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.
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.
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.
Mellby Klockagard, Skåne – for a boho retreat
Mellby is what Swedes call a “smultronställe” – literally a “wild strawberry place”, it means a little gem that you would really rather keep to yourself. Newly renovated, in a romantic and charmingly bohemian way, this b&b opens its seven individually decorated rooms (think painted wooden floorboards, splashes of colour and pattern and fleamarket finds) only in the summer months.
It’s the perfect honeymoon destination for boho couples looking to unwind amid a whimsical, storybook setting, with a magical garden, full of secret spots for drinking freshly-brewed espressos and day dreaming. Breakfasts are simple and delicious (and largely organic and local); many of the fruit, vegetables and herbs used in its dishes are grown in the b&b’s own garden.
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.
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.
Words by Ellie Edwards, Rhiannon Batten, Tatty Good and Lucy Gillmore