New Takes on 6 Classic Honeymoon Destinations

Dreaming of Hawaii, Mexico, or Thailand? We’ve got the new ways to experience them.

Barbara Nichuals is a pro at planning honeymoons. In 30 years as the owner of Bronxville-based Bayside Travel, she’s helped countless couples plan customized luxury escapes to popular destinations in Europe, Asia, and just about anywhere else you could imagine. “Honeymoons average 8 to 14 days,” says Nichuals. “This is a time when you’re going to spend more, indulge your fantasies, and [go to places on] your dream list.”

Increasingly for newlyweds, indulging those fantasies means breaking the post-nuptial mold. So, we asked Nichuals to give us her new takes on six classic honeymoon destinations.  


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Instead of Cancun…

Photo credit: fotolia/swisshippo

“If you want to go a little bit off the beaten path, but still not too difficult to get to, that would be Tulum, about a 2 hour drive southeast of Cancun. It feels much more remote. It’s really about nature (there is a natural biosphere reserve, Sian Ka’an); you have close proximity to the ruins; and there are some amazing villas.”  


Instead of Maui or the Big Island…

The Four Seasons Resort Lanai

Photo credit: Barbara Kraft/Four Seasons

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“If you really want a non-touristy, private, unspoiled feeling, that would be Lanai. You can fly there on a connecting flight from Honolulu or take a ferry from Maui (for a couple who doesn’t want to do all remote, they could do Maui and Lanai very easily). It really is the last unspoiled island with a very low-key pace. There is a luxury hotel there (the Four Seasons Resort), golf, and a Nobu restaurant. It’s got all the trimmings, but it’s also just about the beauty of the island.”


Instead of Napa…

Delaire Graff Estate, one of the sweeping vineyards in South Africa’s Winelands

Photo credit: Delaire Graff Estate

Within California, you can go to Mendocino County. There are about 100 wineries, [plus] rugged coast and redwoods. It’s almost as breathtaking as Big Sur. A little more exotic is Cape Town, South Africa. There’s the Garden Route where you can drive to the wineries. The topography and culture are different. Then, of course, you can combine it with a safari.”

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Instead of Amalfi….

Photo credit: fotolia/travelbook

“There are so many different areas in Italy to explore. An emerging destination is Puglia, which is the ‘other’ coast. It’s a great alternative to the touristy sites. It feels, in some ways, a little more like Greece. There are lots of ancient sites, beautiful hilltop towns, vineyards, and beaches. It has its own cuisine with its own olive oil, wines, and the best seafood.”


Instead of Phuket…

A view of Lamai Beach on the east coast of Koh Samui

Photo credit: fotolia/sasimoto

“There’s another region called Koh Samui. It really is one of the most romantic places in the world. There’s a lot of intimacy. It’s very idyllic. There are luxury hotels, and then you also have the different culture and cuisine. It’s a very exotic, unique destination.”


Instead of Tahiti…

The Brando, a luxury restort on the French Polynesian island of Tetiaroa

Photo credit: The Brando

If you want to do something really different – and depending on your budget – you’ve got The Brando. It’s on Tetiaroa, a private island, which, of course, was owned by Marlon Brando. It’s like you’ve just stepped barefoot into your imagination: white sand, coconut palms, beautiful birds, and sparkling lagoons. It has a lot of biodiversity; it’s a bird and marine-life sanctuary. It would be an indulgence, you could spend just a few nights there and combine it with some time on Bora Bora or Moorea.”

Related: 7 Honeymoon Destinations That Don’t Require a Passport


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