July 31, 2015

Short Haul Honeymoons in August

Iceland is a surprisingly hip destination in summer with beautiful places to stay like the Art-Deco Hotel Borg. Take a dip in the romantic Blue Lagoon, visit geysers, volcanoes, glaciers and mountains. In the first half of August, you can even enjoy a whale watching excursion under the midnight sun.

A cruise is a great way to see the Mediterranean – or the Baltic – in summer, though I suggest you avoid the huge floating hotels and opt instead for one of the new generation of small luxury cruise ships where the emphasis is on spacious accommodation, great food and service. Try the SeaDream Yacht Club which has just 57 cabins and 96 crew, or Seabourn.

Another way to beat the crowds in high summer is to take a romantic cruise on a tall ship with the upmarket Star Clippers. Its Mediterranean cruises gets to the small ports that big ships cannot reach, and casting off at sunset with the giant sails flapping overhead is a magical experience.

Italy’s Amalfi coast is wonderfully romantic and – typical of the region – has temperatures of 28ºC and an average 11 hours of daily sunshine. Rent yourselves a villa or apartment with CV Travel, or you could hop on a ferry to the iconic island of Capri, one of the most stylish honeymoon locations in Europe.

For fabulous Italian beaches it’s hard to beat Sardinia, home to some great hotels including Forte Village – famed for its spa and sporting facilities – and lesser known gems such as the charming and friendly Hotel Relais Villa del Golfo with just 65 rooms and suites set on a beautiful bay, and the stylish boutique Coluccia Hotel & Beach Club.

Less well known is the fascinating southern Italian region of Puglia where you’ll find historic towns and unspoilt beaches. Stay at the five-star Borgo Egnazia Hotel which has villas with private pools and a world class spa, or the intimate Il Melograno which dates back to the 16th century.

The rolling countryside and hilltop towns of Tuscany make a perfect setting for an August honeymoon, and if you pick the right hotel you will be safely insulated from the peak-season crowds. Include Borgo San Felice which has rooms dotted throughout a charming hamlet, and Villa Campestri, an elegant manor house set in acres of lawns and wooded parkland.

Even if you love Italy, you might want to avoid cities such as Venice and Rome at this time of year. They are simply too hot and crowded.

The Cote d’Azur in the South of France can get busy but not if you escape to a stylish hotel such as Le Mas de Pierre. If you want something more quirky – at a budget price .

If you fancy Greece or Turkey,  choose a remote rural hideaway rather than a hotel in a busy resort. In Turkey,  the adults-only Mandarin Boutique Hotel which has just eight rooms and a peaceful swimming pool surrounded by quite countryside. All the rooms have four-poster beds and Jacuzzi.

Another great choice in Turkey is Badem Tatil Ev in Selimye, a perfect retreat for honeymooners. The hotel has 12 bedrooms set in flower-filled gardens with lovely views of the bay. There’s a large infinity pool and private beach club. In the Greek islands, Santorini is impossibly romantic, though it does get busy in August.

For island hopping head to Croatia. Arrive by private water taxi at the glamorous Villa Vilina on the traffic-free island of Lopud, or check into Hotel Podstine which overlooks the waterfront near funky Hvar Town. Hotel More has just 35 rooms, each with a panoramic view across the Elaphiti Islands.

Mallorca (29ºC temperatures, 10 hours of sunshine) makes a perfect short-haul honeymoon destination, with its elegant hotels, quiet resorts and rugged countryside: you can stay at a villa for two with private pool.

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July 30, 2015

UK and Ireland in August

August is the perfect time to take advantage of sunny skies at home (hopefully!). Standards in UK accommodation have risen dramatically in recent years and you can find incredibly romantic places that rival anywhere in the world.

In the private grounds of Gilpin House, a Relais & Châteaux hotel in the Lake District, the newly-opened Gilpin Lake House is a gorgeous bolthole with just six suites where you can drink champagne in a lakeside hot tub and dine in the main house.

Lucknam Park is an elegant stately home in the West Country set in 500 acres of grounds with just 42 rooms, a great spa, equestrian centre and a Michelin-starred restaurant, The Park.

Scotland is wonderfully romantic whether you’re striding across the heather, taking boat trips on lochs or tucking into a dinner of hand-dived scallops and Highland beef. This five-night honeymoon starts in Edinburgh, takes in Loch Ness and includes a stay on a private island off the west coast of Argyll.

In the hills of North Wales, Pentre Mawr Country House with its safari-style canvas lodges and outdoor hot tubs. If Cornwall or Devon are on your honeymoon hit-list, remember to book early as this is peak season. The Cary Arms in Babbacombe is a Devon highlight, while Gwel an Mor on the north coast of Cornwall has some lovely Scandinavian-style lodges.

One of the best ways to experience the UK on honeymoon, and even better if you’re watching the pennies, is to go self-catering. Sawday’s Canopy & Stars has some quirky “glamping” options, whether you fancy a Romany caravan or a yurt with a Georgian twist.

Sheepskin has a beautiful collection of cottages and honeymoon retreats in Wales. My favourites include Tailor’s Cottage in Snowdonia, Red Kite Barn hidden away in a forest in mid-Wales and Hafod Glan Gwy on the banks of the River Wye.

Also check out Rural Retreats which has some wonderful self-catering houses and cottages – see their properties for two.

A short ferry ride or flight will take you to Ireland where warm hospitality awaits in gorgeous country house hotels. Pick from a selection of special experiences including whale watching, whiskey tasting and foodie tours. Rent a classic car such as an Alfa Romeo Spider or MGB Roadster or stay in three different country hotels on this touring honeymoon in County Wexford and County Cork.

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July 29, 2015

5 European Honeymoon Destinations For You

Honeymoons are always romantic because it is supposed to be that period when you get to spend some quality time together as newlyweds. And when you talk of romantic, few places can beat the many countries of Europe for your wedding destination. Take your pick.

Paris
Paris is the city of romance so this should be the perfect honeymoon destination for you. Even the sidewalk cafes in Paris spell romance so don't forget to take your first coffee as husband and wife in one of such cafes along Champs Elysees. There are plenty of champagne to hold you up in your luxurious hotel room but never leave Paris without visiting the Louvre of the L'arc de Triomphe. Take your bride for a stroll along the Eiffel Tower too. If you want to be more daring, why not spend some honeymoon time at Cap d'Agde, a village devoted to naturism or nudism.

Spain
What could be more romantic than a honeymoon in the land of Don Quixote? Watch a bullfight or learn the fiery gypsy flamenco dance. You can even spend the rest of the afternoon in one of Spain's scenic beaches. Do everything you are passionate about during your honeymoon. For that is what Spain is all about-romance and passion.

Switzerland
The name Switzerland itself will remind you of snow and the Alps but there are other romantic places to visit when you are on your honeymoon in Switzerland. It is considered a skiing paradise so you may want to bring your skis and winter clothes with you. Your bride will definitely have a blast shopping in one of Geneva's exclusive boutiques but save some for your visit to eh Nestle Food Museum, the Olympic Museum and the Chillon castle.

Greece
You can choose from as many as 100 islands in Greece but choose Greek islands that have the standard facilities for tourists to make sure you will have a perfect honeymoon. Among the common destinations in Greece are the islands of Mykonos, Crete, Santorini and Rhodes. If you and your bride are enthralled with Greek mythology then this would definitely be an enjoyable and memorable occasion for you.

Italy
A visit to Rome and the cities of Rome, the Vatican (which is a city within a city) and Milan is a must for newlyweds who want to mix pilgrimage and honeymoon in one trip. Bear witness to the papal seat and the best works of art in Rome, enjoy the gondolas in Milan and embrace the Renaissance culture in Florence. Don't forget to visit Bellagio as it is often referred to as the prettiest European town.

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July 28, 2015

The Importance Of Love In Your Relationship

Love and romanticism are essential components that great marriages require for complete stability. Real love is the spiritual aspect, and romanticism is emotional. It would be difficult to love your spouse if you only thought about yourself. This is not real love. Selfish people often have a difficult time giving of themselves, and yet, that is what love is all about. Love is more than a feeling, it is an action, and therefore, real love takes effort and sincerity.

LOVE:

In scripture, a husband is commanded to love his wife. What do you think is going to happen if that love is not a sincere love for his wife? She will feel frustration, resentment, and anger, and she will have a very difficult time submitting herself to the man she married. When a husband does not love his wife the way God has asked him to love his wife, all sorts of problems will develop in the marriage, mainly rebelliousness, and selfish thinking.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her, to make her holy, cleansing her by washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife, love himself.

Husbands are commanded to love their wife for a very beautiful reason. It brings about the ideal biblical marriage that God himself designed. Marriage is a holy union, and a living symbol that needs self-sacrificing care. A husband should be willing to sacrifice everything, including himself, for his wife. He should make her well being of prime importance to him. Meaning, do whatever it takes to protect, care for, and love her, without expecting anything in return. I do not think there is a woman on this planet that if loved by their husband in this way, would fear submitting to her man if he treated her in this way!

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July 27, 2015

Honeymoon Ideas To Romance With Your Partner

Check out our Honeymoon Merchandise for romantic ideas!

Sunrise Together

Ask someone at your resort where to go for a great location to see the sunrise. Wake up one morning before sunrise, make some coffee, walk to your special place and experience a new day starting as your lives together have just begun.

Little Presents

Bring with you a little present for each day of your honeymoon, and give it to your spouse at a special moment during the day. This could be bubble bath, massage oil or a new CD and your favorite bottle of wine to drink while spending a night indoors with a deck of cards. These little presents don’t need to be expensive, just something that fits both of you and can add a little zest to your honeymoon.

Jacuzzi

Bring scented bubble bath and tea light candles with you on your honeymoon and prepare a warm bath for the two of you. Make sure to request a room with a bathtub or Jacuzzi. Place the scented candles around the room and turn off the lights to enjoy your warm moment together.
Reasons Why I Love You…

Before leaving on your honeymoon, right down all the reasons why you love your fiancé. You could put these on separate pieces of paper and present them in an adorned box or write them on one decorative piece of paper, maybe in scrapbook style. Either way, your fiancé will be surprised at the thought and effort you took to express all the little things you love about him/her.

Walking in the Moonlight

At least one night on your honeymoon, take a long walk, hand-in-hand, with the moon shining on you both. Talk about your happy union and your excited plans for your future together. Share your dreams and make a wish on a star.

Romantic Dinner for Two

Find a way to have a secluded dinner, outside if possible. Some resorts will even put a private table on your deck/veranda or under a beach cabana so that you can only hear the ocean waves and the sound of each other’s voices. If this isn’t available, prepare a basket of shrimp cocktail and cheese with French baguettes, or buy take-out food and go make your own excluded dinner somewhere romantic, maybe in the park or on the beach.

Massage

Have a moment for you to give a massage to your spouse. This will hopefully be followed by you receiving a massage in return. Try this out at the beginning of your honeymoon to get you and your spouse to start off relaxing right away. Since you just finished a stressful period of time planning your wedding, this massage will be very much needed. Don’t forget the massage oil! An alternative is to arrange for a couple’s massage in your room or the resort’s facilities.

Breakfast in Bed

Pre-order breakfast for a reasonable hour and spend one whole morning in bed, eating, cuddling or even watching your favorite movie. This movie could be another little gift that you bring along, but don’t forget to find out if the room has VHS/DVD access. Whatever your preference, this is a nice way to relax and spend some quality time lounging around together.

Love Poem

Even if the talent of writing isn’t bestowed on you, you can write a meaningful poem that will make your spouse be overwhelmed with happiness. Start off with the reasons for your love and then put them into poetry format. If you’re really worried about how it sounds, ask a friend or family member. You can read the poem over dinner or a cocktail, whatever your style. This will be a treasured memory.

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July 25, 2015

Top 10 sights in Cambridge

The historic university city of Cambridge is known around the world for its beauty and academic excellence. Cambridge is most widely known as the home of the University of Cambridge and consistently ranks in the top five universities in the world.

The city has so much to offer and sights to see; here are just a few suggestions for people exploring the area:

1. Colleges

Many of Cambridge’s 31 colleges are open to the public. World-famous attractions like King’s, Trinity and St John’s charge admission, but colleges like Jesus and Magdalene are free to visit. All colleges are closed to visitors on busy times of the academic year. If in doubt, stop at the Porter’s lodge and ask. Be sure to visit King’s College chapel – its Christmas carols service is broadcast by the BBC every year.

2. Themed museums

Most Cambridge museums are free and associated with the University: the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the Museum of Classical Archaeology, the Whipple Museum of the History of Science, The Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences (geology), the Fitzwilliam Museum (arts and artefacts) and the Polar Museum. The Museum of Cambridge (formerly the Cambridge County & Folk Museum) displays items from a bygone age – ideal if you want to find out more about local history.

3. Kettle’s Yard

This is a very special place, including a house with a permanent collection of early 20th-century works of art, and a gallery hosting year-round concerts, contemporary art exhibitions and creative workshops for all ages.

4. Botanic Garden

With wild-planted areas, landscaped flowerbeds and heated greenhouses displaying some of the world’s rarest and most exotic plants, this outdoor ‘museum’ organises adult and family events. You can spend the whole day there – a café, large restaurant and shop are open most months of the year.

5. Parks

Cambridge has many parks; some in the city centre like Christ’s Pieces, located between the Lion Yard/Grand Arcade/Market square and the Grafton shopping areas. Midsummer Common, close to the Grafton shopping centre, is a pleasant park by the river Cam. You can walk through it to reach Jesus Green, another city oasis with an outdoor swimming pool open during the summer months. If you’d like to venture a bit further, Grantchester Meadows, which inspired a famous Pink Floyd song, is popular with walkers and cyclists who stop by the Orchard tearoom for a traditional cream tea.

6. Ancient churches

Located not far from King’s College, St Mary’s (1478-1510) is the University’s church, where staff’s carol services and other celebrations are held each year. It boasts a tall tower from which you can enjoy panoramic views of Cambridge. Other churches worth a visit are the Round Church in Bridge Street and St Bene’t’s Church in the homonymous street, which dates from the 11th century.

7. Mill Road

This vibrant road, which organises a popular street fair in early December, is an exotic and independent shopping location. East meets the West with many ethnic shops, cosmopolitan delicatessens and a bohemian vibe. It is not far from Parker’s Pieces and the busy Hill’s Road.

8. Punting

You can’t come to Cambridge and not try it! You can hire a punt or go on a guided tour of the colleges via the river Cam. There are punting stations all around the city and you can even punt to Grantchester Meadows for a picnic – punting is a popular outing and part of Bell’s social programmes.

9. Milton Country Park

A wild park created from old gravel workings just outside north Cambridge, it’s easy to get to by bike, bus or car. If offers a good play area for children and trails for runners and walkers. It’s open 364 days a year, except on Christmas day. A café serves hot/cold drinks and a variety of refreshments. You can even fish in the artificial lakes, but you need a day permit.

10. Libraries

There are over 100 libraries in Cambridge, many attached to colleges but several open to the public. The most notable are the Wren Library (Trinity College), Pepys Library (Magdalene College), the University Library (offering tours to visitors). A well-stocked public library is located on the first floor of the Lyon Yard shopping centre.

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July 24, 2015

Things to Do in Cambridge

There’s something for everyone when it comes to entertainment in Cambridge. A choice of galleries showcases an impressive range of art, from the contemporary to the classic, a buzzing theatre and performance scene presents drama, dance and family shows and you can enjoy all kinds of live music from internationally acclaimed orchestras and ensembles to touring pop stars, pub gigs, the world-famous Folk Festival, ever-popular Beer Festival, family-friendly Big Weekend and magical Secret Garden Party festivals.

You can go punting on the River Cam, enjoy a picnic in the park, join a walking tour of the city or explore further afield from the seat of a bicycle following the excellent network of cycle paths in and around the city.

Spend the day enjoying one of Cambridge and Beyond's fantastic Experience Days – perfect for group days out, stag and hen parties, gift ideas or treating yourself to an experience you'll never forget.

King’s College Chapel is celebrated for its choral services including the famous A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, broadcast live by the BBC to the nation and across the globe on Christmas Eve. If you have a chance to hear the sublime Choir of King’s College, you will be enchanted.

As well as the free-to-enter University of Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum, which houses world-class collections of art and antiquities spanning centuries and civilisations, and Kettle’s Yard, one of the country’s finest galleries and a major centre for 20th century and contemporary art, visitors will find a wide range of artworks, sculpture trail walks and galleries to appreciate.

Theatre lovers will delight in the range of performances on offer, from student theatre to touring and West End shows. Come summer, Cambridge is buzzing with al fresco performances of music in the parks and green spaces as part of the annual Summer in the City programme of events.

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July 23, 2015

Short Haul Sunshine in February

There are plenty of short haul getaways in February that will take you to the sun, though you shouldn’t expect scorching temperatures.

Madeira is a wonderful island for honeymooners with its romantic quintas (restored country houses) and dramatic mountain scenery. If you enjoy walking, trekking and even abseiling, Madeira is a great destination. Find out more about Madeira.

Tenerife is a well-known winter getaway for Brits, but it has a surprisingly chic side, especially in the north, and some fabulous honeymoon hotels where you’ll be spoilt rotten.

If you want something a bit more exotic, head to Egypt. Begin with a tour of the Pyramids in Cairo followed by a relaxing Nile cruise.

February is also a good month to visit Dubai – you’ll find guaranteed sunshine and it’s only a six-hour flight from the UK with a choice of regional departures. Indulge at the stylish One&Only Royal Mirage Arabian Court, one of the city’s most sophisticated hotels, or the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray on The Palm, which has a private cinema, spectacular spa and huge oceanfront infinity pool.

In neighbouring Oman, you’ll enjoy a more authentic Arabian experience. Check out the luxurious beachfront Six Senses Zighy Bay, but don’t miss the chance to sleep under the stars in the Wahiba Sands and explore remote beaches where turtles lay their eggs.

Closer to home, Morocco has a great choice of beautiful hotels for honeymooners including Kasbah Tamadot.

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July 22, 2015

Long Haul Honeymoons in February

The Indian Ocean islands of the Maldives are a good option in February. There are fabulous resorts to choose from such as the ultra-romantic Huvafen Fushi which has an underwater spa.

You can save significantly if you book an all-inclusive honeymoon package loaded with romantic extras such as private dinners on the silky white sand. For the Maldives on a budget, try Meeru Island.

For all-out luxury, take a look at NIYAMA Maldives which has 87 studios and pavilions – most with private pool – spread out across two secluded islands, along with an underwater nightclub and a chance to spend a night at sea with a butler and private chef in a beautifully-restored Maldivian sail boat.

You can very easily combine the Maldives with a stay in Sri Lanka which is just an hour’s flight away and provides a wonderful contrast: culture followed by lazing on a perfect beach. This twin-centre honeymoon is one of the most popular ways to combine the two destinations.

Going all the way? How about Australia where you’ll find some amazing places to stay including the gorgeous Hayman Island Resort. Or you could explore New Zealand on a romantic self-drive honeymoon. You could be heli-hiking on glaciers, kayaking with dolphins, horse riding through the bush, bathing in natural hot springs – and staying at gorgeous boutique hotels. The most popular choice for honeymoons is this 23-day Grand New Zealand itinerary which costs from just £1,875 pp (excluding flights).

If you are backpackers at heart, Explore, the adventure holiday specialist, has a great selection of honeymoons in destinations such as Uganda and Cambodia. You can choose to join an escorted group or have your own private tailor-made itinerary designed.

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July 21, 2015

Honeymoon Destinations in Asia in February

February is a great month to visit Thailand. The climate is not scorching hot, but the peak season is winding down so hotel rates are low. There’s an incredible choice of to-die-for hotels that will bend over backwards to make your honeymoon the most romantic ever, such as the Sarojin in Khao Lak. Don’t miss out on the spa treatments, as Thailand is one of the best places in the world for quality pampering.

February is the driest month of the year in Vietnam, making it a hot favourite for adventurous couples. This two-week private tour of Vietnam is popular with honeymooners, visiting Saigon, Hoi An, Hue, Hanoi, the Mekong Delta and Halong Bay. If you want more beach with your sights, opt for this Luxury Saigon, Mekong and Beach itinerary.

If India has always been on your radar, February is a great time for a honeymoon. It’s the start of the summer season but temperatures are still pleasant. You could visit Delhi, the Taj Mahal, temples and forts on a 14-day Classic Rajasthan private tour.

Alternatively, head south to dreamy Kerala in South India for a romantic houseboat experience on the backwaters and plenty of culture in cities such as Cochin with its beautiful boutique hotels and lakeside hideaways.

For a beach holiday you could laze on the glorious white sands at Leela Goa. You can even design your own honeymoon in India.

For something off the usual honeymoon trail, treat yourselves to a total rejuvenation at Ananda in the Himalayas, a beautiful spa retreat. This region is at the beginning of its pre-monsoon season, so be prepared for cooler temperatures at night.

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July 20, 2015

The Americas

How about getting behind the wheel for a luxury road trip across America? The most popular route for honeymooners is a classic California Highlights Trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 10 nights. Alternatively, you could discover America’s greatest national parks on this stunning Grand Canyon and the Rockies itinerary. Also see American Sky’s range of California honeymoons which includes some budget options.

February is a great month to head to Hawaii for some Pacific sunshine. Each of the islands is different, so it’s advisable to spend time on two or three, then you can combine surf beaches with volcano tours and chic hotels. For maximum glamour, treat yourselves to a USA West Coast stopover on the way – perhaps do a little shopping in Los Angeles.

Florida is perfectly-sized for a fly-drive honeymoon. You could stay a few days at Miami’s glamorous South Beach before driving south to the Keys. Stylish hideaways include the South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island on the Gulf Coast and Cheeca Lodge on Islamorada.

It’s summer in South America and if you’ve always wanted to sample this great continent, an extended honeymoon could be the perfect opportunity. Head to Brazil where you can see the sights of Rio de Janeiro, take a leisurely cruise on an Amazonian riverboat, then kick back in trendy Trancoso on the Bahia coast. If you time it right, you can enjoy the Rio Carnival in early February.

Argentina is one of this year’s hottest honeymoon destinations and great value for money once you’re there. There’s the party capital of Buenos Aires and the incredible vistas of Patagonia, not to mention cutting-edge hotels.

For lovers of nature and adventure, it’s hard to beat Costa Rica, a delicious combination of rainforest, volcanoes, surf beaches and amazing wildlife. This two week self-drive tour hits all the main attractions, or you could combine it with Nicaragua. If funds are tight, this 11-night Value Costa Rica tour is a real bargain starting at just £1,018 per person including flights.

Nearby Guatemala and Belize are astonishingly beautiful and wildly different. The magical lakes, mountain villages and Spanish colonial architecture of Guatemala combine perfectly with the jungle and lazy Caribbean beaches of Belize to make a perfect twin-centre honeymoon. Hotel highlights include the Ka’ana Boutique Resort and Spa and Francis Ford Coppola’s La Lancha Lodge.

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July 18, 2015

Caribbean Honeymoons in February

It’s peak season across the Caribbean with perfect temperatures, long days of sunshine and cooling sea breezes. This is not a bargain time of year to travel but Sterling is relatively strong against the Dollar, so prices are not outrageous.

St Lucia is always a good choice for honeymooners but especially so in February with good underwater visibility for snorkelling and diving.

Barbados offers direct flights, busy nightlife and sophisticated restaurants. Check out Little Good Harbour and the beautiful Atlantis Hotel on the lesser-known east coast. Sandals Barbados is the island’s only adults-only all-inclusive.

Another perfect honeymoon destination for beach lovers and foodies is the unspoilt coral island of Anguilla which is a perfect place to kick back, swim and sunbathe, try a couple of spa treatments and dine at great restaurants. Best places to stay on Anguilla include Cap Juluca, the Viceroy and CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa.

If you want somewhere with more than just beaches, try Jamaica. Stay at Jamaica Inn, a small friendly and stylish beach hotel, and rent a car for a few days to explore waterfalls, colonial estates, mountains and fishing villages.

If you crave privacy rather than the attentions of hotel staff, why not rent your own private villa for two. These can be found on some of the Caribbean’s most attractive islands include French-speaking St Barths and tiny Bequia in the Grenadines.

Grenada is a small charming island and the recently-opened Sandals LaSource Grenada Resort & Spa set on a stunning beach makes a great all-inclusive option.

One of the best-value Caribbean destinations is Mexico where we recommend the luxurious Secrets resorts. Choices include Secrets Capri Resort & Spa, which has a Jacuzzi in every room, and Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun on one of Mexico’s finest beaches.

The Dominican Republic is also very competitive on price compared with elsewhere in the region, especially if you go all-inclusive. I recommend Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana.

Cuba is another exciting honeymoon destination that offers more than beaches. Melia Cayo Coco has stunning rooms built on stilts over a lagoon, while Paradisus Rio del Oro is set in tropical gardens beside beautiful Esmeraldas Beach and has free scuba diving. However, you should also spend a few days in the capital Havana, where you can visit a cigar factory, sip mojitos in historic bars and dance at salsa clubs

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July 17, 2015

Short Haul Honeymoons in December

Honeymoons are not all about sunbeds and beaches. You could be snuggling up around a log fire, and venturing out into the snow for magical vistas of mountains and pristine night skies.

Relatively close to home, Iceland will be a snowy wonderland in December – with a great chance of seeing the Northern Lights. Stay at the Hotel Ranga on the banks of a salmon river overlooked by glaciers and mountains. In the evenings, you can lounge in outdoor geothermal hot tubs, watching the sky.

The White Circle offers romantic honeymoons in the Arctic Circle. At the Luosto Log Cabins in Finland you can head out on a snowmobile or husky safari and try your hand at ice fishing, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Its Abisko package in Sweden includes a night at The Ice Hotel as well as three cosy nights in a mountain lodge.

If you want sunshine but don’t want to take a long-haul flight, you could opt for Egypt. Combine sightseeing in Cairo (21ºC 7 hours of sun) with an unforgettable Nile cruise.

Morocco is also warm and sunny in December – expect 19ºC and 7 hours of sun in Marrakech. Treat yourselves to a stay at Sir Richard Branson’s Kasbah Tamadot in the Atlas Mountains.

The Portuguese island of Madeira has year-round sunshine, great hotels and mountainous landscapes that are perfect for romantic walks. Stay at a restored quinta (country house) such as Quinta Jardins do Lago or Quinta das Vistas. Expect 17ºC and 6 hours of sun.

Tenerife is just four hours flying time from the UK but offers 19ºC and 6 hours of sun. Stay away from the brash package resorts and head to a lovely hotel such as ABAMA Golf & Spa Resort.

Where to go on honeymoon in December if you don’t want to fly? Britain has some charming hotels that offer guaranteed romance at any time of year. If you go in December there’s a special pre-Christmas atmosphere at hotels such as The Cary Arms in Devon.

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July 16, 2015

Long Haul Honeymoon Ideas

If you want to indulge and don’t want to fly a long way for your guaranteed sunshine, Dubai is a great option – it’s 6 hours flying time from the UK and offers 26ºC and 8 hours of sunshine. The One&Only Royal Mirage – one of Dubai’s more intimate luxury hotels – and the JA Palm Tree Court which offers all-inclusive prices and five-star standards.

Florida is a perfect choice if you fancy a fly-drive honeymoon: combine the glitz and style of Miami with the Keys and the pretty Gulf Coast. Stay on the ever-fashionable South Beach before chilling out at the Ocean Key Resort & Spa or the South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island.

For honeymooners looking for the ultimate long-haul adventure, Australia and New Zealand are in their prime in December. How about combining a few days in Sydney (26ºC, 8 hours of sun) with Hayman Island Resort in the Whitsundays.

In New Zealand we recommend a self-drive honeymoon that includes the cities of Christchurch, Wellington, Queenstown and Auckland plus natural wonders on North and South Islands including Mount Cook National Park, Rotorua, the Bay of Islands, a cruise on Milford Sound and a ride on the Trans Alpine Train.

You can also combine New Zealand with either the Cook Islands or Fiji in the South Pacific for some tropical island romance.

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July 15, 2015

Africa and the Indian Ocean

There are few honeymoon destinations more beguiling than The Maldives where each hotel occupies its own private island set amidst turquoise lagoons and deep blue seas. It really is more beautiful than any photograph can convey.

December marks the start of the dry season in the Maldives (it runs until April) with 30ºC temperatures and 7 hours of daily sun. You’ll find everything from overwater villas to underwater spas to tempt you here.

Going all-inclusive in the Maldives makes a lot of sense, and one of the most popular all-inclusive hotels is the four-star Kuredu Island Resort which has miles of white sand beach, two pools, four restaurants and a great reef for diving and snorkelling.

NIYAMA Maldives is another exciting luxury resort. It offers 87 beach and water studios and pavilions – most with private pools – on two secluded islands. You can also opt to spend a night at sea in a luxuriously-fitted Maldivian sail boat, complete with personal chef and butler.

Many honeymooners choose to combine the Maldives with a cultural trip to Sri Lanka on a twin-centre honeymoon.

December is also a great time to visit the Seychelles (29ºC and 6 hours of sunshine). Here you have a choice of a luxury hotel on the main islands of Mahé or Praslin, or staying at a remote barefoot island resort such as Denis Private Island. Better still, combine the two with a short flight.

The Indian Ocean combines easily with southern Africa – for example, South Africa and Mauritius or Tanzania and Zanzibar. The combination of safari and beach is another winner in December. Or how about spending some time in Cape Town (25ºC, 11 hours of sunshine) before heading off on safari?

For a high-end luxury safari it’s hard to beat Botswana (32ºC, 8 hours of sunshine) – it is home to some of Africa’s most romantic camps. Kenya is a little more affordable – though you’ll find some gorgeous places to stay such as Elsa’s Kopje in the Meru National Park and Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp close to the Masai Mara.

One of the ultimate journeys in Africa is Rovos Rail, a luxury train that takes you from Cape Town to Dar-es-Salaam with stunning experiences on route in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Zambia plus the Victoria Falls and diamond mines.

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July 14, 2015

December Honeymoons in Asia

In the depths of the British winter, much of Asia is experiencing gorgeous weather in December. Perhaps more than anywhere else in the world you have a huge choice of destinations and types of honeymoon. You can crash on a beach for a fortnight, explore vibrant cities, venture out into the countryside – or do a combination of all three.

Bali is popular with honeymooners in December for its fascinating and colourful culture and great value local cuisine. Although this is technically the wet season you can expect 30ºC temperatures and 8 hours of sunshine, with just a few short sharp showers. Top hotel picks include Puri Ganesha, a laid-back luxury hideaway in the north of the island, COMO Shambhala Estate in Ubud, the great-value Gajah Mina Beach Resort on a surf beach in the south-west, and the gorgeous Spa Village Resort Tembok Bali. See more honeymoon hotels in Bali.

For couples that like a taste of adventure, how about Vietnam. From the buzzing streets of Saigon (31ºC and 4 hours of sunshine) to a lazy river cruise on the Mekong, you’ll be staggered by the richness of the culture, the quality of the food and the beauty of the landscape. This Sumptuous Vietnam trip is one of the most popular private tours for honeymooners, taking in Saigon, Hoi An, Hue, Hanoi, the Mekong Delta and Halong Bay. For a more relaxed itinerary, try Luxury Saigon, Mekong and Beach, focusing on the south of the country.

Or how about Cambodia where you’ll be wowed by the jungle-clad temples of Angkor Wat. You can walk with elephants, stay on a floating river lodge and immerse yourselves in the café society of Phnom Penh (30ºC, 9 hours of sunshine).

The west coast of Thailand is lovely in December with fantastic honeymoon hideaways like the Sarojin on a fabulous beach near Phuket, though you should avoid the Gulf coast (Hua Hin, for example) and islands such as Koh Samui which are generally wet at this time of year. Phuket is perfect: 31ºC and 8 hours of sunshine.

India is a truly magical destination for a honeymoon. Visit this website for inspiration, or see this selection of luxury honeymoons to India. You could take a 14-day Classic Rajasthan private tour or combine spectacular hotels such as Oberoi UdaiVilas on the banks of Lake Pichola and Leela Goa on a perfect white sand beach. It’s high season in Goa: 33ºC and 10 hours of daily sun.

In the south of India, Kerala has just come out of its monsoon season and offers 31ºC and 7 hours of sunshine. Spend time on a rice boat drifting along the backwaters, stay in colonial hill stations and discover amazing beaches. See this private honeymoon tour in Kerala.

Or you could avoid the roads on a luxury train journey aboard the palatial Maharajahs’ Express. A glamorous 4-night tour departing from Delhi takes you to the Taj Mahal, Jaipur and on a tiger safari in Ranthambore National Park. See a full selection of honeymoons by rail.

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July 13, 2015

Caribbean Honeymoons in December

December is one of the best months of the year to visit the Caribbean – the hurricane season has blown over to be replaced by long sunny days, low humidity and cooling breezes. Typically, you can expect temperatures of 29ºC and an average 8 hours of daily sunshine.

The Dominican Republic is good value. As a destination it’s much under-rated, with lush rainforest, a vibrant local culture and beautiful beaches. Although it’s known for its all-inclusive hotels (many of which are excellent), the Dominican Republic has some luxury boutique hotels too.

Barbados is an exciting place to stay in December, though it’s pricey over Christmas and New Year, when the restaurants are busy and partying is guaranteed. If you want splendid isolation, go for The Atlantis on the quiet east coast. With only 10 rooms and suites, it is one of the island’s oldest hotels, immaculately restored, and one of a great collection of small hotels and resorts in the Caribbean.

Cuba is excellent value for money and a great choice if you want a spicy cultural experience combined with relaxing beach time. It’s also a good time to visit, before the inevitable changes that will follow the relaxing of travel restrictions for US citiizens. For a few days of Hemingway-inspired partying in the capital Havana – think mojitos, salsa clubs and cigar factories – stay at the historic Hotel Saratoga, then escape to the island resort of Melia Cayo Coco.

St Lucia is arguably the most beautiful of the larger Caribbean islands. Hidden amongst the forested hills and colonial plantations are some exquisite beachfront hotels including Jade Mountain and its less expensive (but equally beautiful) sister hotel, Anse Chastanet.

Jamaica is another popular honeymoon destinations, combining friendly people, a buzzing local culture and numerous beauty spots. If you want to go all-inclusive, head to the adults-only Sandals Grande Riviera Beach in Ocho Rios, which has butler service and a funky beach club.

On the small friendly island of Grenada, Laluna is a particularly stylish hideaway. Or go all-inclusive at the newly-opened Sandals LaSource Grenada Resort & Spa which is set on a beautiful remote beach.

If you really want to get away from it all,you head out to the sun-bleached British territory of Anguilla – a perfect coral island a short flight from Antigua. It has 33 pristine beaches and stunning hotels including Cap Juluca and the Viceroy.

For an authentic taste of the West Indies,Essence of the Caribbean which has a great selection of small hotels, guest houses and B&Bs including Fond Doux Estate on a working cocoa plantation in St Lucia and Rock Haven B&B in St Kitts.

You can also rent a private villa for two on a selection of gorgeous islands including St Barths and St Martin and Bequia in the Grenadines.

Steer clear of the Bahamas and Bermuda in December – they can be a touch too cold.

Another great option for a Caribbean honeymoon is a luxury cruise. Avoid the pile-’em-high cheap ships sailing out of Miami and instead book a cabin on a small luxury cruise ship such as the SeaDream Yacht Club or Seabourn, where crew outnumber guests by two to one and all the cabins are suites with a private balcony. Details from The Luxury Cruise Company.

For some old-school romance, you could go cruising with Star Clippers which has a small fleet of traditional sailing ships that are able to visit smaller ports of call that the larger vessels can’t reach.

If you love nature and want a bit of an adventure, Costa Rica is perfect with its combination of rainforest, national parks, volcanoes, surf beaches and amazing wildlife. This two-week Costa Rica self-drive takes in most of the key sights, but if your budget is tight this 11-night Value Costa Rica tour is a real snip from just £1,018 per person including flights. Expect 24ºC temperatures and 7 hours of sunshine.

Twin-centre honeymoon in Guatemala and Belize. It’s a perfect combination of adventure, natural wonders and dreamy beach with stays at Francis Ford Coppola’s La Lancha Lodge and the chic Mata Chica Beach Resort on the Caribbean coast.

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July 11, 2015

Kauai's Top 10 Must-Sees

Tidal Pools and Blow Holes

The lava rock that makes up the Hawaiian Islands slowly erodes into the black sand beaches we all know and love. Before that, however, the sharp shelves around the island make incredible tidal pools and blowholes as they’re worn away by the sea.

 Sweet Shave Ice

 Everyone on the island has a favorite shave-ice stand, some of which get very creative with the ingredients.

Hidden Beaches

Jon Whittle

The erosion results in beaches just like this — more than 100 of them — ringing the island. We found this one down a heavily-rutted road and through a thicket of pine trees.

Hidden Beaches

The erosion results in beaches just like this — more than 100 of them — ringing the island. This was found down a heavily-rutted road and through a thicket of pine trees.

Na Pali Coast (by water)

For a coastline perspective that will make you feel really small, take a catamaran ride with Holo-Holo Characters. On calm days the captain will take the boat within a few feet of Kauai's awesome rock.

World's Wettest Place

It's impossible to count all the waterfalls on the island. The highest elevation is one of the wettest spots in the world (up to 400 inches of rain a year), and the water finds a lot of paths down to the ocean. This gusher is commonly referred to as Jurassic Park Falls because it was in the first Jurassic Park movie.

Waimea Canyon

Waimea Canyon is often called the Grand Canyon of Hawaii for good reason. It might not cover as many square miles as the one on the mainland, but in some ways it's even more breathtaking.

Road Scenes

Best travel advice for Kauai is very simple: Get out. Go for a drive. It takes maybe an hour to go from south shore to north shore, and the scenes along the way keep changing.

Na Pali Coast (again)

There's no such thing as too much Na Pali. During the helicopter tour, ask the pilot to fly over the roofless cave — it's a stunner.

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July 10, 2015

How to Do Antigua and Barbuda in 6 Days

DAY 1: Ready-Made The nation of Antigua and Barbuda has one of the smoothest-running tourist infrastructures in the Caribbean — thanks in part to a World War II jet runway that’s been open to commercial flights since the 1960s. It’s like a clock keeping perfect island time. Fly nonstop from New York or Charlotte, North Carolina, to Antigua (ANU), then let the island do its thing. Check in at Hermitage Bay resort, proof that the value of an “all-inclusive” depends on what’s included — native Antiguan hardwood in cottage suites perched above the picturesque cove, for example, not to mention food to help you forget the ghost of buffet lines past. Nothing to worry about is included too.

DAY 2: Beach Counting Antigua claims 365 beaches. Most visitors count to about three — Jumby Beach, Half Moon Bay, Long Bay (home of the classic British-style Grand Pineapple Beach Resort) — then decide on their favorite and forget the other 362. For an overview, sail around the island on Antigua Adventures’ catamaran circumnavigation tour. Request a stop on Rendezvous Beach on the south end, a secluded beauty accessible only by boat (or maybe Jeep).

DAY3: Fun for All Eras The naval warfare that defined the Caribbean in the 18th and 19th centuries is palpable island-wide but especially at Nelson’s Dockyard — in the pillars of the old sail loft and the capstans used to careen huge wooden ships. If it’s Sunday night, the party that defines Antigua’s 21st century is above at Shirley Heights — steel drums, rum punches and views of Redonda Island in the distance. It’s more fun if you know someone, so say hello to someone.

DAY 4: Away from Away from It All Barbuda Express (leaving Tuesday-Saturday from St. Johns). Take the 90-minute run on the wave-piercing catamaran to Antigua’s pretty but shy sister island. Drive through sleepy Codrington (pop. about 1,200) and catch a water taxi across the lagoon to Lighthouse Bay Resort. Accept a cool washcloth and a welcoming tropical juice, then walk through the open-air lobby to the 11-mile beach, shell pink in some seasons and home to some of the most coveted sand on Earth. With only half a dozen people on the whole expanse, you should be able to find a stretch with no footprints.

DAYS 5-6: Choose Your Own Adventure Barbuda has lots of ways to do nothing. At the frigate-bird sanctuary (the world’s second largest), watch these incredible fliers soar and feed. For adventure, go by four-wheel-drive taxi or boat around to Rubbish Bay on the northeast side. Don’t be fooled by the name (or the namesake drifts of junk): This is a wild, pretty spot, home to caves once inhabited and illustrated by Arawak Indians. This is also one of the best places to hunt for messages in bottles.

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July 9, 2015

Top 10 Overwater Bungalows

InterContinental Moorea Resort and Spa
A rare resort with overwater bungalows and no boardwalks, the InterContinental on Moorea (there are also two InterContinentals on Bora Bora and one on Tahiti) has views dominated by lush landscape — the exotic kind that grows naturally on the Pacific islands.

InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa
It’s out on a motu, looking back on Bora Bora’s main island. So you have the view of Mount Otemanu, plus classic South Pacific sunrises.

Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort and Spa
The long boardwalks over shallow Pacific water is the essence of Tahitian overwater bungalows.

Le Taha’a Island Resort & Spa
The location of these bungalows feels more primitive. They’re on an isolated motu with views of the very green Taha’a to one side and the magnificence of Bora Bora on the other.

InterContinental Le Moana
The view here on Bora Bora stands out from the others because the Crayola-perfect water rubs up against white-sand beaches.

Hotel Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island
Yes, you never lose sight of one of the Earth’s prettiest lagoons, but from this resort it’s a short stroll to a vantage point for incredible overlooks too.

Le Méridien Bora Bora
What you see beyond the long expanses of sea is rivaled by what’s visible underwater. The private snorkeling lagoon is full of sea turtles brought here to rehabilitate (from sickness or injuries).

Vahine Island
There is no Mount Otemanu out here near the island of Taha’a. But with only three overwater bungalows, Vahine is so private that the views are unobstructed no matter where you stand — or sit.

St. Regis Bora Bora
The jaw-dropping views of Mount Otemanu are magnified by the sizes of the St. Regis’ rooms, which allow a wider-angle look before you even step outside.

Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora
The sight of Mount Otemanu follows you everywhere on Bora Bora, but watching the rising sun paint the side of the mountain from an almost intimidating proximity on my porch was the No. 1 visual highlight.

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