|Some of the younger couples spend more time visiting the islands’ attractions than in the resorts.|
Honeymoons in Hawaii are just about as classic as American honeymoons can get. The islands have managed to remain popular over the decades by offering a wide range of experiences to cater to different tastes.
Charlotte Kerr of Blue Sky Tours believes that modern honeymooners are looking for their own unique niche, and for an experience that matches their own personality. “Look at what’s happening with weddings,” she points out. “They’re over the top. Honeymoons are keeping up.”
In order to put together the right honeymoon for a couple, Kerr says, an agent has to qualify the client as they would any other. “Do they want city lights and nightlife? Then Oahu is best,” she says. “They can get anything they need in Oahu—shows, dinners, or they can just stay in at their resorts.” If they prefer some more alone time outdoors, they might prefer hiking the Napali coastline on Kauai, she adds, and Maui is very romantic: “There’s lots of adventure, white beaches—it’s low-key, but with good nightlife.”
For a hotel or resort for honeymooners, Kerr recommends a Starwood, Outrigger, Hilton or Hyatt property, which provide special amenities for honeymooners. “These are beautiful properties with everything a couple would want.” Younger couples, she says, tend to request a nice oceanfront room. Others don’t care about the room—they want to be out and about. “My own son spent his honeymoon on the Big Island and Oahu,” she recalls, and then laughs. “I don’t think they ever saw the inside of their room! They booked every tour there was! They wanted a nice room on the ocean, but they also wanted to experience luaus and snorkeling. It’s another mindset.” Bonus: Many resorts offer honeymoon amenities for agents to “give” to their clients upon arrival—a nice way to start off their trip, and to make sure you stay in their minds.
Of course, she adds, the ideal honeymoon experience depends completely on the couple. “They might want to go ziplining or relax with some spa treatments,” she says. “We have also had honeymoon couples who rented a private yacht through one of our hotel partners’ concierges to spend some time on the ocean in private. The beauty of Hawaii is the choices.”
Alison Buckneberg of MLT Vacations agrees that honeymooning couples tend to want to handpick or custom-build their vacation, and to seek the exclusive amenities that make a honeymoon special.
Buckneberg says that Maui is the most popular Hawaiian destination for honeymoons, followed by Kauai and the Big Island. The latter two, she adds, are more for the adventurous ones. “It’s possible to relax, but if you’re an active traveler there’s much to do.”
She has specific advice for couples vacationing in Maui: “First, visit Iao Valley State Park to see the Iao Needle, a 2,250-foot rock pinnacle. Second, browse through the Lahaina storefronts and visit the 60-foot-tall banyan tree. Third, take a boat trip to Molokini Island for diving or snorkeling. Fourth, drive the Road to Hana and see the Seven Sacred Pools. And lastly, drive up to the Haleakala National Park and learn about the House of the Rising Sun.
Watching the sunrise from atop Mt. Haleakala is a traditional activity for visitors to Maui, and an undeniably romantic way to begin a honeymoon. (Bring a jacket—it’s cold at the top.)
Because couples going to the mountain would need to get up at around 3 a.m., Buckneberg advises going early in the vacation when visitors are still adjusting to the time change. Also, she warns, the mountaintop can get crowded. “If you prefer to be around fewer people, try the Kalahaku Overlook,” she says.
Another new trend is for couples with families to take a “second honeymoon” with their family in tow—what Kerr calls a “familymoon.” “In that case, you have to see what suits the whole family,” she says. “Are there grandparents? Children? You need activities for the whole family, as well as suites for the couple to have their own space. The family can be in their own area or in a separate condo.”
For this kind of trip, Kerr recommends a condo so that everyone has plenty of space. “You can get suites at Fairmont Kea Lani on Maui. There are wonderful condo properties at the Honua Kai on Maui, the Hilton Hawaiian Village on Oahu and the Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Big Island. It’s very family-oriented, but you can get a suite for the honeymoon couple. That’s great for blended families.”
One of Kerr’s favorite places to send a family for a second honeymoon or a destination wedding is the Waimea Plantation Cottages on Kauai, an authentic plantation with traditional bungalows as well as larger houses that can be booked out for a group.
“They can be as close or as separate as they want,” Kerr says. “It has a very homey feel.” The lawn, she adds, is a great spot for a wedding or vow renewal.
Ultimately, she says, the real trend in Hawaiian honeymoons is to stay away from the crowd—what she calls the “individual-ness” of the honeymoon.
|The romantic, secluded beaches of Hawaii are made for honeymooners.|