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Mr & Mrs Smith on Winter Sun Escapes

Mr & Mrs Smith was dreamt up after co-founders James Lohan and Tamara Heber-Percy booked a romantic weekend only to find their room far less amour-inspiring than expected. Launched as a guidebook publisher 10 years ago, Smith’s now an online booking service with a curated collection of more than 900 hotels – from low-cost boutique stays, to top-of-the-range retreats, all with stand-out attention to detail – and a team of travel experts dedicated to ensuring honeymoons will never disappoint…

Charlie Craig, executive travel consultant and honeymoon expert at Mr & Mrs Smith has tried and tested romantic getaways around the globe. We asked her to share her favourite destinations for out-of-season sun and luxe love nests with us. Charlie is on the blog between 9am and 1pm today answering all of your honeymoon questions or holiday questions, so please use our comment box to ask Charlie anything you like about planning a winter honeymoon or romantic break. Over to Charlie:

Vietnam & Cambodia

If you want action-packed adventure and cultural insights – with a spot of day-bed dozing on a beach in between – these far-Eastern hotspots are ideal. Start in Cambodia, arriving in Siem Reap (temperatures are at their most hospitable from December to April). The Shinta Mani Club hotel is the place to be; it has a great location on the river, central, but quiet, and the Temple of Angkor Wat is just a 10-minute drive away. From there head into Vietnam, to An Lam Saigon River hotel in Ho Chi Minh city. This warm and welcoming hotel with just 15 rooms in tranquil garden villas was once a private home, so it feels intimate and secluded. From there I’d definitely recommend Six Senses Con Dao, which has the whole honeymoon package: one of the world’s best beaches, ocean-front pool villas, jawdropping scenery to ogle… If you’ve got your heart set on a private island but can’t stretch to the Maldives, this is the next best thing; it’s definitely worth the 40-minute connecting flight from Ho Chi Minh.


We get lots of requests for twin-stop destinations, but many couples want to unpack their suitcase and settle in one spot for a laid-back honeymoon. The Riviera Maya on Mexico’s Caribbean coast has pristine beaches and turquoise waters; it’s a place where you can summon a cocktail and totally relax, while gazing out at a view to remember – visit anytime from November to March for just-right weather. You can fly direct from the UK to Cancun, before heading on to the Riviera Maya. My favourite stay is ultra-luxe beachside hotel Viceroy Riviera Maya, which has a locally-inspired spa and huge beautifully outfitted villas with private pools. You could easily spend 10 days here and not get bored: if you tire of total relaxation, there are day-trips to nearby Coba – home to vertiginous ziggurats – and Tulum – where temple-topped cliffs tower over the beach – and water-based activities like snorkelling and diving in cenotes (foliage-trimmed sinkholes). Many five-star stays are set nearby (but the area doesn’t feel crowded), so you can try a different top-flight restaurant each night. Esencia is another favourite for its white-sand beaches and heady tequila cocktails…

Caribbean Island Hopping (Grenada & Barbados)

Your honeymoon is the perfect excuse for an island-hopping trip to the Caribbean. Start in Grenada at blissfully adults-only La Luna; here Balinese-style pool villas have the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean almost on their doorstep. My colleague Marianna is a fan of the soft, sugar-fine sands and the spa’s genius masseuses! The whole island is small and friendly, with luxuriant rainforest greenery by the shore – you’ll definitely spend a while photographing the scenery. Stay there for five nights before heading to Barbados and checking in to magnificent Bajan stay Little Good Harbour, which offers luxury in down-to-earth fashion. The hotel is on the quieter west coast of the island; three nights here tucking in to super-fresh seafood and kicking back in a white-washed cottage is the perfect tonic. Finish up at secluded eight-room stay The Atlantis Hotel, one of the east coast’s most stylish spots, where the scenery is wild and rugged. Mosquito-net-swathed four-posters look straight out to sea, and the restaurant’s local specialities – conch patties, pepperpot stew and breadfruit cheesecake – are delicious. It’s as close as you can get to honeymoon heaven!

Any Questions?

Charlie is around checking the blog all morning so if you’d like to ask her a question please do so in the comments box below.

Alternatively you can email queries direct to Charlie at or submit a honeymoon enquiry to Charlie or another of Mr & Mrs Smith’s honeymoon experts by answering these quick and easy questions.

Finally, You can reach the team on 0330 100 3180.

Happy sun seeking!

Author: Adam Crohill
Adam likes Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain.

31 thoughts on “Mr & Mrs Smith on Winter Sun Escapes

  1. We’re getting married next November and looking to jet off on holiday around the 15th-16th Nov. We have been looking at a multi centre trip to san francisco then on to Riviera Maya in Mexico. It says the weather is just-right. I know the weather is unpredicatable but can we expect hot weather and blue skies?

    Also what would you recommend to do in San Fran or would you choose a different american city?

    Thanks! 🙂

    1. Hi Leanne!

      Thanks for your question. November is when San Francisco starts to get a little cold, although chilly doesn’t mean quite the same thing in California as it does in the UK… There may be a few light showers too, but it’s still a great time to visit. I love Cavallo Point by the base of the Golden Gate Bridge ( – it’s surrounded by lush greenery and it’s close to the city too.

      Riviera Maya, on the other hand, has idyllic weather in November – so you should definitely chuck your bikini and sunglasses in your suitcase. Esencia ( is beautiful and it’s right by the beach, so it’s the perfect honeymoon spot.

      I hope that helps, if you’re unsure about the wether in San Fran, please give me a call on 0330 100 3180 and we can discuss other great places to go!



  2. Hey team!

    We went to The Riviera Maya in Feb – had the most amazing time and could quite honestly move out there today. Good food, cocktails and the beaches are all amazing. Our best day ever (apart from getting engaged of course!) was the catamaran trip, I would highly recommend that to anyone, just beautiful.

    A lot of our friends have suggested Hawaii for a honeymoon, but what’s best there; a cruise (which we’re not keen on) or island hopping?

    Any other suggestions most welcome. Love the boards, they’re making me a bit sun-sick as I’m sat in my office on a gloomy morning.

    1. Hi Debs,

      I completely agree, I fell in love with the Riviera Maya; I’m glad you had a great time, I’m a fan of catamaran trips myself…

      Hawaii is beautiful, but for a winter-sun trip with beaches, islands to explore and jawdropping jungle scenery I would recommend Belize. First off, check-in to Francis Ford Coppla’s gaff Blancaneaux Lodge (, this jungle-set stay has waterfalls and ancient Mayan ruins nearby, thatched cabanas, and its eco-friendly to a tee. It’s blissful just kicking back in a hammock and watching the hummingbirds zip about.

      Then, head to the beach! Turtle Inn ( is an incredibly beautiful stay with secluded thatch-roofed huts, great scuba-diving spots and you can go straight from your villa to the sea. It’s, er, also owned by Francis Ford Coppola – what can we say? The guy has as good an eye for a hotel as he does a movie scene…

      If you’re not sure Belize is the right spot, we have some fantastic hotels in Costa Rica too (another jungle-clad, beach-trimmed spot), so please email me at or give me a call on 0330 100 3180 if you’d like to talk some more.

      Thanks and bon voyage!


      1. Thanks! We’ve not even decided when to go away yet… We’ve got a year before the W-Day but it’s another thing to decide on.

        Will check it out.

  3. Our wedding is late next August so we’re thinking of a two week honeymoon around October half term time. We love the Maldives (water bungalows especially) but have heard that October might not be the best time to go. Also, as it’s likely I’d be taking a week unpaid holiday, budget is a real consideration. My fiancé also likes to see the sights and ‘do things’ and imm conscious that the Maldives doesn’t really offer that either.

    Do you have any suggestions that might give us the all inclusive luxury we’ve seen at some of the Maldives resorts- and the water bungalows!- for less money in October? Thank you!

    1. Hi Julie,

      First of all, congratulations! I happen to love the Maldives too, and we have some truly outstanding hotels there. I totally sympathise about the budget, unfortunately that dream overwater villa can come at a cost; however, it just so happens that we have some cracking offers coming up: for Indian Ocean stays. Don’t say we don’t spoil you…

      So, the real question is which one do you like best? To keep your fiancé happy you could head to Constance Moofushi, which includes free windsurfing, kayaking, pedal boating, snorkelling excursions (equipment included) and meals in the room rate – so it’s unlikely you’ll be bored.

      Another option – admittedly my favourite – is to spend 12 or 14 nights island-hopping, so you get to be awestruck several times over the course of your holiday. Start with one a short speedboat ride from Malé: I rather like Huvafen Fushi (, a stay with no-holds-barred luxury, an underwater spa and one of the Maldives’ best house reefs. Then hop over to Baros (, where you’ll have oceanside meals you’ll reminisce about into old age, eco-friendly diving and a free couple’s sunset cruise with champagne and canapés as your Smith Extra. Then, to round off your Maldivian odyssey, swoop into Niyama ( by seaplane, where you can dance the night away with the fishes (no, we’re not back to Francis Ford Coppola again) in the world’s first underwater bar Subsix.

      If you’re head’s spinning with white-sand beaches and turquoise waters, give me a call on 0330 100 3180 or email me at and we can plan the trip of a lifetime for you!

      Thanks and happy travels!


      1. Thanks for your suggestions! I keep reading conflicting information about the weather in the Maldives during October though which worried me if we really try and blow the budget in an amazing resort! Although looking at your links, I’m not sure we could afford them even by blowing the budget! 🙁

        1. Hi Julie,

          It’s true that the Maldives can be a bit pricy, but if you want a blow-out island resort that’s ultra-luxe, have you thought about Mauritius. It has miles of white-sand beaches, romantic villas and Indian Ocean views, and – most importantly – it’s less budget-straining than the Maldives.

          I absolutely love the Oberoi (, which has a private beach and a blissful spa. We have more reasonably priced island stays too, and I’d be happy to tell you all about them if you’re interested Call me on 0330 100 3180 or email me at



  4. Hi Charlie,
    My husband, Chris and I got married in May, but due to our work commitments as wedding photographers we have had to put off our honeymoon until next February. Your suggestions so far on the post look AMAZING and certainly ones that we will be investigating further. However, I wonder if you have any further suggestions that might include the odd volcano?!!! Chris is an absolute fan, so whilst I’ll be found flat out out by the beach, he would like that to explore. Like most, we would like beach mixed with the odd outing every couple of days.
    Thanks, Laura

    1. Hi Laura,
      Volcano-seeking wedding photographers? Your honeymoon pictures are going to be spectacular!

      Bali immediately springs to mind – climbing to the top of Gunung Batur to catch the sunrise above the cloud cover is one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Start in Ubud, a gorgeous little inland town tucked away amid verdant jungle and paddy fields, which makes a good base for exploring the more rugged areas of the island. If you love spas as much as I do, Como Shambhala is a must ( this back-to-nature retreat won Best Spa Hotel in our Smith Hotel Awards last year. For something even more intimate, set up camp at one of the Purist Villas & Spa’s seven villas ( – some have private pools and all will let you indulge in typically Balinese indoor-outdoor living.
      When you’re done scrambling up volcanoes, head to the beach; you’re bound to fall for Alila Villas Uluwatu’s breathtaking views (

      On Java island, Mount Merapi is the most active volcano in Indonesia. Peaceful and laid-back, nearby Yogyakarta makes an idyllic honeymoon retreat. Plump for a Borobudur Pool Suite at Amanjiwo ( for jaw-dropping views of this ancient temple.

      Mauritius and Maui could also be good options… email me at or give me a call on 0330 100 3180 if you’d like to talk some more.

      Can’t wait to see your snaps – bon voyage!


  5. Hi

    We are tied to school holidays so are looking at a two week break over Christmas, however the prices are far beyond our budget at what I assume is a premium time. Another option then is to go over Easter, where would you recommend in April/a March time for some sunny relaxation.

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Sarah,

      Ah yes, the double-edged sword of the school holidays – time off when everyone else is booking their break. Don’t worry, I’m on the case… First of all, let me casually mention our fabulous offers on stays in the Maldives, just in case you fancy basking on a beautiful beach and well, just lazing in a hammock in paradise over Christmas.

      Have you also considered Morocco? The weather is delightful over the Christmas holidays and, while it may be a little busy, there are some very affordable hotels. I’m personally a huge fan of Les Deux Tours ( in the Palmeraie; the attention to detail is amazing, the gardens are so relaxing and, most importantly, the price is right! There are so many great places to stay though, Dar Les Cigognes ( by the Royal Palace, chic and colourful El Fenn ( or Le Palais Paysan ( a little further outside the city. Be sure to drop into legendary La Mamounia ( for a cocktail at the bar, too.

      As for a break in March or April, where you’ll be guaranteed good weather, I’d head to Cambodia for a cheap yet indulgent stay. Navutu Dreams Resort & Spa ( is a chilled-out beachside hotel, which is very reasonable, and Knai Bang Chatt brings Bauhaus styling and bargain rates together (

      I hope that helps! There are so many wonderful places to go in spring, I’d really love to chat more and offer some inspiration, please do call me on 0330 100 3180 or email me on to work out a great school-holiday getaway.



  6. Good morning!

    I can see lots of questions already – excellent! I’ll be helping you to find the sunniest spot for an out-of-season honeymoon, so fire away, and don’t forget that you can always email me at or give me a bell on 0330 100 3180 if you’d like to chat some more.

    Right, let’s get started shall we?

  7. Hi Charlie,

    We are getting married next July but as it seems to be wedding season amongst our friends, aren’t going to go away until October as we have other weddings to go to!
    We’d like to go away for 3 weeks if we can, going to a few places – packing in activities and some relax time.

    My fiancee is a BBQ chef and we are both avid music fans so are thinking of incorporating Austin, TX for the Austin City Limits music festival, and for some BBQ “research”.
    New Orleans too for music and food.
    And Mexico for the chilling – we’d like some beach but nothing too commercial – and access to some authentic mexican cooking!

    What are your thoughts on this? We’re not sure if the weather is right for that time of year?

    Thank you.

    1. Good morning Sophie!

      Your fiancé sounds like an amazing man – anyone who can grill a burger to perfection is alright by me, so you’re a lucky woman! But, more importantly, let’s discuss this fabulous honeymoon…

      I love Austin; its music is legendary, its atmosphere laid-back, and its food makes me want to sell up sticks in London and become a professional eater of some sort. Hotel San José ( is a must for music lovers; not only do they have some of the best music and film nights around in their lively bar (now a Smith Awards 2014 nominee), but they let travelling musicians stay for reduced rates, so you never know who you’ll meet while staying there.

      In New Orleans we have Soniat House Hotel (, a Louisiana belle in the French Quarter (at the centre of the action), where the owners can point you in the right direction for soul-stirring jazz. There’s also graveyard tours, if you don’t mind getting spooked out on your honeymoon, St Louis Cathedral, and the food – oh, the food…

      Finally, Mexico is a fantastic choice, and I’d definitely recommend the Yucatán if you’d like to get stuck into flavourful street food. Coqui Coqui Valladolid ( is one of my favourite stays: it’s so exclusive it only has one room, which is decked out in romantic Porfirian finery. It’s also got a perfume shop downstairs, so your new husband can surprise you… Oh, and the restaurant’s spicy cochinita pibil is a great meaty barbecue substitute.

      Of course, there are many more amazing stays in Mexico (and the US) – I’d love to talk more, and perhaps get some barbecuing tips, so pleas call me on 0330 100 3180 or email me on to chat more!



      1. Thanks so much Charlie. You’ve certainly got us even more excited about the honeymoon than we were before – I didn’t think that was possible.

        We’ll definitely be in touch soon to discuss further.

        How far in advance should we be getting things booked?

        1. Hi Sophie,

          Well, there’s no time like the present! However, I understand that you may need a little planning time… Our Travel Team is available round-the-clock, so get in touch whenever you like.

          Also, if you want to call just for some advice, or to find out more about a hotel or destination, I’m happy to help out!

          So glad I’ve got you excited for your trip!


  8. Hi Charlie,

    We’re getting married in October (2015), and due to work commitments are looking at the October half term.

    We’re looking at a 7/10 nights so don’t really want to lose large chunk of days through travel so probably looking at around a 5 hour maximum flight time.

    Our ideal destination is somewhere hot, preferably with a nice beach, to just go an chill out for a week(ish).

    We’re open to all destination suggestions and all types of accommodation as well.


    1. Hi Tom!

      I’ve circumnavigated the globe several times and the jet-lag never gets easier… Luckily we have some (fairly) close-to-home stays, which are ideal for an October break.

      It may be big, bold and largely desert, but the Middle East can be seriously romantic – imagine watching the sun set into desert dunes, or sitting hand in hand on a terrace overlooking a mountain-sheltered azure-blue fjord; sounds pretty good, right? Also, you’re looking at a mercifully fleet flight time. The Chedi Muscat ( eschews gold for elegant Omani minimalism, and its manicured gardens are perfect for evening walks. If you want a blow-out stay, check-in at Six Senses Zighy Bay (, an Omani-village-style resort in gasp-inducing surrounds. If you want a little drama, you can make your entrance by paraglider…

      Southern Europe is also great for weather, hip hotels and a blink-and-you’re-there travel time (well, almost). I love A’jia Hotel ( on the banks of the Bosphorus, which has a private boat and rooms overlooking Europe and Asia. Or, I’d recommend a short-haul hop to Cyprus to stay at Londa (; the Honeymoon Suite is wittily decorated, with an enormous round bed and only a glass wall between the Jacuzzi and shower for a little cheeky fun.

      I hope that helps! We have plenty of destinations just a few hours’ journey away, so please do give me a call or send me an email (on 0330 100 3180 or email or at and we’ll find somewhere that doesn’t leave you comatose for the first day of your stay!

      Happy travels!


      1. Thanks a lot Charlie,

        Lots of places to investigate there, i’ll be sure to be in touch if any of them are “the one” for the bride-to-be.

        1. No problem!

          Of course, I firmly advocate running things by the bride-to-be first!

          Don’t hesitate to give me a bell if you need any more help Tom. Congrats and happy travels!


  9. Hi Charlie,

    My husband and I got married 3 weeks ago today and as we are teachers we are delaying our honeymoon until the Christmas holidays. We really want to go to Thailand but we are concerned that as it is peak season we will end up on a busy holiday rather than a romantic quiet one. We are planning on spending a few days in Bangkok and in Chang Mai but then we are are not sure which islands to go to (as there is so much choice) we would love somewhere we can relax on the beach, go for walks, snorkel and go for dinner and drinks in the evening without feeling like we are on a busy party resort. We would like to be somewhere special for Christmas day as it will be our first Christmas as a married couple and away from home! Any advice would be gratefully received.

    Many thanks,

    1. Well, hello Clare, lovely to meet you!

      Congratulations! There’s a lot of teachers online today – I’m sure you all want to get this dream trip sorted before the summer break ends, and who could blame you?

      Admittedly, it’s hard to avoid the crowds at Christmas in Thailand, after all, everyone’s daydreaming about pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters to swim in and moreish dishes of fragrant Thai food – in fact, I’m going there in November, so I’ll come join you if I spot you! (Just kidding…) However, there are some stays where you can find some peace, privacy and seclusion: first up, the Siam ( is extraordinarily tranquil for a city stay, with serene Phraya River views and Bangkok’s first pool villas (so you can swim as a twosome). If you want to get some elbow room on the beach, private-island stay Six Senses Yao Noi ( in Phuket is ideal. Its stilted villas are sheltered by dense jungle foliage, and the beach is just a flip-flopped stroll from your door. The Racha ( is equally hidden from the tourist rabble, and its all-white aesthetic is refreshingly modern.

      I hope that’s inspired you! If you need any more ideas, please do call me up for a natter on 0330 100 3180 or email me at

      Happy travels!


      1. Hi Charlie,

        Thank you for your advice, it has given us lots to think abou!t! We were hoping Thailand might allow us a little luxury at an affordable price but I think to avoid the crowds will have to spend a bit more!

  10. Hi Charlie

    We are getting married next March and looking for a honeymoon destination leaving on 8th March for approx 10 days. Can you recommend some places where the weather is good but we dont have to pay too much! Maldives seems to be the key suggestion we are getting, but is out of our price range!

    We are thinking of South Africa, so any suggestions you have for hotels and things to do there would be great.

    Thanks, Emma x

    1. Hi Emma!

      Well, congratulations! Yes, I too have spent hours looking longingly at out-of-my-price-range Maldives hotels and thinking ‘if only’… Although, if it helps, we do have some rather spiffing offers at the moment However, South Africa is a great alternative – the weather is about 25°C in March, so it’s wonderfully warm – and we can conjure up an itinerary that takes you from the beach, to the treetops, to a vineyard…

      I’d head to Cape Town first, where you can sunbathe and hike up a mountain in a day. Atlantic House ( is rather beautiful, with sea views and a palm-tree flanked pool. I also love Kensington Place (, the city’s original boutique hotel, which has a dramatic Table Mountain backdrop and it’s close to super trendy Kloof Street. I’d spend a couple nights at either of those and then I’d move on to the Garden Route & Winelands. Spend a few dreamy nights in antique-filled La Residence ( – a favourite of our co-founders, the original Mr & Mrs Smith) quaffing vintages from the cellar, then I’d shelter under the forest canopy at Tsala Treetop Lodge (, where you can sit undetected on your private elevated terrace and watch the sunset.

      If you’re thinking, ‘that’s great Charlie, but where is my island paradise?’, let me introduce you to the Oberoi ( in Mauritius. It has picture-perfect sandy beaches, elegant pavilions, watersports galore and entrancing Indian Ocean views, and great rates – the Maldives? What are they again?

      I hope that helps, but if you;d like to chat about more islands to find holiday bliss on, or if the above itinerary sounds good please give me a call on 0330 100 3180 or email me at

      Bon voyage!


  11. Hi Charlie,

    We are getting married next June and are looking to go to Mauritius for a few days followed by Seychelles. We ideally would like to go around July time but might have to be flexible and go towards the end of the year. What is the best time of year to visit these destinations and what would you say are the best things to do in these locations?


    1. Hi Claire,

      That’s great, congratulations! Sounds like a dream trip, and I’m a wee bit jealous…

      Mauritius is lovely throughout the year (with the odd shower here and there); you can’t really go wrong, but I’d book for April to June or September to December. We have two great hotels there, the Oberoi ( is very reasonable and has beautiful villas to stay in, and Constance Le Prince Maurice ( might cause you to slacken your jaw on arrival: its suites overlook the lake or the beach and you can dine on the beach and star-spot.

      There’s plenty to do in Mauritius too, with golf, horse riding, quad-biking, hiking and more on offer, it’s unlikely you’ll get bored. I’d recommend getting out and about in Mauritius, then leaving the Seychelles for total beachside relaxation. Maia Luxury Resort & Spa ( is definitely not cheap, but it’s a once-in-a-lifetime holiday destination that’s worth the price tag. For your money you get a personal butler to wait on you hand and foot; a world-class spa; five accomplished chefs at your beck and call; and – if you ignore what I said earlier and want to get your adrenaline pumping – kayaking, canoeing, windsurfing and snorkelling are included in the room rate.

      I hope that’s given you some food for thought, but if you still want to know where the best beach spots are, or there’s an activity you’re dying to try, then speak to me on 0330 100 3180 or email me at

      Thanks and I hope you have a fantastic trip!


  12. A huge thank you for all your questions today; it’s been so much fun helping you choose where to go on honeymoon! And it’s always a pleasure to wax lyrical about the Maldives and beyond…

    If you missed me today, or you want to know more about your dream destination, I’m always available for a chat: you can call me on 0330 100 3180 or email me at The Smith Travel Team is available 24 hours a day too, so whenever holiday inspiration strikes you can get hold of us.

    I look forward to hearing from you, and I hope you all have the most wonderful holidays (and weddings)!

    Thanks again,


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