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Honeymoon hideaways.

Off for a romantic interlude--a honeymoon, an anniversary celebration or a getaway for just the two of you? Planning ahead can mean money saved, better accommodations and stress-free, memorable trip.

Perhaps the most difficult decision is selecting a destination. According to a 1990 readers' survey by Bride's magazine, the honeymoon hot spots are: the Caribbean, 30%--with the U.S.V.I. and Jamaica as the two favorite island destinations; Florida, 28.1%, Hawaii, 21.3%, Mexico, 14%; California, 10.8%, Bahamas, 9.3%; Europe, 8.7%; Canada, 7.8%; Pennsylvania (the Poconos), 6.1%; and Bermuda, 5.4%.

After deciding on a location that suits both of you, choose a date and set a budget. Travel agents estimate that a couple spends an average of $3,200 on a honeymoon within the continental United States and nearly $3,800 on a trip outside (including Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands).

Next, decide whether to arrange the trip yourself or leave the details to a travel agent. Do you want to stay in a full-service resort or a small, private cottage or villa? Would you prefer an all-inclusive package, or would you rather design the elements of your honeymoon yourself?

Hotel packages generally include room costs, some meals and a few on-site activities, but does not include air fare. Most hotels have special packages and extras for honeymooners and couples, such as free champagne, limousine service and flowers. Keep in mind, however, that most hotels have a mixture of guests, not only couples.

Hawaiian Paradise Options

Considered one of Hawaii's finest and most exclusive hotels, the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel (800-882-6060) on the "big island" offers a six-day, five-night basic honeymoon package for $1,990 per couple that includes a room with an ocean view, limousine service to and from the airport, chilled champagne upon arrival, a fruit basket, breakfast each day, one-day use of a video camera and two complimentary Japanese summer robes. Situated on a hillside overlooking a white sand beach, an 18-hole golf course and romantic walkways, all rooms have a view of the Kohala coastline or its mountains. Mauna Kea Beach also attracts celebrities.

Embassy Suites on Kaanapali Beach (800-GO-2-MAUI), a beachfront resort on the Hawaiian island of Maui, has a five-day, four-night package that includes a two-room suite (bedroom and parlor) with an ocean view, lei greetings and chilled champagne upon arrival, a daily cooked-to-order breakfast in the hotel dining area, cocktails every afternoon and a special dinner for two. You also get a convertible car or Jeep with unlimited mileage for the length for your stay if over four nights.

Resort And Casino Destinations

These large venues cater to their guests fully--you never have to leave the property. Resort hotels usually have their own beaches, several restaurants, shops and sports/fitness facilities.

Most packages at these places include accommodations, two to three meals, cocktails, sightseeing and for honeymooners, champagne and special souvenirs. This is an option if you don't mind a bustling atmosphere and the mixture of guests, from couples to families on vacation, though a few are more intimate.

Located atop the highest hill on Bermuda, the Southampton Princess Hotel (800-223-1818) is a plush, sprawling 600-room resort complex complete with beach club, two floors of shopping, a Las Vegas-style showroom, full-scale health club, numerous restaurants, 11 tennis courts and an 18-hole golf course. Depending upon the type of room and the time of year you will be traveling, a five-day, four-night honeymoon package ranges from $1,520 to $2,162 per couple. The package includes accommodations, breakfast and dinner daily, a bottle of champagne upon your arrival, a fruit basket, a special occasion cake, a photo album and a souvenir photo, a watercolor print by a local artist, a tote bag and a guidebook to Bermuda.

Carnival's Crystal Palace in Nassau, the Bahamas (800-222-7466) has a four-day, three-night package ranging from $829 per couple (April 26-Dec. 19) for a standard room in the Riviera Tower (the older hotel wing with larger, more conservative rooms) to $895 per couple for a standard room in one of the four newer and more modernly decorated Palace Towers. A large hotel, the Crystal Palace has 1,550 rooms, 14 restaurants, six club lounges, a private beach, pools and sports/fitness facilities.

The honeymoon or couples package includes a room with an ocean view and balcony, fresh flowers, a bottle of champagne with caviar, airport limousine service, breakfast in bed, a reception for honeymoon couples, "Just Married" T-shirts, casino chips, a honeymoon photo sent to your hometown paper, cooking lessons, a gourmet dinner, a private rum punch tour of the island, and use of a video recorder for the one day.

Drive through the gates and into the private, lush tropical paradise of the Hyatt Dorado Beach Resort and Casino (800-233-1234) in Dorado, Puerto Rico. Located on the north shore of the island, 22 miles west of San Juan, the 300-room hotel with oceanfront "casitas" (small cottages) sits on a two-mile stretch of white, crescent-shaped beach. Although set off in a quiet and intimate setting, the Dorado features two Robert Trent Jones 18-hole championship golf courses, seven all-weather tennis courts and a gaming casino, along with bicycle and jogging paths. It also shares additional facilities with its adjacent sister resort, the Hyatt Regency Cerromar Beach Resort and Casino and its famous 1,776 foot-long River Pool water slide.

An eight-day, seven-night "Honeymoon Romance Package" at the Dorado or the Cerromar starts at $1,145 per couple, depending upon the time of year, and includes a golf course, a guest room at the Dorado and a room with a garden view at the Cerromar, a bottle of champagne and basket of fruit in your room, a honeymoon breakfast in bed and a candlelight dinner with a bottle of wine in the hotel's main dining room, a T-shirt, $10 in casino chips and round-trip transfers via hotel van to and from San Juan International Airport. Meal plans and upgraded rooms can be added to the package.

The ultimate resort hotel has to be Casa de Campo (800-877-3643) in La Romana, Dominican Republic. An ultra-luxurious resort with interiors designed by Oscar de la Renta, it features a complete sports complex, designer boutiques, white sand beaches, two pro golf courses, 20 swimming pools and activities to fill every hour. The 950-room hotel is a favorite among celebrities as well as large groups of conventioneers. A four-day, three-night package starts at $673 per couple and includes a room with an ocean view with private terrace and mini-bar, a welcome bottle of rum, fresh flowers, daily breakfast, horseback riding or sailing for one hour everyday, a tour of the Altos de Chavon artist village located on the property, complimentary towels and lounge chairs at the beach and poolside, a honeymooner's cocktail party and a voucher for two free nights on your next visit.

If you're thinking about Mexico, try Las Brisas (800-228-3000) in Acapulco. Called Mexico's most romantic resort, Las Brisas is nestled in a hillside overlooking the Santa Locia Bay. The hotel welcomes honeymooners with a seven-day, six-night package starting around $1,800 per couple from April 26 through Dec. 19.

Enjoy a complimentary cocktail upon your arrival, followed by fruit and a bottle of champagne in your room. The package includes continental breakfast and the use of a Jeep daily. You'll stay in a cliffside casita with marble floors, balcony and a private pool decorated daily with fresh blossoms floating across its surface. The self-contained resort has a main activities center with a freshwater pool that contains tropical fish. There are also boutiques and sports facilities at the center.

All-Inclusive Resorts

All-inclusive, self-contained locations catering to couples is a specialty of the SuperClubs resort chain. Under its banner are the Couples resorts, Jamaica Jamaica, Hedonism II and the Grand Lido in Negril, among others. The Couples resorts are designed for couples and only couples--no singles or children are allowed.

At the Couples St. Lucia resort, an eight-day, seven-night honeymoon package includes ocean-view accommodations, three meals daily, unlimited bar drinks, a sailing cruise and a tour of Pigeon Island. Rates start at $2,150 per couple. Suite guest rooms feature a split-level bedroom with Italian marble floors, a gazebo and hammock, and semi-detached cottages on the water's edge for $2,900 per couple.

Sandals Hotels (800-SANDALS) are also exclusively for couples. There are seven Sandals beach resorts--six in Jamaica and one in Antigua. All offer a host of activities geared to couples including theme parties where you can mingle with other couples. Most have junior or one-bedroom suites with oceanfront rooms, king-sized beds, ceiling fans, and many have private balconies that range from $2,705 to $3,395 per couple (April 2-Dec. 17). If you stay at one of the Jamaica properties, you can use the facilities and activities at all the other venues. Sandals resorts also offer a range of restaurants, from formal dining to pool bars where you can eat in your bathing suit. Not all the locations are massive resorts; for instance, the Sandals Inn at Montego Bay has only 52 rooms.

Honeymoon Cruises

Cruises offer the convenience of everything under one roof--sort of a floating, self-contained resort. Everything is included in the cost and most packages include air fare.

It's romance under the stars surrounded by the mysterious sea. Cruises are a growing choice for couples and honeymooners. Many cruise lines have responded by creating a more intimate atmosphere with smaller ships and activities geared to couples. Let the cruise line know you're celebrating a honeymoon or anniversary and most will have a chilled bottle of champagne waiting for you. For more information, contact Cruise Line International Association, 500 Fifth Ave., Suite 1407, New York, NY 10110.

Most cruise lines have honeymoon packages such as American Hawaiian Cruises's (800-765-7000) six-day combination land and sea package of four days at sea and two days on land. The cost ranges from $1,039 to $1,529 depending upon cabin size and its location on the ship, and the time of year you are traveling.

The cruise takes you to all the Hawaiian islands with special land excursions on each. On the "big island" of Hawaii you'll take a helicopter ride to view volcanoes; in Maui, bike ride down Mount Haleakala; and kayak the waves in Kauai. Couples receive a bottle of champagne and fruit.

Premiere Cruise Lines (800-888-6759) offers a four-day, three-night cruise of the Bahamas on its Abracadabra Cruise. Honeymoon passengers receive a chilled bottle of champagne and a special toast by the captain at a cocktail party thrown in their honor. Cruises start at $890 per couple for three days, and $1,150 per couple for a four-day trip.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Earl G. Graves Publishing Co., Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Whigham-Desir, Marjorie
Publication:Black Enterprise
Article Type:Directory
Date:Apr 1, 1992
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