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Las Vegas, Nevada
Why It’s Hot: Whether it’s Barry Manilow, Celine, or Donny and Marie, Sin City’s got your favorite celebrity (or celeb impersonator) to serenade your new coupledom. Hit the jackpot at roulette, snag front-row seats to Cirque de Soleil, book the 16-course tasting menu at Joel Robuchon or dance ’til dawn at Krave (the nonstop party atmosphere is perfect for celebrating your nuptials).
Where to Stay: Mega-hotel Mandalay Bay (often referred to as “Mandalay Gay,” because of its popularity with gay couples) has one of the biggest (we’re talking 11 acres!) and best pool complexes on the Strip. Lounge poolside on a cushioned chaise at the adults-only Moorea Beach Club, where European sunbathing (that’s, ahem, topless) is de rigueur, thanks to frosted glass panes (from $145, MandalayBay.com).
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Key West, Florida
Why It’s Hot: This colorful island (literally — the local architectural gems are painted yellow, pink and turquoise) is like an eclectic paradise for honeymooners, with avant-garde art, theater and live music that ranges from salsa to show tunes. A drag queen or two only adds to the funky, warmhearted charm of the key, whose official motto is “one human family.” Choose from a variety of couple-friendly activities: Take the gay and lesbian historic trolley tour of Key West or visit Ernest Hemingway’s former-home-turned-museum; snorkel above the coral reefs or sip mojitos on palm-lined Duval Street, the nightlife hub.
Where to Stay: Enjoy the old-world-mystique-meets-modern-luxury feel of the tropically inspired Hyatt Key West Resort and Spa, where each guest room has a private balcony. Toast your new union on a sunset sailboat cruise, book a relaxing couple’s massage at the Jala Spa, and soak in the Gulf of Mexico breeze over fresh snapper and key lime pie at the on-site restaurant, Shor (from $355, KeyWest.Hyatt.com).
Photo by Courtesy of the Milliken Creek Inn / The Knot
Napa Valley, California
Why It’s Hot: With around 400 wineries, picturesque Napa is the closest you can get to Tuscany sans passport. Whether you’re wine connoisseurs or vino virgins, you’ll enjoy meandering through the breathtaking vineyards, funky farmhouses and charming wine cellars, while sipping full-bodied cabernets, on a wine tour. For a break from the pinot, indulge in some pampering in Calistoga, known for its mud baths and volcanic hot springs. For dinner, share a romantic meal in your cozy fireside booth at Brannan’s Grill.
Where to Stay: Relax in a lavish king-size bed at Milliken Creek Inn & Spa, a luxe 12-room boutique property surrounded by vineyards. After stopping by the hotel’s Magic Hour to sample local wines and cheeses, head up to your room for a soak in your oversize hydrotherapy tub (from $350, MillikenCreekInn.com).
Photo by Courtesy of the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa / The Knot
Why It’s Hot: Honolulu’s famous urban beach is the ideal place to unwind. Take in the suntanned scene at Queen’s Surf Beach in Kapiolani Park, or head to the more the country-like Diamond Head beach. The perfect celebration to mix and mingle with other couples, don’t miss Hula’s Bar & Lei Stand’s weekly gay catamaran cruise.
Where to Stay: The Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, arguably fronts the best stretch of the world-famous beach. Take a dip in two freshwater pools, work up a sweat at a Zumba party and get into the groove over mai tais with live Hawaiian entertainment at the open-air Moana Terrace (from $370, MarriottWaikiki.com/glbt).
Photo by Courtesy of the WEstin Riverfront Resort / The Knot
Beaver Creek, Colorado
Why It’s Hot: Naturally, winter is prime time to hit the slopes of this exclusive mountain enclave, but it’s also an idyllic honeymoon spot in summer, spring or fall for hiking up Beaver Creek Mountain, horseback riding, river rafting and hitting up local music festivals. Or just kick back in a mountain-view hot tub with a bottle of champagne.
Where to Stay: Cozy up by the fireplace at the environmentally friendly Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa at Beaver Creek. Unwind in the outdoor heated lap pool and hot tubs, or pamper yourselves with healing Rocky Mountain-inspired treatment like a red clover and mountain honey body mask at the serene Spa Anjali. The hotel’s mountain-view restaurant, Avondale, features a seasonal, west coast-inspired menu, perfect for a romantic dinner a deux overlooking Eagle River(WestinRiverfrontBeavercreek.com).
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Iguazu Falls, Argentina
Why It’s Hot: One of the Wonders of the World, unspoiled Iguazu is among the most magnificent waterfalls on earth. It’s South America’s take on Niagara Falls, and the falls create a natural border between Argentina and Brazil. Wind through twisting hiking trails with unbeatable vistas, or arrange a canopy tour to explore the surrounding sub-tropical rain forest. For the most complete experience, tour the falls on both the Argentinean and Brazilian sides. Bonus: Buenos Aires is only a 90-minute flight south!
Where to Stay: The only full-service resort on the Argentinean side of Iguazu is the posh Iguazu Grand Resort Spa & Casino. Beyond the 15 acres of gardens and waterfalls, enjoy a dip in one of the three outdoor pools before indulging in Argentinean barbecue at the hotel’s restaurant, La Terraza, and taking in a live cabaret show at Café Magic (from $313, IguazuGrandHotel.com).
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Why It’s Hot: Spiritual and serene, Northern Arizona’s breathtaking red-rock country is a romantic getaway for both the artsy and outdoorsy. Here, “relaxed” is the key word. Thanks to its high elevation, Sedona escapes the desert heat and serves as a year-round creative hub for dozens of galleries and festivals, not to mention its museum-quality sunsets. Feeling adventurous? Hop in a Jeep and take a day trip to the Grand Canyon, about 110 miles south.
Where to Stay: Book a two-room suite at Hilton Sedona Resort & Spa, with a separate living room and private patio for lounging. Embrace the landscape with a tai chi class or desert lotus massage at the spa (HiltonSedonaResort.com).
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Why It’s Hot: This eclectic, culture-rich Dutch Caribbean island has a laid-back “live and let live” philosophy, making it a welcome spot for gay couples. Plus, its position below the hurricane belt means year-round sun. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the island’s charming capital, Willemstad, is worthy of an afternoon stroll. Go snorkeling or diving, or explore Curacao’s world-famous underwater life in the Curasub, a sleek mini-submarine that takes you up to 1,000 feet below the sea’s surface to reveal gorgeous coral, shipwrecks and exotic fish. For a night on the town, try a candlelit dinner at Bistro le Clochard in the historic Rif Fort.
Where to Stay: The luxe beachfront Hyatt Regency Curacao Golf Resort, Spa and Marina offers a complete escape on the picturesque Santa Barbara plantation. With three chic outdoor pools, waterfront restaurants offering white-sand views and an 18-hole golf course, there’s not much reason to leave the compound if you don’t want to (from $163, Curacao.Hyatt.com).
Photo by Courtesy of The Queen's Garden Resort / The Knot
Why It’s Hot: Twenty-eight miles east of bustling St. Maarten, this romantic and secluded island is known as the “unspoiled queen” of the Caribbean. You won’t get masses of sun-deprived tourists here — just welcoming locals and plenty of privacy. See pretty black-eyed Susans (the national flower) on a hike up Mount Scenery, explore the village’s gingerbread-like houses and picnic at the black-sand beach.
Where to Stay: Tucked away in exclusive Troy Hill, shacking up at Queen’s Gardens Resort is like staying at a friend’s to-die-for island home — except this elegant hideaway is set in the middle of the rainforest at 1,200 feet above sea level. Book one of the 12 well-designed suites that span an entire floor and gaze onto the sapphire-colored sea. The hotel’s Queen of New York Hearts honeymoon special offers one night free and breakfast in bed for couples who show a marriage certificate dated on or after July 24, 2011 — the effective date of New York’s new marriage law (4-night stay required; from $230 per night, QueenSaba.com).