The most romantic resorts for your destination wedding

Nothing says romance like a tropical getaway destination wedding. We take you to some of the best places on the planet to honeymoon, pop the question, renew your vows or say ‘I do’.

Planning a destination wedding? Or simply looking for a sun-soaked oasis to relax on your honeymoon?

From the idyllic Whitsundays to action-packed Dubai, these are the most romantic resorts for couples. With jaw-dropping locations, unique wedding venues, attentive staff and luxe accommodation, there’s no better place on earth to tie the knot.

Elysian Retreat © Brooke Miles Photography

Elysian Retreat, Australia

As soon as your helicopter lands, kick off your shoes and soak up the serenity at this lush eco-retreat tucked on a private cove on Long Island in the Whitsundays. Besides the whir of the chopper as it disappears above the cerulean sea, you’ll hear nothing but birdsong.

The first 100 per cent solar-powered eco-resort on the Great Barrier Reef, Elysian Retreat is also adults-only. So there will be no shrill of children breaking the calming ambience.

And, as the most secluded island in the Whitsundays, this is the place to escape if you plan to elope. For those who want an intimate destination wedding, book the entire resort and you’ll have all 10 oceanfront villas. Just enough room for you, your love and 18 of your family or friends.

Marry on the pool deck for views across the bluer-than-blue ocean to the lush, rainforest-clad hills of Cape Conway National Park. With three daily gourmet meals included in your room rate, dine on dishes from the property’s garden and local seafood. Expect fresh prawns, Moreton Bay bugs and wild-caught fish.

And start each day with complimentary twice-daily yoga classes and a dip in the magnesium infinity pool. Or head to the spa and let the experienced team treat you to Ayurvedic treatments.

For a romantic getaway, jump aboard the resort’s vessel, Lotus, and have a picnic in a secluded bay. Or, board a chopper for a scenic tour over heart reef, a stunning composition of coral that has naturally formed into the shape of a heart. Could there be a more fitting outing?

If staying in is more your style, while away your days in the complete privacy of your air-conditioned villa, lounging on your private deck. No one need ever know you’re here.

Kā’anapali Beach Hotel, Hawai’i

Few can claim they wed to a backdrop of breaching whales. But that’s exactly what awaits at your winter destination wedding at Kāʻanapali Beach Hotel on the Hawaiian island of Maui.

Sitting pretty on the western point of the island, this beachfront property has panoramic views of migrating whales and neighbouring islands. Renowned as the ‘most Hawaiian hotel’ in the world, there are daily authentic cultural experiences.

Learn the local language, Ōlelo Hawai’i; the significance of lei; and about traditional navigation techniques. For something a little more romantic, book a sunset sail or indulge in a couples’ massage. And if you’re here in winter, cast an eye towards the sea and watch as those magnificent mammals make their way through the warm waters.

Tokoriki Island Resort, Fiji

With a string of awards almost as long as the beach it sits on, it’s no surprise that couples swoon over the adults-only Tokoriki Island Resort. When you arrive on this picture-perfect island in Fiji’s Mamanuca archipelago, it’s not hard to see why.

The welcome is as warm as the weather, and nothing is left to chance. Stay in contemporary freestanding bures and villas where cocktails are served by your private pool.

Dine in your villa, beachside or at The Teppanyaki Chef’s table for just four couples. If you’re here to wed, there’s a volcanic rock stone chapel with stained-glass windows. Or why not opt for a barefoot beachside wedding? Spend your days enjoying beach picnics, snorkelling and visiting the many nearby local islands. Not that you’d want to leave this one.

Come sunset, sip champagne while you dine on gourmet dishes of fresh local seafood at a private table on the lantern-fringed jetty, serenaded by the relaxing tunes of local musicians. You’ll be planning to renew your vows before you even leave.

Destination wedding dining at Tokoriki Island Resort, Fiji
Private dining at Tokoriki Island Resort © Infinity Images Fiji

Villa the Sanctuary Bali

Villa The Sanctuary Bali is the perfect wedding destination, located in a secluded tropical oasis along a river close to Canggu’s celebrated beaches. This private luxury villa resort boasts 10 amazing bedrooms, lush gardens and a 35-metre infinity pool from which you can enjoy stunning views of the manicured grounds and river beyond.

The resort specialises in hosting weddings and is able to accommodate large groups of 20 to 40 guests. At Villa The Sanctuary Bali you will experience the very essence of luxury tropical living. Each stylish guestroom features contemporary art and unique furnishings made from the finest materials.

A team of 27 professional Balinese staff provides you with personal five-star service around the clock, catering to your every need. Organising your dream day will be a breeze with Villa The Sanctuary’s experienced in-house wedding planner.  You can contact them for a complimentary wedding proposal.

The resort’s dedicated wedding pergola provides the perfect backdrop to say your vows, allowing you to  experience the spectacular beauty of Bali from the resort’s vast lawns, providing all the space to dine and dance while surrounded by luxury.

Garrya Tongsai Bay Samui, Thailand

“Love at first sight” was how the secluded bay that is home to Garrya Tongsai Bay Samui was described when chairman of The Imperial Hotel Group, Akorn Hoontrakul, first laid eyes on it. For three months he slept on the beach dreaming of his ideal resort and planning the layout. Two years later, in 1987, it was realised as the first five-star luxury hotel on Koh Samui.

Little could he know that more than three decades later it would become a place highly sought after by couples wanting to declare their love. This secluded paradise is the ultimate destination wedding backdrop. The 11.3 hectares of breathtaking nature wrapped around that pristine turquoise bay is frequently chosen as a location to say “I do”.

Here, villas tumble down a lush hillside, and there are sprawling contemporary suites with infinity pools. You’ll find romantic beachfront abodes overlooking the picturesque beach where many a wedding has been held. For those who prefer the hills, you can marry in the verdant countryside with the glistening ocean as your backdrop.

Dine at one of three restaurants where most ingredients are sourced from local farmers and the resort’s garden. Or opt for an in-villa barbecue or private beachside candlelit dinner. During the day, take a dip in the 50-metre freshwater pool or the hillside adults-only pool. Then indulge in a spa treatment at the soothing 8LEMENTS Spa.

Learn new dishes in a private Thai cooking class or try your hand at a traditional craft. For a dose of local culture, you’re less than a 10-minute drive from Wat Plai Laem temple and Wat Phra Yai, the ‘Big Buddha Temple’ overlooking the northern coast.

And with the resort only 15 minutes from the airport, it means less time before the nerves set in if you’re planning a tropical island proposal. And another reason to return for the wedding.

Beachfront destination wedding at Garrya Tongsai Bay Samui
Beachfront vows © Anne Sophie Maestracci

AYANA Estate, Bali

Nothing says romance like sipping a glass of chilled champagne under a candyfloss-coloured sky. At AYANA Estate, Bali, perched on a clifftop overlooking Jimbaran Bay, you can do that at a different restaurant every night of the week.

The sprawling complex is so extensive many don’t leave until it’s time to check out. And who would blame them with 26 eateries, 14 swimming pools, a private beach and an 18-hole golf course. The pièce de résistance for romancing couples is Pesta Lobster, frequently voted the ‘most romantic dining venue’ in Bali

Stroll down the 30-metre-long jetty to the sounds of bamboo wind chimes, while the scent of frangipani fills the air. Once seated, you’ll begin a four-course degustation, including three dishes of locally sourced lobster, accompanied by some of the world’s best wines.

If you’re here for a destination wedding, there are 15 venues to choose from. For larger groups, marry among the 3,000 white frangipani trees in the Champa Garden. While ‘Sky’ will have you saying your vows while ‘floating’ 35 metres above the Indian Ocean.

Looking for an indoor option? The Tresna Chapel with a see-through glass aisle and a stone-lined river underneath. The stunning glass-sided Astina Chapel is surrounded by water features.

When the vows are done, stay in palatial suites with marble floors, large four-poster beds, pools, deep baths and round-the-clock butler service. For the ultimate in couple indulgence, don’t miss the 180-minute couples’ wellness ritual – a purifying body polish, refreshing cleanse, detoxification massage and facial. Then end your stay under that pastel-coloured sky in a restaurant you are yet to try. Sunsets will never be the same again.

Atlantis, The Palm Dubai

Nestled between the calm, turquoise waters of the Arabian Gulf and the majestic Dubai skyline, Atlantis, The Palm is the crown of Dubai’s Palm Island. The pink exterior of this regal resort, with its terraced water gardens and high-vaulted lobby, sets the scene for what’s to come.

And the wow factor is everywhere. Experience a stay in the refurbished rooms and suites with amazing views of the Dubai Skyline and the Arabian Gulf or book your honeymoon at the Underwater Suite and watch the marine animals glide through your window.

A premier culinary destination, a honeymoon here will have you swanning between 36 restaurants, bars and lounges. There’s Michelin-starred Ossiano, a progressive fine dining experience where tables are seated next to the window of the Ambassador Lagoon Aquarium (home to 65,000 marine animals). World-renowned Nobu sits on the 22nd floor – Japanese cuisine with a Peruvian twist.

For British classics, dine at Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen & Bar. Or savour moreish morsels at the Imperial Club Lounge’s Sunset terrace, or at the Imperial Club private beach.

Spend days partaking in myriad water sports or at Aquaventure Waterpark – the world’s largest waterpark. Then, back inside your spacious abode, have a couples’ massage in the Underwater Suite with its floor-to-ceiling aquarium window.

Complete your stay at the adults-only White Beach Club. With two Instagram-worthy pools, a chic outdoor restaurant and a breezy open-air terrace, it’s easy to see why this is Dubai’s hottest beach club. There’s no better way to feel like an A-lister.

Honeymoon at Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai
Play, stay and live like an A-lister at Atlantis © Atlantis, The Palm

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