5. BORA BORA (FRENCH POLYNESIA)
Under a one hour flight from the South Pacific island of Tahiti or Moorea, the island of Bora Bora, with a lagoon resembling an artist’s palette of blues and greens, is love at first sight. Romantics from around the world have laid claim to this island where the castle-like Mount Otemanu pierces the sky. Lush tropical slopes and valleys blossom with hibiscus, while palm-covered motu circle the illuminated lagoon like a delicate necklace. Perfect white-sand beaches give way to emerald waters where colored fish animate the coral gardens as they greet the giant manta rays. Luxurious over-water bungalows nestled over the world’s most beautiful lagoon with a tropical backdrop makes Bora Bora a top destination for honeymooners.
4. SANTORINI (GREECE)
Arguably Greece’s most beautiful island, Santorini is a mix of towering black cliffs, inky waters and whitewashed villages. Santorini inspires every visitor because of its spectacular landscapes of white washed houses and blue domed churches perched on volcanic cliffs, all set against the backdrop of the beautiful shimmering Aegean waters. Unfortunately, thanks to its epic beauty, Santorini endures another plague – plenty of visitors during summer – when roads are blocked, restaurants are full and prices soar. While spring is a lovely time to visit, particularly for the wild flowers, the sea has yet to warm up enough for all but the bravest. This is why October is best – there are no crowds, the water is warm and there’s wine to be tasted.
Undeniably the most luxurious destination on the globe, the Maldives has become a synonym for paradise whether it is for honeymooners, sun worshipers, scuba divers or celebrities. Located on the equator towards the south of India and stretching over 800 km/500 miles, the islands are the visible coral tips of an oceanic volcanic mountain range whose outer edge at some points plunge to depths of over 3 km/1,8 miles. The Maldives are blessed with exquisite ribbons of powdery-soft white sand, crystal clear blue lagoons, incredible underwater wildlife, and unrivalled luxury resorts that take up their own private island. The Maldives is also home to my two favorite hotels in the world, Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani, which both offer the world’s largest overwater villas (with slides and retractable roofs).
The Seychelles are an archipelago of legendary beauty in the Indian Ocean, just south of the Equator and east of Kenya. Its 115 coral and granite islands, which are the peaks of a massive underwater plateau, star in countless tropical island fantasies and represent one of the world’s very last frontiers. Once your aircraft descends into the Seychelles International Airport, you know that you have arrived at a place of awe-inspiring scenery, with granitic mountain ranges clad in virgin jungle cascading down to hauntingly beautiful, palm fringed, with sand beaches. The Seychelles beckon discerning travelers to their shores, by offering adventure, romance and luxury resorts in pristine surrounds still untouched by man.
1. KAUAI (HAWAII, USA)
Towards the end of the Hawaiian archipelago lives a small, rainy island called Kauai. Known as the Garden Island, Kauai is home to wildly verdant landscapes, breathtaking beaches and utter serenity. It is on the northwest shore of Kauai that you will discover the famous Napali Coast – a 16 km/10 mi stretch of 1000-meter/3,000-foot high verdant mountain cliffs that seem to rise endlessly from the depths of the ocean floor. Other spectacular places on the island include the awesome Waimea Canyon, frequently referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”, and the mystical Mount Wai ‘ale ‘ale – an extinct 5,000-year old volcano renowned for its mist-covered peaks and some of the world’s most spectacular waterfalls.