We’ve picked a few of our favourite islands that bring the sizzle.

When it comes to dreamy places that kindle (or re-kindle!) passion, there’s no one-size-fits-all. For some, it’s about sunset walks on a golden beach and candlelit dinners underneath swaying palms. For others, it’s about sharing a heart-racing adventure or swoon-worthy cuisine. We’ve picked a few of our favourite islands that bring the sizzle.


PHOTO: Malliouhana Resort

Maybe it’s because you can’t fly here directly, but Anguilla has an air of exclusivity and seclusion that’s perfect for a romantic getaway. There aren’t any mass resorts, nor are there casinos, sprawling malls or Starbucks outlets. There aren’t even jet skis (they’re banned here). In fact, to get to Anguilla, you’ll need to fly into neighbouring St. Maarten and take the ferry.

What it does have is 33 pristine beaches, most of them uncrowded (and without the constant drone of those pesky jet skis). Anguilla is also known for its ‘barefoot luxury’ with properties like the Four Seasons Resort and Residences, Belmond Cap Juluca and Zemi Beach House. The glamorous Malliouhana Resort is fresh off its pandemic makeover, with Art Deco-inspired rooms and world-class spa. Anguilla is also known for its collection of ultra-luxe private villas. And Alkera is the latest to join this collection – a contemporary architectural gem with expansive glass panels, soaring ceilings and an open concept that blends indoor and outdoor living, with privacy, serenity and sweeping views of the Caribbean Sea.


PHOTO: Hotel Nantipa

A Blue Zone refers to a geographical region where people are healthier and live longer than anywhere else, often more than 100 years. There are only five Blue Zones in the world, one of them being the Nicoya Peninsula on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast. So when it comes to wellness travel, the Blue Zone beckons. Here, the diet is primarily plant-based, and locals are committed to the pura vida lifestyle, which encourages us to slow down and connect with friends, family and nature. It’s easy to do that while surrounded by lush rainforest, secluded beaches and friendly locals. And there’s no better way to experience pura vida than with your loved one at a luxe wellness retreat. The new beachfront villas of Hotel Nantipa set on a 5.7-acre property, are part of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, with a new wellness centre and open-air treatment rooms. Hacienda AltaGracia, part of the Auberge Resorts Collection, is a holistic wellness resort with an expansive hydrotherapy facility, Casa de Agua, and treatments that use local muds and oils.


Como Shambhala Estate

PHOTO: Como Shambhala Estate

With its misty mountains, terraced hillsides and neon-green rice paddies, it’s almost impossible to feel any stress after spending a few days in Bali. The locals here also have a long tradition of 3 wellness practices, and many spa treatments are based on Balinese and Hindu healing traditions. For a wellness getaway that oozes romance and adventure, Capella Ubud Bali – on a lush hillside terrace in the rainforest – offers 23 tented suites, each with a private plunge pool, inspired by Marco Polo’s expedition from China to Indonesia in the early 19th century. Its Auriga Spa (also in tents) offers signature treatments that reflect the varying energies of the lunar cycle; there’s also a 30-metre-long outdoor pool cocooned in the rainforest. Or escape to Como Shambhala Estate (above), another luxury wellness resort in the rainforest, which specializes in Ayurvedic treatments and holistic wellness. Another option is the Sacred River Spa at Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan, where you can get your chakras aligned before an evening candlelight mala meditation session for two.


Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa

Nothing says romance like an overwater bungalow, and arguably no one does it better than the Islands of Tahiti – indeed, the concept was invented here about 50 years ago. That’s because these volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean are surrounded by barrier reefs that create tranquil lagoons, dotted with tiny islands called motus. These lagoons are ideal for overwater bungalows, where you can plunge directly into the calm waters – in remarkable shades of blue – from your private deck. It’s also where you’ll find some of the most extravagant resorts in the world, with the highest levels of Polynesian hospitality – like the Intercontinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso, where you can amp up the romance with a sunset cruise around Bora Bora and a candlelit dinner beneath swaying palms. The intimate, idyllic Le Taha’a Island Resort & Spa, part of the Relais & Châteaux collection, is designed in authentic Polynesian architectural style, just a five-minute-boat ride from Taha’a island, famous for its vanilla plantations and black pearl farms.

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