It’s the most anticipated event in the royal calendar this year – the Royal Wedding. And while we all want to be the first to see the full details – the dress, the ring, the guest list – there is one topic that has the most interest for us luxury travel lovers; the honeymoon.
The Royal Family have always been the source of conversation-starters, checking into elegant hotels and rubbing shoulders with dignified hosts as they jet across the world. In anticipation of finding out which destination, hotel or hideaway is given the latest royal honeymoon seal of approval, we look back at our favourite royal holiday destinations to add to our travel agendas this year.
Our Top 5 Royal Holiday Destinations
Africa is said to hold a special place in Prince Harry’s heart, now even more so after the couple celebrated Meghan Markle’s 36th birthday, which was also the couples’ first anniversary, in a luxury lodge in Botswana. While rumours flew that the proposal would be popped during this special escape, the couple returned ring-free, and any impending nuptials weren’t announced until a few months later.
Having visited a number of times as a child, and taking refuge there with his father and brother following his mother’s death, it’s no surprise he feels such a strong connection with the country – last year, he even became a patron of Rhino Conservation Botswana to help protect one of Africa’s most threatened species. In a heart-warming combination of all his most treasured loves, Meghan Markle’s engagement ring features a stone from Botswana set between two from Princess Diana’s personal collection.
To follow in the footsteps of the newlyweds, head to the Okavango Delta for a stunning safari experience, where you will find some of Africa’s premier camps and most luxurious lodges. If, like Prince Harry, you want to help improve the future for rhinos and other wildlife, Zarafa Camp is part of Dereck and Bevery Joubert‘s creed to preserve the wilderness. It is also a member of Unique Luxury Lodges of the World, with four exquisite all-inclusive tents set along the source of the Savute Channel.
While rumours mostly point to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle honeymooning in Africa, there is another destination that may have enough clout to pull the newlyweds in. St Kitts and Nevis, which is fittingly referred to as the ‘Queen of the Caribbean’, is no stranger to royal guests. In 1993, Prince Harry visited Nevis, the smaller of the twin islands, with his mother, and stayed at the beautifully boutique Montpelier Plantation & Beach.
Nestled in the hills, this secluded sanctuary is a honeymoon heaven. Set in an original 18th century windmill and plantation house, among delightfully fragrant gardens, this laid-back hideaway oozes romance. It sits 750-feet above the Caribbean Sea for the most stunning sun sets you could wish for, though if Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were to come here, they may be tempted to arrange a private candle-lit dinner in the old stone sugar mill.
Prince Harry’s royal wedding is possibly the most talked-about nuptials since his older brother, Prince William, tied the knot with the Duchess of Cambridge. And while nobody expects the newly married couple to sit in the shadows of the royal wedding before them, we can’t help but look back at the last royal honeymoon destination.
Prince William and Kate Middleton made honeymoon history when they jetted off to the sumptuous private hideaway of North Island in the Seychelles. With arrival by helicopter, you can’t get much more exclusive than one of these 11 luxurious villas, cocooned within totally unspoiled rainforest foliage. There is even the aptly-named Honeymoon Beach, a perfectly romantic spot to savour a picnic on the sand on a lazy afternoon.
Of course, a luxury holiday isn’t a new royal tradition for today’s generation. Long before Prince William and Harry’s post-wedding travel plans were hitting headlines and causing twitter sensations, Princess Margaret had been holidaying and hosting celebrity friends on the island of Mustique for over 30 years.
Loved for her ability to ruffle feathers, at the age of 22 years old Queen Elizabeth II’s younger sister sparked scandal by requesting to marry the divorced Royal Air Force Officer, Peter Townsend. Their relationship wasn’t to be, and the princess later married society photographer, Antony Armstrong-Jones. As a wedding present, her friend Colin Tennant gifted her a plot of land on his exclusive hideaway island of Mustique. Here, the princess had her own illustrious villa named Les Jolies Eaux, which she is said to have used to escape the pressure of royal life, and was followed by internationally-recognised names such as David Bowie, Mick Jagger and Tommy Hilfiger.
Created for the sole purpose of providing an ultra-luxurious sanctuary for the rich and notable to seek refuge from the public eye, Mustique is still one of the most exclusive holiday destinations you can find. There is only one fully-serviced hotel here, Cotton House, which was the first project on the island. 50 years later, it is still one of the most envied Caribbean luxury holiday destinations, though for a totally private getaway, there is also a selection of impressive villas to take your fancy.
5. Harry’s Bar
If you can’t make it to a royal holiday destination, you can always make a toast to the monarchy’s new marital addition at the aptly-named Harry’s Bar in Venice. While it may be yet to see the young prince take up a bar stool, this iconic bar has had an equally impressive clientele, including Lord Byron, Orson Welles, Ernest Hemingway, Maria Callas and Truman Capote, who flocked through its doors in search of the essence of café society.
Opened in 1931 by the legendary Cipriani family, Harry’s Bar in Venice is the birthplace of the Bellini – prepare to live with your regret if you leave the city without sipping the original concoction of Prosecco and white peach puree. It is said to have been inspired by the colours of the sunset and named after the palette used in a Giovanni Bellini painting. It is also the home of the gourmet dish of thinly sliced raw sirloin, Carpaccio, which was created for an esteemed Italian guest who was on a diet free from cooked meat.
Like Prince Harry himself, Harry’s Bar has also gone international, with incarnations in New York, London, Dubai, Miami, Monte Carlo and many more. Located on Manhattan Island’s Fifth Avenue, the New York set-up is almost an exact duplicate of the original Venice bar, meaning Meghan Markle’s loyal followers can toast to her new royal life on her home continent.
To find out more about any of our favourite royal holiday destinations, please call our expert Travel Consultants on 01244 897 578 or visit elegantresorts.co.uk.