Jewel-hued waters, a white-sand beach, palm trees, rose petals strewn across my enormous bed – I started last year on a high at the top-rated Nanuku Auberge Resort in Fiji. But I quickly realised that, essentially, I had booked into a honeymoon destination – and I was alone.
However, staying on my own in a luxury resort, surrounded by loved-up couples, turned out to be something I’d do again. I revelled in going at my own pace in heavenly surroundings, with long soaks in the bath and crack-of-dawn yoga sessions.
Travel experts say that lavish honeymoon-style trips are increasingly popular among solo travellers. This new trend has accelerated amid the pandemic, as bucket-list dreams have become must-do lists for many people. Flight Centre UK says: ‘Our analysts have noticed in solo holiday booking data a whopping 58 per cent increase in the average price paid per trip. With the average transaction value increasing by over £700, this jump clearly shows that solo consumers are more willing than ever to splash out.’
The new ‘singlemoon’ trend has accelerated amid the pandemic, as bucket-list dreams have become must-do lists for many people
Mike Collins, 69, from Northamptonshire, is typical of those taking so-called ‘singlemoons’. The trips the divorcé takes are more luxurious than his actual honeymoon, when he cycled around southern Europe for four months – his best breaks include an expedition cruise to Antarctica and a tour of the Galapagos Islands.
Lauded as one of the most romantic resorts in the Caribbean, Jade Mountain in St Lucia launched a special singlemoon package after receiving a growing number of solo guests aged 35 to 55. Hotel owner Karolin Troubetzkoy explains that while in the past single travellers ventured abroad to meet other people for company, the ‘new solo travellers are focused entirely on themselves, and celebrating their space’.
With this in mind, the singlemoon package, which starts from £4,630 for four nights (jademountain.com), serves up a platter of perks including private airport transfers, half a bottle of champagne on arrival, tailored meal plans, a full-body massage and a chocolate-making class to ‘lift spirits’.
The Maldives might not immediately spring to mind as a destination for solo travel, but it makes for an incredible place to unwind and let your cares wash away. The chic, eco-focused Joali resort (joali.com) on Muravandhoo in the beautiful Raa Atoll is offering a five-day solo retreat, with no supplements, due to growing demand.
The Lose Yourself To Find Yourself package, which costs from £689, treats willing castaways to a host of pampering and endorphin-boosting fitness sessions.
There is still the chance to mingle with like-minded travellers – with group expeditions to see dolphins and manta rays in their natural habitat, and beach clean-ups. And come nightfall, communal barbecues take place on the sugar-like shores.
The super-luxe Aman hotel group, which has a number of jaw-dropping properties around the world, has also started catering to its solo guests with a new range of rejuvenating retreats.
At the idyllic Amanpulo resort in the Philippines, which sits on a secluded private island dressed in jungle and white sand, there are three extreme watersport breaks lined up for December targeting fitness enthusiasts.
Jade Mountain in St Lucia launched a singlemoon package after receiving a growing number of solo guests aged 35 to 55
Each three-day adventure, which costs from £4,960 (aman.com), is tailor-made so guests can be as active as they like. You might decide to start the day, for example, with a beach run before testing your front crawl with a 3½-mile open-water swim to Manamoc island. Once there, take a two-hour hike to the top of Mount English.
Kitesurfing, paddleboarding, diving and sunset yoga sessions are other activities on the agenda. Afterwards, there is time to ease those aching muscles with a well-deserved massage.
Africa is near the top of the traditional honeymoon list, with luxury safaris being a popular choice among newlyweds.
But wildlife photographer and former travel agent Sara Jenner says you can have more fun alone, especially if you’re after some holiday photos to remember.
She explains: ‘If you feel like getting up for sunrise every day, you can. Whether I’ve been single or in a relationship, I’ve always loved travelling alone and Africa is one of the places where I will happily pay extra to have an amazing experience.’
Animal magic: A safari adventure can be even more fun if you’re travelling alone, says wildlife photographer and former travel agent Sara Jenner. Pictured is Giraffe Manor, Nairobi
The Safari Collection (thesafaricollection.com) has noticed an increase in single guests, so in response it has a seven-day animal-packed adventure from £4,799, with no single supplements.
Skip between a trio of salubrious resorts where you’re made to feel right at home with friendly staff and the opportunity to talk with other guests over communal sundowners and delicious feasts.
Start your trip at the much acclaimed Giraffe Manor. At this unique boutique hotel on the leafy outskirts of Nairobi, the long-necked creatures crane their heads into your bedroom and if you put a giraffe pellet between your lips, they’ll treat you to a morning kiss.
Sasaab is your next point of call. Here you will find nine Moroccan-styled rooms finished with private plunge pools gazing out over the Samburu plains towards Mount Kenya. Complete the golden triangle at Solio Lodge, where rhinos are the star attraction.
The Safari Collection says: ‘Our properties are ideally suited for solo travellers so guests can leave the logistics to the team and take advantage of not paying the single supplement this year.’