4 Honeymoon Destinations Fit For Royalty
As anyone who has watched The Crown will know, the British royal family may not be the ideal guide to wedded bliss, but they sure know how to pick a holiday spot. And the queen’s children and grandchildren have gone one step further, choosing some of the most idyllic places on earth to escape to after their weddings. These honeymoon destinations range from picture-perfect Greek beaches and tropical Indian Ocean islands to Portuguese retreats and African camping sites. So if you’re unsure where to go for the most romantic trip of your life, simply ask yourself, “What would the royals do?” and prepare to be inspired.
The Royal Couple: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Where did they go? Well, when this article was written, rumours suggest the duo are returning to Botswana to recreate the magic of their third date, which was spent camping in the African bush.
What should you do? Harry and Meghan went to the Okavango Delta, where water flooding in from Angola feeds a spectacular convergence of wildlife and epic scenery. It’s easy to see why romance blossomed amid the rainbow-strewn pools and forests of fever trees—after all, which girl doesn’t want to hold a prince’s hand when she’s surrounded by prides of lion and packs of hyena?
Luckily for the happy couple, Botswana is also home to some of the most glamorous bush lodges on earth, so romance wasn’t ruined by sleeping bags. Few camps can match Qorokwe, a new tented lodge on the edge of the delta, where safari chic meets Parisian cool in vast copper, black and cream bedrooms. Think four-poster beds that look across the animal-strewn plains, and generous balconies that are made for lounging.
The deep bathtubs are easily big enough for two and overlook a muddy river where elephants come to cool down, so you can wallow in tandem with the most majestic creatures on earth. Or decamp to the infinity pool, which is surrounded by wiry acacia trees and curious baboons. Drinks are taken deep in the bush and dinner is eaten under the mass of stars—a combination so romantic that we believe all third dates should take place in Botswana.
The Royal Couple: The Duke and Duchess of York
Where did they go? It was Mummy to the rescue. The Queen lent Prince Andrew and his bride, Fergie, the Royal Yacht Britannia to explore the Azores, a beautiful group of Portuguese islands in the mid-Atlantic, followed by a week deep in the wine country of mainland Portugal.
What should you do? Portugal is a must-do destination. For decades it was cast as Spain’s poorer, dustier sibling, but the Iberian country has recently come into its own as one of Europe’s glossiest summer destinations. With annual music festivals, world-class restaurants and sleek new hotels drawing the international jet set to Lisbon, Portugal now smoothly combines centuries-old tradition with stellar modern design—a movement Fergie and Andrew were sadly two decades too early to enjoy.
Few Portuguese establishments are more fit for a prince than São Lourenço do Barrocal, a former farm that has been converted into a star-worthy luxury hotel a mere two hours’ drive from the capital. Redesigned by the rather handsome José Antonio Uva, the property has been in his family for centuries and is now a marvel of comfort and good taste.
Think ancient manuscripts in the dove-grey bedrooms, vintage furniture in the dining room, and commissioned rugs in soft blues and greens throughout the hotel. The spa boasts dry saunas and a hydrotherapy room with deep cedarwood bathtubs, while the cool, dark-blue swimming pool is set in the heart of a wildflower-filled meadow.
The Royal Couple: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
Where did they go? Only the same spot chosen by Hollywood royalty George and Amal Clooney for their honeymoon—North Island in the Seychelles, often regarded as the most exclusive, celebrity-filled hotel on earth.
What should you do? Er, copy them. North Island is one of the most extraordinary, and most private, destinations on earth—a 2km-long island only accessible by helicopter, with 12 palatial villas that lead down to the sea. Kate and William stayed in Villa 11, which is 6,243sqft of linen, marble, private pools and endless rose petals—and exclusively reserved for honeymooning couples.
To give you an idea of just how high-end this hotel is, there are twice as many staff as guests but not a single menu. That’s because you have your own private chef, who will whip up anything your taste buds are in the mood for, and the fruits of your imagination can be eaten on the island piazza, in the villa or on a private stretch of beach.
And if love means occasionally needing some time alone to read or update Instagram, then luckily scuba-diving, kayaking, mountain bikes, guided walks and half-day fishing trips are all included in the room rate. No wonder Kate and Wills stayed for two whole weeks back in 2011.
The Royal Couple: The Prince and Princess of Wales
Where did they go? Charles and Diana may not be the ones to emulate when it comes to matrimonial harmony, but they certainly got their honeymoon right. Lent the Royal Yacht Britannia, they set sail for Greece in the summer of 1981.
What should you do? The closest most of us will ever get to royal treatment in Greece is decamping to Aman’s only hotel on Hellenic soil, Amanzoe. Set high above the Mediterranean Sea and surrounded by olive groves and cypress trees, this arresting establishment has a distinctly palatial air, thanks to grand Grecian columns that line the entrance and the expansive beach club.
Designed by renowned American architect Ed Tuttle, it mimics the wonders of the Acropolis (and why not, given that it’s just two hours’ drive away)—but with some useful 21st-century additions. Think an outdoor amphitheatre where you can order a potent martini to accompany the sunset, a stylish spa that offers treatments based on ancient Greek medicine, and an Olympic-size infinity pool overlooking the vineyards.
Boats are on offer to the gorgeous island of Spetses. But if you’re feeling a bit shy like the young Princess Di, there’s actually no need to leave your room. Each of the 38 pavilions has its own herb-filled garden, sunny terrace and private pool, as well as two vast marble bathrooms and what must be the most comfortable beds in Greece. While Diana pointedly described her honeymoon as a good time to catch up on sleep, be warned—your pavilion might also lull you into a week-long slumber.