It’s become a rite of passage for expecting couples everywhere: the babymoon, a relaxing last-hurrah vacation taken at that lovely point in a woman’s pregnancy when she’s feeling good and still able to travel. While New Yorkers once flocked straight to the Caribbean, Mexico or Central America, these popular destinations are now affected by the Zika virus, which the World Health Organization declared a public health emergency in February.
Because Zika, which is primarily contracted by being bitten by infected mosquitoes, can be transmitted from a pregnant woman to her developing child — and may be linked to serious birth defects — the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently recommended that pregnant women and their partners avoid traveling to any Zika-affected area.
But that’s no reason to call off your trip, says travel adviser Stephen Scott, founder and CEO of Manhattan-based Travel Hub 365. “There are still beautiful beaches, luxurious spas and interesting cities, both in the United States and outside of the country, where couples can find romance and relaxation, without worrying about the Zika virus,” Scott says.
With that in mind, here are some safe and relaxing babymoon destinations, each with good food and rejuvenating spa services.
The impressive Hotel del Coronado, set on one of America’s most iconic beaches, has 757 rooms in a renovated Victorian building built more than 125 years ago. Guests can also stay in the contemporary Ocean Towers, poolside California cabanas or luxury cottages in Beach Village at The Del. While there’s a lot to see in San Diego, including the 1,200-acre Balboa Park, home to the San Diego Zoo, and more than a dozen museums, guests can just as easily stay on Coronado Island, swimming, sunning and tooling around on bikes.
FOOD: The hotel offers almost a dozen on-site restaurants serving California coastal cuisine, a lavish Sunday brunch, wood-fired pizzas, ice cream and cocktails (or mocktails) next to an outdoor fire pit.
SPA: The spa is on a private terrace overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Moms-to-be can book a prenatal massage ($175 for 50 minutes) or couples massage ($190 for 50 minutes).
INFO: From $350 a night, 619-435-6611, hoteldel.com
For couples looking for relaxation but also a big adventure, Iceland is closer than you think — nonstop flights to Reykjavik take just under six hours. At the 51-room Hotel Ranga, guests can take in breathtaking scenery at the riverside location, or drive to nearby lava meadows, volcanos, fishing villages, glaciers and the black sand coast. The location is known as one of the best spots to see the elusive Northern Lights, typically visible between October and March, and the hotel has its own observatory for stargazing.
FOOD: The on-site Ranga Restaurant serves up modern Nordic style cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Typical dishes include lightly cured salmon with trout roe, fennel and dill vinaigrette; smoked puffin with spiced cream cheese; or reindeer Carpaccio with truffle oil.
SPA: The hotel has a small well-being suite where guests can book a massage (prices vary). The hotel also has hot tubs overlooking the river.
INFO: From about $300 to $375 a night (depending on the season), 354-487-5700, hotelranga.is
The Miraval Resort & Spa is an all-inclusive located on a 400-acre property in the Sonoran Desert with a focus on wellness and healthy living. The resort offers a variety of couples’ workshops designed to help partners reconnect and rejuvenate their relationship, along with other health, fitness, art, culinary and equine activities, the latter at the Purple Sage Ranch.
FOOD: Miraval’s food philosophy emphasizes a natural, plant-based diet. Chefs prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner with organic, locally sourced ingredients, and can accommodate dietary restrictions and food allergies.
SPA: The Life in Balance Spa offers body scrubs, outdoor couples massages and the “Beautiful Mother to Be” treatment, which includes a Swedish massage with essential oils and the application of a plant-derived serum to the abdomen thought to help prevent stretch marks ($150 for 50 minutes or $210 for 75 minutes if performed outside).
INFO: From $549 per person per night (based on double occupancy), 800-825-4000, miravalresorts.com
If you prefer a rocky, windswept beach to a tropical one, Maine offers a seemingly endless coastline, a mile of which is owned by the Cape Elizabeth Inn By the Sea. Go for relaxing beach walks, swim in the pool or get cozy by the fireplace in your room. Just a few miles north, in Portland, you can walk through the Old Port, check out art galleries or see some of the area’s lighthouses by ferry. Dog owners who want to bring their pooch can stay in one of the pet-friendly waterfront suites.
FOOD: The Inn’s Sea Glass restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The low-key nearby Lobster Shack is a local favorite, as are Portland dining destinations such as Fore Street and Duckfat.
SPA: The spa offers a motherhood massage ($105 for 60 minutes), a couples’ massage ($250 for 90 minutes) and additional treatments. In-room services are $50 extra.
INFO: From about $250 per night, 207-799-3134, innbythesea.com
This quirky, laid-back Florida destination is the closest you can get to the Caribbean without actually going there. Scott recommends the Southernmost Beach Resort, right on the Atlantic Ocean and just one block away from the area’s main drag, Duval Street. Couples can relax at the beach or swim in one of the resort’s three pools, or venture out for a sunset sail, beach yoga class or a visit to Ernest Hemingway’s former residence.
FOOD: The resort’s oceanfront cafe serves food daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. There are three open-air bars on the premises. Nearby Santiago’s Bodega is a popular option for Spanish-style tapas, while the Banana Café is a favorite local breakfast pick.
SPA: The spa offers prenatal massages ($125 for 50 minutes), and couples massages in an oceanside cabana ($290 for 50 minutes).
INFO: From $399 a night, 305-296-6577, southernmostbeachresort.com
Charleston, South Carolina
The Belmond Charleston Place is a grand Southern hotel in the heart of the city’s charming historic district, where guests can take advantage of the rooftop saltwater pool and afternoon tea service, among other amenities. The hotel can arrange a private carriage ride to take in the city’s Antebellum architecture and secret gardens or put together other personalized itineraries for history buffs.
FOOD: The Belmond’s standout restaurant is the award-winning Charleston Grill, serving Southern dishes with a side of live jazz. Other area options are Husk and FIG, which both feature upscale Southern comfort food.
SPA: There’s a spa with two couples’ treatment rooms for side-by-side massages. Expectant moms can book a package with a prenatal massage, a facial and a spa pedicure for $280.
INFO: From $295 a night, 843-722-4900, belmond.com/charleston-place
Big Sur, California
The Post Ranch Inn, a cliff-side dwelling that sits 1,200 feet above the Pacific Ocean, has 39 guest rooms and two private homes, each outfitted with a wood-burning fireplace, indoor spa tub and outdoor hot tub on a private deck. To ensure that guests truly relax, TV and alarm clocks are not included. Other amenities include daily morning yoga, guided nature hikes, stargazing with a celestial telescope and access to two heated infinity pools.
FOOD: A gourmet buffet breakfast is included for all visitors at the on-site Sierra Mar restaurant. Lunch and dinner are also served there daily.
SPA: Services at the Post Ranch Spa include a prenatal massage ($165 for 60 minutes) and specialty, plant-based facials, as well as private yoga and guided meditation. Treatment rooms have views of surrounding Redwood trees and mountain peaks.
INFO: From $775 a night, 831-667-2200, postranchinn.com
At the Fairmont Kea Lani, Hawaii’s only all-suite and villa resort, guests find a private enclave beach on the Wailea coast, 22 acres of lush tropical landscaping and an adults-only tranquillity pool with a swim up bar. After couples have gotten enough beach time and had their fun hiking through nearby Haleakala National Park or snorkeling in the surrounding crystal blue waters, they can take a complimentary maternity portrait by Pacific Dreams Photography.
FOOD: Among the resort’s offerings are Kō, an award-winning restaurant with cuisine inspired by Hawaiian, Filipino and Japanese traditions, among others. In-suite dining is offered all day, every day.
SPA: The 9,000-square-foot Willow Stream Spa offers a prenatal massage ($179 for 60 minutes), a couples’ massage (prices vary), plus a full menu of other treatments.
INFO: From $579 a night, 800-257-7544, fairmont.com/kea-lani-maui
This safe and well-developed British territory, only 21 square miles in size, is known for its pink sand beaches and clear turquoise waters. The boutique Reefs Resort & Club is a family-run operation in which every one of the 61 guest rooms has an ocean view. Amenities include a freshwater, cliff-side infinity pool, and free use of kayaks, paddle boards and snorkel equipment.
FOOD: There are two restaurants on the property — a seasonal option called Coconuts and the more upscale Aqua Terra, which is open year-round. The resort hosts beach barbecues once a week. Bermuda’s capital, Hamilton, is a 15-minute drive away, for other dining options.
SPA: The eight-room La Serena Spa offers a “Mother to Be Massage” ($139 for 60 minutes), a couples’ massage (from $119 per person for 60 to 90 minutes), plus a full menu of other treatments.
INFO: From $350 a night in winter, $630 in summer, 441-238-0222, thereefs.com
The Exuma Cays are a 365-island archipelago, some of them the private property of A-list celebrities and high-powered CEOs. The Grand Isle Resort & Spa on Great Exuma Island has 78 villas that used to function as private residencies, so they’re big — about 1,400 square feet for a one-bedroom unit — and each has a king bed, huge Jacuzzi tub and full kitchen. Guests get a golf cart upon arrival and can take advantage of the infinity pool and mile-long private beach.
FOOD: The poolside Palapa Grill serves drinks and food throughout the day and hosts a beach bonfire on Thursday nights. Nearby Santanna’s Bar and Grill is a favorite for fresh lobster and grouper, while Mama’s Bakery offers rum cakes and other baked goods.
SPA: The SeaStar Spa has three treatment rooms, including one big enough for couples, and can customize a spa package for a mom-to-be.
INFO: From $300 a night in winter to about $600 in peak season, 844-443-9862, grandisleresort.com