A college classmate used to say, “With the right person, you can have fun on a curbstone” (and she was a trust fund baby!). But I also remember a wonderful Hungarian restaurant in New York City called Czardas which billed itself as a spot “for those romantics who cannot live on love alone.” Sometimes a relationship needs more than a curbstone, especially when the atmospherics are gone. Here are some top romantic destinations and some lighthearted ways to extend the romance once the honeymoon is over.
PIED A TERRE IN PARIS NEAR THE LOUVRE
Have we got a secret for you! One of the comfiest, coziest, most inviting apartments in Paris is located in the Palais Royal itself. It’s close by the Opera and the Louvre and within walking distance of the fancy shops on the Rue St. Honoré. The owners are super hospitable, have thought of absolutely everything, and rent through VRBO (vrbo.com – ID number 423038) with a minimum three-day stay. While you’re in the City of Lights and lovers, why not channel Julia Child and attend a three-hour dinner prep demo at Cordon Bleu on the Art of Cooking as a Chef? Take home the recipes and once a year prepare that meal together, so that you’ll always have Paris.
LAPA RIOS, COSTA RICA
Calling all eco-conscious soon-to-be-marrieds: consider an environmentally friendly resort in Costa Rica for your honeymoon. Lapa Rios is a luxury lodge set in a 1000-acre nature reserve designed to blend with the surrounding tropical rainforest and beaches. Eco-friendliness? The facility runs on biodiesel, aka kitchen grease, to reduce carbon emissions. What a perfect place to delight in nature and a prime spot for bird watching. If the two of you are not already twitchers, why not start a life list here? You’ll have a mutual hobby and something to bill and coo about as the years pass.
KAYA MAWA, MALAWI
For an island honeymoon exuding barefoot luxury, you can’t beat Kaya Mawa, the resort Condé Nast picked as among the top ten 'Most Romantic Places in the World'. It fills in all the activity boxes, too. Diving and diving instruction? Check. Boating and fishing? Check. Kite surfing? Check. It’s laidback and lively and also deeply involved in the Likoma Island community: an on-site textile workshop employs locals, who are taught to make the most fabulous table linens in beautiful shades of blue and beige, often embroidered with shells and seeds. Bring home a set, and every time you use them, you’ll remember an island idyll with a worthwhile dimension.
BELMOND HOTEL CIPRIANI, VENICE
Piazzas! Palaces! Paintings! A honeymoon where beauty reigns? – where else but Venice? Splurge and stay at the exquisite island hotel, Belmond Cipriani, set on the sparkling waters of the Adriatic. The light in Venice is legendary – think Titian, Tiepolo, Tintoretto. For the same reason, it’s a photographer’s paradise. Take turns with the lens and capture the glory of Venice – its bridges, cafes, festivals, galleries, a moonlight glide on a gondola. When you return, memorialize your wedding trip with an album. Among numerous photo book sites on the Internet, Blurb (.blurb.com), is my favorite, because it offers quality papers and easy customization. When squabbles start, pull out the album and reminisce.
STEENBERG HOTEL & WINERY, SOUTH AFRICA
Cape Town is one of the world’s most bustling cities, beautifully sited at the foot of Table Mountain, and offering myriad activities – cycling, cage diving, mountain climbing. But for quiet pleasure, stay at the Steenberg, one of the oldest wine farms on the Western Cape, then make day trips to varying wine regions. Sample complex olive oils and Bordeaux blends at historic Morgenster Wine and Olive Estate; tour the cellar and treat yourselves to chocolate and wine pairings at Groot Constantia; or meet the wine-makers at picturesque La Motte in Franschhoek, gastronomy capital of SA. When you return to the States, sock in some of the labels you’ve sampled and reserve for a candlelit dinner whenever the romance is waning.
JET SET CANDY – COLLECT YOUR ADVENTURES®
The folks at Jet Set Candy, a line of travel-inspired jewelry and charms, tell about a guy, who celebrated his silver (25th) wedding anniversary last year. To commemorate it, each month he gave his wife a “luggage tag” charm bearing the airport code of a place they had visited together. We thought this a particular romantic and meaningful gesture and wanted to suggest that, no matter what else you do on your honeymoon, be sure and get a charm to mark that important trip. Then, as you work on maintaining a loving relationship, you will have visible mementos of sweet times together.
We want to thank our guest blogger Peggy Healy for this submission.