20 Ways to Make Your Honeymoon Extra Special
Your honeymoon should be the most amazing travel experience of your lifetime together – a trip that you will remember for decades to come. So don’t just book flights and a hotel and hope it goes well – plan ahead to ensure it is extra special. Here are 20 great tips from me and some of the UK’s leading travel experts that will make your honeymoon truly sensational.
Plan treats at the airport
Even if you’re flying economy, pre-book an airport lounge where you’ll escape the crowded terminal to find comfy armchairs, free drinks, snacks and newspapers. Check out Holiday Extras or Lounge Pass. If you’re flying British Airways, there are Elemis Spas in BA lounges at London Heathrow Terminal 5 and 3 and at New York JFK Terminal 7.
Check in early
Leave plenty of time to check in to avoid a last-minute rush. Remember that the days when airlines upgraded honeymooners are long gone. Liz Simpson, of i-escape, says: “My new husband and I had to sit separately for our flight out to Tanzania. I had insisted we wait to check in at the desk so we could mention it was our honeymoon as I was convinced we would get upgraded.” If you get through security quickly and have time to kill, check out the latest shopping and dining special offers at Heathrow and Gatwick.
Make a honeymoon list
Stuck for ideas for your wedding gift list? Rather than getting cutlery and crockery, why not ask guests to help pay for your honeymoon or treat you to romantic add-ons. Rainbow Tours offers its own Honeymiles gift list for honeymooners – add a hot air balloon ride over the African bush, or a private sunset cruise on the Indian Ocean. Find out more about honeymoon gift lists.
- Upgrade to a helicopter transfer from St Lucia airport direct to your hotel.
Upgrade your transfers
Rather than getting a regular taxi or minibus from the airport to your hotel, it’s often possible to upgrade to a limousine or even a speedboat. On the Caribbean island of St Lucia, Western & Oriental suggests booking a helicopter transfer – a spectacular introduction to this beautiful island, it’s also much faster than by road. Prices from £139 per person. Details here.
Book a special room
Most hotels have different categories of rooms – you could upgrade to a suite, for example – but some have rooms that are truly special and worth considering for a honeymoon. Sunvil Discovery’s Rachel Jelley recommends honeymooners stay at The Treehotel in Swedish Lapland where they can choose to stay in The Cabin, a romantic room with uninterrupted views through the trees.
Barbara Nicholson, of Lawrence of Morocco, recommends The Colonnade Suite at Dar Ayniwen, the Grand Terrace Suite at Villa des Orangers or the Pool Suite at Les Deux Tours in Marrakech. “These are so exquisite, you will hardly want to leave your room,” she says.
Don’t stay in one place
A two-centre honeymoon means you get the most out of your destination, with even more memories to take home. A beach-plus-safari combination is popular in Africa, or you could try island hopping in the Bahamas or the Seychelles.
Owen Davies, of Elite Vacations, says: “To see two different sides to the Seychelles, you could combine the luxurious Banyan Tree Seychelles on the main island of Mahé with a stay on the idyllic coral atoll of Desroches. Although just a 40-minute flight away, these are worlds apart. You can even get married on one island and honeymoon on the other.”
Get the combination right
If you are planning a two-centre honeymoon, take advice on the best way to take it. Alison Crabb, of Exsus, says: “Many honeymooners make the mistake of booking an adventure / relaxation combo such as safari and beach and leave the relaxation slice until the end.
“Our advice is to try and organise some relaxation time first to combat post-wedding exhaustion. Heading off on safari is a magical thing to do on honeymoon but alarm calls and frighteningly early starts are the last thing we’d recommend for newlyweds in need of some R&R: do the tropical beach first and be fully charged and alert for the days in the bush.
Let the hotel know
If your hotel staff know you are on honeymoon, there will usually be a request put in on your behalf to upgrade you to a better room or suite if available. Five-star hotels usually put flowers, a bottle of champagne or chocolates in the room on your arrival and may offer extras such as a complimentary private candlelit dinner.
Even lower grade hotels, such the new wave of boutique B&Bs or privately owned small hotels will also try to add an extra touch if they have some imagination and care. It’s worth asking what they might do when you are thinking of booking, to gauge their reaction.
Set them a challenge
Ask your hotel or tour operator what’s the most romantic thing they can arrange for you. You’ll be surprised at the lengths many will go to when it comes to romance, for a price of course.
At the Cary Arms in Devon a romantic meal can be arranged in the hotel’s glass sphere Pod. The backdrop is purely of sea and far reaching coastal views of Lyme bay. On a clear day, you can see Portland Bill across the bay. At night, candles are placed around. At Anse Chastanet in St Lucia, couples can have the entire beach to yourselves for the Ultimate Private Castaway dinner.
Surprise your loved one
Megan Parkinson of Journey Latin America says: “Our top tip would be to book a surprise romantic experience for your fiancée. This could be a tango lesson, a special cooking class, a massage or even an Inca blessing. Just a little something extra to make your trip even more special.”
DDG Retreat in southern Spain has its own Honeymoon Concierge who can arrange special personal touches – your favourite song playing over a beautiful candlelit dinner, a secret message or gift hidden away for your loved one, champagne waiting in your own private hot tub.
Plan an amazing last night
Katy Pannell from Audley Travel advises: “Wherever you go on honeymoon, try to book a really nice restaurant for the last night. Not only will you finish your trip off in style, you’ll also have something to look forward to rather than being sad your honeymoon is almost over.”
Get out on the water
There are few things more romantic than a private boat trip. Alison Jago of Completely Croatia, says: “The Hotel More in Dubrovnik offers honeymooners the chance to prebook a day out at a romantic uninhabited Robinson Crusoe island just off the Dubrovnik coastline. You’ll be whisked there by private speedboat , complete with champagne lunch. A mobile phone is your only contact – yours to summon back the captain to collect you when you’re ready to return to the hotel’s private beach.”
Don’t overdo it
It’s easy to plan too much for a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Nick Pulley, from Selective Asia, says: “Take your time. For honeymooners wanting to see a lot of their chosen destination, there is a temptation to move too fast. Remember you’ll be exhausted after the build up to the wedding and the big day itself, not to mention the jet lag, so be sure to build in extra days ‘at leisure’ in your first few destinations to allow you to recover and soak up all that has taken place over the past days and weeks.”
Feel on top of the world
Finding the ultimate bar for a drink is a skill that can make all the difference to an evening out. Rooftop bars are often spectacular, especially in cities, such as the new Rooftop Bar Solana at Starhotels Splendid Venice or Vertigo at the Banyan Tree in Bangkok. If it is a hotel bar, you don’t have to be resident, but it’s always a good idea to ring ahead first and book a table.
Book a first night restaurant
Patrick Millar of Kirker Holidays says: “Don’t forget to book a table for a romantic dinner together, especially for your first night away. It is a simple but essential element of the perfect honeymoon – many top restaurants in major cities such as Paris and Venice are fully booked weeks ahead. Our concierge will recommend the perfect restaurant and make your table reservations in advance.”
Get a partial upgrade
Everybody would like to fly business and stay in the best suite. But if your budget doesn’t stretch that far, try a partial upgrade. James Bell, of Turquoise Holidays, suggests: “Upgrade your flight for one leg or one sector – such as London to Dubai with Emirates. Prices are more reasonable than you might think.
“At hotels, stay in the best room at a more affordable hotel rather than a basic room in a more expensive hotel. If you can’t afford the best room for all your stay, upgrade for the last night or two to a special suite or overwater bungalow or suite. We feature a number of safari lodges that offer exciting sleep outs such as Loisaba in Kenya”.
Also see this selection of this unusual beds – including a canopy tree house in the Amazonian Rainforest and a ceiling-mounted swing bed at a restored palace hotel in India – from Enchanting-Travels.
Do something unforgettable
There is no better time than your honeymoon to try something unforgettable like swimming with dolphins. Mark Boulle of Beachcomber Tours says, “If you are honeymooning in Mauritius you can swim with a pod of wild dolphins which have made Tamarin Bay, on the west coast of Mauritius, their home. It really is a once in a lifetime experience.”
If you’re taking a cruise, you may find that the ship can arrange a wedding blessing on board. Fay McCormack, of the tall ship cruise company Star Clippers, says: “If you notify us in advance we will put flowers and champagne in the cabin for honeymooners, and can even arrange a romantic deck top marriage blessing by the captain, in the presence of uniformed officers, with the backdrop of a stunning Mediterranean sunset.”
Jennifer Marsden, of Enchanting India, recommends you celebrate your union in style at Oberoi Amarvilas in Agra. “Each room boasts views to the world’s most iconic symbol of love – the Taj Mahal,” she says. “Add sparkle to this unique stay further with a Hindu blessing ceremony within the hotel’s opulent grounds. A Hindu priest will bless you with holy prayers and garlands whilst you are dressed in traditional Indian attire.”
Book a couples spa treatment
Even if you’re not spa fanatics, it’s worth venturing to your hotel spa (assuming it has one). Spas have come on leaps and bounds over the past few years and a couples treatment is usually like an indulgent journey you take together often beginning with a side by side treatment and ending up in a petal strewn bath for two. Some hotels have private couples suites where you can enjoy champagne and have plenty of time and space to relax around treatments.
- See my guide to the best luxury honeymoons around the world.