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Perhaps a long-haul honeymoon doesn’t line up with your schedule or budget, but trust us, following a whirlwind celebration with friends and family you’ll be craving time á deux. To this point, the boutique hotel experts at Mr & Mrs Smith have shared 10 romantic escapes from exotic isles to luxe-rustic retreats which, while just a quick flight or scenic road trip away, are far from ordinary.
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California Wine Country
A picture-perfect patchwork of myriad wineries, award-winning restaurants and majestic mountains makes Sonoma and Napa counties – an easy jaunt from San Francisco – the perfect destination for connoisseurs of grape and grain. Even the locals are living the good life, as they bicycle between wine tastings, feast on farm-fresh cuisine and wind down watching the sunset over the hills.
Where to book: Farmhouse Inn
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Between its Michelin-starred dining, spa with locally sourced treats, and modern-farmhouse–styled rooms, this romantic inn just south of Healdsburg, Sonoma, is the perfect pairing for a few days in wine country. Enjoy your evening glass with Valrhona chocolate s’mores by the fire pit.
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Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Baja California stretches south between the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of California (aka, ‘nature’s aquarium’). At its very tip sits this rugged beach paradise, a sport-fishing capital that boasts exceptional surfing, diving, fresh seafood and local tequila.
Where to book: Capella Pedregal
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For the ultimate in dramatic ocean views and luxurious suites you can’t do much better than this beachside boutique resort. Swimming with dolphins and zip-line tours are de rigeur but we wouldn’t blame you for spending most of your time beside your private plunge pool enjoying an endless stream of fresh margaritas…
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Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico
With the Riviera Maya’s white-sand beaches lining its coast and the dense tropical jungles offering plenty of outdoor adventure, the Yucatán Peninsula is a perfect exotic getaway. It has more to offer than mere natural beauty, too: the Mayan ruins (Chichén Itzá and the like) provide your dose of ancient history and the picturesque colonial cities will give you your fill of culture and cuisine.
Where to book: Coqui Coqui Merida
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Coqui Coqui Merida
A dream of marble floors, gilded mirrors and the wafting scent of orange blossom in the city of Mérida’s historic centre, this one-suite boutique hotel is a romantic, Belle Epoque-esque hideaway above the brand’s renowned Perfumería. Best of all, all the delights of the entire peninsula are within day-trip reach.
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On this characterful Caribbean island, the spicy jerk chicken, sizzling soca bars and belly-burning rum heat you up… and then the turquoise waters, ice-cold Red Stripes and shaded hammocks help you cool down and chill out.
Where to book: Goldeneye Hotel & Resort
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Goldeneye Hotel & Resort
Who knows what story you’ll write at this idyllic cluster of whitewashed cottages and suites on Oracabessa Bay, where Ian Fleming authored all 14 James Bond novels? Between the swim-up hillside spa, treetop restaurant and breeze-whispering banyan trees, this place is luxury fit for a Bond girl (or boy).
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Newport, Rhode Island
Once the summer getaway of choice for the 19th-century Northeast’s well heeled, this coastal New England beacon now effortlessly combines art-house cred, haute heritage and cable-knitted cool. Gilded Age mansions are just part of the story, though; the miles of sandy shoreline, clapboard house-lined streets and swathes of sailboat-ready water speak to year-round romance.
Where to book: Forty 1º North
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Forty 1º North
A marina-side location (overlooking the mega-yachts from your private, ocean-view veranda) – immediately puts you in the Newport mood, and the luxe wood-and-leather accents in the library help you feel like you’re at home in your own private mansion. After a day on the water, dress to see and be seen for cocktails in the pavilion.
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Bajos del Toro, Costa Rica
A true natural beauty, Costa Rica is ideal if you want to swap the urban jungle for a biodiverse tropical rainforest. It’s less than three hours from New York, but Costa Rica’s lush landscape of protected forests dotted dramatically with smoldering volcanoes and winding rivers is more than ready for its National Geographic close-up… or, your first holiday card photo op as Mr & Mrs.
Where to book: El Silencio Lodge & Spa
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El Silencio Lodge & Spa
A 500-acre tropical forest, a river winding through the grounds, three waterfalls cascading down the mountainside… if it’s back-to-nature you want, El Silencio Lodge & Spa is your eco-friendly Eden. Take in pristine panoramas from your private suite in the clouds, bubble together in your outdoor hot tub, greet the sunrise from the yoga deck and feast on organic food. It’s what nature intended, only better.
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Turks and Caicos
Down shift from the high-gear wedding pace and embrace island time in Turks and Caicos. Relaxation is the top priority in this Caribbean cluster of coral-fringed isles: they each excel in secluded lie-on-the-beach luxury, world-class scuba-diving and seemingly endless tropical views.
Where to book: Parrot Cay
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Make like an A-list celeb dodging the paparazzi and escape to Parrot Cay, a luxury private-island resort. The interiors – think white-draped four-posters, Balinese-style furniture, and a peaceful palette of creams and powder blues – are as soothing as the natural surroundings. Add to that an award-winning spa, fusion fine dining and a mile of unspoiled, uninhabited and unforgettable beach.
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New Orleans, Louisiana
Not quite ready for the party to end? Then keep the good times rolling in soulful, sultry NOLA. In each of the city’s unique and historic districts, epicures will revel in the elevated Cajun and Creole dining and night owls will fall in step with the spontaneous second line parades that regularly take to the streets.
Where to book: Soniat House
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Flush with Southern charm from a bygone area, Soniat House is a traditional townhouse tucked away on a chilled-out section of Chartres Street, just a stroll from the buzzy French Quarter. Splurge on the Grand Suite, tastefully accented with French antiques, an inviting four-poster and a private balcony that’s perfect for enjoying an afternoon libation.
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Smoky Mountains, Tennessee
Spectacularly beautiful, riddled with waterfalls and populated with mighty pines, the Smoky Mountains on the southern tip of the Appalachians are a pastoral paradise. In addition to the lush flora, diverse fauna and jaw-dropping spectacle of the scenery, you’ll also find a rich tradition of open-armed hospitality, bluegrass music and fine Southern cuisine.
Where to Book: Blackberry Farm
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With its gorgeous views of picket-fenced fields in the sylvan countryside, Blackberry Farm has all the ingredients for a textbook rustic retreat. Of course, with a James Beard award-winning chef in the kitchen, smart contemporary decor, a sleek spa and bend-over-backwards staff, it’s back to nature with added bliss.
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Santa Fe, New Mexico
With its blue skies, sprawling ranches and clear views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, New Mexico’s capital isn’t lacking in natural beauty. But, it’s also a hip arts hub with a long creative heritage spanning Native American crafts to Georgia O'Keeffe masterpieces, as well as a top destination for award-winning chefs and the diners who love them. The city, which spans out from an historic Spanish-style plaza in the centre, might be small but it ticks every vacation-worthy box.
Where to book: Inn of the Five Graces
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Inn of the Five Graces
Skip the long-haul flight to Asia and instead opt for a Silk Road retreat by way of Santa Fe at the Inn of the Five Graces. The decor is a desert kaleidoscope of mosaics, hand-painted accents and the rich, boldly patterned fabrics that the hotel’s chic designer-owners find on trips around Asia. Every detail – from the bejeweled courtyard-facing rooms to the Tibetan and East Indian-inspired spa – will leave you feeling transported.
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