Romance comes in a variety of forms. It could be the devishly good oysters or the delicious sound of waves lapping the shore, but if you’re craving an intimate getaway, we have you covered. Our Travel Experts have spanned the continents to find the most secluded beaches, luxurious tents and stunning panoramic views. Whether it’s cycling around the temples of Angkor in golden hour or sleeping out under a starry African sky, here are some of our favourite experiences designed to make your heart sing…
1. Sleep-out under the stars – Kenya
While sleeping out in the bush might sound extreme for some, this is glamping taken to another level. Think four-poster beds elevated on a kopje with panoramic views across a wildlife-scattered valley. After exploring a conservancy famed for big cats and wild dog, slumber under a canopy of twinkling stars.
2. A bubble bath in the bush – South Africa
Scour for lion and rhino in the 22,000-hectare Makalali Game Reserve and then slip into an outdoor bubble bath big enough for two. It’s almost mandatory if you’re a honeymooner – basking in the sky’s evening hues, lit by a score of candles, and tuning into the sounds of wildlife until your fingers go crinkly.
3. A floating candlelit dinner – Botswana
This private dining experience in the watery wonderland of the Okavango Delta takes place on a floating lantern-lit barge for two. Surrounded by calm lagoon waters bathed in the early-evening light, there’s no one else in sight other than a dedicated waiter, as you dine to the orchestra of surrounding wildlife.
4. Romance on the railway – South Africa
The legendary Blue Train from Cape Town to Pretoria takes the scenic route to new heights. With 24-hour butler service, gold-tinted picture windows and fine dining fit for royalty, a two-night sojourn will carry you nearly a thousand miles across the country’s breathtaking savannah in utter refinery.
5. A helicopter ride over Victoria Falls – Zimbabwe
For ultimate views of The Smoke that Thunders, take a helicopter flight over its thundering chasms and rising plumes of mist – a savvy way of avoiding the crowds. Choose a short but impactful 12-minute circuit while 25-minute trips include possible game viewing over the Zambezi National Park and perhaps for some, even more time to propose again.
6. Island hopping – Philippines
Castaway to El Nido, an area of sensational beauty characterised by blinding white sand and impossibly blue sea. An island hopping boat adventure in the nearby Bacuit archipelago will allow you to explore hidden beaches, snorkel with sea turtles and kayak in secret lagoons. Round off by padding down a creamy sandbar hand-in-hand.
7. Soak in a Japanese onsen – Japan
Japan is known for its onsens (natural hot springs) but some of the most romantic are at Susukinohara Ichinoyu, a traditional ryokan inn in the mountain town of Hakone. Choose the Annex rooms with private open-air baths that open up to forest views, particularly beautiful in Autumn’s fiery colours when you can soak to your heart’s desire.
8. See the Taj Mahal at sunrise – India
While waking up at the crack of dawn isn’t on everyone’s honeymoon agenda, the prospect of seeing India’s most iconic piece of architecture from life changing perspectives may just be all the motivation you need. While the number of daily visitors totals over 15,000, visiting at dawn chops those figures right down meaning you don’t have to queue for a picture on the Princess Diana beach and can meander hand-in-hand through the gardens listening to early moning birdsong. The piece de resistance? From our secret spot, watch the rising sun slowly bathe the walls and the pietra dura glittering on the white marble façade.
9. Stay in a fairy tale cottage in India’s Shimla hills
For a romantic getaway, India’s Shimla hills are the perfect location whatever the season. Tucked away in the hills, the summer home of Princess Kusum of Bharatpur, Jungle House, offers fresh mountain air and cosy nights. In summer, enjoy picnics among the wildflowers and solitary walks with views of the Himalayas. During winter its stone walls are covered in Christmas calendar white powder and you can watch the snowflakes drift past your room as you soak from a steaming bathtub. The remote location doesn’t take away from the experience – think high tea on the lawn, aperitivos at sunset and delicious dinners made from recipes passed down over generations.
10. Stay in an Indian palace
If you’re looking for opulent romance, India’s palaces offer extravagance and then some. These royal institutes take décor and service to new heights where private dinners and lavish weddings are faultlessly orchestrated. For Cinderella themes, head to the Taj Falaknuma in Hyderabad where a horse-drawn chariot greets you at the gates after which you’re met by hundreds of rose petals showering you at the door. In Udaipur, famous for its beautiful royal edifices, the Taj Fateh Prakash Palace is uniquely part of the 16th-century City Palace complex, wowing guests with its chandelier-studded regal ballrooms and stunning views over Lake Pichola.
Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Richard, who's travelled extensively in Japan. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember - the tea devotee who'll introduce you to the ceremony surrounding Japan's national drink, the noodle guru who'll teach you how to make the perfect bowl of soba and the ryokan owner who'll tutor you in the relaxing art of the onsen.
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