When people ask me to recommend a romantic honeymoon hideaway, I often reply with a couple of questions of my own. First, what does “romance” mean to you? Secondly, does your partner share similar views on what is romantic? After all, it’s his or her “day” too, and you would want them to have a great time as well. In many cases, couples who may not be in synch with what they deem to be romantic can usually come to amazing compromises. To take the guesswork out of that, and possibly help you start off your nuptials in the right romantic direction, here are five wonderful honeymoon destinations and my choices for the best places to stay with your lover after the wedding.
LA FORTUNA DE SAN CARLOS, ARENAL VOLCANO NATIONAL PARK, COSTA RICA (Central America)
For adventure and sports lovers, relax all those muscles after a day of zip lining, kayaking, and horseback riding, with a sensual soak in the natural hot springs of Costa Rica! If that sounds like the romantic getaway for you, then Tabacon Thermal Resort and Spa is the place you want to honeymoon—this volcanic destination just oozes romance. The restaurants and bars are charming on this property and the foods and drinks are delicious. The locals are very friendly and the sunsets are spectacular. Be sure to get the Thermal Experience in the Spa. www.tabacon.com
SANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (North America)
Not only can you enjoy your romantic honeymoon in an actual Spanish colonial guest house (16th century), but you can have a trip of a lifetime exploring the many “firsts” of the New World of the Americas. El Beaterio Casa Museois within walking distance to the first cathedral of the Americas, the first fort, and even the very first street (Calle Las Dames) of the New World. This romantic guesthouse has just 11 beautiful Spanish Colonial–style rooms so they can give you the individualized attention every newlywed couple deserves. I recommend Champagne nights on the romantic rooftop terrace and complimentary breakfast in the beautiful courtyard of the centuries-old property. The only real modern necessities included are the air-conditioned rooms and absolutely free WiFi service. Enjoy your beautiful honeymoon in the Caribbean’s most romantic island. www.elbeaterio.com
SEMINYAK BALI, INDONESIA (Asia)
W Hotel-Seminyakblends into the beautiful, lush landscape, gently enlivening your senses. Honeymooners can enjoy the very best in romance and luxury in rooms, the restaurants, the pools, and the spa. Discover how ancient Balinese treatments in their spa allow for a thoroughly modern way to relax. Bali is fast becoming a vibrant gay destination, especially for couples, and nowadays it is very unlikely gays will encounter any problems while on holiday, especially in the touristy areas of the south. The best place to base yourself is in Seminyak at W Bali. Seminyak is really jumping right now with its open gay scene and plenty of gay-owned and gay-friendly accommodations, bars, and nightclubs. Don’t forget to partake and enjoy the Balinese style treatments for couples in W Hotel’s award-winning spa. www.wretreatbali.com
PARIS, FRANCE (Europe) This beautiful hotel is not only romantic, but it is one of the more elegant properties of the Astotel hotels in Paris. The Bradford family portraits can be seen within the delicate interiors and the charming touches of authentic Haussman-style can be appreciated throughout. Nestled away in quiet splendor, but steps from the vibrant avenue, the Hotel Bradford Élysées is a perfect romantic destination for gay honeymooners. Most rooms have Eiffel Tower views! For many reasons Paris is known as the City of Love, so it is no surprise that it is recommended for honeymooners. www.astotel.com
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA (Australia)
Now, full disclosure, I have never been Down Under, but every gay couple on a romantic getaway (and now honeymoons) have raved about their stay at the Swissotel Sydney. I’m actually using this column as my way of letting my Partner of 18 plus years of bliss know that I want to honeymoon in Sydney, Australia—after we marry, of course! However, I wouldn’t mind the honeymoon before the wedding. The Swissotel Sydney is close to all the gay shops, cafés, and bars, and all the Oxford Street nightlife is just a 15-minute walk away. The hotel itself has spacious rooms, an excellent gym, a heated 20-meter outdoor pool, and a luxurious spa. Head Down Under and show your support for marriage equality in Australia! www.agoda.com/swissotel-sydney/hotel/sydney-au.html.