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The only guide to island honeymoons you'll ever have to read

Having your heart set on an island honeymoon is awesome – think of that tan! – but knowing which island exactly can be a trickier decision. Do you hit up the Indian Ocean? The Caribbean? Maybe the Pacific is for you...
Each destination has beaches dotted with sunloungers, luxe hotels with want-for-nothing service and oceans so clear you can see your pedicure through the water. But let’s be honest, this isn’t just any holiday – for some it’s the holiday – so there’s a bit of pressure to pick a destination that delivers (and we're not just talking about cocktails from the poolside bar). With that in mind, we’ve slipped into our travel agent blazers, rustled up a collection of island destinations – perennially popular with loved-up couples – and broken them down, palm tree by palm tree. But really, just one peek at the these island beauties (on a postcard, Google or, if you're lucky, out a plane window) is all the convincing you’ll need to see why they sit so high on honeymoon hit-lists. 

Maldives

A round-up of island honeymoon destinations without the Maldives is like Carrie Bradshaw without Mr Big – just not right. Exhibit A: the blonde-sand beaches made for sunloungers and sunset strolls. Then there’s the turquoise water where you can scuba, snorkel and sail. Oh, and the five-star hotels and restaurants. When it comes to a place to hole up in on a honeymoon, the Maldives are on a whole other level. 

A destination best for…
Lolling about in hammocks, taking jet-skis to deserted islands and uploading #honeymooninspo Instagrams.

Where to stay...
We’ll be honest, picking just one of these island destinations is like choosing our favourite Spice Girl (quietly, we’re leaning towards Ginger… or Posh). But it’s hard to go past Constance Halaveli. To choose your digs here, you need to ask yourself one question: do you want to wake up bang on the beach or in an overwater villa? Either way, you’re going to have your own plunge pool, plus access to a luxe spa, tennis courts and a restaurant dotted with rainbow-coloured lanterns. 

What to pack...
Your swankiest pair of swimmers and plenty of sunscreen. 

When to go and how to get there…
December to April is dry season, meaning tourist numbers peak and resorts are at capacity. If you're a keen diver, May to November sees increased water clarity and better visibility. Most international flights touch down in Malé, the Maldivian capital, and from there - depending what island you're staying on - you'll need to catch a connecting domestic flight or boat. Some resorts even arrange private planes and speedboat transfers for you, because fancy.  

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French Polynesia

To take it slow in an archipelago (yes, that rhymes, just go with it), French Polynesia, the pearl of the Pacific, is your place. With 118 scattered islands and white-, pink- and black-sand beaches, the drawcards are the vivid, coral-fringed lagoons. Tahiti, the largest of French Polynesia’s islands, is famous for its hibiscus flowers, vanilla and dancers in grass skirts; Bora Bora’s signature is over-the-top indulgence. There’s world-class snorkelling and diving, but if keeping your hair dry is more your thing, the islands have tropical forests to explore and waterfalls to marvel at – jump in a Jeep to see it all. 

A destination best for...
Water sports and sipping sundowners. 

Where to stay…
To play at Tom Hanks in Castaway, only without Wilson, Vahine Island has you covered. This boutique escape sits on a private island and only has nine rooms, including overwater bungalows. The intimate isle is dotted with coconut trees, white-sand beaches and boasts a coral garden in its lagoon. Tahaa, the main island, is within easy reach but you’re far enough out to create some serious romantic atmosphere. The vanilla plantations, pearl farms and historic Polynesian sights on nearby islands make for great day trips. 

What to pack...
An extra battery for your camera (if you still have one).

When to go and how to get there…
The weather is at its best (read: comfortable and dry) in July and August, but those months are also some of the busiest due to a smattering of festivals, so book your accommodation early. Dry season is from May to October. All international flights arrive at Tahiti-Faaa International Airport; Air Tahiti offers connecting flights from Tahiti and Bora Bora, as well as flights between Tahiti and a handful of other atolls. 

Seychelles

One look at the powder-sand beaches, forest-covered mountains and bluer-than-blue ocean and you’ll know why the Seychelles makes the cover of travel brochures. The Seychelles' 115 islands are divided into two groups: the Inner Islands, where the main accommodation and tourist hubs are found, and the Outer Islands, a collection of remote, less-visited – some still untouched – atolls. The Seychelles has romance by the bucketload, but there are also jungle and coastal walks, boat excursions, marine parks and nature reserves to keep you busy.

A destination best for...
Swimming with whale sharks, topping up tans and eco-tourism. 

Where to stay...
Peace and privacy, that’s the philosophy of Maia Luxury Resort and Spa. The resort sits on a private peninsula on Mahé, a place where every tropical honeymoon cliché is actually true. Overlooking Anse Louise beach, the resort boasts villas with thatched roofs, a spa with nimble-knuckled therapists and personal butlers on call 24 hours a day. The Signature Villas sit away from the main resort and offer direct access to a private beach. 

What to pack...
Binoculars for animal-spotting. 

When to go and how to get there...
Divers should make the most of the excellent conditions from March to May and September to November. The Seychelles climate is dominated by two opposing trade winds: a north-westerly wind sees October to March enjoy warmer temperates, while the south-easterly winds between May and September make for cooler weather. The main international airport is on Mahé, and there's an easy-to-use network of transportation - buses, domestic flights, seaplanes, boats - to ferry you around between the islands. 

Bali

There’s a reason Bali is so popular with honeymooners – and every other type of traveller. Put simply, it lives up to all the hype. There are doses of authentic Indonesian culture mixed with chaotic main drags, shopping fit for every bargain-hunter and fare sure to make your belt uncomfortably tight. Kuta is where you’ll find the tourist hustle and bustle, Seminyak is all about hedonistic pleasures and Ubud is for rice fields, ancient monuments and spiritual feels. 

A destination best for...
Pamper paradise that’s only a short flight away. 

Where to stay...
Only 45-minutes from the buzz (and bars) of Kuta and Seminyak is Alila Villas Soori. The private resort is neighboured by UNESCO World Heritage-protected rice fields, an incredible coastline and sacred temples. The villas range in size from one to 10 bedrooms, and each have their own pool and courtyard. The sleek infinity pool has four submerged day beds at the shallow end – you know, for when you just can’t make up your mind.  

What to pack...
Slip-on sandals and floaty fabrics. 

When to go and how to get there…
Just like other destinations close to the equator, Bali enjoys a dry and a rainy season. Traditionally, high season is during July and August, and over holiday periods. To avoid the jacked-up prices, book your trip from April through June, and September. You'll avoid the crush of tourists, and the weather is dry and slightly less humid. Many airlines fly directly into Ngurah Rai International Airport (often referred to as Denpasar), however you can also arrive through a connecting flight from Jakarta.
 

Jamaica

For a honeymoon that’s just a little bit different, Jamaica passes with flying colours. It’s also an island where every day turns into the ‘Best Day Ever’, so there’s that too. Jamaica is more than the hometown of Bob Marley; it’s teeming with Colonial architecture, vibrant street culture, Creole cuisine and activities to get every adrenalin-junkie’s pulse racing. Hiking is the best way to explore the mountains, and there are snorkelling opportunities off every stretch of coast. For underwater thrills, make for the diving centres on the northwest coast.

A destination best for...
Happy snaps worth bragging about at your next dinner party… and rum. 

Where to stay...
Is that the James Bond theme song playing in your head? That’s bound to happen with a stay at GoldenEye Hotel and Resort. This cluster of cottages and suites is where Ian Fleming wrote all 14 of the famed spy novels, and his former villa doubles as the hotel’s centrepiece. Don’t be surprised if you’re reluctant to leave the hotel, with its water-sports centre, hillside spa, glass-bottom boat and tree-top restaurant.

What to pack...
Make the most of the island's literary history and bring along a Kindle to get through your 'to read' list. 

When to go and how to get there...
Mid-December to mid-March is peak travel season, and June through November is hurricane season. To avoid hoards of American college students on spring break, book your trip around March and April. There are two international airports, in Montego Bay and Kingston. Flights from Australia and Asia Pacific may require a few stopovers in North America. 

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Bahamas

Name what you want from your honeymoon and the Bahamas is bound to have it. A happening capital city with cracking nightlife, festivals and laid-back feels? Of course, just check out Nassau. World-class diving where you can explore shipwrecks and coral-studded reefs? Oh yeah, the Berry Islands has that covered. Let’s not forget Bimini, Ernest Hemingway’s escape of choice, or the Exumas, a tropical playground for the rich and famous. 

A destination best for...
Coastal romance and #nofilter sunsets. 

Where to stay...
Once a 1960s beach club, The Dunmore offers understated glam, cottages with private terraces and a location that’s famous for its stretches of pink sand (Harbour Island). Dunmore only has 13 suites, so you know there won’t be any battles for sunloungers or shade by the come-hither main pool. If you can’t tear yourself away from your poolside perch, but still want to be pampered, arrange for a massage therapist to come to you – cocktails and snacks can be delivered too.

What to pack...
Walking shoes - there's plenty to explore on the island.

When to go and how to get there... 
Rainy season is mid-August to October, so expect towns to be slower and some hotels to close. Lynden Pindling airport (yes, that's its real name) is your gateway to the Bahamas; the close proximity to Florida means you can find regular, budget-friendly flights from Miama, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale. Your hotel may arrange transfers for you, otherwise look into hiring a car, or jump on a seaplane or ferry. 

Thailand

Honeymooners have a long and lovely history with Thailand – for good reason. The locals are all smiles, the service top-notch and the scenery isn’t half bad either (just joking, it’s downright gorgeous). Thailand has a smattering of island heavyweights – Phuket, Koh Samui, Krabi – but newlyweds can find just as much barefoot bliss on the lesser-known isles. Khanom is untouched by tourists and makes a tempting alternative for couples seeking an off-the-beaten-track destination that still has everything Thailand is loved for. Koh Kood is Thailand’s fourth largest island, but it’s south-east location (rather than the popular south-west) means it flies under the traveller radar. 

A destination best for...
Absolutely everything. 

Where to stay...
If Soneva Kiri was a person, it would be a supermodel – think a Gisele or Elle. It’s just that good. Everything about this bolthole is outstanding, from its high-flying Treepod Dining to its secluded setting and ultra-luxe villas – which, by the way, all come with a private garden and pool. The villas are located on the blonde-sand beach or on the slopes of the pristine rainforest. There’s an open-air cinema, water-sport facilities, a chocolate and ice-cream parlour, and electric buggies to explore the island. Need more convincing? The motto of Soneva Kiri is ‘no news, no shoes’ so your worries stop the minute your feet touch the sand. 

What to pack...
Sarongs and oversized sunglasses. 

When to go and how to get there...
Thailand has three main seasons: rainy, from May to October; cool, between November and February, and hot, from March to May. For visits during the rainy season, expect rain on most days but only for a few hours at a time. Temperatures during the hot season can soar, so the best thing to do is scope out your place by the pool or beach. Bangkok is Thailand's main international and domestic gateway, however Phuket International Airport is serviced by flights from cities including Singapore, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur. 

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