Paradise Found

Originally published in the June 2017 bridal issue of DeSoto Magazine~Exploring the South. By Mary Ann DeSantis.

The wedding festivities are over, and now it’s time to get lost in a romantic escape. These secluded destinations offer the ultimate honeymoon hideaways where you can disconnect from the world and reconnect with each other.


“Picture-Perfect Romance”
Ocean Club Resorts – Grace Bay Beach,
Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Islands (British West Indies)

Ocean Club Resorts

Relax at Ocean Club Resorts.

“This will be your screen-saver shot,” tour guide Michael Williams announced as a group trekked up a rocky path, known as the King’s Road, on North Caicos, the second largest and lushest in the string of 40-plus islands in the Bahamas archipelago known as the Turks and Caicos.

A little while later, the native islander proudly proclaimed another potential screen-saver picture as he stood on a cliff overlooking the turquoise blue waters surrounding Dragon Cay on Middle Caicos.

Indeed, almost every scene in the Turks and Caicos is a potential computer screen saver, including the grounds surrounding Ocean Club Resorts on the gateway island of Providenciales. Ocean Club is situated on Grace Bay, the 2016 Trip Advisor Travelers’ Choice for the No. 1 beach in the world. Coupled with last year’s Travel & Leisure’s Readers’ Choice award for the Caribbean’s top resort, Ocean Club Resorts is indeed paradise where the white sand is lined with pink umbrellas and lounge chairs. Ocean Club has two properties – Ocean Club and Ocean Club West – and guests can use restaurants, beach amenities, and swimming pools at both locations.

Diving, snorkeling, kayaking, kiteboarding, sailing, and horseback riding are among the most popular activities for tourists, and several companies offer charter fishing trips for anglers. Nearby is the Provo Golf Club, a challenging 18-hole course surrounded by natural flora and fauna.

Newlyweds can revel in special pampering with a seven-night honeymoon package that includes champagne, an evening sunset cruise, a candlelight dinner at the award-winning Opus restaurant, couple’s massages and lodging in spacious condominium studios or deluxe suites.

Honeymoon packages start at $2,765 for seven nights (summer rates).

“Snuggler’s Paradise”
Little Palm Island Resort & Spa
Little Torch Key, FL

No passport is needed for this exclusive tropical paradise located on a 5.5-acre private island, accessible only by boat or seaplane. Little Palm Island Resort & Spa features only 30 thatched-roof bungalow suites with luxury and privacy being of utmost importance.

Arrive at Little Palm Island by seaplane.

A well-kept secret among CEOs, politicians, and celebrities – including Drew Barrymore and Michael Jordan – this Noble House Resort in the Florida Keys features secluded beaches and cloistered lounge areas surrounded by lush landscaping and mangroves.

Relax in your own West Indies-inspired suite, but make time to enjoy everything this full-service resort has to offer, including snorkeling, kayaking, fishing, scuba diving, and touring the Lower Keys. For the ultimate in relaxation, the onsite SpaTerre offers a variety of treatments incorporating Eastern and Western styles and traditions to promote health and inner peace.

Plan to “unplug” because Little Palm Resort intentionally omitted telephones and televisions from the suites to enhance the remote island experience.  Complimentary Wi-Fi access is available only in the resort’s Great Room.

Follow one of the crushed shell walkways to the award-winning Dining Room for a vibrant blend of seasonally inspired French and Pan-Latin cuisines. Private dining options are also available, including a romantic dinner with a private wait staff on a sandy beach at Harbor Point.

From the parking area on Little Torch Key, guests board the resort’s “Truman” motor yacht (named after former guest President Harry S. Truman) for the 20-minute boat ride to the island. Seaplane service from Miami or Fort Lauderdale is available via Tropic Ocean Airways Seaplane Service []. In fact, Little Palm Island Resort offers a special “romance” package for couples traveling by seaplane, complete with champagne upon arrival. The designated romance suite features a private outdoor shower, large deck with a whirlpool tub, a sand lounge area with fire pit, and – of course – stunning ocean views.

Romance packages start at $1,576 per night.

“Old South Charm”
Greyfield Inn
Cumberland Island, Georgia

Couples who love history, nature, and secluded beaches will find the historic Greyfield Inn meets all their expectations along with a large helping of Southern charm and elegance. Located on Cumberland Island – the southernmost coastal island on Georgia’s Golden Isles – Greyfield Inn is accessible only by a ferry boat and has been a refuge for the rich and famous for decades.

Greyfield Inn on Cumberland Island, Georgia

The island was the 19th century retreat of Thomas and Lucy Carnegie who built Greyfield in 1900 for their daughter, Margaret Ricketson. The home was converted to an inn in 1962 by Margaret’s daughter, Lucy R. Ferguson. The Carnegie lineage still oversees the daily operations of Greyfield Inn, ensuring that the property exudes the hospitality and charm of a family home. It embodied fairytale romance in 1996 when John F. Kennedy Jr. and his bride, Carolyn Bessette, chose Cumberland Island for their wedding.

Today’s guests grab picnic lunches before heading off to bike on tree-lined trails, swim and sunbathe on a secluded 18-mile beach, or kayak through picturesque low-country marshes. At the end of the day, they unwind on the giant porch with a cocktail before the dinner bell rings, inviting everyone in for a gourmet meal locally sourced on the island.

Rates include ferry transportation to the island, three seasonally inspired meals a day, an afternoon cocktail, complimentary use of bicycles, kayaks, beach chairs and umbrellas, fishing gear, and naturalist-led tours of the island.

Rates for suites with private bathrooms begin at $595 per night with a two-night minimum. 

“Finding Pura Vida”
Hacienda AltaGracia
Perez Zeledon, Costa Rica

Find “pura vida” in your own casita in the Costa Rican mountains.

Not all honeymooners are looking for a seaside retreat. If lush, green rainforests and mountain views are your idea of a secluded getaway, Hacienda AltaGracia may be just the place to find pura vida – the Costa Rican philosophy of enjoying life slowly and appreciating nature.

Named as one of the world’s best new hotels on Conde Nast Traveler’s 2016 Hot List, this Auberge Resort offers an authentic Costa Rican experience amid luxurious surroundings. Guests have their own spacious “casita” or private hacienda at the mountain-top resort near the town of Perez Zeledon in southern part of the Central American country.

Hike to a yoga pavilion, ride horses at the resort’s equestrian center, enjoy a lavish day at the world-class spa, or simply enjoy lounging on your own sprawling terrace overlooking the mountains or San Ysidro Valley. Nature lovers will stay busy with tons of activities, including tours to the onsite organic coffee farm and swimming in natural spring water pools. The resort also has three excellent farm-to-table eateries, including the signature Ambar restaurant.

Hacienda AltaGracia is located three hours from the San Jose International Airport via a scenic mountain road. The resort also offers a charter air package to its own private landing strip where guests arrive only minutes away from the lobby, where they are greeted with traditional Costa Rican welcome drinks.

Summer rates begin at $575 per night.





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