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TravelGreat Escapes

Great Escapes

Great Escapes
By Yanni Tan & Joannah Zhong
June 01, 2013

No honeymoon destination could are be as exotic, romantic and one-of-a-kind as these five

Kifu No Sato

So you have explored every nook and cranny of Kyoto and Tokyo before, and can’t wait to unveil another secret of Japan. Yunogo town in Mimasaka City in the north of Okayama Prefecture, which is just short of a three-hour ride from Osaka airport, lies waiting to be discovered. Gorgeous through the four seasons, the town is a bastion of Japanese traditions, and features hotsprings, sword-making, pottery, samurai culture and cypress carpentry.

The best place to stay would be Kifu No Sato, an 80-year-old ryokan that has been voted the best in Okayama for the last six years. In addition to bowling you over with its gentile beauty, the tatami mat-lined property takes great pride in offering guests authentic seasonal experiences through fine kaiseki cuisine and its manicured gardens.

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Pädaste Manor, Estonia

Said to rival Paris as the romance destination of Europe is up-and-coming yet relatively undiscovered Estonia. On the small Muhu Island in the Baltic Sea, which is a two-hour drive from the capital of Tallinn, is a most enchanting luxury hotel called Pädaste Manor.

The intimate property, which is a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group, offers just 14 rooms in the main manor and eight suites in the carriage house. Its simple country charm, along with the picture-perfect surroundings of windmills, thatched cottages and sleepy fishing villages, will melt the hearts of the most jaded jetsetters. Its on-site restaurant Alexander has also been voted the best restaurant in the country for the past three years, while the spa features the coolest of therapies, including the Siberian Cold Tub and the Seawater Hot Tub.

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Ariara Island, Philippines

Home to over 7,000 coral islands, most of them remote, the Philippines is probably unmatched in Southeast Asia in terms of offering a back-to-nature experience. World-class private island resorts, however, are few and far in between. Ariara Island, which opened over a year ago, comes highly recommended.

Nestled in the Calamian Archipelago in Palawan, which has arguably the country’s most stunning seascapes, the 50-hectare retreat accommodates up to 18 guests on an exclusive basis – suitable for lovebirds who want to splash out for an intimate experience, or to host a small wedding ceremony-cum-honeymoon getaway. Accommodation includes two Jungle Villas, four Beach Cottages, the tucked-away North Beach Villa, and the elevated Lodge Suite accessible via a bridge. Hold a lechon (spit-roasted pig) party on the sand, enjoy spa treatments, and chill on the pristine beaches.



Alila Fort Bishangarh, India

If living it up like a royal of yore is your idea of a fantastic honeymoon, the absolutely breathtaking Alila Fort Bishangarh, formerly a 230-year-old heritage fortress, will fulfil your dream. Meticulously restored, the property is perched on a granite hill with a commanding view of the postcard-worthy Rajasthani landscape. Within it, there are still many preserved features, including the royal banquet hall and lawn. For your romantic boudoir, choose from 59 majestic suites, all furnished in elegant grandeur.

Avid shutterbugs will appreciate its proximity to historical attractions such as Amber Fort and the charming Bishangarh village. While the famed Alila Experience offers many bespoke activities, honeymooners could opt for the Couple Celebration experience. The hotel is a three-hour drive from New Delhi, so you may like to fly into Jaipur Airport, which is an hour’s ride away, instead.




Anantara Xishuangbanna, China

If you love the raw beauty of Shangri-La (Zhongdian) in the northwest of Yunnan Province, China, expect to get swept off your feet at Xishuangbanna. Tucked away in the primeval forests of the province’s far south along the border with Myanmar and Laos, Xishuangbanna is recently home to a swanky Anantara resort.

Located along the Luosuo River surrounded by a nature reserve, which is home to the last wild Asian elephants in China, the sprawling resort allows guests many opportunities to attain nirvana. Go on jungle hikes; tour ancient attractions; taste teas from the region’s six tea mountains; and indulge in the luxuries the resort proffers, from the comfort of its 84 deluxe rooms and 21 pool villas, to the Dai and Northern Thai cuisine at its alfresco restaurant, to pampering spa treats. The hotel is an hour’s drive from Jinghong International Airport.





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