With royal wedding fever all around, Harry and Meghan’s honeymoon choice will make headlines – and may lead to a spike in enquiries. By Katherine Lawrey.
Just as Prince William and his new wife Kate put the Seychelles firmly on the map for honeymooners, Harry and Meghan’s choice is likely to shine a spotlight on another destination, widening its appeal for loved-up couples looking to enjoy that once-in-a-lifetime holiday. We’ll find out in May where they do go, but in the meantime here are a few suggestions we think could enjoy the royal seal of approval:
Blessed with a sunny climate, secluded beaches, fantastic farm-to-table cuisine and lots of history and culture, Malta is a charming honeymoon choice. Both Prince Harry and Meghan have connections with the island, as Peter Vella, UK & Ireland director, explains: “Meghan’s great-great-great grandmother was born there in 1862 and it’s the only foreign country where Harry’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, has lived, between 1949 and 1951.
The Royal Family is revered in Malta as part of the Commonwealth and George VI travelled to Malta in April 1942 to award the country the George Cross.” Recommend the recently refurbished Phoenicia Hotel in Malta’s capital, Valletta. The five-star property has stylish suites, an outdoor infinity swimming pool, a seven-acre garden and a brand new spa.
Book it: Seven nights’ B&B at the Phoenicia Hotel throughout June 2018 with Mercury Holidays starts from £926pp based on two adults sharing a superior room and includes Gatwick flights and transfers.
The royal family are deeply attached to Scotland, and Harry and Meghan could hide away at Balmoral for a private honeymoon. If they fancy something a little more public facing, then Gleneagles, one of Scotland’s finest luxury hotels, offers lush surroundings worthy of Kensington Palace.
Paul Britchford, senior product manager – Europe & North Africa, Elegant Resorts, explains: “Harry can pursue his passion for polo at the polo school in their equestrian centre while Meghan’s love of dogs could see her at the gundogs school learning about this age-old pursuit with their highly trained Labradors.
For an aperitif, there is an American Bar to make Meghan feel at home with its chic 1920s decor, prior to enjoying two-Michelin-star dining. Retiring for the night, the aptly named Royal (Lochnager) Suite has uninterrupted views over the stunning Glendevon and Ochil Hills, and a four-poster bed.”
Book it: Seven nights’ B&B in a Classic room at the Gleneagles Hotel, including flights from London, private transfers and lounge passes starts from £1,705pp, arriving on May 20, 2018.
Harry is a big fan of the land down under – he visited Australia on his gap year, he’s been on royal tour and will be returning for the Invictus Games later this year. Meghan will almost certainly fall for its charms, particularly if Harry takes her to Lizard Island, a seriously luxurious eco-resort, framed by the corals of the Great Barrier Reef. The most exclusive residence, the Villa rings in at a cool $5,569 per night, but its clifftop location provides stunning views and total privacy.
David Pointer, senior product manager for Australia at ITC Travel Group, says: “I’d recommend Harry and Meghan order a deluxe picnic hamper and take a private boat trip to one of the resort’s 24 white-sand beaches. There, they’ll be able to enjoy a romantic day in total seclusion.”
Book it: Western & Oriental’s Luxury Sydney, Rock and Lizard Island trip starts from £7,999pp, including flights, three nights’ B&B at the Park Hyatt in Sydney (B&B), two nights in a tented suite at Longitude 131° for Uluru (all-inclusive), one night at the Shangri-La in Cairns (room-only) and five nights at Lizard Island (full board).
Being able to stroll along a palm tree-lined, white-sand beach, hand in hand, with water lapping at your feet makes the Caribbean a popular choice with honeymooners. We shouldn’t be surprised if Harry and Meghan choose Antigua. When Harry visited the island on official business in November 2016, not long after his romance with Meghan was confirmed, the prime minister teased that he should come back for his honeymoon.
Malcolm Davies, product destination manager for Funway, says: “Should Harry take Gaston Browne up on his invitation, he and Meghan could have their pick of some of the Caribbean’s most luxurious resorts, from Blue Waters Resort & Spa, where Harry has already stayed, to the five-star Hodges Bay Resort & Spa. And of course there are love nests for slightly more modest budgets too.”
Book it: Funway Holidays offers seven nights at the all-inclusive four-star The Verandah Resort & Spa. Prices start from £1,359pp based on two sharing, including British Airways flights from Gatwick, departing May 20.
Botswana is where love blossomed for Harry and Meghan – he whisked her off to the country he calls his “second home” on a secret holiday for their “third date” and he gave her a custom-made engagement ring with a stone from Botswana. With this in mind, you wouldn’t bet against a return visit for their honeymoon.
John Parker, product manager at Premier Holidays, says: “After spending their first holiday in Botswana – for Meghan’s first ever wildlife safari – where better for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to spend their honeymoon than somewhere close to both their hearts? Southern Africa is continuing to grow in popularity and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down for 2018. In particular, we have seen more people booking smaller boutique properties away from the busiest tourist locations – perfect for those looking for a little privacy.
“This time, the royal couple could consider combining a safari in Botswana’s staggeringly beautiful Chobe national park – recognised as one of Africa’s finest, and famous for one of the highest concentrations of elephants – with a visit to the awe inspiring Victoria Falls on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe.”
Book it: Premier Holidays offers a seven-night itinerary to Cape Town, Victoria Falls and Chobe from £2,399pp, including accommodation with breakfast and half-board at Chobe Safari Lodge, Heathrow flights and transfers.
Christine Vel, director of the Seychelles Tourist Office, says:
“The honeymoon of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in the Seychelles certainly brought the spotlight to our islands, with an increase in media publicity, and we have seen an increase in for our honeymoon segment.”
Sharron Roat, manager, Abbotts Travel, says: “It’s definitely a talking point that Kate and Wills reportedly stayed at North Island, Seychelles. Granted the £5,000 per night price tag is higher than the average interest honeymoon budget, but we find it’s a conversation opener. We draw the client in with some stunning photos of how the other half live, and then we present more budget friendly options. We’re looking forward to seeing which destination gets Harry and Meghan’s royal seal of approval.”