Romantic getaways are sometimes just what you and your special someone need. Sometimes romantic vacations are just to clear your mind, and other times they’re to reignite the same emotions when you both first met.
So, whether one of your next island getaways is for your honeymoon, an anniversary, a couple’s retreat or any plain romantic getaway, these are the island resorts that offer the ultimate in romance. Travel to Hawaii, of course, for a combination of luxury, romance, culture and a tropical background like no other. Been to Hawaii before? Try China’s Hawaii, Hainan Island, for surfing and a less traditional adventure.
From special dinners to beautiful views and romantic suites, read on for our list of the best romantic getaways at island resorts.
Ratua Private Island – Vanuatu
After his stay in Vanuatu, Islands contributing editor David Lansing had this to say: “This is the conundrum on Ratua: ribeye or lobster? Paddle an outrigger to a sheltered lagoon, or snooze in a thatched-roof daybed pavilion? Everything is about me, me, me. Yet the resort’s lavish nature is rooted in philanthropy.”
Only here: The Nagol ceremony, once a week from April to June, entails mostly naked men jumping from wood platforms with vies tied around their ankles.
When to go: The months of May through October offer the driest weather and no chance of cyclones.
Cayo Espanto – Belize
The South Pacific’s overwater bungalows have a luxurious Caribbean rival. Belize’s Cayo Espanto offers a private overwater bungalow off a private dock on a private island. One of the best island getaways is a short flight from your not-so-private daily life.
Only here: The resort’s overwater villa (not pictured) features a glass floor to view sea life.
When to go: March and April offer the clearest water and weather.
Jade Mountain – St. Lucia
Romance is having no fourth wall, no doors, no windows and no distractions separating you from one of the world’s most iconic views. Get that here at Jade Mountain.
Only here: Sleep, eat lounge and bathe inside a screensaver scene.
When to go: May is best for savings and for securing the Galaxy Sanctuary, which offers a 270-degree, wall-less view of the Pitons and Jade Mountain’s private beach.
North Island – Seychelles
Of his stay here at this private-island resort in the Seychelles, Islands contributing editor Bob Morris wrote this: “My wife and I were out for two hours, hiking with a naturalist from North Island. This was the honeymoon outpost for Great Britain’s Prince William and Kate. At this resort, the staff of 130 looks after a maximum of just 44 guests.”
Only here: Giant seeds (coco de mers) grow to resemble the human buttocks.
When to go: Visit here any time from May to November, when cooling trade winds kick in.
Aman Sveti Stefan – Montenegro
Islands contributing editor Robin Cherry writes of her stay here on this tiny island off mainland Montenegro in Europe: “Inside my cottage at the highest part of the island, I rub the rustic walls, its stones hewn from the same ancient rock that makes up the island’s towers, walls and alleys. I look up: Nowhere have I seen a grotto-esque ceiling like this. I feel that I’m not just on the island but within it.”
Only here: Lord Byron, Princess Margaret, Sophia Lauren, Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor have all enjoyed the three-acre island of Sveti Stefan.
When to go: June and September are optimal months, as crowds (and clouds) are rare.
Mandarin Oriental Sanya – Hainan, China
Hainan Island is known as the Hawaii of China. From the skyline of Sanya to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Hainan taps a Chinese migration to hit the beach and grab a board, as more and more people come here to surf; that is, if you can pull yourself away from the ultra-romantic infinity pool at one of the best romantic island getaways.
Only here: In a nation where “we” always trumps “me,” locals are embracing the solo, rather self-indulgent sport of surfing.
When to go: November through April offer dry air and mild temps. Avoid September, the rainy season’s peak.
Fowl Cay Resort – Exumas, Bahamas
Several of our editors have flown in a small seaplane over the magical Exumas and landed near this private-island escape for a romantic holiday. Yes, Johnny Depp’s own island is nearby; yes, there are also swimming pigs nearby. But, here in the Exumas, one of the most romantic getaways anywhere, Fowl Cay Resort makes you feel like the two of you are the only ones in the world.
Only here: Villas come with a boat but without a captain; that’s your job. Private picnics, castaway fantasies — anything is possible amid 365 cays and islands.
When to go: Winter offers the best weather. Just has the best deals, though there’s a greater chance of rain.
Hermitage Bay – Antigua
About his stay here, Islands contributing editor David Swanson wrote this: “At the resort, I shared the secluded beach with just a handful of the 25-room resort’s guests. Rustic-chic ruled in my oversized room, inside a hillside cottage primped with Italian linens and built from sustainably harvested woods.
“My plunge pool spilled into the blue, and an enthusiastic growth of dense vines provided both shade and privacy.”
Only here: The 30-minute ride from the airport is largely on a private, rather unmaintained road. It’s what gives Hermitage Bay guests unrivaled privacy.
When to go: As with most Caribbean destinations, May is a spectacular shoulder-season month to save and dodge the masses.
Likuliku Lagoon Resort – Fiji
Arriving to Fiji’s only resort with overwater bungalows, Islands editor Eddy Patricelli wrote the following: “Nobody is taking pictures. Our boat has steadied. Husbands and wives who once stood for a better view, leaned for a better photo now sit beside one another, hands interlaced, cameras forgotten. A group of Fijians is singing to us on a tiny island nestled in a lagoon.
“They sing with reminders of a church choir, exuding warmth that carries an unspoken edict: This welcome is best shared with two eyes, two ears and someone you love.”
Only here: Music dominates daily life so much so that an easy-to-pack box of guitar picks given to the Likuliku staff creates lifelong friends.
When to go: May, June and October blend low rates and favorable weather. Fiji’s peak season is July through September (winter break for Aussies and Kiwis).
Sandals LaSource – Grenada
Islands digital editor Steve Spears said this of Grenada’s newest resort: “Of the property’s 225 suites, 69 of them are butler suites, all of which involve a plunge pool of sorts. Here, meandering rivers, waterfalls and infinity pools mix with living space. And with nine restaurants on tap, the small set of portable wooden steps leading to your bed are necessary.”
Only here: Notions of an all-inclusive resort expand. Live shows, sailing lessons and snorkeling and diving tours are included in the nightly rate (from $339 per person).
When to go: Early December sees deals and sunny skies.
Amangalla – Sri Lanka
Most Romantic Resorts Ever Amangalla
Of his recent stay here, Islands contributing editor Nathan Myers wrote this: “I wake up in the 17th century. Antique bed, claw-foot bathtub — my room at the Amangalla Hotel in Galle may be only 100 years old, but the Dutch colonial fort just outside dates back much farther. One step out the door, and I’m part of a living museum. Uncaptioned and inescapable.”
Only here: Elephants walk Sri Lanka’s sidewalks. Stilt fishermen balance over the surf.
When to go: November through April is the dry season for Southwest Sri Lanka, where Amangalla is located.
Golden Dolphin – Dominican Republic
This may be the perfect villa escape in the Dominican Republic. On the north shore, far from the big all-inclusives of Punta Cana, the charming Golden Dolphin has romantic, quiet views like this. Oh, and a baseball, too, if you absolutely love baseball.
Only here: Kids use limes, bottle caps and almond pods in lieu of baseballs. And their games aren’t nine innings; instead, they last all day long.
When to go: Shoulder season is March and May, when high temperatures average in the low 80s. Clear skies are common, too.
GoldenEye – Jamaica
Ian Fleming once demanded two-month vacations to write at his estate in St. Mary, Jamaica, now the jewl of GoldenEye resort (yes, like the James Bond movie). Fleming’s writing desk (007’s birthplace) still beckons. And so do villas Vesper, Honey Chile and Solitaire.
Only here: The Fleming Villa includes its own pocket beach and a modern-day media room Q himself would appreciate.
When to go: Late November and early December visits offer big savings. Avoid the holiday (and hurricane) season.
Medjumbe – Mozambique
About his journey to this private-island resort off the southeast coast of Africa, Islands contributing editor and photographer Jad Davenport had this to say: “We landed an hour ago, and, since then, I’ve managed to check in at the palm-thatched resort, down two ice-crushed caipirinhas and bushwack through the forest to the opposite end of the island.
“I’m still dressed for an African safari — dusty boots, jeans, long-sleeved khaki shirt — not for the breezy tropics of the Quirimbas Archipelago.”
Only here: The island is just a half-mile long and a quarter-mile wide. Aside from Medjumbe, it’s only sign of man is a lighthouse.
When to go: May through December is the cooler, dry season and is best for deals. Humpback whales arrive from August to October.
Le Meridien – Bora Bora, Islands of Tahiti
Romance is waking up in a dream. You’re there, in Tahiti, in one of its signature enclaves hovering above the lagoon of Bora Bora. Pronounce it quickly like the locals: “podapoda.” You don’t want to waste any time here.
Only here: Snorkeling with dozens of turtles is a given. The resort’s lagoon is a turtle-rehabilitation habitat, unique to Le Meridien.
When to go: May through October is the region’s dry season and peak season. Deals are rare in Tahiti, but the first week of January is a good bet; though, there’s a greater chance of rain.
Jackie’s on the Reef – Jamaica
Of her recent stay here, Islands contributing editor Diane Weathers wrote this: “Jackie Lewis cleared jungle for a vegetable garden that now feeds her guests at Jackie’s on the Reef, one of the isle’s first wellness retreats.”
Only here: sleep in a geodesic dome made of coral deposited by a hurricane. The room is said to have awesome energy.
When to go: October through early December delivers the best deals, though they may come with rain showers. Most are fleeting.
Huvafen Fushi – Maldives
Arrive by luxury speedboat to find glass-floored overwater bungalows and your own personal butler for your next romantic vacation. The island is home to the first underwater spa and what’s said to be the largest wine collection in the Maldives. A-lister Kate Moss is a frequent guest of Huvafen Fushi. Actually, anyone who stays here is on the A-list, if only for a few days.
Only here: The spa is more aquarium than therapy room. A treatment’s challenge is closing your eyes.
When to go: May through November offers great deals, fewer neighbors and fantastic snorkeling.
Hanalei Colony Resort – Kauai, Hawaii
Getting here requires crossing seven one-lane bridges. All are photo-worthy and soon forgotten. The 48-room resort is nestled between lush mountains, towering waterfalls and the untamed coastline of Kauai. Its views trump all those that came before it, especially watching an uninterrupted Hawaiian sunset from Ke’e Beach.
Only here: The resort touts each suite’s proximity to the beach as an exact measurement. As in, “Ocean Premium Suites are 10 feet from the beach.”
When to go: Fall is best on all fronts. Temps hover in the low 70s and 80s, and room rates drop, as do tourist arrivals.
Sanctuary Cana – Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
After her two-week stint touring 10 Punta Cana resorts, Islands digital editor Cami Webb said this about Sanctuary Cana: “This just doesn’t fit with what I’ve heard about all-inclusives. There’s a castle stretching out over the ocean, a collection of island-style bungalows and Spanish colonial-style buildings with intimate hideouts.
“My fiancé and I lounge at the rooftop bar before heading to our suite where three private plunge pools await inside — three. And just outside, a path along the castle moat leads to powder-white sand at Juanillo Beach, where we can snuggle in solitude.”
Only here: A private-island feel among a slew of all-inclusives.
When to go: From March to May, the peak-season crowds start dipping out. June through November sees lots of deals, but the weather can be iffy.
Hapuku Lodge – New Zealand
Here, inside the Hapuku Lodge treehouses on New Zealand’s South Island, guests don’t wake up in the trees; they wake up on the trees. These suites are built 30 feet off the ground on steel supports among native manuka trees.
Only here: each treehouse suite features a wood-burning fireplace. This may spark concern. A rain-fountain shower on the top deck offers relief.
When to go: For sightseeing, spring (September to November) and fall (March to May) are best. Resort rates jump in the summer (December to February).
Hotel Chocolat – St. Lucia
On a recent trip here with her husband, Islands contributing editor Ann Vanderhoof wrote the following: “Steve and I are making chocolate bars straight from the cocoa beans at St. Lucia’s Hotel Chocolat, a boutique resort that lives up to its promissory name 24/7.
“Yesterday, we drank cocoa martinis and cocoa bellinis before dinner. Downed iced-chocolate shots [and] noshed on seared tuna with cocoa pesto.”
Only here: A trip to the beach means hopping in Hotel Chocolat’s speedboat. This is a good thing. St. Lucia’s rugged terrain (and famous Pitons) entail winding roads.
When to go: Save big in May, but book early. St Lucia is a favorite destination for weddings.
Kamalame Cay – Bahamas
Of his stay here, Islands contributing editor Jad Davenport wrote this: “We check in at Kamalame Cay, a private island off the east coast of Andros, and I lapse into sweet lethargy. At the open-air beach bar, I enjoy a rum punch as youth drapes over me like an ermine cloak.
“Karin and I get messages in an overwater spa. We sleep with the doors and windows of our villa open so the curtains dance in the sea breeze.”
Only here: The resort is surrounded by three miles of empty beaches, as if its private-island location wasn’t insular enough.
When to go: The deals happen in Kamalame Cay’s offseason (May to August). It’s also the region’s rainy season, though the Bahamas see more than 300 sunn days a year.
Kanopi House – Jamaica
Only if you know that this luxury treehouse resort exists will you ever find it. You can’t see it from above, nestled in the lush jungled hills surrounding Port Antonio on Jamaica’s northeast side. You can’t see it from the water of the Blue Lagoon, even if you’re kayaking so, so close. But when you do enter this special world, you’ll never want to leave.
Only here: Think minimal carbon footprint here, as no tree lost its life in the building of Kanopi House. It also boasts one of the only overwater spas in the Caribbean.
When to go: Year-round, sleepy Port Antonio doesn’t get near the crowds of more popular spots like Montego Bay or Negril. Visit in shoulder season (late April or May) for the best deals.
Kilauea Lakeside Estate – Kauai, Hawaii
Of her stay here while taking aerial photos of the nearby Na Pali coast, Islands photo editor Lori Barbely wrote this: “I regale Steve and Janine Hunt, owners of Kilauea Lakeside Estate, with stories of my first two days. Steve looks serious. ‘You need to schedule a massage and some downtime.’ Janine agrees: “Polynesian paralysis is an integral part of the Kauai experience.'”
Only here: You get your own private lake on Kauai’s north coast (not the shore) with complete privacy on an 11-acre peninsula at one of the best tropical vacations for couples.
When to go: In the fall, the least crowded season, room rates dip below $150 a night for many hotels. In spring, airfares plummet, and the weather’s perfect.
Little Palm Island – Florida Keys
Romance is not needing plane tickets or three-ounce travel containers. Just jump in the car, and drive two-and-a-half hours south of Miami. Florida’s Little Palm Island will make you feel like you’re in the Pacific, Florida Keys style.
Only here: Key deer swim over from the mainland, and some prefer to hang out with guests at the pool.
When to go: Winter and spring (through April) see the best months for weather in the Keys since humidity is low compared to summer and early fall.
Àni Villas – Anguilla
Upon returning from Àni Villas, Island editor Audrey St. Clair said the following: “Romance is having a personal chef in your private clifftop villa. It’s waking each morning to the smell of breakfast, the sight of turquoise, the feel of ocean breezes ushering in a new day in paradise. It’s massages at the cliff’s edge while Chef Shamash prepares just-caught ceviche and coconut cheesecake for lunch. At Àni Villas, the mood found us.”
Only here: On Anguilla’s Sandy Island, eat Anguilla crayfish (indigenous to the island) cooked on a grill powered by car batteries.
When to go: Hotel rates drop dramatically from May through August.
Pink Sands Resort – Bahamas
Islands editor Ashley Fraxedas wrote this about her stay at Pink Sands Resort: “The resort led us to the dock, which led us to Patrick, who is leading us into dead-quiet coves like a gondolier ina Venetian canal. We’re all as quiet as the cove around us.”
Only here: Even a color-blind Islands editor saw that the sand on Harbour Island was pink. The photos don’t do it justice.
When to go: Deals start springing up at the hotels (there are only 10 or 11) in May and stick around all summer, but your best bet for weather is in December through April.
Sugar Beach – St. Lucia
Of his recent stay at Sugar Beach, Islands photographer Zach Stovall wrote this: “Some villas high on the hillside behind me have private swimming pools. This two-bedroom beach bungalow has an outdoor tub instead. Oh, yeah — and the Caribbean Sea is about 10 long strides from the front door.
Only here: Selfies are maddening. Nestled at the base of Gros and Petit Piton, Sugar Beach’s location makes it tough to frame both iconic mountains (and yourself) in a single shot.
When to go: May and June deliver deals, but book ahead. Weddings are popular here.
Paul Gauguin Cruises – Islands of Tahiti
No overcrowded ports; ocean views from every suite. The m/s Paul Gauguin has perfected luxury at sea. But the most romantic experiences might be off the ship. This all-inclusive cruise’s small footprint allows access to Tahitian islands no larger boat can reach. A private motu in Tahiti? Romance just reached a whole new level.
Only here: With just 332 guests on each ship, the crew-to-guest ratio is 1:15, the lowest of any luxury cruise ship.
When to go: Any time you want. Year-round departure dates make it easy to pick a date.