Top Travel Destinations for 2015: Honeymoons

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Elevated living at Cheval Blanc Randheli.

Overwater Options

French Polynesia or Maldives

Overwater suites at Le Taha’a.
Snorkeling in French Polynesia.

By Aaron Gulley
For a honeymoon, milestone anniversary, or just-because-you-deserve-it ultimate beach escape, the Maldives and French Polynesia top Virtuoso advisors’ lists. Here’s how the heavenly heavyweights match up.
French Polynesia
  • Best for: Quicker access than the Maldives – from
 Los Angeles, it takes less time to reach Tahitian resorts than to reach Paris. Beyond great snorkeling, French Polynesia also has more activity options than the Maldives.
  • What to Know: “French Polynesia is generally more built up than the Maldives, so carefully consider your hotel,” says travel advisor Ellen Rubinfeld
 of Seattle, Washington. “Do you want an unobstructed view? Do you prefer to face the sunrise or sunset? Don’t be afraid to ask your advisor questions.”
  • Stay Le Taha’a Island Resort & Spa, with 12 beach villas and 45 overwater suites, presides on a lush private islet in the Society Islands, which are renowned for vanilla production.
  • Best for: True seclusion – and larger bungalows. “The Maldives offers more opportunity for seclusion and privacy, since many of the hotels are located on their own private islands,” Rubinfeld explains.
  • What to Know: It’s more than 24 hours to the Maldives from almost anywhere in the U.S. “For comfort and service, Emirates is the best option,” says Rubinfeld, who recommends travelers fly through Dubai rather than connecting through Japan or Southeast Asia, which may be a touch quicker from the West Coast, but often requires more stops or multiple airlines.
  • Stay: Splash down at 45-villa Cheval Blanc Randheli, 40 minutes north of the capital of Malé by seaplane. This French resort on private Noonu Atoll puts a modern architectural spin on traditional thatched bungalows and has a house reef teeming with fish.
Top 10 Travel Destinations for 2015:
  1. Europe for Less: The Balkans
  2. Honeymoons: French Polynesia or Maldives (You are here!)
  3. Culture: Milan
  4. Safari: South Africa
  5. The Emerging Destination: Myanmar
  6. City Escape: Paris
  7. Supernatural Nature: The Galapgos
  8. Family Travel: Costa Rica
  9. Close to Home: Napa Valley
  10. Adventure Travel: New Zealand
Originally appeared in Virtuoso Life magazine, January 2015.

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Beach villa at Le Taha’a.