Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Honeymoon Destinations

Just a note to regular readers: this is a guest post I'm doing for Bridal Guide, so some of this you may have seen before. But I don't think anyone will mind looking at pictures of gorgeous exotic locales.

Planning a honeymoon has been one of the most fun parts of wedding planning. It's not every day (or at least, it's not my every day) that you get to plan a two week trip to an amazing destination. Given that importance of this vacation (it is our honeymoon, after all), we spent quite a bit of time scouring the globe for the actual perfect location.

Our criteria:
-ability to stay in smaller, boutique type places
-good food/wine
-city and beach/pool/lazing around time
-if possible, private outdoor swim area

Turns out, there are a large number of places, all over the globe, that meet these requirements.

First place we checked out: Mexico. Specifically Amuleto.

High up on the cliffs overlooking Zihuatanejo Bay, Amuleto seemed like the perfect place to get a away from it all and relish in being married. With solid tripadvisor ratings, it seemed perfect. Pricey, at about $400 USD/night, not counting tax and gratuity, but it looks perfect. Consider one of the main suites:

Complete with hammock

And private plunge pool!

And for a bit more, you could stay in the Palapa suite, which has a unique indoor/outdoor feel to it. Like living in the rainforest with luxury accommodations.

Just check out the shower!

Absolutely gorgeous. Seriously. And while this remains on our (well, my) list of places to go, we ended up vetoing it, since my fiance was not really digging Mexico, and we're headed there next year for the wedding of a friend.

So, no Mexico. We moved our search across the Atlantic, and though of Spain.
So many people (my brother included) have said that Barcelona is amazing.

And you can rent out really nice apartments for way cheaper than you would get in a comparable hotel. Check it out here.

Just a sample of what is available:
Studio apartment in Las Ramblas for 120 euros, or roughly $160.

Nice kitchen

very chic bath

and your own private terrace!

And if we wanted beach time, there is always the Canary Islands.

The above pictures are from the Hotel Palm Beach, which has the modern, design styled rooms shown below. This place has decent tripadvisor ratings.

Or if you want something more traditional, consider the Hotel San Roque, also with good tripadvisor reviews.

The regular room.

Or splurge on the tower room.

Complete with its own terrace

that has views of the ocean.

But after some discussion, we decided that Spain was not the place for us- partly because we wanted some of the amenities offered at a hotel, like fresh linens and room service- and partly because my fiance had his heart set on another location.

Picture is from National Geographic.


And we both fell in love with one place in particular- Ikies. Nestled on the outskirts of Oia, Ikies offered private outdoor jacuzzis, breakfast on your own private terrace, and the nearly impossible perfect 5 rating on tripadvisor.

Check it out.

A view of the property.

Isn't that terrace amazing?

The rooms aren't to shabby either.

Look at how beautiful it is at dusk!

Only trick was, while Greece is new to my fiance, I have been to the Greek islands before. Although it was while I was backpacking through college, and was only on Santorini briefly because we missed our ferry stop in Ios (think MTV spring break, only with Aussies instead of Americans), I still wasn't settled on going someplace I had been before. Besides, we wanted city! And I am not a big fan of Athens. And somehow, to me, Greece just doesn't sound too exotic.

So what if we went to Istanbul as well? Turkey sounds exotic. And we could stay at MiSafir Suites, a place that has (say it with me now) amazing tripadvisor ratings. Just look at it:

That way I could get my passport stamped in a new country as well.

Like all the places thus discussed, there was just one trick. This time, it was that there is no good way to get from Santorini to Istanbul. Flights must go through Athens, and there are two airlines available: Olympic and Turkish. Flights are expensive, and it seemed difficult justifying spending $800 to go to someplace mostly because I wanted to go to someplace new. But what if we just went to Turkey?

Then we could split our time between Istanbul and Cappadoccia.

Last two images found here.

Cappadoccia has a significant history; it was both the home to ancient Hittite civilization, and the underground tunnels were used by early Christians to avoid persecution. The Goreme Open-Air Museum contains many ancient churches, and the underground cities of Kaymakli and Derinkuyu are also places to visit. Perhaps the most popular thing for tourists is to take a hot air balloon ride at sunrise.

Image found here.

Now, there are also many fabulous places to stay in the area:

Sacred House has good tripadvisor ratings; prices range from $130-170/night.

Gamarisu also has excellent tripadvisor ratings; rooms range from $95-$700, with most $200 or less.

So we could spend time in Istanbul, and some in Cappadoccia. We could also travel to Bodrum or another locations along the coast for the requisite beach time.

However, as we were planning our trip, the cost of airline tickets to Turkey kept increasing. And the value of the dollar kept declining. For not much more than the cost of our plane tickets to Turkey, we could fly to Asia.

We had already nixed India (my fiance has been there) and Thailand (May is the rainy season). We had talked about Japan, but it would eliminate the whole being cheaper once you get there, and it would definitely be more of a see-as-much-as-you-can sort of vacation than a relaxing one with some sightseeing. So we settled on the following location:
And then we finally settled on our place:

Bali. (And Singapore- since we get a free stopover with Singapore Airways, and want some big city fun.)

Image from Wikimedia

Image from Saptatours

Image from Younan's blog

I've never been to Asia. My fiance spent three weeks in India with his best friend (his best man) and his family. On the way there and back, they spent some time in Bangkok. But he has never been to other parts of Asia, and really wants to go. (As do I!) And Bali seems to provide the best of all of the places we considered: good food, beach, culture, someplace new, and the possibility of a big city adventure.

We're spending 4 nights at the Elysian Bali Villas. Located in Seminyak, it is near (but not on) the beach, and close to lots of restaurants and more upscale tourist attractions. (In other words, it's not near the college backpacking crowd. Which is good. I did the whole drunken college student thing for a couple of days in Ios, Greece, and that was plenty for me. For life.)

Bedroom looks good...

Complete with our own private pool!

I think I could handle this living room....

We will then be spending 4 nights in Ubud (cultural mecca) in the center of the island, at the Komaneka Resort.

Check out that view!

Overlooking the rice paddies!

In case we tire of the staring at the rice paddies and decide to venture out in the world, there is a lot to do.

Like go to the Sacred Monkey Forest.

Who doesn't want to see monkeys?

And after we leave Ubud, we are headed to Singapore for 4 nights, staying at the Fairmount Singapore (formerly Raffles the Plaza).

The room- pic from tripadvisor.com

The view (every room comes with a balcony!) - pic from tripadvisor.com

Needless to say, both of us are psyched for this trip. Seriously. You might even say that I'm more excited about the honeymoon than I am about the wedding.

Where are you going on your honeymoon?


Tom said...

That's some really romantic places I have to say. Keep up the good work.

There's a post on this you might like to check out http://www.juicemag.co.uk/the-worlds-most-romantic-cities

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