality: Mon Dieu! The Royal Suite goes for about $26,000 per night.
The Grand Water Villa at One&Only Reethi Rah, Maldives
The Romance: Every villa in this blue-chip resort, set on one of the largest islands in the North Malé atoll, has access to the lagoon and brag-worthy ocean views, but the Grand Water Villa takes it to another level. Couples can swan about in 2,500 square feet of luxury, having meals served in the spacious dining room, soaking in the oversize terrazzo tub or private pool, or just marveling at the ever-changing ocean vista from the cushion-scattered daybed on the terrace. Something missing?Just call the 24-hour dedicated Villa Host.
The Reality: Rates start at $4,070 per night.
The Duhau Suite at Palacio Duhau—Park Hyatt Buenos Aires
The Romance: If you’ve hankered to know what Evita and Juan Péron felt like addressing the adoring crowds of Buenos Aires, this is the honeymoon suite for you. Situated on the top floor of the stunningly renovated palace in B.A.’s elegant and leafy Recoleta district, it offers many elite privileges: a private entrance, butler service, two fireplaces, and plush interiors featuring antique furniture and chandeliers galore. The pièce de résistance is the panoramic views of the city skyline from the enormous wraparound terrace. Believe us, no one will be crying for you.
The Reality: Bank on at least $8,500 per night.
Private Retreat at Six Senses Hideaway Zighy Bay, Sultanate of Oman
The Romance: Ideal for honeymooners who crave a touch of adventure with their luxury, this much-talked-about resort on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula is dramatically situated between the ruggedly craggy Hajar Mountains and beautiful Zighy Bay. The spectacular lodgings echo the traditional Omani village style, with rustic-chic villas composed of natural materials such as stone and local timbers. The two Private Retreats are the standout choices for honeymooners. Each has two huge joined pavilions, comes complete with a spa treatment room, library, and butler, and overlooks an infinity pool and a private beach. The outline for a perfect day: a day trip to check out local villages, capped by sunset cocktails at the Drinks on the Edge bar in the mountains overlooking Zighy Bay.
The Reality: Private Retreats start at $6,500 per night.
The Infinity Suite at the Langham Hotel, London
The Romance: Follow in the well-shod footsteps of Madonna and Sharon Stone when you check into the poshest suite in this Regent Street grande dame. Among the many diva-worthy highlights are soaring ceilings, two spacious bedrooms (the romantic master has a four-poster bed and two en suite dressing rooms), a cloakroom, and a decadent “Infinity” bathtub—more or less a mini swimming pool—that can be filled at any hour by your dedicated Langham butler. The many-windowed rooms have splendid views of All Souls Church.
The Reality: The suite goes for $6,368 per night.
The Coral Suite at the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, Mexico
The Romance: High-flyers take note: this 9,000-square-foot suite in Mexico’s most exclusive enclave will lend serious rock star credibility to your honeymoon album, thanks to a host of over-the-top luxury must-haves (you know, the kind you didn’t even realize you needed). There’s a wraparound pool, personal spa with massage table and outdoor shower, an entire mini fitness center, and a private cinema (ideal for watching the wedding video in widescreen). Architect Diego Villaseñor made the spaces beautiful as well as high tech, with waterways winding through the rooms, mother-of-pearl accents, and direct access to the beach. The suite includes daily use of a cabana at the new Tamai Pool area…just in case you feel like mingling with lesser mortals.
The Reality: It’ll set you back $18,000 per night.
The Sanctuary Villa at Parrot Cay, Turks and Caicos
The Romance: This two-bedroom villa is situated in the most secluded part of what’s already one of the region’s most private resorts (a five-minute buggy ride from the main building), making it ideal for honeymooners and the boldface set. Designer Donna Karan—a longtime Parrot Cay fan—collaborated on the suite, which is part of her own compound on the island. Expect sand-between-the-toes chic with a Balinese touch in the form of capacious daybeds, teak furniture, water features, and candles galore. The second-floor master bedroom has 360-degree views of the island; there’s also private beach access, an infinity pool, a personal chef, and two butlers.
The Reality: A cool $20,000 per night.
Private Suite at Eagle Island Camp, Okavango Delta, Botswana
The Romance: For lovers who dream of a more dynamic holiday than sitting under a palm tree on a beach, the safari honeymoon is an excellent alternative. At Eagle Island Camp in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, the classic safari has been reimagined in the form of a supremely private suite set apart from the rest of the camp. Thanks to the camp’s location on Xaxaba Island, guests enjoy the sensation of being at the very heart of the great delta, surrounded by wildlife and the pulse of river life. A huge viewing deck affords up-close views of the delta’s inhabitants—hippos, crocodiles, and elephants—while a plunge pool set among trees and an outdoor copper bathtub and shower provide the luxe factor. Added romantic bonus: couples booking the suite receive a private game viewing with a dedicated guide.
The Reality: “Roughing it” from $2,010 per night.
Penthouse at the Stoneleigh Hotel & Spa, Dallas
The Romance: The two-story penthouse of this meticulously restored Art Deco gem was designed in 1934 by legendary interior designer Dorothy Draper and restored to its former glory in 2008 by her protégé Carlton Varney. The 7,200-square-foot suite features a bridal suite, music room, dining room, and library, all outfitted in brilliant reds, aqua blue, black, and gold. Certain original details, like the stone fireplace, 22-foot-high plaster ceilings, inlaid wood, and 500-year-old wood panels, add to the old world ambience, while the private rooftop terrace affords stellar views of the Dallas skyline.
The Reality: The Bridal Suite, including the bedroom, bathroom, and sitting area of the penthouse, costs $1,000 on a weeknight and $1,500 on a weekend night. The entire penthouse?That’ll be $20,000.
The Crystal Penthouse Suite on the Crystal Serenity
The Romance: Floating pleasure palaces don’t get much more lavish than the Crystal Serenity, and the Crystal Penthouse Suite is a honeymooner’s dream, from the limo service to and from the ship to in-room luxuries such as a Jacuzzi, private workout room, and in-room dining courtesy of the Nobu Matsuhisa–created restaurant Silk Road—accompanied by Cristal champagne, natch. There’s no chance of feeling cooped up, thanks to 1,345 square feet of room to move, including a large furnished veranda, the perfect vantage point from which to watch the world float by.
The Reality: Varies according to itinerary. A 12-day Barcelona-to-Lisbon cruise costs $27,675 per person, while a 12-day Venice to Istanbul jaunt is $36,620 per person.