Monday, September 20, 2010

Honeymoon Hotel: Esperanza in Cabo!

Hotel Esperanza is a villa-style hotel four miles away from Cabo San Lucas.
This intimate resort is above private beaches, includes swim-up bars, an infinify pool, ocean kayaks and hammocks. This five star hotel features 50 casita suites, 36 residential villas and six luxury suites. 

Room amenities can be found here.

Breakfast is included daily in the oceanfront restaurant and the resort also includes a full-service salon. Esperanza features four restaurants each with unique dining selections. (And do you see that incredible night view? Talk about a romantic dinner for two!)

The hotel was voted no. 1 Spa in Latin America by Travel and Leisure 2007, no. 2 in Mexico and one of Mexico's Most Romantic Resorts in Destination Weddings and Honeymoons 2007.

Children under the age of 16 have limited access in the hotel, so there is a good chance that children will not be around during your romantic getaway.

On site, or near the hotel you can find bike rentals, a driving range, hiking trails, parasailing, snorkeling, tennis, windsurfing and many other activities, some of which have fees attached.

This resort is not one to overlook as you venture out on your honeymoon.  Contact Ever After Honeymoon if you are interested in rates for your honeymoon!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Real Honeymoon: Sailing the Caribbean

Kathryn and James went on an incredibly romantic honeymoon in the gorgeous Caribbean. Oh yeah, did I mention they sailed through it?

I had quite the challenge- they had already contacted two other travel agents, friends of theirs no less, who couldn't find them their perfect honeymoon within their budget.  But I was up for the challenge, and made all of their honeymoon dreams come true!

The couple, both Pennsylvania natives, are beach lovers and knew that after the wedding relaxation was key.

"We were advised that after the craziness of the wedding, we would want to spend the first few days just decompressing and relaxing," Kathryn said.

Their dreamy honeymoon started at the Peter Island Resort, (this place is unbelievable!) a private island resort, followed by days of sailing with only a chef and a captain, oh, and each other. Not only was the idea of it all so unique, it also was special to the couple: Not only does James love sailboats, but he proposed to Kathryn on St. Thomas on a sail boat.

The sailing trip allowed them to see so much more than they could have if they just stayed in one place.

The couple sailed to, "Norman Island, Jost Van Dyke, Cooper Island, baths at Virgin Gorda. We snorkeled in caves and over shipwrecks!"

They loved the fact that they were able to dress down at their all-inclusive resort, but still dressed up for dinner daily. And we loved the fact that they wanted to share their story!

Their wonderful honeymoon was also featured in issue five of Utterly Engaged!

Private chartered sailboats can be taken to many destinations around the world, and probably aren't as expensive as you might think.  Contact me if you are interested in taking a private chartered sailboat for your honeymoon!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Beachside Reads, For One and All

So let's just pretend that you're sitting on a sandy beach, with the wind twisting through your hair.
Let's say that next to you is your new spouse, looking wonderful but occupied with a beach read. You don't want to grab the latest People magazine that you stashed in your beach bag, but what will you pull out instead?
How about a good read?

Here I'm going to give you a few examples of great oceanside books to read, and a way to avoid hours upon hours searching a bookstore looking for the right read. Now don't get me wrong, that may be one of the best things to do pre-trip, but if you're a last minute packer like myself, you want to head to the store, pick out your book and jump on your plane.
So, here goes nothing.

For the romantic:
Confessions of Max Tivoli by Andrew Sean Greer (One of my all-time favorites)
The Time Traveler's Wife (I promise you, it is so much better than the movie)
On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks

For the thinker:
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safron Foer
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, sure it's an oldie, but if Oprah loves it, it's gotta be good ... right?
Bright Shiny Morning by James Frey (speaking of Oprah ... )

For the mystery man, or woman:
Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson

For the historical fiction lover:
The Virgin Queen by Philippa Gregory
Abundance by Sena Jeter Naslund

For the non-fiction buff:
Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
Under the Banner of Heaven by John Krakauer
The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan

For the science fiction fan:
The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury

For the ones that like to stay inside the box:
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (You've seen the six-hour miniseries, the Keira Knightly remake and Bridget Jones's Diary, just read the book already!)
1984 by George Orwell

For those that need inspiration:
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by 
Blink by Malcom Gladwell
Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner

For those that have read everything else and still want a suggestion:
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

So, go to your local bookstore, even try an adorable little used bookshop for better prices, and see if any of these books fit with your honeymoon down time. 

Whether you are lying beachside or sitting inside a cottage cozying up by the fireside, a book is an easy way to let the time pass!

Oh yeah, and if you're a book lover like myself, you may want to take a quick vacation to the Pacific Northwest to a little place called the Sylvia Beach Hotel. The hotel is "truly a hotel for book lovers!" Each room is based on a different author or book (categories: novels, classics or best sellers), and you can choose what theme to go with. Maybe it's a pit stop on your honeymoon? 

Enjoy reading together as you go on your way!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Kauai at a glance

Everybody loves Hawaii, I mean really, constant sunshine, tropical surroundings, and beautiful people. Let's take a look at Hawaii's island of Kauai.

(photo from here)

Kauai is the forth largest of the Hawaiian islands. It has volcanic origins and has an average rainfall of 460 inches annually. 
But enough about it's geographic climate, what does it have to offer you as a honeymooner?

Well for starters, crystal blue waters, incredible guava and coffee and gorgeous mountainside. Kauai is home to the Spouting Horn, the beautiful Napali Coast, Hanalei Bay and the wonderfully charming Koa Kea Hotel and Resort.

Koa Kea hotel is an oceanside resort with a diverse landscape with access to all sorts of adventure, from hiking to golfing and scuba diving to horseback riding.

The hotel even offers a honeymoon package including breakfast daily, a one hour couples massage, one dinner in Red Salt, the couple's famous restaurant and a rental car. 

Be sure to check out the romantic room service, oh yeah and the fabulous poolside!

Best dress for Kauai?
Pack light! Bring a light jacket to wear at night but be prepared for 85 degree days, at least! 

So grab your beach bag, floppy hat and bring your husbands cheesiest Hawaiian shirt and jump on the earliest flight to the beautiful island of Kauai! (But, make sure to have Ever After Honeymoons help you out!)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Real Honeymoon: Turkey!

Russ and Jeanne decided to throw tradition aside when they let Ever After Honeymoons plan their vacation. They decided upon a honeymoon in Turkey.

The couple, who describes themselves as "fun, cool and hip, but really we're just total nerds," chose Turkey because they thought it would be a mix of history and fun, and boy were they right!

They spent 11 days traveling Turkey. The first part was spent in Kusadasi, a famous beach town where they relaxed and enjoyed their brand new marital bliss. Next stop, Cappadocia! Cappadocia is full of caves and an underground city (Derinkuyu, the historical part of the vacation).

The last stop was Istanbul where the couples visited former churches, now mosques, the Ottoman and Byzantine Empires and the Sultan's Palace. They ate, they stayed, they conquered!

They stayed over the Aegean Sea, in a cave hotel and a modern European-style hotel in Istanbul. Who could ask for anything more?

Their favorite part?
"We loved seeing the ruins of the Roman city Ephesus, and Istanbul was filled with so much history and architecture which we really enjoyed."

Final remarks on the trip?
"Relaxing, adventurous and fun! It was definitely the honeymoon of a lifetime!"

Russ and Jeanne took a very original route when it came to their honeymoon, does it inspire you to as well?

Read up even more on this historic honeymoon on Utterly Engaged!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Honeymoons 101: Honeymoon Registries

Honeymoon registries can seem awkward, and honeymoons are expensive.
Your guests are already going to come to your wedding, get you engagement gifts, come to all of your showers and give you a wedding gift. Your guests love to buy gifts for you, but, what if their wedding gift to you was to contribute to your honeymoon?

Or your Honeyfund!

A Honeyfund is a gift registry for your honeymoon!
It works just like a regular registry, you set up your gift items, you can add airfare, champagne and even non-honeymoon items.
It is a great way to ask for cash, without actually asking for it.
PayPal's fees and restrictions apply (usually 2.9% +$.30 USD per transaction), and are taken away before the money is given to you, your guests aren't charged anything else.

Traveler's Joy is another great honeymoon registry site.
On Traveler's Joy you can customize a page all about you as a couple and your honeymoon needs - er - wants.  Check out the sites of couples that have already used Traveler's Joy for ways you can use yours!
Traveler's Joy charges a 7.5% fee for use. For example, if your guest gave you $10 towards drinks for your honeymoon you would only actually receive $9.25. Those that give you gifts will never be charged more than they wanted to spend on you!

So, what's the catch?
Well, you probably have to book your honeymoon on your own dime, since the money only comes in as the gifts do.
A lot of people will most likely wait until very close to the wedding to actually purchase your honeymoon gift.  So you can either pay yourself back from the honeymoon fund, or you can delay your honeymoon until you have actually received the money.

All of my clients have been really pleasantly surprised by how much money they received from their honeymoon registry, so hopefully you have great luck with it as well!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Splendors of South Italy

Attention foodies and travel lovers, here we present an amazing opportunity to eat your way across Italy!
The Old Vine Cafe along with The Italian Institute for Advanced Culinary and Pastry Arts would like you and your loved one to travel in fine dining style through the Splendors of South Italy.

This is a 10 day small group tour from January 2-12, guided by two notable chefs, Chef Mark McDonald from Old Vine Cafe and John Nocita from the Italian Culinary Institute in Calabria.  Since Chef Nocita is from this region, he will provide a genuine experience of the local culture.

Think of it as a stop along your honeymoon, or your destination, this trip is absolutely to die for!

This incredible edible vacation starts in Calabria, considered the birthplace of wine in modern Europe, where you will visit and have dinner at an award winning winery. The next day consists of hands-on cooking lessons with which your dinner will be hand cooked by you! For the next few days you will eat at an organic farm, many local restaurants and have free time in the city of Terracotta to see the sites and on
day six, you will travel to Sicily, eat and play for a few days and get in a few traditional meals.
You will be sure to get in your cannoli and gelato fixes!

The trip is $3,500 per person, not including airfare.

The price includes: nine nights at three and four star hotels in Calabria and Sicily, breakfast every day, seven lunches, six dinners and speaking guides throughout the trip.

E-mail Katie for more information on this unique and exciting opportunity to eat your way across Italy!