My friend was getting married.
“Hey, I am thinking of going for a unique and adventurous honeymoon. Learning to skydive, skiing or something similar. What do you think?”.
He was a very ambitious guy, who would work his butt off in office. Never hesitated to spend his weekends on critical projects. A star performer and problem solver.
But he was exactly the opposite outside office. Was not a very active guy. Lived quite a sedentary life. His idea of vacations was ‘relaxation’, ‘refreshment’ and ‘laid-back’.
His fiancée was no different.
“Why in the world do you want to go for an adventurous honeymoon? You haven’t been on a single adventure your whole life! Moreover, it’s your honeymoon. Why do you want to complicate it?”, I said in an astonished tone.
Trying to persuade him, I continued, “Let’s say you go for a ski holiday. You get an instructor who conducts ‘sessions’ every day. On the first day, you are excited. The next few days, you start to get bored and wait for the training to complete. But it never completes. You start giving reasons to miss the sessions. And if lady luck has turned her back, you might slip during practice and have a painful back. Do you want that? Such an idea goes against your core mindset and physical abilities. Nothing wrong with trying out a new adventure and changing your sedentary mindset, but the honeymoon is not the event for self-improvement and learning.”
“But, how do I make the world envy? I have seen good-for-nothings clicking pictures while skydiving. That’s the reason I wanted something grand and spectacular.”, he said defensively.
“A relaxing honeymoon doesn’t mean you can’t click great pictures and show-off. Show them your suite, your private pool, a picture of you sitting like a prince and princess and butler serving you. That will also do the trick.”
“A relaxing honeymoon will suit you the best. Here’s what you should do.”
“Spend quality time with each other in a great ambiance without any interruption.”
“Gorge on awesome, enjoyable food splashed with a tempering of endless chit-chat.”
“Relax in a hot tub for hours, romantic music in the background and NO phone bell ringing.”
“Explore the aqua blue color of the ocean when snorkeling.”
“Enjoy the warm colors of the setting sun while we take a gentle stroll on the beach hand in hand.”
“Or if you are in the mountains, enjoy a sweet little walk to the nearest vantage point and view the valley.”
“Enjoy luxury. You know the private pool, the butler, and the sorts.”
“Doing all this, click some great amazing pictures”, I concluded.
He seemed to have got my point, as he was silent and gazing out of the window as if he was already in such a place.
As a reader, if you were planning your relaxing honeymoon, how would you do it? What does it take to enjoy a relaxing, laid-back and ‘I-don’t-care-what-happens-in-the-world’ honeymoon?
These basic but evergreen and unbeatable ideas will help you plan a great one.
1. Choose an all-inclusive unlimited package
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Statistics by tripsavvy.com show interesting honeymoon spending patterns.
The average honeymoon will cost 14 percent of the wedding budget.
Only 1 in 4 couples go on their dream honeymoon.
As honeymoon costs keep spiraling, the only big reason why couples fail to go on a dream honeymoon seems to be the ‘price’.
As price is a massive factor, it’s clear why couples have to choose something mediocre over their dream honeymoon. And if it is a luxury honeymoon, choosing safe and cost-efficient options is always the best thing to do.
One such safe and really the best option is to go for a luxury all-inclusive unlimited package.
Let’s say the honeymoon package you booked is a half-board plan, it will include breakfast and one meal. They might throw a few complimentary ‘drinks’ or ‘snacks’, but are they going to be enough? Certainly not!
So, picture this. It’s your first day of honeymoon and you arrive around lunchtime. You have a buffet lunch at the restaurant that’s included in your half-board plan and head off straight to your room. As you are tired, you decide to be in your room for the day and doze off.
It’s dinner time, you pick up the room service menu and you are stunned! The prices are way too high, and there is service tax and there would be tips! Reluctantly, you have to go down to the restaurant, but high buffet price is still high. You don’t have a choice, as you don’t want to venture outside the hotel to look for restaurants. Half-heartedly you settle for the buffet!
An all-inclusive package would eliminate all such ‘oh-my-god-this-is-very-expensive’ feelings and let you concentrate on each other and enjoy your honeymoon.
Typically, all-inclusive packages offer unlimited food. So, if you go to a restaurant, and order that medium done steak but don’t like it, check out the menu and order something different. Don’t like that one, order another. If you still don’t like it, change the restaurant, go to another one. All-inclusive, unlimited.
Not only food but beverages (including alcohol) are inclusive. You don’t have to think twice before ordering your favorite cocktails. As you like, as many you like. Drink to your heart’s content.
Easy and fun activities like snorkeling are expensive. Float on the surface of the turquoise blue water and snorkel your way over the reefs, as you see a shoal of small orange fish making fast moves. Feels like paradise. Do this over and over again, as much as you like. Don’t worry about the price as it’s all-inclusive and unlimited.
Your all-inclusive honeymoon usually includes all tips and the hotels do pass it on honestly to the staff. Deep inside you are guilt-free as the tips are all taken care of (guilt of not paying enough to the waiter).
And most often than not, taxes are included too.
And those great entertainment shows in the evenings. Fun and frolic. No extra cost.
Services like wi-fi, airport lounges and transfers are also taken care in an all-inclusive, unlimited package.
2. Choose couples-only
Image courtesy – Sandals Resorts
You are chilling out near the poolside area of your top-class hotel. You both just finish sipping the chilled cocktail of vodka, pineapple juice, and coconut cream.
Refreshed, you both enter the pool, stepping down the pool stairs and feel the perfectly cool water for that amazing time.
You find one cozy edge of the pool and stand close to each other facing the sun as it begins to set, spilling warm hues of orange in the sky. It’s the perfect mood to have a great relaxing time when you suddenly hear a BIG thudding sound along with a big splash in the pool and the water slapping your faces! Before you reckon what’s happening, you see three more cannonball splashes in the pool and much bigger sounds!
After a few minutes you realize, they are teenage kids, all laughing and having a blast. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s your honeymoon!
You don’t feel like swimming anymore.
During the buffet dinner, you see a few more kids making a big mess at the counter. Screams, chatter, roars of laughter. You might have found that funny on a regular vacation, but it’s your honeymoon!
Finally, when you lock your doors and decide to get naughty, you hear screams and sounds of kids next door. You call up reception and complain to get the problem resolved. Damn, it’s your honeymoon!
A couples-only hotel could have saved the fun and romance.
Think about this. In a couples-only hotel, you share the property with liked minded people i.e. couples who have come to have a great time. When you go for a great dinner, you only see couples around, minding their own business. When you go for activities or in that pool, you see couples in their own world, not making the mood miserable for you.
For the terrific relaxing honeymoon, book a couples-only hotel. An adults-only luxury hotel is also similar (they allow only adults) but they are not the same (singles are also allowed). But if you really like an adults-only hotel, it is the 2nd best thing you could have!
3. Never ignore the room and the view
We are sitting on our honeymoon bed in the honeymoon suite. We are in a state of honeymoon, in our honey month. These words are so sweet: honey, moon. This bed is so big, we could live on it. We have been happily marooned — honey marooned — on this bed for days. – Kelly Link, in the book Stranger Things Happen
Image courtesy – Sandals Resorts
The honeymoon room and the amenities make a world of difference to the couple’s experience.
The moment you step on the hotel property, you already start feeling tremendously excited about the experience you are going to live.
The property guide and escort take you both to your room, your abode for the next few days.
Your suite feels elegant and tastefully done with hardwood flooring, stylish furnishings, a bedroom with four poster king sized bed and flat-screen TVs. The bathroom spa-style with a soaking tub, walk-in shower, and double vanity.
You even have your own private veranda with a hammock and a private pool.
Now, do you think you could spend a few days here? Maybe a few weeks? Sure thing!
Your room is your home until the last day of your honeymoon. Grab the best one out there!
I always wish the hotels were like they are in movies and TV shows, where if you’re in Paris, right outside your window is the Eiffel Tower. In Egypt, the pyramids are right there. In the movies, every hotel has a monument right outside your window. My hotel rooms overlook the garbage dumpster in the back alley – Gilbert Gottfried, actor
How good is an exquisitely done room if the views are awful?
Spending some great moments on the veranda or a balcony or by the window side is completely useless if the views are boring or uninspiring.
Image courtesy – Sandals Resorts
On the contrary, great views, invite great discussions and moments with your favorite drink in hand.
Rooms have evolved from the in-building luxury room to butler-serviced luxury over-the-water bungalows. The choices are unlimited!
4. Go for the best service
The airplane just lands at the airport and you get down to grab your luggage. Though the flight was a long one you are excited to reach your honeymoon destination.
Your hotel has a dedicated lounge set up at the airport to escort you. Or you have your own dedicated escort who drives you in a private taxi all the way to the hotel.
Once you reach the hotel and are settled down, the bellman greets you by your names.
At the bar, the bartender says, “Good evening Sir, Mam. The same Bahama Mama and SunDowner for you or something different?”. He remembers your choice of cocktails perfectly.
You call maintenance for an issue with the shower, the guy rings the doorbell in a jiffy and you think, “Wow that’s fast, is he a superhero?”.
You opted for a butler suite, so your butler is there for you whenever you need. You take a relaxing swim and your butler prepares to serve your favorite items for lunch. All this, without being intrusive.
The waiters at the dining table pay specific attention to your order and always recommend some great dishes as per your tastes.
You never miss your morning sunrise trips as the hotel staff always gives you the perfect wake-up calls.
The staff at the hotel treats you with smiles and courtesy all throughout your stay.
Excellent service like this is an absolute need when you are on your honeymoon. It will just amplify your mood 10 times!
- Ensure to read traveler reviews on the service quality.
- Check out leading awards like:
- Brides.com awards for leading all-inclusive hotels.
- Worldtravelawards.com for winners in all categories of travel and hotel industry.
5. Serve your taste buds
“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
― Virginia Woolf, British author, in the book ‘A Room of One’s Own’
The connection of food and a state of well-being and relaxation is something that need not be elaborated.
Start your day with an elaborate breakfast spread, from freshly baked blueberry muffins to velvety scrambled eggs on the crunchiest toast, to the melt-in-the-mouth buttery croissants, to amazingly fresh and tangy fruit juices. Content and full, you are now ready for mid-morning honeymoon action!
Enjoy lunch on a catamaran cruise, where the chef has prepared a seafood platter. From the amazingly juicy tail-on prawns to the grilled lobsters with Miso-chile butter paired with Italian white wine, to a divine tiramisu cheesecake. You are already in the mood and can’t wait to reach your hotel and have an afternoon rendezvous!
Once your afternoon siesta is done, wake up to freshly brewed espresso and munch on light coffee cakes and macrons.
As the sun starts to go down, the open bar invites you to a round of cocktails and spirits. You order ‘Pineapple Coconut Champagne’ and ‘Blue Hawaiian’ cocktails and the bartender gets into his gig, swinging those cocktail glasses in the air as you wait with curiosity.
Finally, a good old candlelight dinner with a pan-fried seafood salad resting on veggies, an amazing seafood coconut cream soup with crispy leeks, pan salmon fillet and king prawn with spiced orange dressing and parsley butter rice paired with a bottle of Pinot Noir and Pink Champagne Red Velvet cake to conclude. If this can’t set your mood for the night, what else will?
Mouth-watering. Lip-smacking. Tempting. Diverse. These should be the words in your honeymoon food story.
You ought to have a few points in mind for the perfect salivating experience.
- Choose a place with many multi-cuisine restaurants, so that you don’t get bored. For instance, Sandals St Lucian Resort has 12 restaurants on property, but you get to dine in additional 15 restaurants from their other 2 resorts as a part of the ‘Stay at 1, Play at 3 exchange program’.
- The hotel should offer different types of restaurant settings e.g. on the beach, near the pool, candlelight etc.
- Don’t go thirsty, check for well-stocked bars offering a variety of spirits. Sandals St Lucian also gives you the option of drinking to your heart’s content (read unlimited) in as many as 21 bars spread across its 3 resorts.
- If you are vegan or vegetarian, ask for variety. You also need to ask for quality, not just quantity.
- Customize and tailor to cater to any allergies. You don’t want to be going to a place where you eat out of no choice and fall sick!
- If you don’t like something, just complain! Top class hotels will spare no effort to make something that suits your palette and appetite.
6. Add dollops of luxury
“Sir, ma’am, I have booked that great French restaurant for dinner tonight. I will be escorting you to your table at around 7:30 pm. Is that fine? If you wish to make changes, please call me and I can even arrange for in-room dining at the last minute”.
That was your butler offering his best service. You have booked a butler suite and someone is available 24/7 to take care of every whim and fancy of yours.
You look around and are pretty happy that you booked such a luxurious suite with top-notch amenities like soaking hot tub, the most exquisite bedding, a fully stocked in-room bar.
The hotel offers not one or two but many restaurants to satisfy your cravings for different cuisines. Everything you eat or drink is unlimited.
Now that’s luxury, even if it costs a bit more. It’s your honeymoon after all, why not make it extravagant? It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event, why not add doses of elegance, comfort, and style?
Some facets of luxury hotels could be:
- 5-star experience – From accommodation to food, to service, everything should be top notch.
- Amazing locations – Your hotel could be sitting on a stunning beach with white sands, turquoise waters and with no other hotel in the vicinity. Or on the peak of a mountain. Exclusive. Exquisite.
- Luxe accommodations – From deluxe luxury rooms to lavish villas with your own butler, your hotel room should really let you ‘live the luxury’.
- Gourmet food – Exceptional taste, amazing variety, and abundant choices, should be the food story on your honeymoon.
- Amazing experiences – From water sports to golf, to walking excursions in the most private areas. Luxury is not only inside your room but outside as well.
7. Tame the weather
A Swedish couple faced not one but six natural calamities on their honeymoon! Yes, you read it right!
They were on a massive 4-month honeymoon and traveled to different countries. In Europe, they were stranded in the worst snowstorm in history. Australia gave them one of the most ferocious cyclones and flooding. New Zealand gave them a never-seen-before earthquake. Read this full article to understand how weather played a spoiled sport and ruined this couple’s honeymoon.
While this was unfortunate and nothing that the couple could have done, do you want to be a place where weather could spoil your honeymoon?
You really like forts and palaces and places drenched in history, so you tour Rajasthan in India. But how can you book it during the sweltering hot months of April to June? A sunburn is the last reason you want your honeymoon to be ruined.
What is the point in going to a place in months where it rains or there are seasonal hurricanes?
Or to a place in a season where it snows so heavily, that you are locked in your hotel?
Do your homework about the place and the best months to visit. You don’t want to be remembering your honeymoon for the wrong reasons. Do you?
Honey-tip – Do check out the peak and shoulder seasons of the place. This will help you get better deals (read money) and keep you away from the regular ‘vacation crowd’.
8. Keep it super private, intimate and safe
You have to go beyond a couples-only hotel. DND tags are not enough.
Imagine, you enter your room after a lovely dinner and you are ready for action. You dim the lights and put some lovely romantic music on. As you are in your vibes, you think you should amp up the volume or put some loud heavy metal music to mask your lovemaking sounds, as you share a wall with the adjacent room.
Why should you do that? Your room should be private enough for you to enjoy your private moments without the world knowing about it.
How to ensure your privacy and intimacy? Read on.
- Shortlist hotels offering secluded rooms and suites for couples. For instance, Sandals resorts have what are called ‘Love-nest suites’. As the name suggests, these are designed to provide the ultimate seclusion to couples.
These are typically separate accommodation units with no common walls. Some even have their own access paths.
- How about some romance in the water? Ask for rooms with private pools. With no one to see, you are free to have some great aqua action.
- Imagine your room service order is on the way and you are in full action. The bell rings and you are in an awkward moment trying to rush and get your clothes on.
Avoid this by looking for rooms with a ‘drop-box’ or an arrangement where the waiter can safely place your food order and you could take that as per your convenience.
- Check for bathrooms with soaking tubs, hot tubs, jacuzzies, walk-in rain showers to double the fun and triple the privacy.
- Make sure to check reviews of secluded suites and rooms. Ask the hotel what kind of physical boundaries and safety systems are in place. You surely want to have a beach-facing room, but don’t want anyone else to approach your room from the beach.
- Ask for rooms with electronic safes. Test if the safe works before using it to store valuables.
- Check out how does the hotel secure your luggage during check-in and check-out. Do they have a separate baggage storage room?
- As soon as you check-in to your room, look around for any hidden cameras (typically around light installations and electronic equipment).
- Check if there are any two-way mirrors anywhere (two-way mirror is one, where a person can see you from the other side). Check this article for a detailed step by step guide.
9. Chuck the itinerary
My friend had a group honeymoon. Before raising your eyebrows, let me clarify, it was a ‘group honeymoon package’. Still sounds weird?
Many tour companies in India (maybe some other countries as well) arrange group tours. These are tours where people don’t necessarily know each other. The only advantage for the traveler is the reduced cost.
Tour companies offer ‘competitive prices’ by putting you on a group tour package. My friend was in a group honeymoon tour. Honeymooners from different places traveled together, ate together, followed the same itinerary but at the end of the day had their own rooms and own spouses.
It had a strict itinerary and almost felt like a school camping tour where you report every day at a fixed time, travel from one place to another and come back to your hotel room tired and exhausted.
Avoid group honeymoon tours at any cost. Read this article about how an Indian couple almost decided to ruin their honeymoon by booking a group package.
But what about the itinerary? Why should there be an itinerary in the first place?
Wake up as and when you want. Have a late leisurely breakfast in your bed. Go for a casual walk on the beach. Or sit the entire day in a cabana, talking to each other having lunch and chilled beer. Have fun on the beach water, wait for that big wave approach you and jump over it! Or book your favorite water sport when you want. Get drenched on the beach and come back to your room. Make love, over and over again and relax in the hot tub for hours.
Don’t you think your relaxing honeymoon should be like that? As per your convenience and time rather than the other way around?
- Make your own itinerary based on the activities that are available in and around the place
- Keep a track of local festivals and events. If you like to participate, well and good, if not, avoid those months.
- Your primary point of interest should be your spouse, everything else becomes secondary
- You should feel R’ed. Relaxed. Refreshed. Rested. Romantic.
10. Travel as less as you can
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
― Augustine of Hippo
For your honeymoon though, you have to arrange travel that is not tiring and exhausting.
- Avoid very long travel as much as possible. You don’t want to be sleeping all through the 1st day of your honeymoon, do you?
- Choose a location where local sight-seeing doesn’t need a hell lot of travel.
- The hotel should provide you with transfers to different sight-seeing locations and its spread-out properties. For instance, a hotel chain might have many connected hotels or resorts where you should be able to go. Or a hotel might have a private island, where transfers should be easy and efficient.
- Check for modes of transport. Opt for private transfers, as you will not have to wait for the next timeslot where the vehicle picks you up.
Apply these tips and tell us how did you plan your ‘relaxing honeymoon’.
Do you think you have better ideas? Do comment!