Christmas Day is one of the most popular days of the year to pop THE question. If you are one of the lucky ones that proposed this week (I certainly hope she said yes!) you will soon find out how that one little question will launch a thousand more dilemmas to work through like: “When is the wedding?”, “Destination or hometown?”, “Formal or casual?” and even “Open bar or cash?”. Then of course, there’s the honeymoon to consider. Believe me, after all of those questions are answered and paid for, you’re going to need some time away. Whatever your budget for time, distance and budget is, here is my list for paradise found.
Where the Duke and Duchess honeymooned
What do mean you can’t afford a private resort in the Seychelles? The Seychelles are a group of about 115 islands 1,000 miles off the coast of Kenya. Talk about remote. William and Kate spent their 10 day honeymoon on North Island where the villa’s go for €4,000 a night,(that’s $6,441.00 to you and I). Still, powder white sand beaches and flawless blue waters combined with a heavy dose of privacy and pampering are what every couple fantasizes about when it comes to getting their marriage off to an amazing start, so consider that $6 Grand a night an investment for the future.
Tip: These resorts have staff that can meet your every need, so save some money and give your Royal entourage of dozens the week off.
Where my husband and I honeymooned
In a perfect world we would have gone to the first destination on our list, South Africa. We ended up in Key West. I know it’s the obvious second choice. At the time, I only had 5 days off and so we went looking for a luxurious destination someplace warm that wouldn’t take two full days and 6 planes to get to. Sunset Key Guest Cottages fit that bill.
This resort resides on a private island just a 10 minute ferry ride from world famous (and fun) Key West. The accommodations are charming seaside cottages with wrap around verandas equipped with rocking chairs that just seem to encourage post-wedding laziness. Mornings begin with a picnic basket stuffed with fresh orange juice, homemade muffins and the newspaper delivered to your cabin’s porch and those muffins can help you fuel up for the challenging task of getting up from the rocking chair to head to a lounge chair at the resort’s zero entry pool. To fulfill everyone’s romantic dining fantasy, the open air restaurant offers tables lit by torches right on the sand.
Tip: Fantasy Fest takes over the entire island of Key West during the last week in October. If you’re looking for peaceful and quiet honeymoon, you do NOT want to book a stay during that week.
You have the “luxury of time” honeymoon
I’m often asked by honeymooners scouting locations where I would recommend they go: Europe or Asia? My advice is always to take the destination that is the furthest away. Once you have travelled to Asia, Europe seems much closer and easier to get to. Southeast Asia is a honeymoon gem: exotic and wondrous, and I can’t think of a better place to begin your life together discovering what else… but life together. It also can be very inexpensive and their ultra-luxury resorts make Europe’s seem like quaint Bed and Breakfasts.
The Krabi Province of Thailand is one of my favorite places to visit in Asia and it also happens to be a honeymoon hotspot. The resorts there offer elephant trekking, kayaking around towering limestone cliffs, rock climbing above the velvety emerald waters of the Andaman Sea and, of course, lounging on Thailand’s softest sand. This impossibly beautiful province consists of 150 small islands that simply represent the ideal paradise. The islands have several national parks to enjoy and make island hopping a must in order to experience hiking through verdant jungles to caves, hot springs and waterfalls. Accommodations in the area vary from backpacker cheap to James Bond Luxury.
Tip: The best time to go is definitely during the “dry season” between December and March.
“Not a lot of time or money” honeymoon
Culebra, Puerto Rico
Culebra is a tiny nugget of paradise right off of Puerto Rico’s Northeast coast that just happens to have some of the most beautiful beaches in all of the Caribbean. In fact, when I first saw its powdery white sand and cerulean blue waters I was reminded of the picture-perfect beaches found in the Greek Isles. The good news is that no passport is needed (as an American) and it’s about 3,000 miles closer.
If you are looking to dance your Shakira off, this island is not for you. This is a place to tune out the world and offers a modest smattering of restaurants and accommodations to help you do so for a few nights, or even just a day trip. Part of the blissful charm of Culebra is that it is devoid of the dance clubs, high end shopping and hip hotels found in other parts of the Caribbean.
Tip: That blissful peace and quiet I just mentioned goes right out the window during holidays celebrated in Puerto Rico (especially Holy Week) when it becomes so overwhelmed by campers that it resembles Woodstock, sans Jimmy and Janis. Make sure you check a holiday calendar before you make a reservation.
As an experienced traveler, where would you send a newly engaged couple on their honeymoon?