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Honeymoon HotelsJuly 21, 2008 By: Roberta Roberti Travel Agent
Travel agents can help newlyweds make the memories of a lifetime
Anne Morgan Scully
Anne Morgan Scully is the envy of travel agents everywhere. This year marks her third win of The Today Show’s “Today Throws a Wedding” contest. Scully, who is president of McCabe World Travel, a Virtuoso agency based in McLean, VA, won by audience vote for the ideal honeymoon vacation.
The lucky couple, LaDonna and Darnell Suggs, got a $62,000 trip to Bora Bora. They will stay four nights at the St. Regis Bora Bora Resort in a Deluxe Overwater Villa, where they will receive a private cooking lesson in traditional Tahitian cuisine, a candlelit dinner on the beach, dinner at Jean-George’s signature restaurant Lagoon, and have a private butler. Their options include a jet ski island tour, private deep-sea fishing excursion, a day at Motu Tapu (an exclusive private island) and a couple’s massage at the resort’s Spa Miri Miri.
The newlyweds will then be transported via helicopter to board Ti’a Moana, a 20-cabin yacht, on which they will spend the next five days cruising through the French Polynesian islands of Huahine and Raiatea, kayaking, going on a jeep safari, horseback riding or enjoying beachside spa treatments.
So where do you begin, as a travel agent, planning a couple’s once-in-a-lifetime celebratory vacation? And how do you determine what’s right for the newlyweds?
Scully starts with talking to each person individually first, then together as a couple. “So many times when you don’t have separate conversations, they both just want to please each other,” she says, “and they may not really have a clear idea of what [choices are] even out there.” Determine what each one wants to do and get out of the trip, whether it’s beach time, adventure sports, cooking lessons or any of the countless possibilities. Getting the couple on the same page is the first step.
Finding the right property is next. “This is not the time to be at a family-friendly property,” she says, “but for some couples, being around all honeymoon couples is also a no-no.”
So how do you choose which properties are the best? The number of choices in ever-popular Europe is daunting, but there are properties all over the world ready to make a couple’s honeymoon perfect. They can get luxury, ambiance, romance, adventure and relaxation—sometimes all in the same place.
The pool at One&Only Maldives, Reetihi Rah
Scully suggests One&Only Maldives, Reetihi Rah and One&Only Ocean Club in the Bahamas; Sandy Lane in Barbados; Maromo in Mexico; La Samanna in St. Martin; Jumby Bay in Antigua; and One&Only Palmilla. She adds, “On Bali, the hotels are truly among the best in the world. The new Ritz-Carlton Bulgari property is so fabulous, as is the Four Seasons, and the Amandari! Vietnam has some very special properties, too.”
Don’t overlook destinations right here in our own backyard, Scully adds. Properties such as Triple Creek in Montana, Twin Farms in Vermont and Ritz-Carlton South Beach all have a couples’-getaway appeal. Trips along the California Coast from Napa Valley to Laguna also lure lovers of beautiful vistas, as well as those who enjoy winery tours. Extraordinary properties along the way include the Montage, Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis Monarch Beach.
Scully also notes “price is always something to consider. Be sure the couple knows about the hidden and added costs of food and transportation, as well as entertainment and activity expenses. I always start with a realistic budget so they can truly enjoy their time on their honeymoon.”
As for her Today Show victory, Scully says, “As a Virtuoso travel advisor, winning the Today Show is more about showcasing our valued partners. It is our way to thank them for all they do for us each and every day.”