Year after year, Hawaii sits near the top of the charts for honeymoon destinations. Although it’s part of the U.S., it feels worlds apart with sparkling-blue water, beaches that range from white powdery sand to black lava-rock formations, and tropical flowers as far as the eye can see (and smell!).
Romance is abundant throughout Hawaii, but here are five of my favorite hotels for the newly hitched:
It’s the intimate beach, open-air hale hau couples massages, adult-only serenity pool and spot-on service that make this Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star resort stand out for couples. Newlyweds can celebrate in spacious suites offering sprawling balconies and commanding ocean views. Spago, an outpost of chef Wolfgang Puck’s flagship restaurant, and The Spa at Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea are both Four-Star treats found at this tropical paradise.
The iconic “Pink Palace of the Pacific” garnered a renewed buzz in 2009 when it reopened after a massive $85 million renovation. The stunning Spanish-Moorish architecture stayed intact, but the interior décor increased its cool. Private beachfront cabanas, fine-dining restaurant Azure and on-the-beach Mai Tai Bar have attracted the likes of Cameron Diaz, Heather Graham and Hayden Panettiere. For sun-seeking twosomes who want the hustle and bustle of Honolulu, but also need a calm place to retreat, I recommend a stay at this fabled Waikiki Beach landmark.
A few years ago, this 1960s property underwent an overhaul, redesigned as a mod escape reminiscent of vintage Hollywood hangouts. Interior designer Anita Brooks styled the 121 guest rooms in hues of cool ocean blues and chocolate browns, with beds fitted in custom feather bedding and Anichini linens. Outdoor amenities include a scalloped pool and lava-rock hot tub. The prime location in sunny Poipu allows for adventurous lovebirds to surf and snorkel. Plus, you’re just a few minutes from the historic town of Koloa, the site of Hawaii’s first sugar plantation.
Turtle Bay Resort, Oahu
Think of this North Shore hotel as a quiet alternative to lively, cosmopolitan Honolulu. There are no major towns in this big-wave mecca; instead, you’ll find beautiful beaches frequented by longtime locals and guests at a handful of luxury resorts. Situated on five miles of private coastline, Turtle Bay may look familiar — it was the backdrop for the 2008 film Forgetting Sarah Marshall. The most romantic digs are the oceanfront cottages, but rooms run the gamut in price and style from standard accommodations to multi-bedroom villas.
The pristine island of Lanai is good for couples who want a low-key honeymoon experience with lots of aloha. (The 18-mile long island is home to a population of just 3,000 residents.) The Four-Star resort combines a tropical country setting with the world-class service and amenities that the brand is known for. Newlyweds in need of pampering can arrange for a champagne breakfast in bed, candlelit dinners for two (courtesy of executive chef Kevin Erving, the mastermind behind Four-Star The Dining Room) and sunset horseback rides.
Photos Courtesy of Four Seasons, Turtle Bay Resort and Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc.