After your wedding takes your breath away, let these exotic locales do the same.
For some couples embarking on life’s greatest adventure (and yes, we do mean marriage) the only logical choice for a honeymoon is just as heart pounding. Forget lounging on a beach. These newlyweds are rocketing off on a dogsled or exploring an African game preserve.
They’re not alone. More than 98 million people took an adventure trip within the past five years, according to the Travel Industry Association of America.
And it’s never been easier to explore the wonders of the world. There are travel agencies and trade associations devoted exclusively to adventure travel, and resorts worldwide are diving into the trend.
Here are seven titillating locations to satisfy any thrill seeker, from those who want soft adventure to those who want to walk on the wild side. (Note that rates are subject to change.)
La Pleta Hotel & Spa
Situated in the heart of the Pyrenees at Baqueira-Beret Ski Resort, La Pleta is popular among jetsetters, including the Spanish royal family.
Daredevils will relish the activities, including whitewater rafting, boogie-boarding on a river and cycling the Tour de France route. Baqueira features more than 186 hiking trails and, in winter, you can carve the trails on skis. The hotel’s Top Heights Program offers guests a bird’s-eye view from a helicopter and a cycle down the Val D’Aran Mountain trails.
Nightowls will appreciate the area’s many restaurants, pubs, bars and discos.
When you return from your adventure, head to the Occitania spa, which specializes in the celebrity-favored Erno Lazlo skincare treatments. Then sip sangria before sampling the local cuisine. The hotel’s Del Gel al Foc serves international cuisine with a Catalonian twist. Its second restaurant, Petita Borda, offers lighter Mediterranean-style dishes.
The resort, a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, has 70 guestrooms and suites, all of which are outfitted with beautiful woods, plush beds with goose down pillows, hydro-showers and tubs.
Rates range from 200 to 850 Euro, depending on the room style and season.
The Mount Washington Resort
at Bretton Woods
Route 302 Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
There’s plenty to do at this mountain retreat. During summer months conquer Mount Washington on a mountain bike, hiking trails or vertically—by rock climbing. If you’d rather stay grounded, consider fly-fishing or horseback riding. In the winter you can ski, ride snowmobiles, snowshoe or take a sleigh ride. Afterward, head to the spa for some pampering.
The elegant Mount Washington Hotel, built in 1902, crowns 18,000 acres at the foot of the Northeast’s highest peak. The hotel has 200 rooms and suites, several lounges and a dining room. Although true to its Spanish-revival architectural roots, the hotel also has modern conveniences, including Internet access in rooms.
Discover romance in the Rooftop Tower Suite, which is furnished with a king-size bed, a Jacuzzi, a sitting room and a rooftop deck with panoramic views that urge you to go outside and play.
Room rates, which include a four-course dinner and full breakfast, run from $165 to $475 per night. There is an accommodations-only plan, and the hotel handles weddings.
Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa
78-128 Ehukai St.
Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii
An ancient lava flow provides the platform for this resort, which is settled along the Big Island’s leeward coast.
The coast offers couples plenty of ways to get the adreneline pumping. Visitors can snorkel with underwater giants (think 3,000-pound manta rays), dive along lava-rock formations that house tropical fish or kayak along the surf. Landlubbers can take an off-road adventure atop the active Hualalai Volcano. Or if you’re more interested in seeing the view the birds enjoy, the island’s heli-pad touts helicopter tours. Recover from the day’s fun with an Hawaiian Pohaku stone massage at the Ho’ola Spa or get ready for action at the cutting-edge fitness center.
Weddings are such a specialty that the resort launched the Bayside Wedding Center, which includes an ocean-side chapel, lawn and overlook. The romance package includes accommodations for two in a deluxe ocean-view room, buffet breakfast, Champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries, a 30-minute couple’s massage and a 25-minute couple’s Jacuzzi.
Rates range from $325 to $2,300 per night. (Higher rates are for luxurious suites with private patios and full-service kitchens.)
Banyan Tree Ringha
Hong Po Village, Jian Tang Town
People’s Republic of China
+86 887 828 8822
Looking for Shangri-La? Look no further than Banyan Tree Ringha, perched 10,498 feet above sea level in Greater Tibet.
Snow-capped peaks, breathtaking canyons, glassy lakes and torrential rivers provide ideal backdrops for an afternoon hike. Expect to do a lot of trekking. Ringha offers easy, moderate and challenging jaunts that last from three to six hours. You can make them on foot, horseback or in a four-wheel vehicle.
The resort, which opened in 2005, includes 15 one-bedroom suites, 11 two-bedroom Tibetan lodges—traditional housing structures—and six spa suites. Though accommodations are reconstructed Tibetan farmhouses, each has bathrooms with handcrafted wooden bathtubs, mini-bars, safes, televisions—even bedroom footwear.
Ringha is currently offering a Tibetan Spa Suite promotion that includes an in-suite 90-minute massage for two, breakfast for two and discounts on subsequent massages for $840 a night. Otherwise, rates are $450 to $950 per night, depending on the room style.
Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa
2250 West Highway 89A
The newly opened Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa is sandwiched between the bustle and shopping of uptown Sedona and the serene of national forestland.
Explore the fabled Red Rocks and Devil’s Kitchen by foot, hot air balloon or Jeep. Or visit the Grand Canyon, where you can walk a cantilever-shaped glass bridge that juts 70 feet out into the canyon. There’s also mountain-biking, rock-climbing and hang-gliding.
Unlike a typical Southwestern hotel, the hotel is a melting pot of ancient Roman, French, Mediterranean and North African influences, all of which are reminiscent of Andalusian Spain: Consider a 500-year-old Tunisian wrought-iron window and the entryway’s Moroccan-Moorish décor.
The hotel offers 77 guestrooms, including four suites. Rooms feature flat-screen TVs, goose down duvets and walk-in showers with overhead rain-shower sprays. The spa has indoor-outdoor whirlpools and showers, seasonally themed treatments, and a tranquility room and gardens.
Rates range from $179 to $279 a night, depending on the room style and the season.
Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello
329 Notre Dame
Montebello, Quebec Canada
Get ready for some serious action on the luxury resort’s 65,000 pristine acres. Summer activities include canoeing, hiking, pontoon boat tours and wild bear sightings. Winter activities include snowshoeing, snowmobiling, sleigh rides, tobogganing, dogsledding, curling and ice-fishing. The Land Rover Experience Driving School—where you’ll learn from experts how to handle anything Mother Nature can concoct—is offered during both seasons. Explore the property behind the wheel in this off-road experience. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot the rare “cinnamon” bear, named for its reddish-brown fur. Black bear sightings are common.
Made with red cedar logs, the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello is the picture of primitive romance. The resort, situated midway between Ottawa and Montreal, was built as a private club in 1930.
Don’t let the façade’s rustic beauty fool you. The Fairmont Chateau Montebello features luxury amenities, including indoor and outdoor pools and a 4,000-square-foot spa. The spa has eight treatment rooms, including the “couples suite,” which comes complete with a fireplace, a Japanese sunken tub, a double-head rain shower and massage tables.
Among the 211 guestrooms are junior suites with two-person Jacuzzis. When you’re not soaking, you can nuzzle by the three-story, six-sided fireplace in the lobby.
The Fairmont Chateau Montebello also offers wedding services and honeymoon packages.
Rates range from $158 to $266 per night, depending on the room style and the season.
Sabi Sabi Private Game Preserve
Adjacent to Kruger National Park
Known as the Grand Dame of Safari Lounges, the five-star Sabi Sabi Private Game Preserve opened in 1978. Today the preserve boasts four luxurious lodges. Selati Camp, which has eight suites, offers an “Out of Africa” experience. At night, only the villas have electric light. Dine by candlelight and walk lantern-illuminated paths.
When you’re not marveling at the accommodations, go on a safari with specially trained, armed rangers. Excursions include Land Rover rides and walking trails. Track lions, leopards, buffalo, elephants and cheetahs deep into the African bush. The recently renovated Bush Lodge has 25 suites. The sleek, sexy Earth Lodge is home to the Amber Suite. The jaw-dropping suite has four picture windows, from which you can watch elephants lumber through the yard.
Rates run from $554 to $926 a night, depending on the lodge and the season.