Romantic Indian Ocean
By Lauren Jarvis – February 2020 – 7 minute read
Stunning locations, sunshine and stylish, secluded resorts make the Indian Ocean perfect for a wedding, honeymoon or romantic escape.
With the likelihood of a downpour putting a dampener on a UK wedding day – even in the height of summer – it's perhaps no surprise that so many couples decide to head to the sun to get married, escape for their honeymoon, or return to renew vows and celebrate anniversaries.
If any destination conjures up an image of perfect, sun-kissed romance, it’s the Indian Ocean, with its paradise isles, turquoise waters, white-sand beaches and Instagrammable resorts.
The islands of Mauritius, Réunion, the Seychelles, the Maldives and Sri Lanka all offer a range of diverse wedding and honeymoon experiences in postcard-worthy locations.
“The islands of the Indian Ocean remain very much in vogue, topping the holiday hot lists year after year,” says James Bell, Managing Director of Turquoise Holidays.
"The Maldives continues to lead from the front, and with new openings and relaunches, plus product developments ranging from underwater restaurants to the world’s first overwater observatory, the destination is constantly evolving and rediscovering itself.”
Honeymoons that blend that traditional romantic luxury with more active pursuits are also in demand.
“Sri Lanka combined with the Maldives is more popular than ever for honeymooners,” says Melissa Nicholas, Product Director for Experience Travel Group. “Many couples now travel together before marriage, so there’s a growing trend towards honeymoons which offer the immersive experiences you’ll find in Sri Lanka, with a pinch of the traditional beach luxury you can expect from the Maldives.”
Meanwhile, Mauritius offers a bit of both – couples can relax in style at one of the island’s luxury spa resorts, enjoy diverse culinary treats, hike and bike through beautiful forests and trails or explore the ocean and coral reefs with diving, snorkelling and watersports.
“Mauritius and nearby Réunion offer incredible luxury and fabulous pricing,” adds Bell. "And both islands are easily twinned with South Africa, allowing for a ‘boots and bikini’ safari and beach itineraries, too.”
After the reintroduction of British Airways’ direct flight from London to the Seychelles, Turquoise Holidays has seen bookings to the islands grow 20% year on year, says Bell.
“The unspoilt natural beauty and uniqueness of the Seychelles has made it a popular wedding and honeymoon destination,” adds Eloise Vidot, Marketing Executive for the UK and Ireland at the Seychelles Tourist Office.
“Couples are making the most of the Seychelles' amazing island-hopping opportunities, getting married on one island and honeymooning on another.”
Mauritius & Réunion
“Mauritius offers a wide range of exciting activities for honeymooners, from classic romantic experiences to more adventurous pursuits,” says Ria Smith of Beachcomber Resorts & Hotels, which has eight properties throughout the island.
“Our Beachcomber Experiences allow guests on honeymoon or celebrating a fifth-year anniversary to enjoy a complimentary experience during their stay, with options such as a sunset boat cruise, scuba diving, parasailing, a golf lesson, photo-shoot experience, mountain hiking at Le Morne, or convertible car hire to explore the island at their leisure.”
Beachcomber’s diverse offerings reflect the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority’s ‘post-wedding holiday’ concept, ‘Honey & The Moon’, which highlights how the island caters for honeymooners with ‘The Honey’, representing pampering, cocktails and sunset fine-dining, and ‘The Moon’, entailing adventure, exploring the outdoors and culture.
Neighbouring island, Réunion, also offers an unspoilt haven for couples in search of an active honeymoon, with hiking and mountain biking on offer in its rugged, volcanic interior.
Did you know? SALT of Palmar provides wedding experiences which benefit local communities and the environment, including tree-planting ceremonies and donations to a local school.
Veranda Resorts’ intimate ceremonies include a sunrise wedding on Veranda Palmar’s beach or a barefoot sunset wedding at Veranda Pointe Aux Biches. Heritage Resorts has post-colonial-style weddings in the grounds of Heritage Le Chateau, along with beach ceremonies and honeymoon and anniversary packages.
Réunion’s only five-star hotel, LUX* Saint Gilles, offers a bottle of sparkling wine and a romantic beachside dinner for honeymooners booking half-board, plus a voucher for their boutique.
“The Seychelles has always reigned supreme when it comes to the picture-perfect wedding and honeymoon destination,” says Jordyn Mackenzie, Marketing Manager at Blue Safari Seychelles. “Crystal-blue waters and dazzling, white-sand beaches, combined with glorious weather, create the perfect atmosphere for newly-weds.
“Alphonse Island, 250 miles from Mahé, has seen a significant rise in honeymooners and we’ve had great interest in our brand-new wedding package. We pride ourselves on providing marine and land experiences like no other, such as swimming with sailfish and manta rays, as well as our famous ‘sand flat lunches’, where guests can dine on a sandbank in the middle of the Indian Ocean – the perfect romantic escape in paradise.”
Did you know? Banyan Tree Seychelles on the island of Mahé gifts honeymooners with spectacular views of the Indian Ocean from its luxurious hillside pool villas. Activities for couples including cookery classes, rum-tasting tours, day trips to Praslin and La Digue and local treatments from ancient recipes provided in the award-winning Banyan Tree Spa.
Six Senses Zil Pasyon on the private island of Félicité offers a luxe wedding experience, including arrival from Mahé by helicopter and a ceremony on the beach or in a private residence with an infinity pool.
A“The Maldives’ private island resorts make for the perfect environment for couples, with secluded accommodation options such as overwater villas and underwater suites,” says Mr. Thoyyib Mohamed, Managing Director of Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC).
“Many high-end properties offer bespoke packages for couples looking to celebrate in a luxury setting, including private picnics on sandbanks and rejuvenating honeymoon treatments in overwater spas.”
Did you know? Baros Maldives has just been named the World’s Most Romantic Resort for the seventh year running at the World Travel Awards. Designed for couples, the secluded retreat offers wedding vow renewal ceremonies on the beach, a sandbank, the Piano Deck or on a traditional sailing dhoni, while their Romantic Moments package includes a private candlelit beach dinner, a couples massage and a sunset cruise.
Raffles Maldives Meradhoo offers couples the chance to enjoy a lavish beach wedding before heading to a turquoise lagoon for an underwater ceremony and photo shoot. The Divers’ Wedding Package includes a candlelit dinner.
Taj Exotica Resort and Spa in the Maldives has an ‘ultimate wedding experience’ at its ocean pavilion. The ceremony will be surrounded by the turquoise lagoon reached on a decorated motorboat. The couple also have a wedding cake, Moet & Chandon Champagne for the toast and sparkling wine and canapés for the up to eight guests. Their villa is decorated for the wedding night, with romantic music and a floral bath, and the package includes a private sunset cruise on a traditional Dhoni plus a sand dugout seafood dinner.
“Sri Lanka is an idyllic destination for a wedding celebration,” says Hashan Cooray, Marketing Director of sustainable travel specialists, Jetwing Hotels, which operates nearly 40 hotels on the island.
“From misty mountains to beautiful beaches, the island provides a multitude of backdrops for any romantic occasion."
Cooray says Sri Lanka is seeing a growing demand for tailor-made boutique destination weddings, particularly intimate gatherings in picturesque locations. “For those visiting on their honeymoon, Sri Lanka offers plenty of unique experiences, from visiting cultural heritage sites to hiking in the highlands and unparalleled wildlife experiences.”
Did you know? Uga Escapes has five properties in Sri Lanka and can offer guests a romantic journey that takes in all of them - a trip with a difference that should appeal to adventurous honeymoons.
Couples will visit Ulagalla in Anuradhapura, Jungle Beach at Trincomalee, Uga Bay near Batticaloa, Chena near Yala National Park and Residence in Colombo. The new, adults-only Haritha Villas & Spa, near Hikkaduwa beach in southern Sri Lanka has a Romantic Getaway package, including a villa with private plunge pool, sparkling wine on arrival, a couples’ treatment in the Ayurvedic Jungle Spa and a candlelit dinner for two.
Planet Kitesurf Holidays combines luxurious hotels with kitesurfing at Kalpitiya and various cultural experiences around the island which are a great suggestion for honeymooners.
Where to book it
Beachcomber Tours offers seven nights of full-board in a Junior Suite at Dinarobin Beachcomber Golf Resort & Spa, Mauritius. From £1,570pp, including economy flights with Emirates and a honeymoon experience.