Wine-loving newlyweds want more from their honeymoons than rose-petal pathways, swan towels and Champagne for two—and resorts around the world are taking note. From a floating wine-and-food adventure for two on Amsterdam’s scenic canals—hosted live by a Michelin-starred chef, by the way—to a romantic Napa Valley getaway designed to stock a couple’s first wine cellar, these hot spots will transport wine-loving honeymooners to paradise.
There’s something rustically romantic about catching your own lunch and cooking it—perhaps more so when it involves a private boat, personal chef and lobster. Foodies looking for a luxe scuba diving excursion shouldn’t miss this one-of-a-kind Dive and Dine package at the Four Seasons Resort Nevis, West Indies ($1,950 for two). With Nevisian Dive Master Ellis Chadderton as your guide, you’ll explore the waters on an extended two-tank lobster dive. When back on land, Executive Chef of the Resort Andreas Donnerbauer will grill your freshly caught lobster for lunch and pair it with the perfect wine (his go-to lobster match is Château D’Esclans Whispering Angel Rosé). After you’re done diving, unwind in your private cabana-style beach house, complete with a personal butler.
Typically overshadowed by Paris and Rome, Amsterdam is a still-secret spot where honeymooners can sip, sup and stay in style. Book a suite for $1,162 a night at the luxurious 40-room Dylan Amsterdam hotel, situated in a 17th century landmark on the scenic Keizersgracht—one of Amsterdam’s prettiest canals. Or stay in a standard room ($581 per night) and enjoy High Wine (the hotel’s Dutch version of high tea), featuring four small plates from Vinkeles’s Executive Chef Dennis Kuipers paired with four sommelier-selected wines to match the seasonal bites. Smoked salmon with a marinated roseval potato, herring eggs and butterhead lettuce paired with Schloss Gobelsburg’s 2011 Grüner Veltliner from Kamptal, Austria, is currently featured on the menu.
For those seeking an even more intimate wine-and-food experience, set sail on the hotel’s private, fully restored 19th century wooden vessel, The Muze, for a leisurely cruise on the city’s famous canals and a custom 7-course wine-and-food extravaganza. Reservations can be made for $1,195 for the vessel and skipper (4 hours on the water), the 7-course menu is $239 per person including wine.
Stays at the breathtaking Meadowood resort and spa in the heart of Napa Valley are highly customizable. Consider its Art of Romance package, which includes a couple’s massage at the on-premise spa, $50 breakfast credit (served in the privacy of your own room or in The Grill, overlooking the fairways), a bottle of Napa sparkling wine and chocolates. Guests can add on as many touches as they’d like, including wine-focused picnics for two, morning balloon rides and drawn-to-order (via careful cell phone monitoring) bubble baths complete with wine. But best of all for newlyweds (and available exclusively to guests of the property) is the Our First Wine Cellar package: In advance of your trip, a Meadowood sommelier will help you kick start your first wine cellar by creating an itinerary that includes tours of nearby wineries that best speak to your entertaining style and collecting interests. You can purchase and order wines ($250 per couple).
If money is no object, look no further than this seven-day wine-focused safari in South Africa. The first three days include guided game drives to see lions, elephants and hippos, followed by sumptuous wine-focused dinners for two at the upscale Singita Ebony Lodge, located in the heart of the 139,000-acre Sabi Sands game reserve. Singita Ebony’s wine cellar focuses on South African bottlings, and encounters with the lodge’s sommeliers help fine tune wine selections for the rest of the trip. “In compiling our lists, we try to include not only unique wines but also lesser-known producers to ensure a sense of adventure and newness,’ says Francois Rautenbach, premier wine direct manager at Singita Ebony Lodge.
The remainder of the honeymoon includes private tours of vineyards in the Cape Winelands, including Klein Constantia Wine Estate, Groot Constantia Wine Estate and Steenberg Estate, along with a day spent in the Stellenbosch region for chocolate, cheese and olives (this day trip can also include visits to Haute Cabrière, Môreson and Delaire Graff Estate wineries). A drive along the coast to the tip of the Cape Peninsula with a picnic lunch and wine in the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, followed by a helicopter ride, rounds out the to-do list. Prices begin at $9,700 per person in low season.
A honeymoon at Turks and Caicos Grace Bay Club in Providenciales has a distinct wine-and-food focus: The 82-room resort plays host to Stix on Grace Bay, the Caribbean’s first fleeting eatery (open through July). Or plan your trip around the resort’s other big foodie fest—The Caribbean Food and Wine Festival, held from October 31 to November 2, 2013, which features a “gourmet safari,” shuttling epicures for food stops at top restaurants around the island with wine tastings by some of the world’s most renowned vintners. (Last year, Heidi Barrett from Napa Valley and John Terlato of Terlato Wines International showed face.) Couples can score a free night—along with romantic extras like a Champagne bubble bath, breakfast in bed, 20% off at the spa and chocolate-covered strawberries—when they book a three-night stay under the Couples Get-A-Way package. Don’t miss dining with your toes in the sand—literally—at the resort’s Anacaona restaurant, the closest eatery to the shore on the entire island, or sip cocktails at the resort’s famous Infiniti Bar, which at 90-feet is said to be the longest in the Caribbean. Prices start at $483 per night.