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The Prince Harry and Meghan Markle engagement is exciting for many reasons, just one being the question of who will dress the bride-to-be for the big day, and all the swoon-inducing moments surrounding it. Another topic causing speculation? Where the lovebirds might honeymoon. Of course, we’re talking royalty, so the stakes are high. Like Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge before them — who honeymooned at the ultra-private, ultra-pricey North Island in the Seychelles — they’ll surely select a destination that’s secluded and off the table for most commoners.
The continent that elite travel concierges feel is the surest bet is Africa. “Harry and Meghan both have a love of Africa and spent their first vacation and real time together in Botswana, and Meghan also loves Uganda,” says John Spence, president of experiential luxury outfitter Scott Dunn USA. “However I think returning to either of these destinations might be too obvious and hard to keep the paps away.” His pick: Miavana, an ultra-luxury lodge on Nosy Ankao private island off Madagascar, only accessible by helicopter. (It also has the same designer as North Island.) “The lodge offers wild beaches, incredible scuba diving, helicopter adventures, spa treatments and private villas,” he adds.
Jaclyn Sienna India of Sienna Charles, who has created bespoke experiences for former U.S. presidents, thinks a private tent in the African bush — such as Singita Explore Camp — paired with a private-island retreat like Thanda Island is the way to go. “Everything is catered 100 percent to your tastes, with private game drives, sunset and sunrise breakfasts, romantic baths and massages outside — there is nothing more private.”
Ulusaba Private Game Reserve, in the western sector of Sabi Sand Reserve in South Africa, is where Steve Sims of luxury concierge Bluefish feels they could go, since both lodges (which are owned by Sir Richard Branson) can be reserved for ultimate privacy, and there’s a full staff. Additionally, they could volunteer their time while honeymooning.
Going off their shared adventurous spirits and memory of a night spent under the stars, disconnected from the world, Spence also thinks Iceland’s Deplar Farm could entice them. There, he says, 13 bedrooms can be taken exclusively, “and the level of service is second to none. I think they’d love sea kayaking, whale watching, fly fishing, hiking, horseback riding and even surfing.” Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef, an eco-friendly glamping resort over the bright blue reef, with opportunities to swim with humpback whales and whale sharks, and safari in the Australian outback, is another of Sims’ picks.
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There are also villas around the world the insiders feel are contenders, such as Villa Manzu in the Costa Rican rainforest, where India says the couple would have exclusive access to a 30,000 square-foot estate with private chef, boat and beaches, plus activities like rock climbing, yoga, surfing and horseback riding. “They also can set up unique romantic dinners throughout the peninsula,” she says (and be following in the footsteps of the Kardashians, who have stayed in the villa). And the new Soori Bali villa, with its private helipad, could be appealing, too. “It’s set on 56,000 square feet of private beach front, and they can swim on private beaches, take helicopter tours of nearby private islands for dining, and have amazing spa treatments.”
Lastly they could opt for a tradition and a private cruise, since many past royal honeymoons have been spent on Royal Yacht Britannia cruising the Greek islands or the South Pacific. But Spence’s pick for this new generation of royals is an Alexa Private Cruise, a 100-foot yacht built for two, which can be chartered to explore the remote islands of eastern Indonesia. Diving, hikes to waterfalls, onboard massages, fresh seafood picnics on remote beaches and visits to local villages are part of the allure. Additionally, “the crew can also arrange a bed on deck, meaning a night under the stars with paparazzi far away!”
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