It's not the kind of buzz you want to hear when you're pregnant. But now that the Zika virus has been declared a global public health emergency, you have to cancel your babymoon or at least rethink that tropical destination. The good news is these relaxing and romantic places offer a refreshing alternative to the typical bump-on-a-beach scenario.
Here are seven babymoon getaways that are sure to stun--not sting.
JW Marriott Venice, Venice, Italy
Hidden away on Isola delle Rose, the JW Marriott Venice is one of those rare vacations within a vacation. Situated a quick complimentary boat ride from St. Marks Square, this new hotel, designed by eco architect star Matteo Thun, makes it easy for guests to savor Venice up close and from a quiet distance--be it from the rooftop pool, the GOCO spa, at breakfast, or in La Residenze Pool de Luxe room. When you're not roaming the 40-acre private island, amidst orchards, vegetable gardens and an olive grove, go to the market with Chef Mauro Taufer to pick out the day's catch then learn to cook an authentic Venetian dish, take a Murano glass workshop, and unwind with an 80-minute prenatal massage (with or without an accompanying violinist). From $330/night.
Solage Calistoga, Napa Valley, California
The next best thing to a beach getaway looks like this. Situated just a five-minute bike ride from town on the hotel's cruiser, Solage Calistoga contains 89 modernly appointed guest studios tucked away on a quiet road surrounded by vineyards. This health and wellness sanctuary rarely feels like anything but a romantic retreat for two as you meander the 22-acre property, featuring enough scattered geothermal pools, hot tubs and cabanas--not to mention your own private patio--for you to relax in peace, nothing to hear but the wind rustling the palm trees. However you spend the day, with a signature 60-minute mudslide treatment ($110), spin class, power yoga, guided hike or Strong of Heart couples session with Dr. Tim Carl, end it with dinner at Michelin-rated Solbar, where the winter vegetable chopped salad and pan-roasted Mary's chicken pairs well with mocktails like Sexy Lemonade (a non-alcoholic riff on their Sex in the Valley) or a virgin Orchard Frost, which goes down like a crisp walk through an apple orchard. Rooms from $395/night.
Vanderbilt Grace, Newport, Rhode Island
Stepping inside the 1909 mansion, nestled in Newport's charming Historic Hill neighborhood, is an instant escape from time and the all-too-real realities that come with it. At the Vanderbilt Grace, your babymoon might start with lemon poppy buttermilk pancakes in the sun-drenched Conservatory, followed by the mommy-to-be massage treatment ($125) and a soak in the indoor or outdoor heated pools. After exploring nearby Thames Street and the bustling harbor, take a Newport Mansion tour with the "Quintessential Newport" package ($522) that includes a two-night stay and admission to museums like The Breakers, The Elms and Rosecliff. Don't miss a meal at Muse, where the preggo-friendly menu (and dishes such as sole with braised artichokes and flexible milk chocolate with popcorn ice cream, peanut brittle and peanut butter truffles) will make you forget all about lamenting those strict dietary rules. Rooms from $285/night.
Whiteface Lodge, Lake Placid, New York
Whether the scenery is snow-white or blazoned with yellow birches and red sugar maples, Whiteface Lodge is a reliably serene escape of rustic luxury set deep within six million acres of forestland in the Adirondacks. Book the babymoon package (from $375/night), which includes overnight accommodations in a junior suite, breakfast, a pedicure and a 50-minute pre-natal massage. In addition to providing complimentary shuttle service to the town two miles away, the resort offers guests the summertime pleasures of The Canoe Club down the road on Lake Placid, where a private beach, lunch fare, and various boating activities are available. Evening on-site diversions range from a s'mores fire pit to a movie theater to live jazz and an outdoor heated pool, where you just might float forever in a steamy cloud under the bright starry sky.
Gstaad Palace, Gstaad, Switzerland
Idyllically situated in the Swiss Alps for the last 102 years, the Gstaad Palace is as breathtaking to look at as the mountains that surround it. The town's "Come Up, Slow Down" mantra is carried inside the hotel, where its international reputation as an exclusive party-hard hideaway betrays its true nature as a relaxing and reasonably priced retreat for those who like to feel they've disappeared from reality for a little while. While there are plenty of glamorous guests in the lobby bar to spy on over the rim of your mocktail--ask top barman Mario Guzzetti to fix you a virgin Moscow Mule: crushed ice in a cold copper cup, juice of one fresh lemon, ginger beer, slice of cucumber--the real highlights are waking up to a skyline of snow-covered peaks, a full body pre-natal massage and soaking in the spa's outdoor heated pool, lunch atop Wasserngrat mountain, a pasteurized fondue feast at La Fromagerie, and meringues at Early Beck pastry shop in town, easily accessible by the palace's complimentary shuttle. From $495 in winter, $414 in summer. Rates include breakfast and lunch or dinner, with a credit of $110 pp.
Mama Shelter, Paris, France
Despite the name, Mama Shelter isn't the most obvious choice for a babymoon. There's no spa or room service, but this Right Bank abode is a 20th Arrondissement gem for mama-to-be's seeking a peaceful offbeat escape in Paris. After a delicious breakfast of eggs, sausage and crêpe Suzette, explore nearby Père-Lachaise Cemetery, where Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison are buried and new mothers can be found pushing strollers. While the quirky Philippe-Starck designed hotel is four miles from the center of town on the No. 76 bus (that stops in front of the hotel en route to the Louvre) you may find you prefer to lounge the day away on the cozy rooftop until your homemade, fresh-from-the-market dinner is served on outdoor communal tables. Rooms come with masks like Scooby Doo, Batman and Darth Vader, and range from small mama ($98) to the terrace-equipped XL mama ($329).
Topnotch Resort, Stowe, Vermont
Perched on a 120-acre wooded estate, this Green Mountain haven lives up to its name. A four-diamond property, Topnotch Resort is located three miles from Stowe village, which is easily reached by the hotel shuttle. There are myriad nearby outdoor activities, from hiking the beautiful two-mile trail in Wiessner Woods to kayaking at Waterbury Reservoir and Lake Champlain, but the best place to truly exhale is poolside in an Adirondack chair with 360-degree views of Vermont's wide-open grandeur. The babymoon getaway (from $434/night) includes two nights of accommodations, a 50-minute couples massage, daily breakfast, a locavore feast at Flannel restaurant, and a special delivery of pickles, cheese, crackers, nuts and cookies for midnight cravings.
Photos: Courtesy of Solage Calistoga, Vanerbilt Grace, Whiteface Lodge, Gstaad Palace, Topnotch Resort, Martin Martinsson, JW Marriott Venice