Choose Your Bliss
Put Your Toes in the Sand
For those in search of complete beachbound seclusion (no matter what the cost), head directly to Cambodia. Specifically Song Saa Private Island ($1,340 to $1,595, per night; songsaa.com), a stunning, isolated resort that’s part of Cambodia’s Koh Rong archipelago. It’s the country’s first private-island resort, which means that the cerulean waters and white powder sand are pretty much all yours. Song Saa, which, fittingly enough, means sweethearts in Khmer, is actually two adjoining islands connected by a footbridge. Guests of the resort are picked up at the airport in the capital Phnom Penh in a BMW5 or helicopter and whisked off to Sihanoukville (a three-and-a-half-hour drive). There, you’ll board a luxury speedboat for a 40-minute trip to Song Saa, where each of the 27 villas has a private pool and an outdoor and indoor shower (could there be a better antidote to jetlag than an alfresco shower?). Spend your days water-logged—island-hop on a sailboat, kayak in the ocean, or snorkel with the resident marine biologist to spot dugongs, turtles, and seahorses.
As far as beach idylls go, it’s hard to find anything more picture-perfect than St. Lucia. The second largest of the Caribbean’s Windward Islands, St. Lucia is a breathtaking expanse of crystalline blue water set against a backdrop of endless sky and jade-colored mountain peaks. Book a room at Boucan by Hotel Chocolat (from $350; thehotelchocolat.com), nestled between the rainforest and the sea, facing the Twin Piton mountains (each of the luxe rooms features open-sky twin showers so you and your spouse can bathe with a view). Take a “boucaneer” boat ride to explore nearby coral reefs and look for false orcas, pilot whales, and the famous leatherback turtles that inhabit local waters (some say the best time to spot them is between March and August). Snorkle the waters around Anse Cochon or Anse Chastanet, climb the Gros Piton peak to enjoy incredible summit views, or experience nature’s own spa treatment at Sulphur Springs. Most importantly, discover how Hotel Chocolat earned its name with the so-called tree-to-bar experience, where you can make your own chocolate, from cocoa pod to the (crucial) tasting.
While Bogotá has staked its claim as a burgeoning international capital of cool, ardent beachcombers find the country’s generous coastlines a major draw. Start your seaside exploration in the far north on Santa Marta island on the Caribbean coast. Book one of the rustic tropical rooms (think mosquito-netted beds, colorful murals and mosaics, and open-air bathrooms) at Playa Koralia (from $115 per night, per person, meals included; koralia.com), a low-key retreat sandwiched between a serene virgin seashore and lush rainforests. Soak in the Pozos Sagrados, sacred pools known for their therapeutic benefits, go tubing down the nearby Don Diego river, and look for howler monkeys along the way. Hike through the Sierras to the little-known Enchanted Lagoon, and spend time in nearby Tayrona National Park with its immaculate soft-sand beaches. Then head to Cartagena, a fashionable oceanside destination with a Miami-esque feel. Check into the Karmairi Hotel Spa (from $325 per night, honeymoon packages available; karmairi.com), a petite beachfront property outside the walled city (translation: away from the tourist crowds). Spend your days swimming in the sea or lounging poolside, and be sure to book a couple’s spa treatment (particularly one that uses Colombian coffee). You’ve earned it.
From the Winter 2013 New York Wedding Guide