Heavenly honeymoons

Heavenly honeymoons

Make a honeymoon more than just a holiday with special touches to add extra romance, says Katie McGonagle

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A honeymoon is supposed to be the most romantic trip a couple ever takes, but these days it’s probably not the first time they have holidayed together.

That means the pressure is on to transform it from a run-of-the-mill romantic trip into a once-in-a-lifetime break they’ll treasure forever.

Suggest splashing out on a high-quality hotel and a great destination and you’re off to a great start, but add some extra-special touches and they’ll be basking in wedded bliss.

Here, we offer inspiration for some of those extras – which will earn you extra commission too – in popular destinations, to help make a honeymoon even sweeter.

CARIBBEAN FOR COUPLES


Top hotels, guaranteed sunshine and superb service – you’d be forgiven for thinking the Caribbean is special enough, but there are still ways to spice it up.

Sandals suggests upgrading honeymooners to a Love Nest suite, which comes with bigger bathrooms and personal butlers to cater to a couple’s every whim. The complimentary honeymooner package provides chilled sparkling wine, turndown service with flower petals and breakfast in bed on the first morning. But why not upsell to the Luxury package for a private transfer, private dinner, in-room massage and sunset photo session on the beach (from $1,500) or the Romance package, which adds a rose petal bath, sunset cruise, and private picnic (from $1,800)?

Pre-book romantic excursions such as the Island Routes Lover’s Rock cruise to watch the sunset from a catamaran ($80), or the Horseback Ride ‘n Swim in Jamaica or Saint Lucia ($91).

If you’re struggling for ideas, Caribtours and sister company the Private Travel Company have collected their most romantic resorts into one brochure, aptly titled Love.

Highlights include Ladera, Saint Lucia (pictured below), where the Romance in the Tropics package starts with champagne and fruit, then adds daily afternoon tea, a private poolside dinner with personalised menu, plus two spa treatments each, a sunset cruise and tour of Sulphur Springs and Toraille Waterfall. Five nights’ half-board in a hilltop Dream suite starts at £2,985 with flights, a lounge at Gatwick and private transfers.

Caribtours also recommends Elegant Hotels’ commissionable honeymoon packages at Colony Club, Barbados. It costs £290 and includes turndown service with champagne and rose petals, beachfront candlelit dinner, VIP service, welcome cocktail and a gift. Couples Resorts also offers complimentary extras, though newlyweds must bring proof of marriage.

Travel 2 product manager Kevin Coles says: “All honeymooners staying at a Couples Resort in Barbados or Jamaica for a minimum of seven nights will receive a bottle of sparkling wine, which will be in their room on arrival. Newlyweds are also invited to enjoy a 25-minute couples massage at its award-winning spa.”

Honeymooners keen to add some extra excitement would do well to follow the advice of Suzanne Harvey, Hayes & Jarvis regional product manager. She says: “Couples looking for a honeymoon with a difference should consider a twin-centre getaway. Combining lively Las Vegas with a relaxing beach break in the Caribbean at a couples-only resort offers newlyweds the best of both worlds – a city stay and a beachside escape. Agents should suggest destinations that offer plenty of optional extras, be it couples massages, candlelit dinners, champagne, resort credit or excursions, as it will be these things that set the trip apart from the average holiday.”

A 10-night stay with three nights’ room-only at the Bellagio, then seven all-inclusive at Couples Swept Away in Jamaica starts at £1,995, including Virgin Atlantic flights and internal connections, plus a sunset catamaran cruise in Jamaica. Tag on a celebrity-style limo transfer in Las Vegas from £53 each way.

Honeymoon

INDIAN OCEAN ESCAPES


Kuoni has a host of special offers. Stay at least seven nights at either Four Seasons’ Maldives hotels and guests will enjoy a complimentary overnight cruise in a luxury yacht with dinner for two by the beach and a romantic sunrise breakfast the next morning. This is as well as fruit, champagne and a honeymoon cake.

If total seclusion is what they’re after, guests at Maafushivaru Island in the Maldives can spend a night on the deserted island of Lonubo. At £470 per person, guests will have a luxurious beach villa, a picnic on the sand and four-course dinner all in total privacy.

The Hilton Maldives Irufushi Resort & Spa has a host of extras depending on length of stay. Guests staying four nights or more in a sunrise deluxe beach villa will receive a bottle of wine on arrival, fruit platter, a half-day excursion and $50 spa credit. And between May 13 and October 15, the bride pays half price.

Couples also get 35% off a room or villa at Lux Maldives until January 12, 2014, plus a T-shirt and pareo (sarong) on arrival, fruit and wine, a honeymoon cake, a cocktail-making class and sunset cruise. Gold Medal offers a 20% discount until October 31 at Medhufushi Island Resort in the Maldives, available to guests staying for seven nights or more.

The new Emerald package from Olhuveli Beach & Spa Resort is tailor-made for couples seeking extras without the eye-watering price tag, provided they stay at least four nights. The package, worth £860, includes a daily fruit platter and afternoon tea at the Lagoon Bar, one breakfast in bed, a romantic dinner for two, plus a spa treatment, flower bath and choice of excursions. A seven-night stay starts at £2,159 with Travel 2, including flights and speedboat transfers.

Of course, the Maldives isn’t the only hot honeymoon destination in the Indian Ocean. Start a Mauritius honeymoon in style with a private helicopter transfer to the hotel. This costs £572 each way with The Private Travel Company.For a choice of in-resort experiences, suggest a stay at the Maritim Hotel Mauritius to take advantage of the property’s Magic Moments catalogue. Try a romantic horse and carriage ride (approximately £101 for 45 minutes), a sunset dinner cruise along the Citron River (£315) or a champagne breakfast (£52).

When it comes to icons of love, they don’t get much better than India’s Taj Mahal, so what better way for newlyweds to celebrate than with a candlelit dinner overlooking the monument? The Oberoi Amarvilas in Agra can arrange dinner on a private balcony, watching as the moon rises (from £114 per couple, including a private butler).

Sister hotel the Oberoi Udaivilas in Udaipur can arrange a boat ride across Lake Pichola in a traditional shikara, a canopied wooden boat, with wine and canapés (£42 per couple). For an even more traditional way to travel, try the elephant safari to Naila Fort available to guests of the Oberoi Rajvilas in Jaipur. They will journey through the Pink City before picnicking in the private grounds of the fort, usually closed to the public (from £180 per couple).

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