The new honeymoon hotspots

Black Tomato's Tom Marchant shares his top picks for unexpected post-nuptial getaways.

For the newly engaged, 2012 will bring months of wedding decision-making. The good news? One of those choices will dictate your honeymoon, which should be anything but ordinary. In search of a fresh perspective on an age-old tradition, we turned to Tom Marchant, co-founder of bespoke luxury travel company Black Tomato and beach culture website Beach Tomato. "The classic honeymoon destinations will always have that certain unfaltering appeal for honeymooners, but being a little bit more adventurous with your choices will make for a truly unique experience," he says. Click through the gallery above for Marchant's top five alternative honeymoons to give old standbys a run for their money.

Don't miss Marchant's top night's sleep around the globe. To plan your own bespoke trip or honeymoon, go to blacktomato.com.

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  • Australia: West Coast vs. Queensland

    Australia: West Coast vs. Queensland

    With its pristine coastline, abundant marine life and impressive coral reefs, the quieter west coast of Australia is ideal for honeymooners looking for seclusion. "Bathed in sunshine for 300 days of the year, it’s not surprising that Queensland has become a bit of a honeymoon beach mecca, but I would recommend exploring the less crowded west coast of this sun-scorched continent," says Marchant. "For a dive with a difference, head over to the Albrolhos Islands and explore some of the shipwrecks scattered across the seabed."

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  • Mexico: Isla Mujeres vs. the Riviera Maya

    Mexico: Isla Mujeres vs. the Riviera Maya

    While still home to sleepy beach communities, the stretch of sand south of Cancun that hosts destinations such as Playa del Carmen, Akumal and Tulum has long since lost its "undiscovered" status. Marchant steers honeymooners toward Isla Mujeres instead: "This little island of true western Caribbean calibre is situated 50km north of the beautiful beaches of the Riviera Maya, with the longest coral reef in the world connecting these two Caribbean destinations," he says. "I would recommend staying at the beautiful Villa Rolandi, which lies between the turquoise Caribbean Sea and the Lagoon Makax, making the surrounding views especially incredible."

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  • Africa: Namibia vs. South Africa

    Africa: Namibia vs. South Africa

    If you're dreaming of a South African honeymoon — which is "an undeniably classic destination," says Marchant — you might also consider its northwest neighbor. "Namibia offers far more than first meets the eye, from the ghostly shipwrecks of the Skeleton Coast to the roaring giant red dunes of the Namib desert," says Marchant. "For a bit of adventure I would recommend surfing the sand dunes or hiking through the beautiful lunar landscapes, which will leave you ready for a good night's sleep under the huge African skies."

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  • Southeast Asia: Philippines vs. Thailand

    Southeast Asia: Philippines vs. Thailand

    Blame it on The Beach (and The Hangover, Part II): Thailand's gorgeous sand and surf make for a tried and tested honeymoon classic. But the beautiful archipelago of the Philippines lends itself well to an alternative honeymoon. "I would recommend Palawan, a little known region where you can hang out with the charming locals at bustling markets, meet ancient rainforest tribes in the depth of the jungle, and experience its weird and wonderful wildlife," says Marchant. "El Nido is one of the Philippines' many luxurious eco-resorts set between dense forest and the tranquil waters of a secluded lagoon."

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  • Indian Ocean: Reunion Island vs. Mauritius

    Indian Ocean: Reunion Island vs. Mauritius

    The clear waters and palm-fringed beaches of Mauritius are known to create honeymoon bliss, says Marchant, but the nearby volcanic French island of Reunion may be an even better choice for the adventurous. "Reunion is home to one of the world's most active volcanoes, the Piton de la Fournaise, which has erupted more than 170 times since the mid-17th century," he says. "I would recommend taking a hike up this formidable volcano for an intrepid honeymoon highlight."

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