Plan your trip to Bali (or the Maldives, or the Philippines…)
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If you're traveling overseas for your dream getaway, we know just where you should go. In partnership with Jetsetter, we asked our readers and followers to dish on their favorite honeymoon spots in seven regions across the globe. (FYI, nearly 9,000 of you responded!) If you're craving local flavors, stylish hotels, and buzzy beach clubs, head to Bali, our top winner. Following close behind are runners-up the Maldives, Phuket, the Philippines, and Koh Samui. To help you plan your trip to one of these beautiful locations, check out these amazing accommodations on each of the five islands.
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Bali: The Slow
Fashion designer George Gorrow and model Cisco Tschurtschenthaler have teamed up to create The Slow, a 12-room hotel just a stone's throw from Canggu's coastline (the surf neighborhood that's recently been coined the Brooklyn of Bali). The hotel's concept blends open interiors and locally sourced stone floors, with hip art and carefully curated music. In line with the underlying surfer theme, pieces on the walls show funky underwater and beachside imagery and room amenities include board wax. Under a collection of botanical chandeliers, the street-side restaurant pulls in a fun crowd and serves dishes like shrimp ceviche in coconut tiger's milk and mahi mahi fish dip with fennel and radish.
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Guests enter this hotel in Seminyak via the Akademi cocktail lounge, which has stacks of mixology books and vintage vinyl on display. Home-made infusions can be sampled here, or at private bars set up in each room—a mixologist is sent shortly after arrival to prepare a welcome drink. A celebration of local tradition can be seen in the design, including natural indigo textiles, sustainable wooden furniture and hand-woven baskets. And a daily cultural program is scheduled for guests to enjoy things such as a Balinese blessing at the on-site temple.
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Bali: Alila Uluwatu
Set high on the cliffs in southern Bali, this hotel makes a statement with oblong buildings set over the Indian Ocean, sculptural gardens, stunning infinity pools, and lava stone pathways. The white-on-white villas have outdoor decks with private pools and large bathrooms that provide the basics and then some (think: lip balm, face masks, and sunscreen). Add a top-notch restaurant and spa and a super-warm staff, and you'll wish you could stay forever.
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Bali: Mandapa, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve
Head to this oasis in Ubud for some peace and quiet in the tropics, home to a must-visit open-air spa. The 60 thatched-roof villas and suites each come with a private pool and garden shower. Kubu, its riverfront Mediterranean restaurant, has nine bamboo cocoons that are perfect for canoodling couples who want to dine in private. At the main pool—which acts as the lobby-less property's central meeting point—the staff dishes out shots of gazpacho and cooling face towels.
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Maldives: St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Island
The St. Regis Vommuli Island—which has 33 on-land and 44 overwater villas—is a gorgeous addition to the Maldives. It's a splurge for sure, but you get a villa with a private pool and white-glove butler service. (If you want to break the bank, book the John Jacob Astor Estate, a 16,000-plus-square-foot overwater retreat.) The property features a large recreational area, which has an anti-gravity yoga studio, a salon, and an Observatory Tower for unparalleled sea and sky views.
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Maldives: Soneva Jani
Set in a private lagoon, Soneva Jani debuted late last year with 25 villas, and offers an array of experiences, including sunset dolphin cruises, stargazing programs (including a midnight picnic), and Cinema Paradiso, where guests can watch movies on a giant screen set right in the water. You can also learn how to dive at the Soleni Dive Centre, or snorkel in the lagoon reef with their resident marine biologist. There's even a lounge dedicated to the three Cs: cheese, charcuterie, and chocolate.
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Maldives: Milaidhoo Island Maldives
Located on Baa Atoll—a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve with the world's highest concentration of manta rays—this new private-island resort is home to 50 thatched-roof villas with freshwater plunge pools. There are three restaurants to choose from, including Ba'theli. It's designed like a Maldivian sailboat: guests dine on traditional cuisine on the deck or inside, where the floors are made of glass. Also on offer: free daily yoga and meditation, snorkeling on coral reefs, and a spa with four treatment rooms set on stilts directly in the lagoon.
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Phuket: Trisara Luxury Resort
You can see the Andaman Sea from each of Trisara's recently renovated 39 rooms, set on a hill high above the water. The new Jara spa offers a heavenly six-hand massage, and yachts are available to book for cruises to Phang Nga Bay (a.k.a. James Bond Island), a UNESCO World Heritage site. And to capture every moment of your picture-perfect escape, the in-house digital studio can film and photograph you around the resort and island. It's a great way to make sure you have long-lasting memories of your first getaway as a married couple.
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Phuket: Rosewood Phuket
This brand-new property—the luxury hotel group's first foray into Southeast Asia—fronts almost 2,000 feet worth of Emerald Bay beachfront on the southwest part of the island. Each of its 71 villas and pavilions feels like your very own private wonderland, with separate lounge and dining areas, terrace pools, and al fresco shower and bath. There are four on-site restaurants, and a new Asaya wellness concept, where guests can unwind with a personalized relaxation experience tailor-made by experts.
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Phuket: Keemala Phuket
Accommodations at this one-of-a-kind property range from glammed-up clay cottages, safari tents, and cocooning bird's nest villas—but the super-luxe treehouse suites are the real showstoppers. Dangling amid the palm trees, each is split over two levels and has romantic bed canopies and private half-moon infinity pools. The open-air Mala Restaurant serves a mix of Western, Indian, and Thai food, but we like it for sunset cocktails. Keemala has heart, too: they don't encourage or sell tours to view animals taken from the wild, and they rescued two water buffalo who reside on-site (and help "cut" their grass).
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Philippines: Shangri-La's Boracay Resort and Spa
At this 219-room property, the crisp rooms and hilltop villas are done up in pale woods, colorful local fabrics, and abaca weave rugs—and each has a private balcony or veranda. The marble bathrooms are gorgeous, with intricate capiz shell work (a Filipino artform) and organic products. Multiple restaurants means you can lunch on poolside pasta at Cielo, then have seafood at the alfresco clifftop Sirena for dinner. There are more than 20 dive sites and a marine sanctuary within 30 minutes of the hotel, and you can explore each one via on-site PADI diving and snorkeling courses. The spa, located on a rocky peninsula in a private bay, uses coconut, pomelo, banana leaves, and other natural ingredients.
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Philippines: Discovery Shores Boracay
Stay in style at this 88-suite resort, amid glass walls, hardwood floors, minimalist furnishings, and touches of bright ruby and blue. You can dedicate three hours to the Terra Journey Massage at the spa, or, for something shorter, try the Hilot Haplos massage, which incorporates virgin coconut oil and warm banana leaves. To explore outside of the resort, ask the concierge to plan an excursion to nearby coves and cays, or provide you with snorkeling gear and paddleboards to set out just the two of you.
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Philippines: El Nido Resorts Pangulasian Island
A one-hour charter flight from Manila brings you to this 42-room eco-luxury getaway, which spans half a mile of white-sand beach. For the best views of the water and surrounding islands, book one of the Canopy Villas on stilts; the climb up the stairs is worth it. (It's also the only room type with a bathtub.) After a day relaxing on the water or at the spa, plan to have dinner on a private beach. The resort also has stunning views of both the sunrise and sunset—hence its nickname, "Island of the Sun."
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Koh Samui: Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui
At this rustic-luxe resort, the outside is never far from view since the villas, restaurants, and spa all look out on Laem Yai Bay and the Gulf of Siam. The guest villas—on the hillside or right on the palm tree-lined beach—have heavenly bathrooms made for couples: two vanities, terrazzo shell-shaped tubs, glass-walled rain showers, and sliding glass doors that open up for bathing on your deck or patio. You can sample fresh-caught seafood at the casual beachside Pla Pla, and dress up for dinner at Lan Tania, where Thai cuisine meets Italian.
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Koh Samui: Banyan Tree Samui
This hillside retreat has luxury villas with glassed-in balconies looking out over a tropical cove. If you feel the urge to explore, chauffeured golf carts are on hand to take you to and from the postcard-perfect beach. The Destination Dining program means you can arrange a romantic dinner on the property, including by the pool or right on the sand. And if you want to explore, book the resort's own speedboat for a guided tour on the water.
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Koh Samui: Six Senses Samui
A 2015 refresh of the eco-friendly resort's 66 villas created a brighter, airier look, with a more open layout, lighter furniture, and floor-to-ceiling windows in the bathrooms—all the better for admiring the panoramic views of the Gulf of Thailand. And seven more private pools were added, so almost every accommodation has one. The signature Dining on the Rocks restaurant spotlights vegetables and herbs from the restaurant's own garden—best enjoyed on its lounge deck. The property can arrange activities of all kinds, including sunset cruises, kayaking at sunrise, and cooking classes.
Additional reporting by Alexandra Karplus and Amanda Reed.