Looking for the idyllic foodie honeymoons? Want to know the best romantic destinations for foodies? Read on for the best beach hotels, charming b&bs and idyllic bamboo huts to stay in across the world.


Salt, Mauritius – for culturally curious couples

Salt is something different from clichéd images of Mauritius: a forward-thinking hotel brand that aims to provide authentic experiences for “culturally curious” travellers. The idea is to introduce guests not just to places but to people. The design of the 59-room hotel, courtesy of French interiors guru Camille Walala, reflects the island’s vivid colours. Among its library of 300 carefully curated books, three-quarters are Mauritian.

Food is at the resort’s heart (the philosophy explained by catchphrases such as “Farming it, not flying it”) and everything from supper with a Mauritian family to fishing trips with a local fisherman are on the menu. With an eye on environmental impact there are no mini-bars in the rooms and no single-use plastics. Each guest is given an aluminium bottle to refill at the water stations, and to take home.

Doubles from £136 per night, check availability at booking.com, mrandmrssmith.com or tui.co.uk

Click here for our full guide to Mauritius

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Teal-green tiles have a smoothie bowl perched on top. The smoothie bowl has sliced banana and nuts on top
Food is at the resort’s heart (the philosophy explained by catchphrases such as “Farming it, not flying it”)

UXUA casa hotel and spa, Trancoso – for luxurious boho beach vibes

Dotted around Trancoso, an idyllic, palm-fringed beach in the northeast of Brazil sit 11 luxury suites, all part of the UXUA casa hotel and spa. Many of the buildings the suites are set in date back over 500 years, and have been sensitively restored using reclaimed materials and local influences.

Choose the mint green Gulab Mahal suite, with its exposed beams and two storeys, for light and space, or the Seu João for a cosy pad for two, with its lush gardens, rustic kitchen, outdoor shower and private pool. For more pampering, take time out at the hotel’s spa, indulging in hot stone massages, body scrubs, facials and reflexology (all done using products made with local ingredients such as coconut oil, cocoa and pink pepper seeds).

Or stroll the eight-minute route from the hotel to UXUA’s private beach, where you’ll find a bar serving super-fresh ceviche, fish tacos and fresh coconut juice. Guests can also sign up for lessons in how to make moqueca, the traditional Bahian fish stew, with chef Bernardo Silva. The celebrated dish is made with whatever white fish has been caught that day, plus fat prawns, garlic, coconut cream, chilli, sweet peppers, parsley and coriander.

Suites from £432 per night, check availability at booking.com, mrandmrssmith.com or expedia.co.uk

Click here for our full guide to Trancoso

Views of the beach in Trancoso, Brazil
UXUA’s private beach, where you’ll find a bar serving super-fresh ceviche, fish tacos and fresh coconut juice

Six Senses Zighy Bay, Oman – for a private beachside escape

Its ultra-private beachside setting and a willingness to tailor-make the guest experience makes Six Senses Zighy Bay classic honeymoon territory. Laid out in the style of an Omani village (or, rather, a luxurious reimagining of that) the resort’s 87 villas are all variations on a theme, blending stone, wood and woven palm matting to soothing effect. All have a chic, tropical vibe, with dark wood furniture and bright citrus-coloured cushions, but if you want to wake up with a sea view, opt for one of the more expensive sunrise-facing Beachfront Pool villas.

On Friday evenings you can walk barefoot along the beach under a star-speckled sky for dinner at the Shua Shak, a breezy Bedouin-style restaurant with low tables and cushioned seating under a simple palm-leaf canopy. It’s the main course that everyone really comes for: mounds of flaky lamb that’s been marinated for 24 hours in olive oil, date syrup, bay leaves, onion, garlic, carrot, cinnamon, anise, cumin and rosemary, then wrapped in banana leaves and foil and cooked on coals in a pit under the sand for seven hours. It’s the perfect partner for the buttery pistachio, cashew and cardamom-laced saffron rice it’s served with – and one of the most romantic dining experiences in the Middle East.

Villas from £809 per night, check availability at booking.com, mrandmrssmith.com or britishairways.com

Six Senses Zighy Bay swimming pool
Six Senses Zighy Bay swimming pool

Fontelunga Hotel, Tuscany – for Italian sunsets

For a truly unwinding honeymoon amid Tuscany’s romantic rolling hills, make your way to this stylish hotel. Set within an olive estate, the elegant villa at the heart of Fontelunga is home to eight glamorously understated bedrooms, a junior suite in a separate cottage for couples seeking more seclusion, plus two private self-catering villas. Each room is named after an Italian material and colours are reflected in the styling, from plush silver furnishing in Diamante to peachy notes in Tormalina.

Spend your days lounging in the Jacuzzi, playing games of doubles on the tennis court or simply taking some time to stretch in the yoga gazebo. All of which will help you work up an appetite for the hotel’s cooking. Breakfast and lunches (homemade cakes and platters of pecorino cheese with local meats) are served on the terrace overlooking the Val di Chiana and – if you don’t want to venture out to the region’s acclaimed restaurants, trattorias and pizzerias – dinners can be ordered on request (you can also book a private chef to come and cook for you if you’re staying in one of the self-catering villas).

The big attraction for foodies, however, are the twice-weekly dinner parties thrown for all guests. Family-style sharing dishes start with fried vegetables and mixed crostini before moving onto a three-course dinner which uses local food of the season.

Doubles from £273, check availability at booking.com or mrandmrssmith.com

A long wooden table with white linen chairs. There are flickering candles on the table and plates with napkins on
Twice-weekly dinner parties thrown for all guests

Tao, Philippines – for a foodie adventure

A true desert island fantasy, with its powdery, palm tree-fringed beaches and rustic, back-to-nature styling, Tao means human in Filipino and this community-based hospitality initiative has people at its heart. Beginning as a homestay experience but developing into a more sophisticated social enterprise, the organisation works with local fisherman and farmers to offer trips and adventures for guests.

While the project runs in various locations across the Philippines (mountain trips and boat-based adventures are also possible), it’s the beach retreats in Northern Palawan, that are perhaps most suited to honeymooners, not least Camp Ngeyngey on the protected island of Manguengey.

A true escape (don’t expect room service or Wi-Fi), here you can wake up each morning in a bamboo hut before heading out on a private boat tour, going snorkelling or swimming off deserted beaches or enjoying a traditional massage. In the evenings, return to sip on rum cocktails and feast on fresh fish in the company of your fellow adventurers (you can only visit as part of a group, on specific dates, but don’t worry you’ll get plenty of time on your own).


Royal Champagne Hotel and Spa, France – for Michelin-starred dining

Set in the hills above Champillon and Hautvillers, the Royal Champagne Hotel and Spa is the region’s first contemporary five-star hotel serving michelin star food across two restaurants.

Overlooking the lush rolling hills, the spa is home to a yoga studio, eucalyptus-infused saunas along with two swimming pools, one indoor and one outdoor.

Rooms start from £346 per night, but if you’re looking for a romantic dinner Le Royal offers fine-dining without having to stay the night. The four-course discovery menu is a chance to try a selection of the chef’s favourite dishes, so expect crab and caviar served with mango and citrus fruit marmalade, sole and blue lobster served with Champagne sauce (a nod to the region) and an indulgent chocolate dessert.

For a more relaxed dining experience, book a table at Le Bellevue which serves classic French dishes of beef steak with frites and cappuccino puff pastry filled with coffee crémeux.

Doubles from £800 per night, check availability at booking.com or mrandmrssmith.com

Through glass windows there are rolling vineyards. There is a table with two chairs with a bottle of wine and a couple of glasses on it
The Royal Champagne Hotel and Spa, set in the hills above Champion and Hautviller

Jardin Des Douars, Essaouira – for a Moroccan oasis

Essaouira, on Morocco’s often-blustery west coast, pulls in kite surfers from across the world, along with free-thinking expats on the trail of Jimi Hendrix and tourists looking for a bargain in the souks of the town’s bustling medina. Set in the hills above the city, Jardin des Douars is an oasis of palms, plants and monkey puzzle trees. The French-owned hotel is a calm retreat of 25 rooms, spaced out between a main ksar building and various terracotta villas in Jardin des Douars’ tropical gardens.

There’s a laid-back, mellow feel at this tranquil hideaway, with an air of French chicness weaving through traditional Moroccan features – secret courtyards hide fountains decorated with classic zellige tiles, palms brush against walls lined with African art, and Berber rugs warm up earthy tiled floors. French couples mooch along the cobbled paths and well-behaved kids chatter to polo shirt-clad staff. There are two pools; one caters for kids who want to splash, the other adults who want to enjoy a swim while soaking up the serene surroundings. The latter is only a few pads away from the hotel’s atmospheric spa, where a traditional hammam is heated with bark from the property’s argan trees (here are our favourite foodie spa hotels to check out).

Behind heavy wooden doors are luxurious rooms that stick to a traditional Moroccan style – squishy beds are covered with colourful throws, French doors with intricate carvings open out onto private patios and antique furniture fills up atmospheric alcoves. There are even mini hammam kits in each bathroom to use in the turquoise-tiled power showers for extra luxury.

Make sure you do a safari of the restaurant spaces during your stay at Jardin des Douars, as each provides a unique experience. Book a couple of plush armchairs in La Table des Douars’ intimate little room, off the main courtyard, for a hushed candlelit dinner reflected in the 30-or-so gilt-framed mirrors down one wall. For a more relaxed affair, sprawl out in the sunken, cushioned area of the hotel’s main restaurant Le Ksar, a palatial room decked out in burnt orange and red hues, boasting spectacular views of the gardens and the argan tree-filled valley below. The Moroccan Corner is your go-to restaurant for traditional tagines, stews and couscous.

Jardin des Douars provides a shuttle service into Essaouira medina and we highly recommend making the 15-minute trip into this lively town. Meander through narrow streets, past hole-in-the-wall boutiques and carts flogging fresh bread, and barter for souvenirs in the souks before ducking in to one of Essaouira’s restaurants for tagines and hearty salads.

Doubles from £152, check availability at booking.com or mrandmrssmith.com

Jardin des Douars Hotel Essaouira

The St Regis, Langkawi, Malaysia – for tropical luxury

Langkawi is an archipelago of 99 islands off the northwestern coast of Malaysia. It’s a dream destination with an old-school island vibe. Beaches are picture-perfect - long white strips of powdery sand, deep greeny-blue water and bobbing speedboats tied up to jetties – and, beyond them, is unspoilt nature; waterfalls, jungle and mangrove forests.

The St Regis resort sits in an idyllic cove on the southern tip of Puala Langkawi, the largest island in the archipelago. The beautifully rambling space is made up of 85 suites and four private over-water villas. The design of the hotel is deliberately eclectic, mixing European and Middle Eastern influences with local art, and the indoor and outdoor spaces flow between each other. The main body of the resort houses sea-view suites and the main restaurants and bars while an annexe houses pool suites (each has its own pool and a gate opening straight onto a private 600-metre white sand beach, merging into a natural salt lagoon that’s perfect for swimming). Every room comes with the St Regis 24-hour butler service, which includes complimentary packing and unpacking, ironing-on-demand and hot and cold drinks whenever thirst strikes.

Breakfasts here are epic. Served in the resort’s airy L’Orangerie restaurant the buffet-style offering takes in every imaginable option. Think freshly pressed fruit and veg juices, sushi, a dim sum station, laksa, rendang, noodle soups, as well as more familiar western options such as an omelette station and a pile of perfect breakfast breads and pastries. Oh and an ice cream and sorbet bar, should you fancy a scoop of tangy mango sorbet to start the day. There’s also an a la carte menu with specialities like local lobster omelette, croissant French toast, wagyu steak and eggs and shakshuka. No one is going to go hungry here.

For dinner, the star attraction is the beautiful Kayaputi restaturant. Accessed by a wooden walkway from the hotel entrance, the restaurant stands in the sea on stilts. Step out onto its terrace bar and you have a choice of low sofas or suspended hammocks to lounge on, enjoy a cocktail and watch another incredible sunset. Inside, the whitewashed, wood-slatted walls evoke a New England beach house kind of vibe but with beautifully plush furnishings (including white chairs with huge peacock plume decorations) there’s more than a hint of super-luxe.

If idyllic beach-lounging isn’t enough the St Regis offers a bespoke Geo Forest Safari adventure. This thrilling afternoon-long trip takes the form of a speedboat ride down the local Kilim river to Jurassic Park-like mangrove swamps. En route wildlife - including native white-bellied eagles and extremely tame monkeys - comes close to the boats. Then the safari continues on foot through caves of stalagmite and stalactites before reaching a huge cave which houses hundreds of bats. It’s not for the faint-hearted but the connection to nature is an important part of island life and it’s a privilege to witness it first-hand.

Suites from £259 per night, check availability at marriott.com, booking.com or expedia.co.uk


Birkenhead House, South Africa – for whale watching

All-inclusive means many things but at Birkenhead House, perched above the beach outside the coastal town of Hermanus (about a two-hour drive from Cape Town), it stretches as far as whale-watching; time your visit right and you can watch majestic southern right whales cavort in the Atlantic below while you tuck into breakfast, or a cocktail, on the hotel’s terrace. But then this isn’t all-inclusive as you know it. There are no wristbands, no all-you-can-eat buffets. Instead you’re free to pour yourself a drink from the bar, crack open a bottle of fizz when you feel like it and order from an à la carte menu.

The hotel’s 11 rooms are beach house in style, luxurious but not in an over-the-top way. Many are sea-facing, (all have their own balconies) and room one has unparalleled ocean views, while room five has a ‘honeymoon plunge pool’.

The breakfast buffet has been given great thought with fresh fruits and berries and little jars of natural yoghurt topped with home-made fruit purée or granola. The cheeses, charcuterie, pickles and chutney are top notch and there are plenty of hot choices, too. At dinner time, Birkenhead House chef Ziyaad Ozayr Brown sources everything from within 10-15 km of the nearby Klein River, including a glorious array of local artisanal charcuterie and cheeses from Klein River Farmstead (kleinrivercheese.co.za). Being Cape Malay, a lot of his dishes have Malaysian and Indian influences, marrying a love of spices with a penchant for the sweet and coconutty, on a daily changing menu.

Doubles from £539, check availability at booking.com or mrandmrssmith.com

The St Regis, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – for a tropical city break

Malaysia’s capital is a heady mix. On one hand it’s high-rise and hi-tech, with mega shopping malls and glam rooftop cocktail bars. On the other it has vibrant markets, bustling street-food action and bumper-to-bumper cars. Between these two sides are pockets of lush green parkland - and a forest on the doorstep. And all of this operates in a state of constant sweltering heat and tropical humidity.

KL is not short of luxury hotels and the St Regis is one of the swishest on offer. Arriving in the impressive lobby out of the soupy heat is like being dipped into a calm, cool breeze. Rooms range from deluxe standards to full-on suites but even at entry level you are guaranteed the St Regis butler service – that’s a 24-hour service for packing and unpacking, garment pressing and refreshment delivery. Space is a key element here; the slightly out-of-the-action location means all the rooms are all generously sized. Suites have huge bathrooms the highlight of which are the rainfall showers and stand-alone baths which sit in front of a room-length window with views over KL (don’t worry the view only goes one way!).

As you’d expect in a hotel this swank the food choices are pretty breathtaking. The jewel in the crown is the bagging of 3 Michelin-starred Japanese chef Takashi Saito in his first ever venture out of Tokyo, Taka by Sushi Saito. His restaurant is a beautiful traditional wooden, high-ceilinged space where guests sit around a huge hinoki wood counter and sushi is prepared in front of them. Meals are served omakase-style so the diner entrusts the chef to serve whatever he wants to on the day. Saito, although based in Tokyo, is making quarterly visits to the St Regis to monitor the quality. Waiting lists are naturally quite long so it’s worth booking ahead when planning a trip.

For guests who want to completely wind down and embrace some of the spectacular natural habitat of Malaysia first-hand, the St Regis has just developed the Shirin Yoku or forest therapy programme alongside the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia. This takes the form of a guided walk through the local regenerated tropical forest (about half an hour’s drive away), including a thrilling canopy walk suspended 30 metres above the ground. Guides work for the institute and know the forest intimately and, with over 1,500 plant species and 190 species of birds, it’s a real education in local nature.

Doubles from £211, check availability at marriott.com or booking.com

St. Regis Suite Bathroom (2)


Words by Ellie Edwards, Rhiannon Batten, Tatty Good and Lucy Gillmore

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