Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Honeymoon Ideas

Have you started planning your honeymoon yet? Here are Five great affordable locations we think you should definitely consider. 

5 Fabulous Honeymoons Under $5,000
By Becky Gillespie, Kahala Travel

Weddings are expensive enough, so you don’t want to break the bank for your honeymoon as well.  Enjoy a luxurious weeklong getaway at one of these five destinations.  At under $5,000 per person, your bank account will thank you!

Grand Velas Riviera Maya – 
Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

If a beautiful beach and short travel time are top priorities on your honeymoon list, then look no further than Grand Velas Riviera Maya.  This isn't your typical all-inclusive - it's absolutely heaven.   Rated 5 Diamonds by AAA, you will quickly find you have difficulty choosing whether to while away your day in your spacious oceanfront suite with Jacuzzi or relax on the immense white sand beach sipping margaritas by the turquoise waters of the Caribbean.  With seven different restaurants, including Cocina de Autorwith – gourmet cuisine by world renowned chefs  Bruno Oteiza and Mikel Alonso - this is also the perfect location for foodies.  Although you might find it difficult to leave your slice of heaven, you will find many enticing activities nearby, from swimming with dolphins to exploring the picturesque ruins of Tulum. 

Ka'ana Boutique Resort – 
San Ignacio, Belize

You don’t need to sacrifice luxury for location if you want to head off-the-beaten-path for your honeymoon.  Nestled outside the town of San Ignacio, Ka’ana Boutique Resort is a hidden gem in the jungles of Western Belize.  The honeymooner who desires to experience the culture, history, and geography of an unknown region without having to sacrifice the comforts and amenities will find this their ideal hideaway.  During the day, you can discover the rainforest canopy, discover numerous ancient Mayan archaeological sites, kayak down serene rivers or adventure out on horseback.  By night, enjoy a private dinner for two on the Stargazing Terrace, while listening to your own local musician.  Afterward, you will retire for the night in your private casita, where the sounds of the jungle will lull you to a blissful sleep.  A honeymoon at Ka’ana is truly an experience you can call your own.

Royal Plantation – 
Ocho Rios, Jamaica

The retreat of media and sports stars, Royal Plantation is known for catering to guests’ every whim.  Located just an hour and a half from Montego Bay, Jamaica, Royal Plantation offers secluded pampering to the most discerning of travellers.  All 74-ocean view suites include butler service to ensure your every need is anticipated.  As an all-inclusive resort, you can enjoy fare ranging from French to Northern Italian and beyond.  Also, experience C|Bar - the Caribbean’s first and only champagne and caviar bar where guests watch the sommelier sabre-off the top of the champagne bottle.  A unique treat, indeed!  Beyond the hotel, adventures will beckon you.  Discover the misty Blue Mountains by bicycle, home of the famous Blue Mountain coffee.  Walk-up the rushing Dunn’s River Falls.  Ride horseback through the ocean.  Even experience a bobsled ride – Jamaican style - at Mystic Mountain.  There’s no shortage of experiences available, but the best part of the adventure is returning back to Royal Plantation, your butler waiting to greet you with cold drinks in hand.

Sofitel Ia Ora – 
Moorea, French Polynesia

Time and again, French Polynesia tops the list of honeymoon destinations.  Azure waters, tropical breezes, and lazy days spent on the deck of an overwater bungalow epitomizes romance for many.  While most people look to Bora Bora for the typical French Polynesian honeymoon, an oft-overlooked romantic retreat is the Sofitel Ia Ora on Moorea.  Settled on the edge of a magnificent lagoon, with views over the island of Tahiti, Sofitel Ia Ora offers an assortment of bungalow accommodations – from the more private garden bungalows to the much desired overwater bungalows with direct access to the sea.  Laze away your days on Moorea’s best beach, enjoy a relaxing massage while listening to the gently lapping waves, watch a Polynesian dance show while eating a gourment dinner at K, then take a stroll on the beach where the only lights in the sky are the stars.  The ultimate laid-back destination, you will be able to unplug from daily life and take in the inspiring vistas from Belvedere Lookout, rent bicycles and discover your own private beach or live on the wild side and hand-feed sharks and rays on Hiro’s tour.  It’s all yours to experience during your time at the Sofitel Ia Ora on Moorea.

Le Meurice – 
Paris, France

For the urban-inclined, no place can top the City of Lights when it comes to romance.  Paris is a place of magic for those in love, and dreams do come true for those staying at Le Meurice.  Glamorous, luxurious and chic are all words used to describe this classic French palace.  The hotel has a history of housing the elite aristocracy, and the tradition continues, as you are treated like royalty when you honeymoon at Le Meurice.  Posh rooms, a concierge on call 24-hours, and a rendez-vous at Bar 228 await you at this urban retreat.  With an unrivalled hotel location opposite the Tuileries Gardens and a short stroll from Le Louvre in Central Paris, Le Meurice is the perfect base for discovering a Paris all your own.  Embrace for a kiss on a bridge across the Seine, stroll arm-in-arm in Ile Saint Louis, and dine at Michelin star Le Jules Vernes Restaurant atop the Eiffel Tower, the City of Lights your backdrop.  All Paris, all romance, all yours.

Becky Gillespie, 12-year veteran of vacation planning at Kahala Travel, enjoys creating special getaways for the romantically inclined.  Passion is her passion! Whether in her hometown of San Diego or farther abroad, she’s always on the lookout for the next great romantic experience.  Follow her on Twitter - @ForLoveOfTravel