12 Best Over-the-top Luxury Honeymoons for 2022
There is no better time than a honeymoon to splurge and take an extended and more luxurious trip. Now more than ever, couples that we plan honeymoons for are looking to celebrate their wedding by ticking something huge off their bucket list. Many things can make a honeymoon over the top: special and rare experiences, an exceptional level of luxury, remote far flung destinations, adrenaline-pumping adventures, and mind-blowing food, wine, and spa.
As a member of Travel + Leisure's Travel Advisory Board, I help people plan special honeymoons all over the world, in Africa, Antarctica, Iceland, Patagonia, and the Galapagos, among other destinations. If you're planning an over the top luxury honeymoon in 2022 and wondering where to go, the following luxury honeymoon trips are guaranteed to surpass all expectations.
Great Migration Safari
There is no better place to witness the largest migration of mammals (1.6 million) on the planet than from Singita Grumeti, a protected reserve made up of 350,000 acres of wilderness adjacent to Serengeti National Park. Singita is at the forefront of conservation and community efforts in Africa, while also managing to maintain the region's gold standard of luxury, providing unparalleled service, food, comfort, guiding, views and location. The five luxury safari properties across this massive wilderness area include something for everyone's taste - a gorgeous private villa, a rustic-luxury tented camp, a lodge with an airy and contemporary design, and more.
Alaska is stunning from all angles but most extraordinary from the Sheldon Chalet, a unique family-owned luxury property perched on the ridge of a glacier in the shadow of Mount Denali, North America's highest peak. Accessible only by helicopter, Sheldon Chalet is the only luxury property situated within the 4.7 million acres of Denali National Park. The level of fine dining and service belies the remote location, which provides access to every Alaskan adventure imaginable including snow cavern spelunking, snowshoeing, stargazing, sledding, mountaineering, and even picnicking on a glacier. The Chalet is also one of the best places in the world to see the northern lights.
Related: The Top 25 National Parks in America
Antarctica is an ultimate over the top honeymoon destination for more adventurous travelers. Although not a traditional pick for romance, what could be more heart-pumping than exploring the edge of the world with your new spouse? The most luxurious, exclusive way to see Antarctica is by staying at one of the continent's only two land-based accommodations, Whichaway Camp or the brand new Wolf's Fang. The heated sleeping pods or tents are outfitted with every comfort imaginable, while free flowing champagne and fine dining are the perfect contrast to the winter wonderland outside.
The Galapagos Islands
For couples with an interest in science, history and wildlife, a trip to the Galapagos is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see a mindblowing number of exotic species you'll never see anywhere else in the world like the red-footed booby or Galapagos land iguana. Watch the fairy tale-like volcanic scenery pass by from aboard a small luxury yacht like the M/C Elite, where each of just eight suites has a private balcony and panoramic windows, and the top deck has a hot tub. I also have my eye on the brand new Aqua Mare, a superyacht setting sail for the first time in spring 2022.
Machu Picchu & the Peruvian Amazon
Peru is a perfect choice for a honeymoon where you can combine a bucket list trip to Machu Picchu with a visit to a pristine part of the Amazon Rainforest. At the world-famous Incan citadel the most over the top choice in hotels is Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, the only property situated right next to the entrance. In the Amazon, spend 4-7 nights on a luxurious river cruise aboard Aqua Expeditions' newest vessel Aqua Nera, a floating oasis that navigates the waters of the largest river in the world where you are apt to see pink river dolphins, sloths, anacondas, and any number of endemic bird species.
Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda
Visiting endangered mountain gorillas (there are less than 1,000 left in the wild) in their own habitat is one of the most magical wildlife interactions on the planet. Seeing these very human-like creatures (we share 98% of their DNA) face to face after trekking on foot through some of the most pristine forests on earth is a truly unforgettable bonding experience to have with your forever partner. In addition to the experience, the level of luxury at the lodges in Volcanoes National Park is spectacular. At whimsical Singita Kwitonda you can really soak in the atmosphere and enjoy peace and quiet, while One & Only Gorilla's Nest is a go-to for over the top luxury with grand spaces and lots of activities. Gorilla trekking in Rwanda can easily be combined with a more traditional safari in East Africa, or it's a great choice for couples who have already been on safari and want to level up their adventure.
Water Safari in Botswana
The floodplains of Botswana's Okavango Delta are what make this such a unique destination with activities you can't do in other safari destinations, like gliding past hippos and elephants in a makoro (dugout canoe). What makes Botswana's Mombo Camp the most over the top luxury safari lodge is the exclusivity of access— you'll find just eight suites on property, plus copper bathtubs and private plunge pools—and the prime location on Chief's Island which is considered by many experts to be the best game viewing on the entire African continent.
Cape Town & Cape Winelands
You'll find every necessary ingredient for romance in Cape Town and the Cape Winelands. You can be playful and swim alongside the penguins at Boulders Beach, or you can indulge your cultural curiosities with visits to art galleries and the famous Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden. For foodies and wine lovers this region is a wonderland for sampling some of the world's best restaurants and wineries. A sexy sunset swim in the rooftop pool at the Silo Hotel is one reason this hotel is my top pick for honeymooners looking to splurge during their stay in Cape Town proper. Delaire Graff is an elegant and sophisticated choice in the Winelands with incredible restaurants and amazing views of the vineyards.
Iceland isn't always thought of as a year-round destination but the truth is it's spectacular in any season. In the Northern Hemisphere's summer the daylight is endless, and winter allows for prime viewing of the northern lights. Either way, high octane adventures in Iceland like exploring ice caves, scuba diving under the ice, flying by helicopter over volcanoes and gorges, climbing glaciers and riding snowmobiles over the tundra, are about as thrilling as it gets. The Blue Lagoon is a can't-miss experience for anyone's first time to Iceland and the best way to experience it is with private access from a luxury suite at The Retreat. For a more far flung adventure on the Troll Peninsula, watching the northern lights from the geothermal pool at Deplar Farm is about as romantic as it gets.
When soon-to-be honeymooners ask what they should do after a traditional safari in Southern or East Africa, they usually have a beach in mind, but I love suggesting Namibia as an alternative and otherworldly place to relax. AndBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge has a sleek modern design - check out the architecturally stunning pool - and also has a prime location with proximity to the dune fields of Sossusvlei, Namibia's top attraction. For experienced travelers looking for something unique and more off the beaten path, I love sending them to Serra Cafema, perhaps the most remote camp on the continent of Africa, situated along the Kunene River on the border with Angola with access to interactions with the remarkable Himba tribe.
Fogo Island, Newfoundland
The architecturally arresting Fogo Island Inn is a place for global art and design connoisseurs to appreciate serene natural beauty and environmental sustainability in the midst of a secluded island off the coast of Newfoundland. Things to do range from whale watching to community immersion, pottery classes, snowmobiling under the stars, and day trips to outer islands. The contrast of top luxury and extremely remote surroundings are what make this experience so memorable.
The drama of Patagonia's windswept plains, calving glaciers, and labyrinthine fjords at the southern tip of South America makes for a perfect backdrop for a honeymoon. The region is massive and there is so much to see, but The Singular Hotel is a sophisticated and spacious luxury property that is a must-see on any Patagonia circuit. Built out of a former cold storage plant, the hotel is a protected heritage site that has preserved many original industrial details, and the location on the outskirts of Chile's Torres Del Paine National Park can't be beat.
Mark Lakin is a member of Travel + Leisure's Travel Advisory Board and the A-List. He specializes in planning the world's most special honeymoons to Africa, Antarctica, Iceland, Patagonia and the Galapagos, among other destinations. To work with Mark and his team at The Legacy Untold, contact him at email@example.com or 646-580-3026.