M N AG E A W ZIN E
Honeymoons Spring/Summer 2012 UniqueHoneymoonIdeas.com
The Wanderlust guide to your trip of a lifetime
unforgettable experiences Win
From Serengeti sundowners to mountain highs
A TAILOR -M honeym ADE oon worth
The most romantic African adventures
Mauritius, St Lucia, Borneo & beyond
where to go when Your essential trip planning calendar
✱ best boutique hotels ✱ where to sleep in a treehouse ✱ sydney, RIO & venice CITY GUIDES
Sail away! Chose your favourite from our Top 30 Honeymoon Experiences (or do them all...)
Contents UP FRONT
The hottest honeymoon destination for 2012: why we think Burma is one of the top spots for discerning couples who want to get away from the crowds
Gone Rome-ing Sophie Ellis Bextor went Italian. Kate and Wills chose the Seychelles – but what about Gran? And where would the world’s greatest living explorer head? Follow famous ‘mooners on p8
WIN a fa b honeym ulous oon Journey from L America atin , £5,000 (s worth ee p114)
13 8You Went Where?
Who honeymooned in a tent at Everest Base Camp? And who just took the train to Hampshire (corgi in tow...)? Pick up some tips from these famous couples
13Where To Go When
Don’t book a thing before reading our indispensable month-by-month calendar! Find out where’s hot in December, cool in June and over-run with wildlife in March. Simply, great travel advice, no matter when you plan to go
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One couple, a whole lot of compromises: find out how our pair decided on wild Malaysia – and if they made the right choice...
Quick Fix: Peru
The condensed guide to the hottest Latin American honeymoon
A good excuse to cuddle... Lights dancing across the sky, snow-ladden forests, rooms that shimmer like Christmas – Sweden’s IceHotel is the place for a most magical moon See p102
Quick Fix: The Caymans
The no-nonsense two-week itinerary plan for this Caribbean paradise
Where to see the most animals, find the best lodges and drink the best sundowners: we help plan your Africa trip
80Quick Fix: Bali
The compact guide to exploring the lush Indonesian isle
Find sun, sand – and something different: an alternative look at six classic honeymoon isles
Quick Fix: Jordan
Your 60-second guide to an Arabian Nights-style honeymoon
126How To Book
Now you’re inspired, it’s time to get started: read our top tips on how to get the best deal
For All Budgets 130Breaks
Got £100? Got £10,000? Whether you’re princes or paupers there’s a honeymoon out there for you
30 Honeymoon Experiences 40Top
25-PAGE SPECIAL! From hot air balloons to vintage convertibles, from being blessed by monks to bagging the best balcony in Paris (for under £100), we’ve searched out the ultimate honeymoon extras
Don’t let jetlag or Delhi Belly ruin your trip: read our essential health advice
WHERE TO STAY
92Top For 2
The very best boutique hotels and lovely lodges, especially for couples
Spend a night in a fairytale: Sweden’s IceHotel is the place to cuddle up, snowmobile and see the northern lights
106I Want To Stay In...
Ditch dull hotels! From castles to caves, we’ve selected the world’s quirkiest – and most romantic – sleeps
No time for a long trip? Take a mini-moon! We’ve got 24 inspirational ideas for time-poor newly-weds, whether you want a quick adventure or pure romance
106 On a high Stay somewhere extra special on your honeymoon – from treehouses in Canada to palaces in India, lighthouses in Ireland, beach-huts in Sri Lanka and a very unusual fire truck... See p106
141Ask The Experts
Can couples get free upgrades? Where should gay newly-weds go? And can you have a green-moon? Five industry insiders give their advice
The best products on the market for displaying your honeymoon memories
146 MINI GUIDES City Guides 149Honeymoon
Cut-out-and-keep guides to four of the world’s most romantic, dynamic cities: Rio, Sydney, Bangkok and Venice.
When should you book? Get jabs? Pack? Here’s your quick tick list
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UPFRONT ✽ CALENDAR
WHERE TO GO WHEN Your 12 month guide to the world’s best honeymoon destinations »
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January The northern hemisphere freezes, making it peak time for skiing, sledding and snow hotels. Meanwhile, southern destinations like New Zealand, Argentina and South Africa are in high summer, the Caribbean is warm and dry, the Pacific wet and humid, and Antarctica (right now reaching a balmy 2°C) on top form.
Costa Rica > It’s dry season in this Central American
wildlife wonderland, but everything remains lush from recent rains, which end in November. You may still get damp in the jungles – but reserves such as Tortuguero and Corcovado (teeming with birds, monkeys and more) are worth a dousing. Dry off on the Nicoya Peninsula’s beaches and by rumbling Arenal volcano.
New Zealand > The austral summer means playtime
in NZ – average daily highs of 22-24°C make the outdoor adventures on offer (tramping, rafting, biking, bungying...) even more fun. Plus, flowers are blooming in the southern Alps and sperm whales easily spottable off Kaikoura.
ollow a white winter wedding with a trip to the White Continent, the ultimate once-in-a-lifetime destination. Antarctica is only visitable NovemberMarch: while November offers spectacular ice formations, December and January are warmer (hovering around 0°C) and brighter, with 24-hour daylight. Now is when you’ll see vast penguin colonies at their most raucous (the chicks hatch in the new year and demand to be fed) and seal pups on South Georgia – many cruises to the Antarctic Peninsula include this wild South Atlantic isle, a highly recommended detour. Whale sightings pick up later in the month, peaking February-March. Most ships leave from Ushuaia, in the far south of Argentina. Vessels range from the very big, which are more stable in rough seas, to smaller 50-passenger boats, which will allow you to spend more time ashore. Cruises generally range from eight to 12 nights. Pick your trip based on the boat’s itinerary (does it visit the best wildlife sites?) and facilities – some offer kayak excursions, art classes, trekking and even scuba diving.
Isle of Islay, Scotland > Embrace the bracing winter on the
beautiful Queen of the Hebrides. The Gulf Stream warms the air a touch, but if you’re feeling parky after a day bird watching, quaff some of the finest whisky on a distillery tour.
South Serengeti, Tanzania > The Great Migration of wildebeest and
other ungulates is a year-round affair, but Jan-March is calving season across the Serengeti’s southern plains: here, over 500,000 calves will be born. Base yourself near Ndutu to see the herds move between the Serengeti and the wildlifeprofuse Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
jamaica > January temperatures average 27°C
in this cultured Caribbean paradise. Locals swarm the streets for funky music festivals, but if the sweaty jiving becomes too much, head to the Blue Mountains: atmospherically cloud-shrouded and distinctly cooler for fine hikes.
Also try... Belize (for sun and diving) • Vienna (waltz season runs Jan-Mar) • Northern Territory, Australia 14 | Unique Honeymoons
Sec ti o on
Too many choices, too much pressure â€“ so how do you settle on the perfect honeymoon destination? Here are some hot (and very cool) ideas...
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Shall we go to Borneo?
Good food, good prices, culture, compromise and the odd four-poster bed... Jeremy Headâ€™s honeymoon had many boxes to tick. But with a little research and planning, he and his wife had the time of their lives
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INSPIRATION ✽ TOP 30
Be bewitched by the northern lights
SCANDINAVIA According to Japanese folklore, making love under the aurora borealis will bestow good fortunes on the resulting child. While that may be hokum (and chilly), there’s no doubting the romance of this celestial dance. Scandinavia is a good option to see them. Board one of the Hurtigruten ferries that ply the Norwegian coast year round, and you can combine the lights with a wild winter cruise (www. hurtigruten.com). Or try Finland: “Nellim is a tiny village by Lake Inari. At the Aurora Camp, a traditional Lapp tipi 20m from the frozen lake, you can sit on reindeer skins by a log fire and (hopefully) watch a display,” advises Stephanie Eddy of Winter Weddings (winterweddingcompany.com). In Sweden, you could get even closer to the action: Discover The World is launching flights (from Kiruna) in a nine-seater plane above the cloud cover and up close to the lights (www. discover-the-world.co.uk).
Wiseman for isolation. • Stay at southern Iceland’s Hotel Rangá, run by a northern lights expert; staff will wake you if the displays are good.
OTHER LIGHT SPOTS • The Dalton Highway makes Alaska’s aurora hotspots accessible – try Ester Dome for views, and
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INSPIRATION ✽ TOP 30
22 Drive a convertible The gleam of chrome, the wind in your hair, the lure of the open road – taking off in an open-top auto adds a touch of honeymoon magic to a regular road trip. Where to go depends on the time of year, reckons Sarah Dowding of Classic Travelling (www.classictravelling.com), which offers holidays in classic,
vintage and sports cars. “Try the Scottish Highlands – landscapes, cosy hotels and baronial mansions – in May/June. In summer, the Alps (pictured) offer stunning scenery, quaint villages and awesome roads. New England is perfect for Sept/Oct, with beautiful autumn colours and charming inns; Vermont is
particularly pretty and the roads are near empty. South Africa’s Cape combines chic Cape Town with winelands around Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, and a Big 5 safari at Sanbona or Fairy Glen. It’s great year round, but especially Sept/March.” Planning is key. “You’ll want shortish driving days (up to
250km max), and a few two- or three-night stays, so it doesn’t feel as if you’re constantly driving or packing,” advises Sarah. “Have all the info you need on the areas you’re driving through to hand – having directions, maps and a GPS means you can make the most of your time and there’ll be fewer arguments!” «
Pack a hat. Riding in older classic cars can be a little like that scene from Bridget Jones’s Diary – perfect hair probably wont last; newer cars tend to have better aerodynamics.
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where to stay
Sec t t ion
Floating beds, private chefs, endless champagne – where you stay is about so much more than sleep with these special retreats
Two’s company Want to stay somewhere extra special on your honeymoon? Liz Simpson, editor of hip hideaways site www.i-escape.com, has picked the boutique hotels and secluded escapes that are top for two
Scotland The boathouse at Ardanaiseig
It’s top for 2 because... it’s a secluded one-bed boathouse, on a sparkling lochside This unique, glass-fronted bolthole makes a perfect honeymoon hideaway for those who want a lot of privacy, but want their luxuries close at hand too. Part of the romantic Ardanaiseig Hotel in Scotland, it sits in perfect seclusion on Loch Awe, surrounded by forests, deer, 19th-century gardens and staggering waterside views. With a mezzanine bedroom up top and a kitchen
‘It sits in perfect seclusion on Loch Awe, surrounded by forests, deer and staggering waterside views’
and huge living area below, there’s all you need to escape the world for a while. And when you want a break from self-catering you can jump in your golf buggy and head to the hotel for lavish gourmet cuisine. What’s nearby? The loch is a great base for activity: you can hire motorised launches or romantic rowing boats, fish for trout and pike, and swim in the summer. You can bicycle through the surrounding forest (borrow bikes at the hotel), go clay-pigeon shooting, or sit and watch the many birds, including sea eagles and various owls. If you get cabin fever (unlikely!), head into Oban, the nearest town, and visit its whisky distillery and restaurants, or take a boat to the islands of Mull, Iona, Staffa and beyond. Bottom line: From £251 per night, room only. The hotel is 25km east of Oban, and 143km from Glasgow.
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where to stay ✽ for two
2 Tanzania Sayari Camp
It’s top for 2 because... you get a private driver for game drives Safari doesn’t get better than this: the ultimate in game viewing and luxury accommodation set in a less-visited part of the Serengeti. The 15 spacious tents are thoroughly decadent – polished-wood floors, kingsize beds, free-standing baths for two and private terraces. Food is very good
It’s top for 2 because... you can be totally alone in an out-of-this world setting This hidden retreat on the edge of the red-sanded Namib desert embraces the wild, the beautiful and the remote. It’s a glassfronted wood-and-stone cabin for two, which is eco in the purest sense: solar powered, with
(honeymooners will be given a ‘surprise’ private dining experience), service is exceptional, and when you head out on safari you’ll get a jeep (plus your own driver/guide). What’s nearby? You’re probably here to watch the Great Migration: Sayari sits next to the Mara River, which each year sees millions of zebra and wildebeest crossing it on their way north through the Serengeti. From July to November a stay here will put you in the best position for witnessing this,
a simple rocket boiler and bathroom open to the elements. Watching dawn break over the savannah is a sight you’ll never forget, and the star-gazing is incredible – KuanguKuangu means ‘Milky Way’. to the Ovambo people. You can self-cater and keep completely to yourselves or eat at the neighbouring Barchan Dunes Lodge (a ten-minute walk away), where great food is guaranteed. What’s nearby? There are 4,000 hectares of wilderness surrounding the cabin. Set out on foot and experience the exhilaration of finding yourself alone with no sign of habitation for miles. Or take a guided nature drive out from the lodge in a 4WD. The iconic Sossusvlei sand dunes are an easy half-day excursion away, and hot-air ballooning trips over the red desert can be arranged. Bottom line: £96 per night, room only. The hotel is 350km from the Namibian capital Windhoek; transfers in a small plane can be arranged.
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though it has a high density of big cats, elephants, crocodiles and hippos all year round. What’s more, wildlife wanders through the camp; you can laze in the bath and watch zebras. Bottom line: From £596 per night, all inclusive, including transfers and game drives. The hotel is a 30-minute flight from Kilimanjaro International Airport.
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Sleeping on ice Swirling light displays, snowmobile adventures, crystalline boudoirs – snuggle up for warmth in Arctic Sweden’s sparkling ICEHOTEL Words Rachel Fox
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where to stay ✽ ice hotel
Left: Huddle together under reindeer hides for warmth Right: Don gloves and hats for a chilling drink in the Icebar
hey’re here!” Hats and scarves were grabbed; everyone rushed outside. The sky, so inky black before, now shimmered and pulsated with curtains of green. An awed hush fell over the 30 people on Nuolja Mountain as the aurora danced. A girl sat staring in the snow, her eyes swimming with tears. Couples hugged and kissed; my partner and I looked at each other and did the same, both rendered utterly speechless.
Discover the World; Rachel Fox
The light fantastic We’d flown into Kiruna, high in Arctic Sweden, and then driven to Abisko, along a near-empty white road, the tracks of snowmobiles and dog-sleds criss-crossing the otherwise pristine landscape. This is the country’s driest spot, so has the best cloud-free conditions for northern lights viewing. Indeed, it is one of the best places in the world to witness this phenomenon. After a dinner of reindeer and berry cheesecake, we’d layered up and headed out into the sub-zero night – in Arctic Sweden you’re most likely to see the aurora between 10pm and 11pm.
A chairlift took us up the mountain. At the top, in the café, we thawed out with hot chocolate and listened to talks on the aurora: about the different colours and the myths surrounding them – the occasional Oriental couple, believing it auspicious to conceive a baby under the aurora, has been found procreating in the snow. The thought was madness, though I could imagine the aurora inspiring strange things. It was spectacular, every inch of sky covered with moving shapes, sometimes gently wafting but occasionally swirling as if being tugged, like curtains billowing in the wind. It was a privilege to witness.
Going to the (ice) chapel A couple of hours away, the tiny village of Jukkasjarvi – home to more sled-dogs (800) than humans (600) – has a fame belying its size, thanks to one extraordinary bit of architecture: the ICEHOTEL. Just a simple igloo when first carved in 1990 from the ice of the frozen Torne River, it has become bigger and more elaborate every year since. The ICEHOTEL is now as much a work of art as it is accommodation. It’s built afresh each winter, and international artists are invited to design the ‘suites’ (plain Ice Rooms are available but suites are worth the
splurge). I was struck by ‘Sur Real’, a room with a pair of giant toes; ‘Chasing Penguins’ was like the interior of a submarine. ‘Paradise Apple Tree’ had ice steps leading to a bed atop an ice tree. It was chillingly beautiful, though I confess I was a little concerned. Our first night was to be spent in one of the complex’s solidwalled ‘warm’ rooms, but the second would be in an ice suite. Would it be fairytale? Or just freezing? When it was time for the daily ‘How to sleep at -5°C’ talk, I hung off every word: don’t use water-based lotions (your face will freeze); wear a balaclava (sexy, no; essential, yes); once in the sleeping bag, do not leave it until morning! Afterwards I settled my nerves with a cocktail in the Icebar; my Winter Mist – vodka with pear and pomegranate – was served in a glass made of ice. The bar itself was rather like a church – a chapel of drinking perhaps – and a reminder that there’s a proper Ice Chapel here. That evening we saw some guests preparing for a ceremony; I didn’t envy the chap in the kilt. But then the bride arrived, wrapped in a white down-jacket. She slipped it off to reveal a white crushed-velvet dress; except for her ice-melting smile, she looked every inch a snow queen. » Unique Honeymoons | 103
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I want to stay in a... â€Śtreehouse? Beachhouse? Opulent castle? On your honeymoon, swap regular hotels for something a little more special
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WHERE TO STAY ✽ UNIQUE
I want to stay in a... TREEHOUSE
Play Tarzan and Jane amid the treetops
1 TREEHOTEL, NR LULEÅ, SWEDEN
diving – is a 90-minute drive. From A$319 (£206) pn, two-night min; www.canopytreehouses.com.au
Each of these five chic and contemporary treetop capsules is unique – from the Bird’s Nest to the Mirrorcube to the UFO – and all offer magnificent views of the Lule River. While you’re there… Leave your eyrie for a horseback ride amid miles of pungent pine forest; in winter, try snowshoeing across the valley. The coastal city of Luleå, with its archipelago of 700-odd islands, is 100km south. From SEK3,990 (£378) pn; www.treehotel.se
3 CHOLE MJINI LODGE, MAFIA ISLAND, TANZANIA
Teetering amid the boughs of ancient baobabs, these seven thatched treehouses are havens of peace. Each one is open to the elements, but private enough (save for visiting fireflies) to watch the waves lapping in bed. While you’re there… Swim with whale sharks (Nov-Apr), watch turtles hatch (Jul-Nov) and learn to dive around the Mafia Archipelago; Zanzibar is a 45-minute Cessna flight north. From US$180 (£115) pppn including all food and some activities; www.cholemjini.com
Carla Richmond & Garrett Cornelison
2 THE CANOPY, CAIRNS HIGHLANDS, AUSTRALIA
These luxurious, isolated cabins are set within 40 hectares of ancient rainforest on the banks of the Ithaca River. Handcrafted from timber and glass, they have secluded balconies and very lounge-able hammocks. While you’re there… Swim in the crater lakes of the Highlands and join a naturalist for a platypus-spotting trip. Cairns – a great base for Barrier Reef
4 FREE SPIRIT SPHERES, VANCOUVER ISLAND, CANADA
These unusual spheres (think baubles with beds) are suspended
from the trees by a web of rope, and rock gently as the breeze rustles through the cedars and maples. Compact but cosy, you get little kitchenettes and cool canopy views. While you’re there… Explore charming capital Victoria and Strathcona NP, full of fine hiking. Horne Lake Caves and Qualicum Bay are on the doorstep; lively Nanaimo is the nearest town. From C$135 (£83) pn; www.freespiritspheres.com
5 CABANES ALS ARBRES, NR GIRONA, SPAIN
These hut-hideaways nestle among Douglas firs and beech trees overlooking the Pyrenees. They’re rustic (no water or electricity) but warm and stylish – some have canopied beds, comfy sofas and funky furniture; they also have balconies on which you can breakfast with breathtaking views.
5 While you’re there… Take to the walking and cycling trails wending through the Guilleries massif. It’s 55km to historic Girona; 95km to the bright lights of Barcelona. From €97 (£83) ; www.cabanesalsarbres.com »
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Planning âœ˝ Take my advice
experts Can honeymooners get free airline upgrades? Can you make your romantic break sustainable? And where should gay couples go? We asked five insiders for their top tipsâ€Ś
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PLANNING ✽ TAKE MY ADVICE
The honeymoon hotelier
“We’ve had a few interesting requests...” Christoph Leonhard is General Manager of the Amari Palm Reef Koh Samui (www.amari.com/palmreef) “Koh Samui is a great destination for a romance-filled honeymoon and we get lots of couples travelling here to celebrate. We also conduct weddings on the white sand of Chaweng Beach. This can be quite spontaneous, although many guests actually come here for a beach wedding. “We try to find out in advance if an arriving couple are on their honeymoon so we make sure we can pull out all the stops
– though the couple are usually glowing with happiness so it’s easy to tell. “It’s always nice to be able to do something special for guests, particularly when they are on their honeymoon; we try to upgrade honeymooners to deluxe rooms whenever possible. For all honeymooners we offer special welcome amenities, including a heart made of rose petals on the bed. “We can arrange for in-room champagne, candlelit dinners on the beach and romantic excursions to neighbouring islands. We can even arrange a special blessing ceremony on the beach. We’ve also
had a few interesting requests: one couple asked us to arrange for an elephant to be at their beachside vow-renewing ceremony, because they met at a zoo; another couple wanted a candlelit dinner at the top of our poolside water tower – we timed it for sunset, so they could watch the sun go down while drinking lychee mojitos. “A massage always adds extra romance: at the Amari Palm Reef we have a great spa where couples can book a special double room so they can enjoy it together. A great romantic escape is a private picnic on the mountains, overlooking Koh Samui.”
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Romantic views, buzzing nightlife, beaches and boat rides... honeymoon in these hot cities, then explore beyond
Rio de Janeiro p151
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Published on Jan 9, 2012