Top Tips for Short-Hop Honeymoons

The Presidential Oceanview one-bedroom suite at Memories Grand Bahama has a balcony or terrace with beautiful views of the ocean.
The Presidential Oceanview one-bedroom suite at Memories Grand Bahama has a balcony or terrace with beautiful views of the ocean.

Exotic honeymoons to far-flung destinations are fine to recommend to most newlyweds-to-be, but others may prefer something closer to home. Whether it’s a matter of a tight budget, preference to limit flying time, general comfort level or other factor, you can assure your clients that you will find them a short-hop honeymoon option that doesn’t skimp on amenities, fun or romance. Here’s a small sampling that not only meets these criteria, but may tap into the couples’ shared special interests as well.

First and foremost, newlyweds’ most special interest is in each other and if they do want a sun-and-fun getaway with an exotic touch while staying close to the U.S., the Bahamas is a logical choice. It’s less than an hour by air from Miami to Nassau, and your client can even forego the plane and take a ferry from West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale.

Aptly named for a place where couples can make their first memories as husband and wife, Memories Grand Bahama offers a Honeymoon Package designed for the bride and groom who have been married within the last six months and are looking for some peaceful romance. It includes a room upgrade and late checkout if available, sparkling wine and fruit tray in room, a 30-minute couple’s massage, private dinner for two with butler service, one special breakfast and a spa discount. Price is $299 or free with a minimum seven-night stay at the hotel.


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Free honeymoon packages for couples staying at Sandals’ Royal Bahamian in Nassau and Emerald Bay in Great Exuma include such features as a bottle of chilled sparkling wine elegantly arranged in your clients’ room, turndown service that includes flower petals on their bed the first evening of their honeymoon and a “decadent” breakfast in bed one morning of their choice. Sandals also offers a Honeymoon Gift Registry.

For young-at-heart couples who want to experience Central Florida’s theme parks and have an elegant retreat to escape to between park visits, consider the two-hotel resort, Grande Lakes Orlando. The Special Occasion package at the Ritz-Carlton, from $329 per night, includes an upgrade to Lake View Room at time of booking, breakfast buffet for two each morning, rose petal turndown, champagne and display of fresh strawberries at turndown. Club Lake Front Room and Executive Suite options are also available.

The JW Marriott Grande Lakes’ Couples Getaway rate of $229 a night covers Lakefront guest room, champagne or sparkling cider and chocolate-covered strawberries delivered to their room, breakfast buffet for two and nightly rose petal turndown. Both hotels offer shuttle transportation to and from Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld.

If the romance of the historic south appeals to your clients or if they prefer intimate inns to sprawling resorts, Savannah, GA, has both bases covered. Bed & Breakfasts of Savannah has six one-of-a-kind, historic inns that combine old-style Southern charm and hospitality with 21st-century amenities such as flat-screen TVs, plush-pillow mattresses and free Wi-Fi. For Four-Diamond luxury and what the collection itself considers its most romantic room, book your couples into The Caracalla - Honeymoon Suite at The Gastonian. This adults-only inn serves complimentary wine and cheese and daily breakfast, and you can customize your clients’ stay with a variety of add-ons, such as chilled champagne in their room for $25 (or $45 with etched keepsake flutes), roses (a dozen, $75, or half-dozen $50) and a private horse-drawn carriage ride ($95; must book in advance).

Alternatively, The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa on Hutchinson Island offers a full-blown resort experience with complimentary water ferry service to the Historic District.

Easily accessible from both coasts and particularly convenient for Midwestern newlyweds is the popular summer resort area of Michigan’s Mackinac Island. The three-night Honeymoon-Anniversary Package at Grand Hotel includes a fresh-cut flower arrangement, a champagne basket, a box of the island’s famous fudge, Afternoon Tea, a full breakfast and five-course dinner daily, and a one-hour carriage ride through the historic downtown area, filled with fur trade-era homes and shops and grand Victorian cottages. Rates are $2,500 for lake-view accommodations and $2,050 for non-lake-view. Bonus: Couples get a 10 percent discount on any future honeymoon/anniversary package stay at Grand Hotel.

Music lovers, especially of the country genre, can opt for a honeymoon in Missouri’s popular entertainment mecca of Branson, where accommodation options range from cozy cabins tucked away in the Ozark mountains to luxury hotels and spas to golf and lake resorts.

For fans of the Old West or those who want to rough it without really roughing it, The Resort at Paws Up hosts Montana honeymoons that include starlight wagon rides, spa treatments and gourmet dining, as well as opportunities to go glamping. Pinnacle Camp and Cliffside Camp feature exclusively designed honeymoon tents. They provide a private location, incredible views and such romantic amenities as a tub for two and The Last Best Bed. Activities such as horseback riding and hot-air balloon rides as well as gourmet cuisine at their dining pavilion will complete your clients’ celebration.

At the resort’s Tango Point at Cliffside Camp, they can opt for a specially prepared private candlelight picnic dinner, with wine, to enjoy while being serenaded by the sound of the rushing Blackfoot River.

Here’s something for oenophiles or those who simply appreciate gorgeous scenery: In the heart of California’s wine country, the Napa Honeymoon Package at The Westin Verasa starts at $200 per night (minimum five nights; rates may vary depending on season). Included are King Guest Room accommodations with a complimentary upgrade to the next available suite type, champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries upon arrival, $200 credit to either Gloria Curry Day Spa or Chef Ken Frank’s Michelin-starred La Toque Restaurant (guests’ choice) and a Pure Luxury five-hour town car wine tour for two through the scenic Napa Valley countryside.

Then there are ski honeymoons at Rocky Mountain resorts that also double as scenic summer retreats; golf resorts in Florida, California and Arizona; history- and cultural-rich cities (New Orleans, New York and San Francisco come quickly to mind); a plethora of East and West Coast beach resorts; and countless other close-to-home choices that provide your newlywed clients with just the thing they’re looking for.

The Caracalla - Honeymoon Suite at The Gastonian features a king-size bed and working fireplace with in-laid hardwood floors.
The Caracalla - Honeymoon Suite at The Gastonian features a king-size bed and working fireplace with in-laid hardwood floors.


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