Your Style: Eco-Chic
Where to Go: Benguerra Island, Mozambique
Why Go There
If you’re searching for something more romantic than the busy beaches of Kenya, you’ll love this remote island. The breathtaking white sand beaches and lack of other tourists make this the ideal destination for some quality alone time. Part of the Bazaruto Archipelago, the entire island chain is a national park, and a portion of your hotel fees go to conservation efforts for local animals like the dugong, a threatened mammal similar to a manatee.
Where to Stay
For some of the best beach views on the island, book a casita (little house) at andBeyond Benguerra Island, which has the perfect blend of safari-chic and warm, Arabian style. Each villa has a private deck, plunge pool and an outdoor dining gazebo for romantic starlit dinners. And you’ll be doing good too: the hotel provides land, materials and expertise to the community to grow vegetables. Another popular resort on Benguerra is Azura, which consists of beachside villas that are built using locally sourced wood and come with butler service. The latter amenity is priceless if you decide to do last-minute sunset cocktails.
All meals and house drinks are included. Enjoy a private dinner on the beach served under the stars and lit by the glow of tiki torches. On your last night, a honeymoon turndown means your bed will be covered in rose petals for a romantic end to your trip.
What to Do
Schedule a ridiculously romantic sunset cruise on your personal dhow (a traditional sailboat) and enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail as you watch the sky turn jaw-dropping shades of pink. Or, if you like your nautical outings to be a bit more adventurous, charter a boat to Two Mile Reef, just off the coast of Benguerra Island. This barrier reef represents the best of both worlds for marine enthusiasts: the most famous snorkeling spot in the archipelago on the inside, accurately dubbed The Aquarium, and adventurous scuba dives on the seaward side.
Where to Eat
You won’t have to travel far for terrific dining options—the only restaurants on the island are located at the hotels. Both have Portuguese– and Mozambique–inspired fare, and Azura’s house restaurant, Jelly Fish, has a seven-course tasting menu. When in doubt, order any seafood dish or help yourself to a serving of tropical fruit. The country is especially well known for its big, juicy prawns and succulent crab and crayfish.
What To Pack
Don’t forget your Mozambique visa (purchase before entering or upon arrival at the airport), and be sure to visit the Mozambique embassy’s website for the latest visa requirements. In addition, pack insect repellent, sunscreen and antimalarial medication in your carry-on. Planning to do a safari on the mainland before your island retreat? Bring a soft bag from Filson.
Your Style: All-Out Glam
Where to Go: Mallorca, Spain
Why Go There
Just as sexy, but less crowded and rowdy, than sister island, Ibiza, Mallorca is one of Europe’s premier vacation destinations for jet-setters—tennis star Rafael Nadal was born there and owns a home on the island—because of its simply stunning coastline. Limestone cliffs plunge into crystal-clear blue waters for the entire length of its western and northern edges. This vibrant Spanish island is perfect for sophisticated couples craving a little of everything, including superb sightseeing, diverse shopping, inventive restaurants and an active nightlife.
Cap Rocat, a 19th-century fortress, is perfect for history buffs. And we promise you’ll fall in love with Mallorca’s awe-inspiring coastline.
Where To Stay
The Cap Rocat is a 19th-century fortress (bunkers and drawbridge intact) turned into an adults-only boutique hotel overlooking the Bay of Palma. The building’s former shooting pads, with a commanding view of the bay, have been converted into 21 suites with private terraces. Convent de la Missió in Palma’s Old Town also had a former life—as a mission—but now has a modern, minimalist vibe. It’s five minutes from Palma’s main shopping drag, where you can pick up handbags from Spain’s signature luxury leather brand Loewe and ready-to-wear fashions from a joint collection with Japanese designer Junya Watanabe.
What To Do
Drive to Cap de Formentor, Mallorca’s most breathtaking stretch of coastline. Jagged cliffs jut into the sea, attracting nesting seabirds and thrill-seeking honeymooners taking pictures from lookout points along the steeply winding road. Or visit Quesada in Palma, which has been selling traditional Mallorcan patterned textiles called roba de llengües since 1890. The Mallorca Wine Express Finca tour’s wine train shuttles you to renowned wineries offering vino paired with cheese and charcuterie. The grand finale is a sit-down dinner at a family-owned Finca estate, a small winery, which has been producing wine for three centuries. Traditional stone-oven cooked lamb, raised on premises, is served among the barrels at the private vineyard. Then, book your flight home out of Barcelona and spend a day or two browsing goods from Spain’s best-known designers, including Custo Barcelona, Desigual and family-run operations like famed espadrille and sandal shop La Manual Alpargatera.
Where To Eat
Ice cream parlor Sa Fàbrica de Gelats is a Mallorcan institution and its frozen concoctions are sold all over the island. Pick and choose from around 40 locally sourced flavors. Anything made with the island’s amazing oranges, including the ice cream and hand-squeezed juice, is a must-try.
What To Pack
Take a cue from the locals and stash a large, colorful printed scarf in your carry-on. It can multitask as a beach cover-up, a wrap at dinner or provide a pop of color against a white tee while sightseeing. Fashion designer Chris Benz, model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Jessica Alba and Gwyneth Paltrow all fly with ultra-light, ultra-hip polycarbonite Rimowa wheeled luggage.
Your Style: Culture Vulture
Where To Go: Cartagena, Columbia
Why Go There
If you adore architecture, are die-hard foodies or love music, you’ll see why Latin and European socialites are flocking to Colombia en masse. Cities like Cartegena and Bogota have become dramatically safer in recent years, with drug-trafficking related violence relegated primarily to rural areas. The Cartagena’s restored colonial mansions, innovative fusion restaurants and tropical music-tinged nightlife are perfect if you prefer a spicier first trip as a married couple than a beautiful beach alone can provide (although the latter can be perfect in our opinion too!).
Where To Stay
The Sofitel Legend Santa Clara lies inside the walls of the old city and is within walking distance of the beach and historic sites, such as the home of Nobel Laureate Gabriel García Márquez—avid readers will remember the city from his writing. Book the whimsically named “So in Love” package that includes breakfast in your room or in the restaurant, a bottle of sparkling wine, a welcome bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates to sweeten your. At the nearby Casa San Agustín, old-world charm collides with modern creature comforts. You’ll feel like you’re staying in a private colonial residence, but will enjoy luxurious in-room amenities like Frette sheets. Techies will love the complimentary iPads for use in the guest rooms. Choose the “Romancing Cartagena” package and it includes a private dinner for two on your room terrace or in the Solarium, a bottle of champagne served with petit fours, a rose bouquet and in-room breakfast.
What To Do
At sunset, cuddle up in a horse-drawn taxi for a quick jaunt across the historic walled district, a Unesco World Heritage site, and enjoy the mild ocean breeze. The 300-year-old Spanish buildings, brick streets and wandering guitarists provide a perfect setting for a romantic ride. Visit the shops on Calle Santo Domingo and Calle San Juan de Dios and check out the highly embellished items by local designer Silvia Tcherassi. Think dramatic fringe, flowing fabrics and high-impact accessories. After you’ve explored the churches and fortresses of this ancient neighborhood, head to the Museo del Oro y Arqueología, a small gold museum that also showcases local pottery.
Where To Eat
Have lunch or dinner at La Vitriola, a 400-year-old colonial home converted into a flatteringly lit seafood restaurant— seriously, you’ll feel like you’re in your own rom-com, with the emphasis on the romance. Order the filete de mérou Don Román— Thai-spiced grouper with chiles and tamarind—or the teriyaki octopus, and savor it as live Cuban music wafts through the air.
What To Pack
Stash a bikini (or two) from fashion editor favorite Lisa Marie Fernandez, a former New York City stylist who knows how to make women’s bodies look their best. Crafted from a luxe variety of neoprene fabrics, the material manages to create curves, smooth trouble spots and provide support all at once.