Your life together should start with a glorious honeymoon. Why is a Middle East honeymoon the perfect choice for a new beginning? Because this is where civilization itself began. The Middle East is filled with names we have heard since childhood – Ancient Egypt, the Nile, Jerusalem, and Istanbul – magical places that have contributed to and witnessed the development of mankind. It’s as if the Middle East held the soul of humanity in all its grandeur.
Israel has one of the oldest and richest cultures. Jerusalem is a holy city and one of the oldest cities in the world, but it is also a sublime dating city for couples. The Kumkum Tea House serves an elegant outdoor tea with a tower of small sandwiches, pastries, and finger foods, all to the sound of live music. The Kirka Hamusica is a square in Jerusalem with daily concerts and six different restaurants (from Italian to kosher) for a romantic, sensual dining experience.
In the mood for religion with a fun twist? The Live the Bible site lets visitors dress as their favorite Bible character, with costumes and props, and have keepsake pictures taken. Definitely an interesting souvenir.
For a more serious religious experience, stroll through the Garden of Gethsemane to reflect on your life ahead. There are olive trees here that are the oldest in the world, probably dating to the 11th century. This a magic, so just let it happen.
Israel can be an overwhelming place. Then there is the nightlife in Tel Aviv.
Tel Aviv is known for some of the best nightlife in Europe with major clubs and small, snuggly neighborhood bars. The roar doesn’t begin until after 10:00 p.m., while some clubs fill up after midnight. The nightlife ends when the sun rises.
The Imperial Craft Cocktail Bar worships at the altar of the creative cocktail to the sound of jazz and easy Rock n’ Roll. It was named the Best Bar in the Middle East and Africa in 2017.
One of the most romantic and beautiful resorts in Israel is the adult-only Oasis Spa Club – Dead Sea with its private beach. The rooms face the Dead Sea or the garden. The restaurants serve international cuisine with a view of the Dead Sea. The resort is especially known for its Oasis Spa Club, which makes use of the healing qualities of the Dead Sea. The spa offers couples treatments by candlelight, including a massage and a double jacuzzi with champagne and munchies. Following any requested treatment, the couple can enjoy alone time in their own spa suite.
Where Israel is dignified with world history and soothing calm, the city of Dubai within the UAR is a colorful rocket bursting into air to overwhelm the senses. It can best be described in superlatives, such as the city with the tallest building, the world’s busiest airport, and one of the most expensive places on the planet. However, it can be affordable to any couple on a budget.
When beginning your Dubai honeymoon, learn more about its basic culture at the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. Here, couples can enhance their visit by learning some Arabic and taking guided tours to some of the most important mosques to learn about Islamic culture.
For a beach day in Dubai, visit the Al Sufouh Black Palace Beach which is also called the Secret Beach. It is lined with royal palaces, and a path between two of the palaces provides access to this stretch of golden sand. Pack a nice lunch and make a day of it. It is okay to wear regular beach wear in Dubai, with no need for a burkini or any head covering.
Dubai’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, is a must-see.
The tour to the top will stop on several floors until it reaches level 148. For this tour, visitors will have a personal guide to explain all the amazing sights from 555 meters above the ground while everyone enjoys some refreshments.
Dubai is famous (or infamous) for its spectacular souks, which are Mideastern open-air markets. They are a marvel for shoppers, and haggling over price is normal. The best Dubai souks are on the Deira side of Dubai Creek. The Gold Souk is the largest gold market in the world, filled with the finest jewelry. The aromatic Spice Souk has every spice imaginable. And a couple looking for an exotic perfume should stroll to the Perfume Souk with its hundreds of different fragrances.
Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort off Dubai’s coast will indulge any honeymoon couple. It is the only hotel with over-the-water villas in the entire UAE. The rooms are luxurious with private balconies, and honeymooners will enjoy the Romantic Escape plan, which includes luxurious accommodation, chocolates, breakfast each morning, and discounts on spa treatments.
The Palm’s restaurants, with either a beach or garden view, offer the finest dining in Dubai, from Asians to Mediterranean. Smart couples can opt for the Dining by Design, and the resort will offer a unique dining experience prepared by a personal chef to be served by a private butler at a secluded, private location.
The luxury spa at the Palm has 24 rooms, including five couple suites with their own sauna, whirlpool, and steam bath.
Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE is removed by space and spirit from the razzle dazzle of Dubai. In Abu Dhabi, luxury is the keyword.
A visit to Abu Dhabi without seeing the spectacular Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque (pictured above and below) is impossible. The grandeur of the architecture is nothing less than mesmerizing.
Tours are available. Visitors need to remember this is a holy building and should dress accordingly – for ladies, that means no revealing knees and shoulders. And honeymooners need to refrain from physical affection.
Sadiyat Island is an artist’s gem with hotels, restaurants, bars, pristine beaches, and ultimately – plenty of art to be found within the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, and the Zayed National Museum. Even the US university Berkeley has a performance branch on the island.
The island’s Kai Beach is a beautiful beach where sea turtles are known to greet visitors.
One of the Saadiyat Island’s favorite restaurants is Fouquet’s Abu Dhabi inside the Louvre serving fabled Parisian delicacies. For a romantic date evening, the Manhattan Lounge has class and fabulous cocktails.
Abu Dhabi’s two-hour sunset cruise is designed for honeymooners and lovers. It will float passed towers and palaces, make a stop at Dolphin Island, and return into a magnificent sunset.
For the most romantic dining in Abu Dhabi, Hakkasan, a one-Michelin star restaurant, does Dim Sum and an incredible romantic Friday Night Brunch, where couples can dine on Crispy Peking Duck with Imperial Caviar or smoked Wagyu beef ribs. Its cocktail collection is vast.
Hakkasan Terrace (pictured above) faces the Emirates Palace and the entire stunning Abu Dhabi skyline.
The Emirates Palace is the standard of grandeur in Abu Dhabi. Every room enjoys 24-hour butler service, and the Palace’s 14 restaurants have cuisine prepared by top chefs. The spa is dedicated to wellness, and there are two temperature-controlled swimming pools. The city’s finest shopping is nearby. This is as royal as a honeymoon gets.
The Palace has the city’s best watersports, from sailing, kayaking, windsurfing, and paddle boarding. Horseback riding, golf, and beach volleyball are other enjoyable diversions. For a strong workout, the Palace offers a beach bootcamp each Sunday.
Romance leads the way at the Emirates Palace. It will arrange a private five-hour yacht tour. A romantic afternoon tea is served with special Palace pastries. And the Palace offers private Beach Cabanas complete with juice and snacks. Close the curtains and listen to the waves or whatever honeymooners are in the mood for.
Egypt has the power to invoke magic with just a few words – the pyramids, the Sphinx, and the Nile. Travelers have come here for 5,000 years, and the remains of its long and electrifying history still amazes. What better way to begin a marriage than to become a part of such a proud and vast history?
Cairo, the capital of Egypt, is a remarkably romantic city. Who needs a car when a camel or horse-drawn carriage ride can take a couple on a half-day tour to the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Great Sphinx. Couples get picked up at their hotel in Cairo and along the way, they can learn about Egyptian culture while enjoying lunch at a local eatery. At the end of the tour, couples will be dropped back at their accommodations. A special photographer can be requested, if desired, at extra cost, to create the photos of a lifetime for children and grandchildren.
Shopping at one of Cairo’s oldest markets, Khan el-Khalili, (it was created in the 14th century) consists of maneuvering through a maze of alleys where anything can be found, from silver and gold artifacts, precious antiques, to handmake crafts and carpets. Visitors can stop by the El-Fishawi (built more recently in the 18th century) for refreshments.
A Felucca Cruise at Sunset
Cruises down the mighty Nile River have been happening for thousands of years. A felucca cruise at sunset updates history with guided tours in a traditional boat that will take guests passed Cairo’s popular sights at sunset. Pick up and drop off at a hotel is included, as is an option for a dinner and dance tour.
Giza Pyramid and the Sphinx
The Giza Pyramid and the Sphinx and other pyramids are one of the ancient wonders of the world, and it is estimated that it took 100,000 men to build them. They are best viewed on a tour that will provide special access to off-limit areas. The Sphinx is the oldest monument in existence, and it lies between two temples. Exploring the area on camelback enhances this unforgettable experience. Stroll in the footsteps of the pharaohs as you begin your life together.
Red Sea Area
Egypt isn’t usually considered a beach getaway, but the Red Sea is a favorite for scuba diving, windsurfing, and kitesurfing aficionados. The sea is lined with resort hotels, especially the southern area.
The Red Sea’s Hurghada area has a plethora of fabulous luxury resorts. If a couple has to choose, it is difficult to go wrong with Cleopatra Makadi Bay, named after a queen famous for her style, men, beauty, and love of being pampered.
All 448 rooms and suites have a patio or balcony. Onsite restaurants offer cuisine fit for royalty, and the Sky Lounge with its pool bar and restaurants provides guests with a grand view of the Red Sea. The resort offers golf, tennis, and nightly entertainment, as well as a pampering and indulgent spa.
Marrakech, Morocco checks all honeymoon destination boxes with its souks, palaces, and five-star resorts. The beauty is incredible enough for designer Yves Saint Laurent to have a home here.
Marrakech’s colorful markets are filled with one-of-a-kind items and fine foods. These souks are located throughout Marrakech with their rugs, cookware, leather goods, and food of every type.
This landscaped garden is a part of Yves Saint Laurent’s home, and it is open to the public. There are 500 plants from every continent, surrounded by Saint Laurent’s electric blue designs. The garden is also home to the Musée Berbère with its 600 indigenous artifacts. Close to a million visitors come to revel in the sheer beauty of this garden.
Hot Air Balloon Ride over Marrakech
This Hot Air Balloon Ride agency provides its customers with an incredible experience that goes beyond the ordinary. This hour-long ride will take a couple (only two people) over villages, mountains, and deserts while being served a full breakfast in midair and receiving a Moroccan souvenir.
The Mandarin Oriental near the city of Medina, situated within olive groves and beautiful gardens, is Marrakech’s go-to-romantic resort. From romantic villas to suites overlooking the mountains, the accommodation at the Mandarin is first-rate. The Oriental Pool Villa is surrounded by a courtyard and has its own pool, kitchen, and jacuzzi. The Royal Suite has a stunning view and two plunge pools.
The resort serves international cuisine inside as well as poolside. A romantic favorite is The Tent, where guests can snuggle while sipping a cocktail beneath the stars. Of course, service to the villas and suites is available 24/7.
The spa offers outdoor massage suites and yoga. Its Wellness Program includes a professional fitness estimate, two yoga sessions, a healthy cooking class, an 80-minute massage, as well as the unlimited use of the steam room, indoor swimming pool, and fitness center, along with a daily breakfast.
Mandarin’s Romantic Package includes 100 roses with rose leaves in the bathtub, a candle-lit four-course dinner with cocktails served in the villa, and a private in-room massage.