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Affordable Island Honeymoons

Posted: 08/29/2012 11:02 am

Selecting your honeymoon destination from a list of well-known hotspots guarantees you'll have to deal with two things: Bigger crowds and sizable price tags. Why not head to some of our favorite under-the-radar islands, like Dominica, perfect for St. Lucia lovers looking to spend time in the great outdoors, or Hvar, a gorgeous Croatian stand-in for Santorini? Fewer vacationers and more affordable options offer a relaxing couple's retreat that won't blow your wedding budget.

Here, a few of our favorite under-the-radar honeymoon-worthy hideaways. Hipper, less crowded, and more affordable -- what's not to love?

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  • If you like St. Lucia, try Dominica

    Lush and primordial, it's perfect for those who love the great outdoors. First tip: It's pronounced "Domin-eek-a." Second tip: Hikers rave about the 115-mile Waitukubuli National Trail, 14 well-marked footpaths running past high-drama waterfalls, hot springs, and peaks; waitukubuli.dm. Offshore, snorkel Champagne Reef—named for the tiny bubbles that rise through geothermal vents—and see anemones, turtles, and six-inch sea horses; dominica.dm. Two resorts, both low-key with luxe touches, cater to honeymooners: Secret Bay has just four sustainably built wooden bungalows perched on a cliff, all with gourmet kitchens. From $252; secretbay.dm. Rosalie Bay is slightly bigger, with 28 airy rooms, organic cuisine, and an onyx-lined pool. The oceanfront spa offers massages that incorporate hot stones from the Rosalie River. Rooms from $139; rosaliebay.com. —Bob Payne <strong>See also: <a href="http://www.brides.com/blogs/aisle-say/2012/08/11-beauty-hazards-to-avoid-before-your-wedding.html?mbid=synd_huffpo" target="_hplink">10 Things You Should Never Do Before Your Wedding</a></strong>

  • What To Pack

    What to Pack T-shirt, $165, Paul & Joe, 310-270-4620. Shorts, $154, Genetic Denim, Shopbop.com. Backpack, $119, Mar Y Sol. <strong>See also: <a href="http://www.brides.com/blogs/aisle-say/2012/07/honeymoon-destinations-united-states.html?mbid=synd_huffpo" target="_hplink">The Top 20 Honeymoon Resorts in the US</a></strong>

  • If you like St. Barts, try Martinique

    All the French flair—plus Indian and African accents—sans the fashionista prices. Rent a car (jumbocar.com) so you can hop between the white-sand beaches down south, like Les Salines (the water is ginclear), and the black-sand stretches up north, like secluded Anse Ceron; martinique.org. Nearby is seaside Le Petibonum, legendary for its crisp cod accras (fritters) and stop-at-two ti punches (rum with a splash of cane syrup and lime); 596-596-780-434. At the covered market in colonial Fort de France, there's more deliciousness: fresh mangoes at the stalls, and chicken colombo (it's like a curry) at Chez Carole. For haute digs, settle in Cap Est Lagoon, where all 50 suites face the sea. From $526; capest.com. If food is your focus, check into the 16-room Hôtel Plein Soleil, where the chef is a disciple of Alain Ducasse and fancy feasts (roasted lamb with a celeriac emulsion) are de rigueur. Rooms from $143; hotelpleinsoleil.fr. —B. P. <strong>See also: <a href="http://www.brides.com/wedding-dresses-style/wedding-dresses/2012/07/lace-wedding-dresses-spring-2013?mbid=synd_huffpo#slide=1" target="_hplink">Modern Lace Wedding Dresses</a></strong>

  • What to Pack

    Necklace, $99, Sequence, Shopbop.com. Bikini top and bottom, $188 each, Malia Mills for Kate Spade New York. <strong>Related: <a href="http://www.brides.com/wedding-engagement/engagement-rings/editorial-pick/2009/05/celebrity-engagement-rings?mbid=synd_huffpo#slide=1" target="_hplink">Our Favorite Celebrity Engagement Rings</a></strong>

  • If you like Phuket, try Koh Samui

    A recent crop of high-style hotels has upped the luxe factor on this Thai island. Many of the upscale resorts and restaurants are centered around Bophut Beach on the north shore. At night, expats and locals gather at Fisherman's Village, a string of old Chinese-style shop-houses converted to boho-chic restaurants like The Pier, a waterfront spot where the traditional food is legit—try the crispy curried soft-shell crabs and som tam (raw papaya salad with shrimp); thepier-samui.com. As for hotels, the chic, modern Hansar Samui is a steal. The 74 teak-floored rooms have balconies overlooking a clear white-sand beach, and a 60-minute Thai massage in the earth-toned spa costs—wait for it—$40. Rooms from $184; hansarsamui.com. There's a W Retreat, too, just 10 minutes away, where villas begin at a whopping 1,700 square feet and come with both the sublime (a private pool) and the practical (flip-flops). Rooms from $467; whotels.com. Day-trip to nearby Ang Thong National Marine Park: This jaw-dropping 42-island archipelago was the setting for the movie "The Beach"; tourismthailand.org. Guided tours lead kayakers past the soaring limestone cliffs—Leo DiCaprio not included; bluestars.info. —Elizabeth Woodson <strong>See also: <a href="http://www.brides.com/blogs/aisle-say/2012/08/wedding-hairstyle-inspired-by-celebrities.html?mbid=synd_huffpo" target="_hplink">25 Wedding Hairstyles Inspired by Our Favorite Celebrities</a></strong>

  • What to Pack

    Bikini, $209, Mara Hoffman, Piperlime. Clutch, $38, Jasper & Jeera, Anthropologie. Necklaces, $250 each, Megan Odabash, Calypso St. Barth. <strong>Related: <a href="http://www.brides.com/brides/2011/09/americas-most-beautiful-cakes-brides-magazine?mbid=synd_huffpo#slide=1" target="_hplink">The Most Beautiful Cakes in America</a></strong>

  • If you like Santorini, try Hvar

    This gorgeous Croatian island off the Dalmatian coast is only just popping up on the American radar—attracting A-listers like Steven Spielberg, Jay-Z, and Beyoncé. The Adriana in Hvar Town is by far the most stylish retreat on the island: Its modern rooms and terraced gardens provide loads of eye candy, from the yacht-lined marina to the Venetian-style piazza. Rooms from $261; suncanihvar.com. Close by, Hotel Park Hvar, a former 16th-century palace, offers basic but comfortable apartment-style digs. Rooms from $184; hotelparkhvar.com. Either way, you won't be spending much time indoors. Rent scooters (lukarent.com) and drive to Milna, where there's a gorgeous pebble beach set on a deep-blue bay (tzhvar.hr); sip sharp espressos with locals at laid-back Sokol, one of the many outdoor cafés lining medieval Stari Grad's central square (stari-grad-faros.hr); and taste winemaker Andro Tomić's opolo nobile (it's like a rosé) at his intimate stone winery, Bastijana, in Jelsa; bastijana.hr. For dinner, request the table on the rock at Zoracé, teetering above Zoracé Bay. You couldn't dream up a more magical place for lobster; 385-21-745-638. After hours, hit up Veneranda, a DJ-fueled club popular with twentysomethings in Hvar Town—it's a favorite haunt of Prince Harry's; veneranda.hr. And he knows a good party. —Heidi Mitchell <strong>See also: <a href="http://www.brides.com/blogs/aisle-say/2012/08/11-beauty-hazards-to-avoid-before-your-wedding.html?mbid=synd_huffpo" target="_hplink">10 Things You Should Never Do Before Your Wedding</a></strong>

  • What to Pack

    Sandals, $69, DV by Dolce Vita, Piperlime. Dress, $335, Maje. <strong>See also: <a href="http://www.brides.com/blogs/aisle-say/2012/07/honeymoon-destinations-united-states.html?mbid=synd_huffpo" target="_hplink">The Top 20 Honeymoon Resorts in the US</a></strong>

  • If you like Capri, try Sardinia

    Italian royalty once vacationed here: Think top-shelf beaches and epic food. You can't miss the nuraghi—Bronze Age stone towers (they're everywhere)—or the northeast's Costa Smeralda: 34 miles of coast with emerald waters and megayachts. Pop by the always-hopping main town, Porto Cervo, for glasses of Cannonau (a full-bodied native red) at the exclusive Hotel Romazzino; luxurycollection.com. To stay, though, break away from the glitterati (and give your wallet a rest); an hour northwest in quiet Santa Teresa di Gallura is La Coluccia, outfitted with 45 ultramodern rooms. Rooms from $343; lacoluccia.it. From the nearby beach, see Corsica on a clear day, and sail the park-protected La Maddalena Island archipelago; losqualobianco.com. On land, visit one or two agriturismos (farm stays) like Saltara and learn to cook home-style porceddo arrosto; agriturismosaltara.it. (U.S.-based foodie favorite Ciao Andiamo can prearrange for a local guide; ciaoandiamo.com.) Your final stop: the walled port town of Alghero and the posh 24-room Villa Las Tronas, set on a promontory overlooking the sea. Rooms from $263; villalastronas.com. —Cathay Che <strong>See also: <a href="http://www.brides.com/wedding-dresses-style/wedding-dresses/2012/07/lace-wedding-dresses-spring-2013?mbid=synd_huffpo#slide=1" target="_hplink">Modern Lace Wedding Dresses</a></strong>

  • What to Pack

    Sunglasses, $275, Vera Wang Salon Collection, 212-382-2184. Bikini, $455, Emilio Pucci, Net-a-Porter. <strong>Related: <a href="http://www.brides.com/wedding-engagement/engagement-rings/editorial-pick/2009/05/celebrity-engagement-rings?mbid=synd_huffpo#slide=1" target="_hplink">Our Favorite Celebrity Engagement Rings</a></strong>

  • If you like Vancouver Island, try Prince Edward Island

    P.E.I. is fast becoming a culinary contender—and then there are those red-sand beaches. Though it's just 139 miles from tip to pastoral toe, Canada's tiniest province has plenty of buzzing restaurants. In capital city Charlottetown, don't miss Lot 30, a seafood-centric outpost helmed by famed Canadian chef Gordon Bailey, who sources every Malpeque oyster and fingerling potato from the island; lot30restaurant.ca. Afterward, it's just a short stroll to the Great George, a collection of 54 suites in 15 historic buildings set in the town square. Rooms from $179; thegreatgeorge.com. The next day, leave the city behind and drive north to Prince Edward Island National Park (pc.gc.ca), home to seven knockout red-, pink-, and white-sand beaches (Brackley and Cavendish made our hearts stop) and a little place called Green Gables—yes, home to Anne; cavendishbeachpei.com. Stay for the night at the Inn at Bay Fortune, a 17-room shingled gem on the eastern side of the island with a stellar eponymous restaurant. That lobster you're eating? Literally caught outside your window. Rooms from $135; innatbayfortune.com. —Yolanda Crous <strong>See also: <a href="http://www.brides.com/blogs/aisle-say/2012/08/wedding-hairstyle-inspired-by-celebrities.html?mbid=synd_huffpo" target="_hplink">25 Wedding Hairstyles Inspired by Our Favorite Celebrities</a></strong>

  • What to Pack

    Oxford shirt, $72, and cashmere sweater, $238, J.Crew. Sneakers, $65, Superga, LiftLuxe. <strong>Related: <a href="http://www.brides.com/brides/2011/09/americas-most-beautiful-cakes-brides-magazine?mbid=synd_huffpo#slide=1" target="_hplink">The Most Beautiful Cakes in America</a></strong>

 

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