As the royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle approaches, the travel world is less concerned about the royal gown and more concerned about the royal honeymoon. All travelers have the top-shelf section of their bucket lists, the places they’d go if money weren’t a factor. And if you’re like me, you’re probably telling yourself you’ll save it for your honeymoon. And if you are me, you’ll probably only be able to afford the honeymoon of your wildest dreams if you decide to skip the wedding ceremony entirely … and hit the lottery.
Honeymoon Ideas Fit for Royalty
For the limelight-saturated royals who will be doing plenty of diplomatic travel for the rest of their lives, the perfect royal honeymoon needs to be remote, luxurious, and, most importantly, private.
Prince Harry might be off the market, but the world is still full of eligible royals. If any of them are reading this, I promise to do all of the planning if you cover the costs. As a travel expert and professional daydreamer, here are my honeymoon ideas fit for royalty.
According to a report from Travel + Leisure, Harry and Meghan will be spending their honeymoon in Namibia at Natural Selection’s Hoanib Valley Camp. Located in northwestern Namibia, this stunning luxury camp is set in a remote desert filled with unique wildlife like elephants and lions. Tents are decorated with items sourced from local artisans, and features activities include game drives through Skeleton Coast National Park and cultural experiences with the local Herero people.
The camp also has the royal seal of approval when it comes to philanthropy, working as a joint venture with the local community and the Giraffe Conservation Foundation. Guests can visit the foundation and meet the researchers working to preserve the giraffe population.
This honeymoon idea has already been deemed royal-worthy by the couple themselves. The Meno a Kwena Camp (another Natural Selection property) is the famous camp where Harry first brought Meghan to celebrate her birthday just weeks after their first date. Botswana is a favorite destination for Harry, and this wasn’t his first visit to Meno a Kwena. It’s easy to see why. With an open-air dining area decorated with Old World ornaments and private tents that open out onto the Boteti River, this might be the royal couple’s birthday getaway, but it’s still a fit location for a royal honeymoon.
Located between two very different environments—the swampy Okavango Delta and the dry desert of Makgadikgadi Pans National Park—this is a great launching-off point for an epic and varied safari experience. It is also a choice spot to witness Africa’s second largest migration, which consists of over 30,000 zebras and wildebeests.
If waking up early to track wildlife in Africa isn’t your idea of a relaxing honeymoon, take a hint from Prince William and Kate Middleton and find a beach far away from it all. After putting on the wedding of the century, Will and Kate took off for the Seychelles. In the Indian Ocean off the coast of northeastern Africa, the Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 tropical islands with luxury resorts that attract the world’s most elite travelers.
William and Kate spent their royal honeymoon at North Island, a resort located on a private island. It’s totally secluded with open-floor-plan villas decorated with furnishings that reflect the natural environment. The hotel offers an array of activities like yoga and snorkeling, as well as more personal experiences like private picnics or movie nights on the beach.
If you need a fairy-tale destination after your fairy-tale wedding, look no further than the region of Cappadocia in Central Turkey, home to one of the world’s most magical landscapes. Characterized by “fairy chimneys,” which are slender rock formations that spring up throughout the region’s many valleys, Cappadocia is full of secrets. The soft rock of these formations allowed ancient residents to carve homes and even entire cities into the rock. For adventurous couples, there are many nooks and crannies to discover in Cappadocia’s gorgeous valleys.
If you want to feel like the rulers of the castle, the Ariana Lodge is a modern boutique hotel perched atop the Uchisar Valley, where you’ll be able to watch as the region’s famous hot air balloons fill up the skies at sunrise. You can book a private balloon ride, complete with a Champagne breakfast, but make sure to do it far in advance as slots fill up quickly.
Next door to Nepal in the Eastern Himalayas, Bhutan is revered by travelers for its mystical monasteries, high mountains, and sheer remoteness. Because Bhutan is tough to get to and very expensive to visit due to high visa prices ($200 for every day spent in Bhutan), it’s the perfect place to immerse yourself in a country and culture that haven’t yet been overrun by tourism. Whether you’re summiting mountains or trekking to cliffside marvels like the Tiger’s Nest Monastery, Bhutan has plenty of once-in-a-lifetime adventure for outdoor-loving newlyweds.
While much lodging in Bhutan is modest, especially when trekking or climbing mountains, there are plenty of luxurious hotels that can offer couples the royal treatment. The Gangtey Lodge is one such hotel. Nestled in the heart of the Bhutanese countryside, the lodge encourages guests to kick back and enjoy the view of the valley. The hotel also offers the opportunity to participate in spiritual activities at the nearby Gangtey Monastery or to learn archery, the national sport of Bhutan.
From Hawaii to Fiji, Pacific islands have always been popular with honeymooners looking for a tropical escape. But for a royal-worthy honeymoon, newlyweds can look to the Islands of Tahiti. With hundreds of uncrowded white-sand beaches, volcanoes, and barrier reefs, Tahiti is made up of beautiful and varied landscapes that are great for exploring and kicking back. You can spend your morning underwater snorkeling along coral reefs, then relax in the afternoon with a Polynesian couple’s massage.
One of the most popular things to do in Tahiti is to book one of Bora Bora’s fabulous overwater bungalows, but for a truly royal honeymoon in Tahiti, take a page from the celebrity handbook. The Brando is a resort located on the private island of Tetiaroa, which was purchased by Marlon Brando to use as his private residence. Today it’s an eco-friendly resort that attracts plenty of celebrities to spend a night in one of its 22 luxurious villas, each with its own private plunge pool and beach area.
If the Caribbean is one of your honeymoon ideas, but you don’t want to do it like everybody else, take a look at Colombia. There are many vibrant cities to explore in Colombia for the couple who wants to make an adventure out of the whole country. Think street art tours in Bogota, coffee tasting in Salento, or snorkeling off the coast of Cartagena.
The Caribbean coast of Colombia is not only made up of miles of stunning beaches, but is also home to incredible nature reserves like Tayrona National Park. The crossroads of jungle and sand, this area can be incredibly romantic for newlyweds looking to combine hiking adventures with lazy beach days. And for a luxurious abode close to the park, book the suite at Playa Koralia, a fashionable nature hotel far away from heavily touristed areas. Its airy rooms accentuated with colorful mosaics and fluffy white canopy beds offer a welcoming place for newlyweds to relax after a day of adventure.
For a secluded American honeymoon, there is no destination more perfectly far-flung and breathtakingly gorgeous as Alaska. Couples can take a leisurely cruise through Glacier Bay, see the northern lights, or go bear watching in Katmai National Park. Wherever you end up in this great white state, you’re guaranteed to see some beautiful scenery.
Alaska is also the perfect honeymoon destination for couples looking to cozy up and spend quality time together. If that’s your plan, you’ll want a one-of-a-kind hotel like Sheldon Chalet, a luxury resort only accessible by helicopter. You can stay wrapped up cozily in your room, enjoying the incredible mountain views from the window, or take the helicopter out for an epic Alaskan adventure.
In this narrow country squeezed between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean, there’s quite a bit to see, from the peaks of Patagonia in the south to the flower blooms of the Atacama Desert in the north.
In the Millahue Valley, a two-hour drive from Santiago, you can visit vineyards for wine tasting, but to get the royal treatment, check out the Vik Chile resort. An architectural art-piece, this resort is decorated in a contemporary style and filled with art, and it offers plenty of experiences from wine tasting to horseback riding through the vineyards. For newlyweds with a taste for the finer things in life, this is a great retreat worthy of royalty.
It’s easy to see that Australia is an enormous country, but a lot of people don’t know that the majority of the country lives in major cities on the eastern coast. This makes Western Australia a perfect destination for honeymooners looking for their own little corner of the world. Take a helicopter tour over the waterfall-studded canyons of the Kimberley or go swimming with whale sharks on the Ningaloo Reef, which is less crowded than the Great Barrier Reef and has not been as affected by coral bleaching.
Western Australia is still a relatively uncharted destination, so for a royal honeymoon that blends the wilderness with luxury, opt for glamping. At Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef Resort, located near Exmouth on the Coral Coast, you can sleep in a tent set up right on the beach and wake up to views of the Indian Ocean. Because the resort is located in a national park, there’s no Wi-Fi, which is a blessing for any couple looking for a digital detox. However, each tent is equipped with an ensuite bathroom, so you’ll be far from roughing it. It’s a great home base for a honeymoon in Western Australia that can be as relaxed or adventurous as you wish.
More from SmarterTravel:
- 10 Romantic Hotels for Your Honeymoon
- 10 Castle Hotels in Europe That Are Worth the Splurge
- 10 Dream Destinations for a Honeymoon
Jamie Ditaranto is a writer and photographer who is always looking for her next adventure. Follow her on Twitter @jamieditaranto.