The editors here at Fodor's cannot stop talking about the Royal Honeymoon.
Americans have always been weirdly obsessed with the British royal family, but now we have an excuse—Meghan Markle. With Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s upcoming wedding, we’ve certainly come down with Royal Fever. And as travel editors, there’s one question that we cannot stop thinking about: Where will they go on their honeymoon? From private islands to remote mountain escapes, here’s where we think the newest royal couple should spend their first days of marriage.
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This is a couple that breaks with tradition. She’s been divorced! He used to party in Vegas! Which is why they should skip Queen-approved commonwealth countries and head to St. Barths, the Caribbean’s luxurious French-speaking darling. The island is pure romance, with turquoise waters lapping white sand beaches. It’s also home to Eden Rock, a fit-for-royalty hotel on St. Jean Bay with private villas that are no stranger to celebrities. The kicker? It’s owned by—wait for it—Pippa Middleton’s in-laws. They’d be supporting the extended fam and showing love for a hurricane-hit community—a royal win-win if we ever saw one. (They’ll just have to go fashionably late when the property re-opens later this year; it’s renovating after the 2017 hurricane season.)
—Kayla Becker, Editor
I’m not totally sure why Meghan Markle is famous (except, of course, that she’s marrying a prince!) but even though I don’t know anything about the royal couple, they strike me as the type to skip the beach in favor of something truly remote and surprisingly romantic—Newfoundland, the Azores, or even Patagonia.
However, royals are not like us. Every trip they take is either an “official visit” or a family gathering, so their honeymoon is probably the one chance they’ll get to unplug, relax, and forget for a second that they’re one of the most recognizable couples on earth. Because of this, privacy is probably the number one criteria for determining a honeymoon destination. And there’s nowhere more private than a private island.
Quilalea, an island off of Mozambique, is a tiny paradise with just one luxurious resort—Azura Quilalea. It’s chic, it’s remote, and it’s so under-the-radar that you probably haven’t even heard of it. Add a few days of safari after the beach and you’ve got a perfect vacation.
—Teddy Minford, Editor
I love how classy William and Kate are as much as the next gal, but I think we can all agree that Harry and Meghan are basically their opposite as a couple: unguarded, adventurous, and fun. So I think they should choose a honeymoon destination that gives them way more to do than just sit around on a beach in the Seychelles (William and Kate’s honeymoon island of choice). So where are all adventure travelers heading to these days? New Zealand. I can see them spending two weeks skipping across both the North and South islands: scuba-diving on Poor Knights Island, hiking a Great Walk, sipping wine in Hawke’s Bay, and even bungee-jumping in Queenstown. If they need a night of indulgence, there are always the luxurious but unique tree houses at Hapuku Lodge.
—Amanda Sadlowski, Editor
The royal couple’s mutual love of Africa has been well documented, so it stands to reason that they may want to honeymoon on the continent where their love blossomed. With that said, I suggest they head to Namibia, more specifically Namib-Naukluft National Park, to experience Sossusvlei’s breathtaking star-shaped desert dunes. This is one of the most romantic places on earth; it just screams honeymoon destination. Tiny Wolwedans Private Camp (so tiny they can have the whole place to themselves) has unobstructed views of the surrounding desert and offers hot air balloon rides, desert walks, and dune excursions. What’s more, a portion of the park’s entry fee goes directly to park conservation—something the civic minded duo would love.
After they’ve completely decompressed, a more traditional safari experience may be in order. Known as one of Namibia’s most exclusive and luxurious camps, Little Ongava is also small (i.e. private) enough for the couple to be alone. Located in the Ongava Game Reserve next to Etosha National Park, the couple can look forward to big game sightings (including lion and white and black rhino) on day and night drives, waterhole visits, guided walks, and even rhino tracking—Harry can impress his new bride with his knowledge from his time in Namibia with The Nature Conservancy and the Save The Rhino Trust in 2015.
—Alexis Kelly, Editor
I pretend to rise above the endless fascination and obsession with the British Royals but in my heart of hearts I do wonder how Kate (aka the Duchess of Cambridge) has such glossy hair, how her sister Pippa got that perky bum, and if Charles and Camilla are truly happy. With all the sensationalism, you can lose sight of the fact that Royals just want to be loved, and just like us peasants, they want to live happily ever after.
The future Duke and Duchess of Sussex will have lots of pomp and publicity around their wedding day, so I think they should set themselves up for happily-ever-after by getting off the grid and heading to the Tien Shan Mountains for a wildlife conservation research expedition that will both test them and establish them as a couple.
Biosphere Expeditions hosts citizen science conservation trips to all corners of the Earth. The royal couple are both outspoken and engaged activists, so they could study wolves in Germany or work with critically endangered leatherback turtles sea turtles in Costa Rica but I think that to get away from the paparazzi, they should hike into the breathtaking Tien Shan Mountains of Kyrgyzstan. Here, housed in true expedition-style tent camps with few or no modern amenities (i.e., no toilets, running water, butlers etc.), the couple will conduct a survey of snow leopards and their prey species, such as the Tien Shan argali and the Central Asian ibex, as well as marmots, birds, and small mammals. As a couple they will bond as they bury their poop in the ground, walk up to 10 miles a day in high mountain terrain and altitude, and take part in overnight surveys in remote and high locations under the stars.
After this two-week expedition, I’d recommend that Megs and Harry prolong their escape with a stop in the Susamyr Valley, located between the ridges of Kyrgyz and Talas Ala-Too in the Tien Shan Mountains. Here, the couple can try Kymyz Therapy – a magical beverage of mares milk which at high altitudes contains dozens of valuable microelements that serve as a treatment for enriching one’s health before they start producing heirs to the throne!
If they want to stay gone a while longer, they can take themselves on horseback to stay in a yurt near the turquoise waters of Köl-Suu. From there, they can continue on a recently-established trail system. The couple will find information on trekking routes, how to hire horses, mountain guides, and yurts on Discover Kyrgyzstan.
—Jacinta O’Halloran, Senior Editor
Prince Harry has created a personal brand and reputation for being the non-stuffy, fun-loving royal, and he shouldn’t quit just because he’s settling down. So the couple has got to go to a secluded (read: pricey) location due to their combined fame, but they should still keep it funky. Why not check out Gladden Island in Belize? Besides being the *most* private island in the world, it’s luxurious to the max: gourmet chef meals, premium wines, excursions and spas treatments, and literally no neighbors. Belize is a big promoter of eco-tourism and is primarily English speaking, so lots of easy PR wins and low-key planning. If they are feeling adventurous, it’s just a helicopter hop to the mainland for rainforests, ruins, and waterfalls.
—Rachael Levitt, Managing Editor of Fodors.com
Both Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have done extraordinary human rights work. Harry has most recently focused on aiding veterans and Meghan has been a vocal advocate for women and children. They should honeymoon in island of Vieques in Puerto Rico. They can stay at the eco-friendly and aesthetically striking Hix Island House, take a midnight canoe ride in the glowing Puerto Mosquito Bioluminescent Bay, sip Piña Coladas on the stunning Pata Prieta, and highlight the gross neglect shown by the US government to the US citizens of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastated the Island. Six months later, some 16% of the island is still without power as FEMA has yet to be held responsible for its botched recovery efforts. Puerto Rico has received only a fraction of the aid it needs to rebuild, and the people despair that their lives will ever recover.
—Margaret Kelly, Senior Editor
What better place for a nice American lady and a nice British prince to come together than this colonial theme park in Virginia? Before they make some history themselves, they can check out the world’s largest living history museum, and take a tour of the palace home of Virginia’s last royal governor, as if they were, perhaps, kids again (before venturing into their new life of being royal married adults). They can stay at the iconic Williamsburg Inn for the full luxury colonial experience.
—Audrey Farnsworth, Editor
If you’re Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, you’ve got to want to get away from the crowd. I think they should go to Quito. It’s a 16th-century city with beautiful baroque churches and 500-year old haciendas with Spanish tile roofs in the romantic and walkable Old Town. In the newer parts of town, they’ll find cool bars and restaurants. Basically, it’s a lot like Europe but far enough away so they might stand a chance of missing crowds of excited well-wishers.
If that’s not far enough away from town, the newlyweds, who are big fans of adventure travel, can head an hour or so outside of the city and spend a night deep in the flooded primary rainforest, go white water rafting in the quiet beach town Banos, or even head to the top of a cloud-covered mountain and swing over the edge of the world.
Of course, if it’s the kind of honeymoon where you just stay in, Casa Gangotena is the perfect spot: a sprawling historic mansion with its own courtyard and suites that overlook Quito’s famous San Francisco Plaza.
—Meg Butler, Staff Writer
WHERE: Hong Kong
Their highnesses should honeymoon in the world’s highest hotel. The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong occupies floors 102 through 118 of the International Commerce Centre, the 12th tallest building in the world. And way, way up there on the 117th floor is the highest room of them all: a 3,930 sq. ft. suite with 270-degree views of the city.
As Hong Kong used to be part of their empire, they can reminisce about the bad old days of occupation and colonization from atop this steel-and-glass tower. A tower, of course, being the regular route of several notable royal spouses, from Margaret of Anjou to Anne Boleyn. Together, Prince Henry of Wales and the Duchess of Sussex can hum God Save the Queen while looking down upon the common-folk in 400-thread-count linens from 1,588 feet in the sky. Though the room doesn’t come cheap–around $18,000 per night–it’s but a paltry sum for a family that’s paid $60 million (£42.9 million) annually by their subjects.
—Jeremy Tarr, Editorial Director for Fodors.com