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Congratulations! You’ve found the dress, the venue, and your vendors. Now it’s onto one of our favorite bits of planning: the honeymoon. We turned to the boutique hotel experts at Mr & Mrs Smith for their best honeymoon destinations (romance-revving ones, of course) around the globe for 2015. With so many options, you may be tempted to get that first-anniversary trip lined up, too!
Note: Hotel rates reflect the lowest available at press time and are subject to change.
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Blinking hi-tech thrills and hushed shrines all harmoniously coexist in one of the world’s most alluring destinations, Japan. Wander wide-eyed around cosmopolitan Tokyo before zipping off on the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Kanazawa, known for its grand gardens and meditative museums.
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Where to Stay in Japan
Check into the iconic—yes, of Lost in Translation fame—Park Hyatt Tokyo (rooms from $337). Majestic Mount Fuji views and a see-and-be-seen restaurant make it truly cinematic. Unwind in Kanazawa at Beniya Mukayu (rooms from $622), a traditional inn with an open-air onsen (giant soaking tub) for two in every room and incredible Japanese cuisine.
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Where to Stay in the U.K.
The latest in vintage-chic-styled stays from designer Kit Kemp is the much-buzzed-about Ham Yard Hotel (rooms from $482), conveniently placed in central London. Balance that with The Wheatsheaf Inn (rooms from $151), a revamped 17th-century stone property in the Cotswolds that balances old-world charm with modern perks.
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Beautiful people in daring swimwear, bountiful beach bars, and a samba-the-night-away scene? There are few places sexier than Brazil. The charismatic cities never disappoint, but for an indulgent sit-and-do-nothing escape following a whirlwind wedding, make for the stylish seaside retreat of Bahia.
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Kick back barefoot with your newly-minted Mr. or Mrs. in one of 10 tropical casitas just steps from a private beach at Uxua Casa Hotel & Spa (rooms from $520). It’s the choice of jet-setters and took the prize for Best Smith Hotel in 2014. Request the Casa da Arvore honeymoon suite, secluded high in the trees and built from recycled wood.
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For Francophiles who also long for tropical breezes and powder-soft sand beaches, opt for balmy and beautiful St Barths in the Caribbean. You may find more brasseries than beach shacks, but gaze out at the turquoise waters dotted with yachts and the mountains carpeted in lush green, and you’ll know you’re definitely not in Paris. Pass the suntan lotion, s’il vous plaît.
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Where to Stay in St Barths
Perched high on a clifftop with postcard-perfect panoramic ocean views, Hotel Christopher (rooms from $603) is a haute hideout for honeymooners. Spend your days lounging beside the freshwater infinity pool, have the concierge arrange for a snorkeling or scuba excursion, and don’t miss time spent in the oceanfront Sisley Spa from the eponymous Parisian cosmetics brand.
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You don’t always need a long-haul flight to feel as though you’ve gotten away from it all. Big Sur, a rugged 90-mile stretch of central California shoreline with craggy cliffs, ancient redwood forests, and skyward-reaching mountains, has an edge-of-the-world air about it. And Highway One, as it twists and turns along the coast, is certainly one of the world’s most gorgeous, heart-racing rides—a fitting metaphor for marriage, too.
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Where to Stay in California
Cozy up in front of the wood-burning fireplace or take a good long post-hike soak (in a tub for two) in the super-private Cottage House at the Ventana Inn and Spa (rooms from $530). Hidden away on over 200 forested acres with jaw-dropping Pacific Ocean views, this rustic-luxe lodge with a spoiling spa, free guided hikes, and California-fresh cuisine is a nature lover’s dream.
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Palaces, snake charmers, and treasure-filled souks make Morocco an exotic choice, but the travel isn’t any more difficult than a jaunt to Europe. In Marrakech, wander the winding walkways in the medina and marvel at antique tea sets, colorful leather poufs, and hanging lanterns. Just an hour north of the city, the experience couldn’t be more different. Head to the Atlas Mountains for treks through eucalyptus groves, dinner under the stars, and high-altitude seclusion.
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Where to Stay in Morocco
Marrakech’s legendary La Mamounia (rooms from $476) has hosted movie stars and world leaders since the 1920s, and its opulent interiors have inspired entire coffee-table books. A visit to the sprawling spa for a traditional hammam is a must. Kasbah Tamadot (rooms from $529)—a Sir Richard Branson property—has 27 rooms, including suites with private plunge pools, plus a full roster of North African excursions in the Atlas Mountains.
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A certain tree-themed hotel has recently hoisted Sweden to the top of every fashionable traveler’s must-visit list. Ice dining (that’s a candlelit dinner in a heated teepee on a frozen lake), as well as dogsled tours and views of the Northern Lights make Swedish Lapland particularly snuggle-worthy for honeymooners. Beyond the forest, cosmopolitan Stockholm is a design lover’s den with a new art complex, Artipelag, plus plenty of bistros serving up the best in trendy Nordic fare.
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Where to Stay in Sweden
With luxe rooms shaped like a bird’s nest, a UFO, and a mirrored cube, a stay at Treehotel (rooms from $583) in Swedish Lapland is guaranteed to be memorable. Bonus: the hotel will help plan all of your Lapland activities, including a wood-fired bath for two under the stars. Ett Hem (rooms from $471), just a 20-minute stroll from a strip of upscale boutiques and a waterfront promenade in Stockholm, is set in an Arts and Crafts house with cozy suites—some with balconies, some with cast-iron stoves, and others with marble baths.
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Most Europe-bound honeymooners think of France, Italy, and Spain, but Portugal, their oft-overlooked neighbor to the west, is just as enticing. For a wine-filled escape, focus on the Douro Valley region in the north. The city of Porto (yep, that’s where port wine comes from) sits on the Douro’s western boundary. There you can dine riverside, scope out medieval architecture, and visit a whole slew of port wine cellars. But while the wine is stored in the city, it’s harvested in the terraced countryside. Head out there and see for yourself.
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Where to Stay in Portugal
With a flair for the dramatic, Hotel Teatro (rooms from $117) has black and gold interiors, and a location that’s close to Porto’s theaters (naturally!), bars, and clubs. Vidago Palace (rooms from $223), known for its golf course and spa, is tucked away in the Douro’s rolling hills near the Spanish border. There you’ll be within striking distance of prime wine tasting.
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Spend less time flying and more time traipsing through the jungle; Belize is just a two-hour flight from Miami. Though plenty of retreats have popped up in the last couple decades, there’s still a feeling of the undiscovered in this small Central American country. Explore Mayan ruins, snorkel, dive, and enjoy the seclusion that’s much harder to come by in other Mayan destinations like Cancún.
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Where to Stay in Belize
Clearly Francis Ford Coppola knows a thing or two about romance. His Blancaneaux Lodge (rooms from $279), a collection of 20 thatched-roof villas in the remote Maya Mountains, has honeymoon-specific cabanas with private decks overlooking a waterfall. Number Five even has a private, heart-shaped garden.
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You’ve probably heard of adventurous duos jetting off to Thailand and the Maldives, but Sri Lanka remains a palm tree-filled, less-traveled destination. Strike out on a trip that includes unspoiled beaches, ancient rock temples, and possibly a mongoose sighting.
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Where to Stay in Sri Lanka
Nestled within a coconut grove with a private beach and golden sand as far as you can see in Tangalle, Amanwella (rooms from $630) is an all-suite resort with plunge pools and terraces in every decked-out dwelling. Spend your days romping in the surf and be sure to arrange for a private lantern-lit dinner on the beach one evening. If you can tear yourself away, the nearby fishing town has markets and Bundala National Park, about an hour away, is where to spot elephants and monkeys.