A craft brewery in the Greek Islands. A water park with no lines. A kosher jerk restaurant. A U.S. city’s 300th birthday. A newly minted World Heritage site. Boasting hotel openings and resort renovations, along with new flights, tours, spas, eateries and attractions, these are the 25 honeymoon destinations making headlines in 2018.
Jamaica continues to experience record-breaking visitor numbers, thanks in part to the bevy of new resorts coming onto the scene. In February 2017, adults-only Breathless Montego Bay Resort & Spa opened with Jamaica’s only rooftop pool and bar. The following month, two more all-inclusives debuted: Royalton Negril (opt for the adults-only Hideaway section) and the all-suite, clothing-optional Grand Lido Negril. Jewel Grande Montego Bay Resort & Spa premiered in September with its own private cove and butler service for every room. Honeymooners can try Chukka Caribbean Adventures’ newest experience — Jungle Adventure Falls at Good Hope Estate. To refuel, sample jerk falafel at the newly opened Chabad of Jamaica’s Kosher Hot Spot.
Want all the scenic beauty of Survivor sans the fierce competition? Look to Fiji, the filming location of all four of the show’s most recent seasons, including season 36, airing early 2018. Couples looking for an overwater bungalow in Fiji now have a new option: Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay, unveiled on Viti Levu April 2017. Or head to the island of Malolo, which will welcome a new Six Senses retreat the first quarter of 2018 — we recommend splurging on one of the 26 pool bures (villas).
3. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
With an ever-expanding list of new flights and a $450-million airport expansion slated for completion in mid-2018, Greater Fort Lauderdale is wildly convenient to reach. Set up camp at the eclectic Plunge Beach Hotel, opened June 2017 in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, complete with an oceanfront pool and a toes-in-the-sand beach bar. Spend a day of eco-adventure inside Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, including a casual lunch of mojo-pork tacos and house-brewed craft beer at Park & Ocean, debuted March 2017. To really unwind, pay a visit to Auberge Beach Residences & Spa Fort Lauderdale’s highly anticipated Auberge Spa, opening early 2018.
4. Los Cabos, Mexico
Arguably Hollywood’s favorite vacation destination, Los Cabos is exploding with new hotels. In December 2017, Solmar Hotels & Resorts will reveal its latest outpost: Grand Solmar at Rancho San Lucas Resort Golf & Spa, where couples can take advantage of the three-night honeymoon special. Other big hotel brands, from Montage to Hard Rock to Ritz-Carlton Reserve, will also introduce Los Cabos locations in 2018. At the Vidanta Los Cabos resort community, Herringbone restaurant will launch in 2018, along with Omnia Dayclub — a DJ-powered pool party that will morph into a club-restaurant-cabaret after dark. In Cabo San Lucas, don’t miss dinner at CarbónCabrón, new to the dining scene in 2017.
5. Santa Barbara, California
The film Sideways put Santa Barbara wine country on the map when it premiered in 2004; now The Sideways Inn is making headlines for transforming a Days Inn into a luxury boutique hotel in spring 2017. Hotel Californian, nestled between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, made its stunning debut in summer 2017, and Rosewood Miramar Beach Montecito will open on 16 acres of beachfront in summer 2018. Taste-test new restaurants Santo Mezcal (modern Mexican fare) and Somerset (farm-to-table California cuisine with French and Italian influences). Also new in 2017: Santa Barbara Adventure Company’s exclusive guided sea-kayak and snorkel tours on Santa Cruz Island.
6. Mykonos, Greece
The holiday isle of choice for celebrities like Usain Bolt, Mykonos is the new St. Tropez — and it has recently become a craft-beer destination. Mykonos Brewing Company started brewing in March 2017, and couples can already swill its ales at more than 100 local hotels, restaurants and taverns. Party at SantAnna, a beach club that premiered July 2017 with the largest pool in Europe. Then retreat to Santa Marina, a Luxury Collection Resort, unveiled August 2017 after a three-year revamp; the seasonal hotel boasts the only private beach on the island.
Bangkok took the top spot in the Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index 2017, and elsewhere in Thailand, new resorts are making the Land of Smiles even more appealing. In Hua Hin, a 2½-hour drive from Bangkok, Ananda Hua Hin Resort & Spa opened April 2017; book the honeymoon package for a romantic dinner, bubble bath and honeymoon cake. The island of Koh Samui welcomed The Ritz-Carlton, Koh Samui in October 2017 — schedule a Thai for Two couple’s treatment incorporating traditional Thai massage. The Library Koh Samui is also adding 20 new luxury pool villas in November 2017.
Distinguishing itself as an alternative to the Hamptons, Bermuda is vigorously boosting its travel offerings. The Loren at Pink Beach, perched above the Atlantic Ocean, debuted February 2017 as the island’s first new hotel construction in 45 years. And The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company announced plans to reveal a Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Bermuda in 2018. Foodie couples can get excited about three eateries that arrived in 2017: Huckleberry, helmed by Michelin-starred chef Lucy Collins, who appeared on season 18 of Chopped; Mediterra, serving small plates; and Boundary Sports Bar & Grille at Turtle Hill Golf Club.
9. Riviera Maya, Mexico
With the introductions of Museo Frida Kahlo Riviera Maya (opened summer 2017) and Mayan Park (coming January 2018), the Riviera Maya, on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, is fully embracing its cultural charm. Honeymooners will swoon for KanXuk Blue Maya Resort, unveiled May 2017 and carved into the surrounding jungle and mangroves. Or opt for Hotel Esencia, which expanded in October 2017 with 11 new luxury suites, an additional restaurant, a reading library and a hammock garden.
While an active volcano threatens to erupt on the eastern side of Bali, unaffected parts of the island are continuing to flourish. Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay reemerged June 2017 after a two-year overhaul, introducing beachfront villas, an oceanfront spa pavilion, and activities including local arts, heli-surfing and water biking. Six Senses Uluwatu, Bali is arriving the first quarter of 2018 with clifftop villas and a cooking school. Elsewhere in Indonesia, new beach resorts include Cempedak Private Island, opened February 2017 in the Riau Archipelago, and AYANA Komodo Resort, Waecicu Beach, coming to the isle of Flores summer 2018.
Expecting to host 13 million international tourists by the end 2017, Vietnam is poised to break out as a hot honeymoon destination. Where to start? On Phu Quoc, the country’s largest island, the grand, fancifully designed JW Marriott Phu Quoc, Emerald Bay Resort & Spa made waves when it launched March 2017. Or base yourselves near the coastal city of Nha Trang, where The Anam, a colonial-themed luxury beach resort, debuted April 2017.
English-speaking Belize woos with jungles, reefs and low-key beaches. Engage in PDA at Naïa Resort and Spa, unveiled January 2017 within a private 200-acre reserve on the Placencia Peninsula; honeymooners should visit the couple’s private-island spa suite. Don’t miss a few days in the rainforest, where adventures include tubing, hiking, caving, zip-lining and river canoeing. Bed down in a new Jacuzzi Suite at San Ignacio Resort Hotel, which commemorated its 40th anniversary with a major makeover in June 2017.
13. St. Lucia
Thanks to several major resort projects, St. Lucia’s number of hotel rooms is expected to rise by 2,000 over the next four years — so get to this Caribbean island now, before the other 1,999 couples do. Royalton Saint Lucia Resort & Spa is a great option; opened February 2017, the all-inclusive comprises an adult-only section featuring an exclusive infinity pool, beach area and bar. Another all-inclusive — the all-suite, adults-only Serenity at Coconut Bay — also premiered spring 2017. Try the new spa at Stonefield Villa Resort, which rebranded as a health destination and completed major renovations fall 2017, and spend date night at Marigot Bay Resort and Marina by Capella’s new Hurricane Hole Bar & Restaurant, introduced October 2017.
14. Costa Rica
A leading destination for sustainable travel, Costa Rica drips with rainforest adventure. Eco-minded couples should head for the 1,400-acre Peninsula Papagayo, which is undergoing a $100-million transformation that includes a new macaw sanctuary and eight miles of nature trails. The area’s flagship hotel, Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica, is also unveiling a $35-million re-imagination in December 2017, with additions such as an all-new Añejo bar and Library lounge. Elsewhere on the peninsula, Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort is launching its brand-new beach house in late 2017, offering toys like paddle boards, kayaks, beach bikes and jet skis.
15. Island of Hawaii
The island of Hawaii — the youngest and largest in the Hawaiian Island chain — now has even more to discover, thanks to Paradise Helicopters’ new Volcanoes and Waterfall Swim tour, which flies over Kilauea, the most active volcano on earth. After all the excitement, snuggle up in a Westin Heavenly bed at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort (née Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel), which will debut February 2018 after a $46-million revamp. Or keep it cozy at Hale Ohu Bed & Breakfast, perched at 4,000 feet and just five minutes from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park; formerly called My Island Inn, the B&B reopened July 2017 after an extensive remodel.
16. St. Vincent & the Grenadines
With its shiny new airport — Argyle International Airport, unveiled February 2017 — the 32 chichi islands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines are easier to access than ever. Honeymooners will fall in love with Pink Sands Club, Canouan: the resort premiered in fall 2016, and Mandarin Oriental took over management of the property in October 2017. The hotel is also adding new luxury patio villas December 2017. Dinner is pure poetry at the resort’s signature restaurants, Romeo and Juliet.
17. Nassau Paradise Island, Bahamas
From new experiences (early morning dolphin encounters at Dolphin Cay) to new eats (Sip Sip and Fish by José Andrés debuting at The Cove at Atlantis in November 2017 and early 2018, respectively), there are plenty of reasons to honeymoon in Nassau Paradise Island. Newcomers to the hotel scene in 2017 include Grand Hyatt Baha Mar and SLS Baha Mar, with Rosewood Baha Mar rounding out the trio in spring 2018.
18. Ibiza, Spain
With a burgeoning farm-to-table movement and a smattering of restaurant openings, Ibiza is transforming into a foodie couple’s dream. Don’t miss El Portalon in Old Town, with a menu of sustainably grown and sourced food; Aiyanna, serving healthy, seasonal, fresh fare overlooking the Mediterranean Sea; and Enrique Iglesias’ trendy new Tatel outpost — all opened in 2017. Keep the cuisine theme going by staying at Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay, a joint venture between Robert de Niro and acclaimed chef Nobu Matsuhisa that made its appearance in June 2017.
19. Orlando, Florida
The top U.S. tourist destination has no plans to surrender its title. Pandora – The World of Avatar premiered at Disney World May 2017; couples will get butterflies on its Avatar Flight of Passage 3D ride. Universal’s queue-free Volcano Bay water park opened that same month with 18 attractions. Two hotels are coming to Orlando in 2018 — the boutique Delaney Hotel, close to the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and the Amway Center (home of the NBA’s Orlando Magic); and the 300-acre Margaritaville Resort Orlando, which will feature a freshwater lagoon with natural sand beaches.
Most visitors to Cambodia are bound for the famous Angkor Wat archaeological park. Now there’s a new wonder to explore: Sambor Prei Kuk, a 16th/17th -century forest temple that was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in July 2017. Now that you’ve gotten your culture on, luxuriate at Six Senses Koh Krabey, launching the first quarter of 2018; 40 pool villas with dedicated sleep ambassadors will ring the private-island resort.
Be it smart marketing or its otherworldly appearances on Game of Thrones, Iceland is having a moment: Nicknamed Europe’s prom queen, the country has only 334,000 residents but 1.76 million annual visitors. If you’re curious to see what all the hype is about, splurge on a pair of winter coats and turn up the heat at Blue Lagoon, which is introducing an underground spa, a 62-room luxury hotel, and a signature restaurant in the first half of 2018. What’s more, as of June 2018, Blue Lagoon’s existing Silica Hotel will become adults-only. Huzzah.
22. Paris, France
Easily the most romantic city on the planet, Paris is going gangbusters with improvements. Hotel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel re-emerged July 2017 following a four-year renovation; live like locals in one of the property’s 124 rooms and suites, decorated with antiques and objets d’art. Hotel Barriere Le Fouquets Paris also celebrated a summer-2017 reopening after a six-month face-lift. October 2017 witnessed the unveiling of Disneyland Paris’ new eco-themed Villages Nature Paris resort, and an Alain Ducasse restaurant is coming to the Gare Montparnasse train station in late 2018. Best of all, the Eiffel Tower itself is getting refurbished to the tune of $318 million, with upgrades rolling out in stages leading up to the 2024 Olympic Games.
23. New Orleans, Louisiana
There’s no better time to honeymoon in New Orleans than 2018, when the city will celebrate its tricentennial with special events and infrastructure projects, including a $6-million repair of Bourbon Street. Feed each other modern coastal cuisine at Briquette restaurant, opened October 2017; stroll hand-in-hand along the new Marconi Path at New Orleans City Park; and clink glasses at the rooftop pool and bar of NOPSI Hotel, New Orleans, debuted July 2017. After experiencing all of the Crescent City’s charms, float off into the sunset: In 2018, Norwegian Breakaway will be largest cruise vessel ever to sail out of Port NOLA.
24. London, England
In 2017, the Global Power City Index named London the world’s most attractive city for the sixth year in a row. See its photogenic monuments, parks and palaces for yourselves while guests of Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square, unveiled May 2017 with a 1920s-themed Rotunda bar and a Roman bath-inspired spa. Or opt for Nobu Hotel Shoreditch, opened June 2017 in the heart of London’s artistic quarter and boasting the city’s newest Nobu Restaurant.
25. Rome, Italy
Rome’s visitor numbers hit record highs in summer 2017, and the momentum shows no signs of slowing, thanks to new flights and high-profile hotel renovations. After an 18-month overhaul, the circa-1889 Hotel Eden, Rome reopened April 2017 as part of the Dorchester Collection. Three months later, Aleph Rome Hotel re-emerged as part of the Curio Collection by Hilton, following an extensive rehab. Don’t miss the famous Colosseum, whose newly restored fourth and fifth levels were opened to the public for the first time in November 2017. Norwegian is the way to go for affordable flights to the Eternal City: The airline launched direct service from Newark and Los Angeles in November 2017, with Oakland service beginning February 2018.