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Classic Beach Getaways for Your Honeymoon

Martha Stewart Weddings, Fall 2010

Old Hollywood's celebrity jet-setters made St. Barts, Honolulu, St. Tropez, and Capri legendary places to lounge. Today the beachside cities are working modern-day magic on newlyweds. Whether you stay stateside or go far-flung, consider one of these endlessly romantic spots.

St. Barts
The French island is the Paris of the Caribbean, replete with cerulean bays, posh boutiques, flaky croissants, and fun-fueled nightlife to boot.

Stay The Steal: Les Mouettes Hotel. With seven cottages along calm Lorient Beach and a not-to-bemissed bakery, La Petite Colombe, around the corner, it's one of the island's best bargains (rates from 110 Euros, st-barths.com/hotel-les-mouettes).
The Splurge: Eden Rock. This 34-room hotel was built 60 years ago as a private home for a wealthy aviator (and friend of Greta Garbo). Today it offers lavish beachfront villas, garden cottages, and suites, including the 1930s-style Garbo, which features stone floors, a dramatic bed with leather headboard, and a wrap-around terrace with sweeping views (rates from 490 Euros, edenrockhotel.com).

Explore: There are 22 pristine white-sand beaches to discover, each with its own distinct personality. Colombier Beach, a spit of sand adjacent to land once owned by David Rockefeller, is a hike from the nearest parking lot, but the magnificent view makes it worth the walk. Surfers head to Flamands Beach for the waves. And topless bathers favor postcard-perfect Saline, a secluded stretch hidden by dunes and bordered by turquoise water.

Play: For a refreshing menu (think cold cachaca cocktails and crisp tropical salads) and great people-watching, check out Do Brazil on Shell Beach in Gustavia's main harbor. If you're a sports fan, keep your eyes peeled for co-owner and former tennis star Yannick Noah. When the sun goes down, hit Le Ti St. Barth for drinks and dancing. The place has a sexy, boudoir vibe, a picturesque patio, a table-dancing crowd, and even a lingerie boutique. Late night, slip into your highest heels and head over to Le Yacht Club, a waterfront disco that's one of the hottest addresses on the island.

Shop: More than 200 stores -- and that effortless French sense of style -- make the shopping in St. Barts world-class; in the capital town of Gustavia is Quai de la Republique, a harborside road with a collection of high-end stores (think Hermes and Cartier). On the other side of the island, in mellower St. Jean, pick up colorful silk dresses at Calypso St. Barth, which first opened here before going global, or one of Pain de Sucre's playful tropical bikinis. The best part? It's all duty free.

Relax: Spend a few hours at the Spa at Isle de France, which calls on Molton Brown products to soothe away any post-wedding nerves. It's small -- just four treatment rooms -- with contemporary decor, including frosted glass and Philippe Starck metalwork. Try a hot-pebble therapy to relieve those tired muscles, or a couple's Thai massage in a garden pavilion.

Honolulu
This vibrant capital's luxurious hotels and authentic massages are steps away from Oahu's tropical wilderness. Like Doris Duke, you'll find your Shangri La.

Stay: The Steal: Outrigger Reef on the Beach. The recently renovated hotel showcases Polynesian design, offers daily catamaran trips, and hosts live Hawaiian music nightly at its popular poolside restaurant (rates from $189, outriggerreef.com). The Splurge: Halekulani. A fiveacre oasis amid bustling Waikiki, this resort has long set the standard for gracious Hawaiian hospitality. Most of its 453 artfully decorated rooms have ocean views and lanais; the new 2,365-square-foot Orchid Suite, with a private lawn, wine cellar, and steam shower, is pure luxury (rates from $425, halekulani.com).

Explore: Rising dramatically at the end of Waikiki Beach, the rugged 350-acre Diamond Head Crater was formed in a volcanic eruption over 300,000 years ago and is now a state park. The steep threequarter- mile hike to the summit is a must, especially at sunrise (on a clear day, you can see panoramic views of Maui and Molokai). East of the crater is Sandy Beach Park. Climb down a cliff to Halona Cove to see firsthand where Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr filmed their famous kiss in the surf for From Here to Eternity.

Play: For a special night out, order the ninecourse tasting menu at Halekulani's La Mer. You'll savor dishes like sea bass meuniere and smoked foie gras, as well as twinkling views from its openair dining room. Afterward, take in jazz and cocktails at the wood-paneled Lewers Lounge (Clark Gable was a guest), where the drink menu was designed by "King of Cocktails" Dale DeGroff, formerly of New York City's Rainbow Room. Or try something more lively: Cross the street to join the crowd at Nobu Waikiki, and sip an innovative blend of watermelon, vodka, honey, and lemon juice at its sleek bar.

Shop: With more than 300 stores and restaurants, the Ala Moana Center is the world's largest open-air mall. Mixed in among the high-end boutiques -- everything from Chanel to Dior -- you'll find local favorites like Tori Richard (stop in for a Hawaiian-print dress). Also stock up on macadamia nuts or buy a honeymoon memento, like a wooden bowl at 50-year-old furniture maker Martin & MacArthur.

Relax: Spa Halekulani incorporates both local and South Pacific traditions into its rituals and uses scrubs, creams, and treatments made from local ingredients, such as maile and papaya. Go all out with a deluxe couple's treatment, with foot pounding, facials, and a soak in a Japanese bath. At the Royal Hawaiian's Abhasa Spa, wrap yourself in a moisturizing cocoon of coconut milk, or nap in one of its tropical cabanas.

St. Tropez
Everyone from Colette to Clooney has visited this over-the-top port in the French Riviera, but you don't have to be famous to appreciate its charm.

Stay: The Steal: Hotel des Lices. With tasteful modern rooms, a poolside bar, and a shaded garden, the 42-room property is a surprisingly peaceful choice in the center of town (rates from 155 Euros, hoteldeslices.com). The Splurge: The Byblos. After Brigitte Bardot honeymooned here in 1967, this hotel became a celebrity hot spot. Its stucco buildings and palmfilled courtyards sit on a hill above the harbor, and the gracefully rustic rooms are decorated with antiques. On a lantern-lit terrace, famed chef Alain Ducasse's Spoon serves inspired French fusion dishes (rates from 325 Euros, byblos.com).

Explore: For a quintessentially French sunbathing scene, head to Pampelonne Beach, which offers three miles of lounge chairs, private clubs, and topless sunbathers galore. Find near seclusion on the pine-scented island of Port Cros. Reachable by ferry, it's home to a national park with spectacular views and azure inlets to dip in.

Play: Make a dinner reservation at Lei Mouscardins, a favorite for locals, who come to gossip and sup on brandade, a specialty of whipped potato and salt cod. After some cheese and chilled rose, order the bourride Provencale (a Cote d'Azur fish stew), or try a more unexpected signature dish: crushed chestnuts with morels, crayfish, and truffles. For a little revelry, check out Les Caves du Roy, Byblos's flashiest nightclub. Head to its neon lights to dance under the electric palms (Beyonce's been there, done that). To wind down, visit the Christophe Pillet-designed bar at the new Hotel Sezz. Here, the Dom Perignon and Moet & Chandon flow freely.

Shop: St. Tropez's narrow, crooked, pastelcolored streets still resemble a fishing village -- except that the corner store is Louis Vuitton. In such chic environs, it's hard to resist upgrading your resortwear at places like Stranos, which sells vibrant, plush towels, or Kiwi, filled with head-turning bikinis. For classic gladiator sandals, visit K. Jacques, where the cobbler has been making hand-stitched leather footwear since 1933. More old-world charm lingers at the twice-weekly Place des Lices Market, a fragrant jumble of vendors selling fresh lavender, local soaps, and crusty bread.

Relax: At the Byblos's Sisley Spa, recovering from the sun is as sweet as basking in it. Its maze of sleek rooms opens onto a quiet courtyard and olive garden. Note the beautiful mosaic floors (they're from a 16th-century Lebanese palace), and while away months of wedding-planning stress with a hydrating linden-blossom facial or Provencal exfoliating steam treatment.

Capri
Caesar was onto something when he called it "the city of sweet idleness." Take in the plunging cliffs, lush lemon groves, and whitewashed villas.

Stay: The Steal: Hotel Weber Ambassador. Nestled right on the Marina Piccola, this hotel offers an unparalleled view of the famous Faraglioni rocks from its geranium-festooned breakfast terrace. If you're feeling restless, the staff will arrange outdoor activities, like kayak and scooter trips (rates from 97 Euros, hotelweber.com). The Splurge: The Capri Palace Hotel. It features the island's signatures: crisp white interiors, bright bougainvillea, and soft tea lights at dusk. The plush rooms have either private pools, gardens, or expansive water views. Should you actually want to leave, the hotel will whisk you off on one of two 50-foot motorboats (rates from 340 Euros, capripalace.com).

Explore: Capri packs many idyllic diversions into its four square miles. For a bird's-eye view of the land, take the chairlift to the top of Monte Solaro, the 2,000-foot peak between Capri and Anacapri, which has vistas over the Bay of Naples and the Amalfi Coast. Or circle the island by boat to explore its many coves and the Grotto Azzurra's mystical blue light. Spend an afternoon at La Canzone del Mare, one of the pools lining the Marina Piccola bay; Emilio Pucci favored the chaise longues here.

Play: Romance and good food abound on this island. For a big night out, Michelinstarred L'Olivo is unsurpassed: Its Mediterranean menu often includes blue lobster or sea bream with Neapolitan chicory. When you want to hit the town, head to Anema e Core for limoncello cocktails and dancing to Italian, Neapolitan, and Latin-American music (Jennifer Lopez has been known to grab the mike).

Shop: Wandering and window-shopping is a pastime in Capri Town, with luxury boutiques lining its quaint alleys. On bustling Via Camerelle, local perfumerie Carthusia sells intoxicating blends of essences, such as mimosa blossom and lemon leaf, as it has for decades. Nearby Amedeo Canfora is said to have invented the Capri sandal in 1946, and the small shop still hand-crafts them from soft leather and Italian costume jewelry. Its "K" sandal (above), decorated with linked silver rings, was designed for Jackie Onassis, a frequent visitor to the island.