Couples looking for a change-up from the usual romantic sojourn should set their sights on Africa, where luxurious new resorts and over-the-top renovations are adding sensuous suites, top-notch spas, and sophisticated dining to destinations stretching from Morocco to South Africa to Tanzania.
So much is happening in this ocean-meets-desert North African nation that romantics can pick from a smorgasbord of suites so special that they could make Morocco a hotbed for honeymooners in late 2010. First to debut was the legendary La Mamounia, which reopened in September 2009 after a multimillion-dollar makeover that gave its labyrinth of mosaic-tiled rooms and suites a jewel-box glow. Set amid 20 acres of gardens at the edge of the walled old city of Marrakech, the palace resorts 777 employees pamper a maximum of 432 guests, who can dine in six restaurants and choose from 80 treatments at the 27,000-square-foot Mamounia Spa (from $775).
The continents most cosmopolitan (and photogenic) city, Cape Town, is even more inviting after the opening of one resort, One&Only Cape Town, and the jazzy revitalization of another, Cape Grace. One&Onlys April 2009 debut added 131 contemporary-chic rooms and suites as well as Africas first Nobu (by Nobuyuki Matsuhisa) and Maze (by Gordon Ramsay) restaurants, plus a sprawling Spa Island with 12 treatment villas (from $680). Meanwhile, a bold refashioning at 14-year-old Cape Grace in January 2009 turned the 121-room waterfront property from English-floral sweet to elegant-meets-quirky unique, with rooms featuring original hand-painted fabrics and local artwork and Signal restaurant serving innovative dishes that give a nod to the regions French, British, Dutch and Asian heritage (from $603).
Located in the heart of Serengeti National Park, Bilila Lodge Kempinski opened in July 2009 bringing Kempinskis Tanzania total to three (joining properties in Dar es Salaam and on Zanzibar). With 74 rooms and suites, the latter with private plunge pools, Bilila is more boutique hotel than safari campwhich may suit couples looking for a more resort-like experience. In addition to 4WD game drives (nearby rather than on property), the lodge offers a large infinity pool, an Anantara Spa, The Dining Room restaurant and a traditional Masai-inspired Boma (from $1,140).