4 gay-friendly honeymoon getaways

4 gay-friendly honeymoon getaways

From Sweden to Cape Town, Uwern Jong, editor-in-chief of Out There magazine, selects four of the best destinations for same-sex newlyweds

As of 13 March, gay couples across the UK can legally be declared husband-and-husband and wife-and-wife, thanks to the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act 2013.

Likewise this means that now is the time for newly-married gay couples too set off across the globe in search of their ideal honeymoon. Not that we really need an excuse to travel of course - but while the UK has become more accepting towards homosexuals, that doesn't mean that other parts of the world have too. And sadly, some of the more traditional, mainstream honeymoon destinations - such as the Caribbean, Middle East and Indian Ocean - still have rather conservative values when it comes to the subject.

So where are the coolest and most welcoming resorts and destinations to have your same-sex honeymoon? Here are the top picks from Out There magazine

Icehotel

JUKKASJÄRVI, SWEDEN

Quite literally the coolest place to spend a romantic trip with your new spouse is this spectacular property, carved out of snow and ice. Each year in October and November, artists are commissioned to create a new ICEHOTEL, resulting in an organic and beautiful setting that is a one-off, with no two years the same, until April, when the hotel melts back into the Torne River.

The property is situated 200km north of the Arctic Circle and you'll get the chance to experience the region's majesty; from dog-sledding to snow-mobile tours, where you might just catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. And you can get married there too at the hotel's ICECHURCH, because same-sex marriage was made legal in the comparatively liberal Sweden in 2009, when The Church of Sweden voted overwhelmingly in favour of allowing gay weddings to take place in its hallowed halls. Even better though: now your marriage will be official when you get home too.

What else to do? The trip can be combined with a stopover in Sweden's hip-and-happening cosmopolitan capital of Stockholm (pictured): arguably the gayest city in the region. With something for everyone - art, amazing food, award-winning designer hotels and an ABBA obsession - this is the perfect place to thaw out.

The Stockholm Visitors Board even has its own gay and lesbian network and you can find out all about it by joining the Facebook group. Stockholm is full of spectacular hotels, but the luxurious Ett Hem and Nobis are both members of the gay and lesbian network. Find out more about Stockholm in OutThere/Travel's recent Sophisticated Stockholm issue.

How to get there? Fly direct to Kiruna in Swedish Lapland thanks to luxury charters by Discover the World. You can also fly from London Gatwick to Kiruna, via Stockholm, with Norwegian from £145p/p return.

Four Seasons Golden Triangle

CHIANG RAI, THAILAND

Thailand has always been Asia's most gay-welcoming country, its Buddhist backbone a model for social tolerance and acceptance. Not forgetting of course that it is one of the most beautiful parts of the world. While everyone knows Thailand for its beaches, it's the north of the country that makes for a truly special honeymoon…

Up in the far reaches of Chiang Rai, you'll find the Four Seasons Camp, a once-in-a-lifetime, luxury tent-hotel experience. This takes glamping to a whole new level. Picture the scene: a meeting point between three countries, fifteen lodge-style tents in a secluded jungle setting, flanked by the mountains of Laos and the rivers of Myanmar (Burma), copper baths, riverboating and elephant trekking. You can even become amahout (elephant rider) for the day and learn how to speak to this incredible mammal from the camp's aptly-titled 'Director of Elephants'.

What else to do? You can't go all the way to Thailand and not laze on a pristine golden beach for at least a couple of days, right? Well then the Four Seasons has you covered for that too. Its spectacular award-winning property in Koh Samui is the perfect tonic. For the lowdown on gay-friendly Thailand, check out www.gothaibefree.com or see OutThere/Travel's Amazing Thailand Issue.

How to get there? Fly from London Heathrow to Chiang Rai, via Bangkok, from £621p/p return with Thai Airways.

Kensington Place

CAPE TOWN

South Africans have a habit of saying "Pleasure!" when they part ways - something that will definitely sum up your experience of Cape Town. This cosmopolitan South African capital is a world in one country and the most gay-welcoming destination on the African continent by a long stretch.

You'll find this jewel of a honeymoon property on the corner of Leeuwenhof Crescent, one of the main roads in Cape Town, situated at the foot of the flat-topped Table Mountain and a short walk from all the action (not to mention a leisurely drive from the beaches). You'll receive a personal and warm welcome on arrival, with all the luxury appointments you'd expect, and then some. Not to mention the stunning art collection of charismatic owner Chris Weir. Kensington Place can be anything you want it to be: a sanctuary to melt into and enjoy with your new spouse, or a base for exploring the suave Cape Town in all its glory.

What else to do? Combine your city escape with a safari experience of a lifetime at the spectacular Singita Lebombo, in Kruger National Park. This breathtakingly beautiful, dramatic, luxury lodge has just fifteen loft-style suites, set along the cliff-face above the N'wanetsi River. Whether you're on a life-changing walking safari spotting abundant rhinos, or tracking game with a guide, Kruger serves up a richly diverse habitat, teeming with game beneath an infinite African sky.

How to get there? Fly direct with British Airways from London Heathrow to Cape Town from £919p/p return.

Avila Resort

CURACAO, THE NETHERLANDS

Despite saying that the Caribbean can be a scary place for gay people to visit, there is one exception: the Dutch island of Curacao. While many associate it with the lurid-blue liquor found in many-a holiday cocktail, Curacao is a quintessentially beautiful Caribbean destination. Its philosophy is "Biba i laga Biba" (Live and Let Live).

The Avila is a former Governor's mansion built in 1780, combining olde-worlde charm with modern day luxury. It's sophisticated, elegant and all-welcoming, yet with none of the stuffiness. Contrasting its laid-back island vibe, the Avila is also steeped in history, set on two romantic private beaches and just minutes away from the capital Willemstad with its more upbeat distractions.

What else to do? Curacao has more than 35 remarkable beaches, from intimate rocky coves to long sandy crescents, secluded by nature, or bustling with activities. You can expect crystal clear, turquoise water and horizon-to-sky sunshine, whichever one you opt for. Almost all the swimming beaches are found in the calm southwestern coast, and with 15 beaches featuring crystal clear waters to pick from, you'll be spoilt for choice.

How to get there? KLM offers return flights from London Heathrow to Curacao - via Amsterdam - from £512p/p return.

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For LGBT travel advice from the FCO, see www.gov.uk

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