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Honeymoon Heaven

Experts offer tips on how to plan the trip of a lifetime

Your honeymoon! It’s the most important trip you will ever plan. How can you make it the dreamy escape you envision — and not fodder for a new “honeymoon horrors” reality TV show? We asked experts to share their secrets for the perfect honeymoon.
Your one and only
 “First, you must understand that your honeymoon is not an ordinary vacation,” said Renee Duane-Meyer, founder and president of Portland, Ore.-based Unforgettable Honeymoons. “Your honeymoon is unique — it’s a celebration of your first moments together as a married couple. Think of it as an investment in time and memories.”
It’s a bad idea to organize things separately because the bride and groom frequently have different ideas about their itinerary. “We often hear from a groom and begin discussing the honeymoon, and then a bride calls asking about totally different things — and we realize it’s the same couple,” Meyer said.
“Talk it over in detail,” said Tara Soloway, co-founder of Luxe Destination Weddings, a virtual wedding planner. “Where do you really want to go? What would really make you happy?” Discuss your expectations. ”This is crucial,” Meyer said. “What each person wants out of the honeymoon is often very different, so you need to know and compromise.”
“Be upfront with each other about your likes and dislikes,” noted Patrick O’Connell, honeymoon specialist for Asia TransPacific Journeys in Boulder, Colo.
One partner may be dreaming of lazy days on a beach while the other is envisioning all-day mountain treks. Ask: “What level of activities, of relaxation, do you want? How adventurous are you?” Consider the destination’s distance and travel time involved.
“If you’re going to the Maldives, for instance, you can’t go just for seven nights,” Meyer said. “Sunday to Sunday is really only five days there, because you can’t count the day you arrive or the day you depart.” For long-haul honeymoons, consider staying longer — and if you can’t, put the honeymoon off for a few months until you have the necessary time.”
Choose a destination where neither of you has been before. “When you don’t know what to expect, you have that magical excitement of sharing new experiences,” Meyer said. “Surprises happen, and the most romantic moments are the unexpected.”
Turkey, with the “Star Wars”-like scenery of its Cappadocia region, is also popular. “Cappadocia is very romantic and unique, with hot-air balloon flights over the sci-filike landscape and fairytale stays in opulent hotels built inside caves,” said Soloway.
Choosing a location with diversity is an excellent way to reconcile different travel tastes, said Melissa Tindage, co-owner of Pasadena-based Romance Travel Concierge by Asmaras. Her recommendations include Bali, “where you can take half your honeymoon by the beach and half in the mountains,” and New Zealand, “which showcases destinations rich in heritage, culture and extreme sports.”
Pick a spot where the weather is good for that time of year. For instance, “Thailand is always a better [November-to-February] destination, while Bali is a good summertime spot,” O’Connell said.
Don’t settle just for the sake of taking a honeymoon shortly after the wedding,” Meyer noted.
Mistakes to avoid
 “The biggest mistake is to choose your destination based on a photograph,” Meyer said.
First, photos can be deceptive. All the experts interviewed knew people who planned their own honeymoons based on photos and later told them: “The photos on the website were not indicative of the resort or the location. We wish we’d used your services.”
Another mistake is putting too much emphasis on the guest room amenities.
“You’re eliminating some fabulous places if you limit yourself to only rooms with a Jacuzzi or private plunge pool,” Meyer said.
Finally, “the beauty of a destination will have nothing to do with your overall honeymoon,” Meyer said. “You want a beautiful setting. But it’s everything else about a destination that makes honeymoon magic: the interaction with the [resort] staff and the locals, the romantic activities, the restaurants — these are the key considerations. For high-end honeymooners, the overall vibe of the resort is especially essential.”

 — Barbara Beckley Special Advertising Sections Writer


article 11/10/10   LA times  

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