Category Archives: Honeymoons

Honeymoons on the Move

Lying on a beach or a city break are great honeymoon choices, as are action-packed, adrenaline-fuelled trips. But what if you’re looking for something in the middle; a honeymoon where you get to see and do lots of things, but you’re not falling into bed exhausted at the end of every day?

Here are some ideas for couples who want to be on the move, without the need for a potential tetanus shot!

Experience Wonder of the Seas with Royal Caribbean

Wonder of the Seas is the newest and now largest Cruise ship in the world and offers both Caribbean and Mediterranean cruise itineraries. We were lucky enough to be invited to a preview sailing to experience the ship first hand, and let me tell you it definitely has to be seen to be believed! Longer than The Shard lying down, when full, Wonder of the Seas carries 6,988 passengers and 2,300 crew.

We definitely weren’t short of things to see and do. With a vibrant Caribbean-inspired pool deck (which features 19 pools, a trio of waterslides and a kids’ aqua park), a zip line, a surf simulator, a carousel, a karaoke bar, a spa, a casino, crazy golf, a 10-story slide, a games’ arcade, an ice rink, a basketball court, a park with real trees and plants, and even an inflatable laser tag experience (which we absolutely loved!) – our only real problem as fitting it all in to our 48-hour trip!

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Sustainability in The Seychelles with Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa

I was lucky enough to have a flying visit to the adults-only, sister property to Labriz Resort & Spa on my trip to the Seychelles late last year. Hilton Northolme Resort & Spa is vastly different to Labriz (which is located on an island off the mainland) as it is found on Mahé, just a 30 minute drive from the airport and a stone’s throw from the famous Beau-Vallon Beach.

The capital, Victoria, is a short drive away where you will find local markets, a Natural History Museum, a Hindu temple and a cathedral. You could also pay a visit to the Botanical Gardens where you can see the famous coco de mer, a rare species of palm tree native to the Seychelles. If you want to get more of a feel of ‘real life’ in the Seychelles, Hilton Northolme would be a great place to stay – and fun fact, it’s also where Ian Fleming was staying when he was inspired to write For Your Eyes Only – and when you see the incredible panoramic views, I’m sure you’ll understand why!

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Sustainability in The Seychelles with Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa

Have you ever wanted to be transported to Jumanji? Do you fantasise about visiting Jurassic Park? Would you like to have a wedding or honeymoon where it’s postcard-perfect beautiful but there’s also so much to see and do?

If you want to go further afield for your honeymoon but still do your bit for the planet, one way is to stay in resorts that are doing everything they can to help the local environment and wildlife, and operate as sustainably as possible. Hilton is doing some truly incredible work in the Seychelles.

Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa is the only resort located on Silhouette Island, a 40-minute boat ride (operated by the resort) from the main island of Mahé. The resort is ideally situated for guests to both observe local wildlife in their natural habitat as Silhouette Island is made up of 93% National Park and is surrounded by the largest National Marine Park in the country.

While, of course, there’s the hyper-luxurious villas, the incredible spa, the beautiful pools, gorgeous beaches and eight restaurants serving all type of fresh, delicious, food for you to enjoy; what is so magical about this place is the natural beauty of the island itself, and this is something Hilton are working hard to protect.

The resort boasts an impressive portfolio of eco-activities including guided hikes across the island to discover secluded beaches (some of which are nesting grounds for Hawksbill and Green Turtles), rare endemic flora or to visit the island’s own Giant Tortoises (the oldest of which is 120 years old!)

Just look at that face!!

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Honeymoon Travel Guide: Lti Maafushivaru, The Maldives

With its sparkling white sand beaches, snorkel-worthy crystal-clear waters and perfect weather the Maldives, in our humble opinion, has got to be most beautiful destination in the world for your honeymoon or once in a lifetime vacation.

The Maldives is a really unique country, an island nation made up of nearly 1200 islands, approximately 120 of which have resorts on them. If you’re dreaming of a relaxing post-wedding get away with unadulterated seclusion then this is the spot for you. The Maldives is one of the few places in the world where the reality will outlive your expectations. No picture can quite do justice to the colour of the sea, the beauty of the lush tropical greenery and the softness of the sand.

GETTING THERE

You can expect a 10-hour direct or 12-plus hour indirect flight from the UK followed by a speedboat (15-30 mins), seaplane (20-40 mins) or internal flight (30 mins – 2 hours) transfer depending on your chosen resort. We stayed at lti Maafushivaru, a quick 25-minute sea plane transfer from Malé; and don’t worry, the resort sorts it all out for you when you book! Transfers are an additional cost though, so do check the prices in advance.

COVID-19

At the time of writing the Maldivian government guidelines are that all guests entering the country (regardless of vaccination status) are required to take a PCR test 72 hours prior to departure. Your negative test will form part of the Traveller Health Declaration form (which can be found at imuga.immigration.gov.mv) which must be filled in within 24 hours of your arrival to the country. You must fill out this form before you return home too.

Guidelines related to Covid-19 can change without warning, so please visit gov.uk/browse/abroad/travel-abroad for the most up to date information before you travel.

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Honeymoon Travel Guide: The Maldives Part 2 – Faarufushi

After our time at Kurumba I wasn’t sure how the next resort would be able to top it but MY GOODNESS were we in for the shock of our lives. Faarufushi is the newest five-star resort in the Maldives and is located in the less developed and wonderfully remote part of the Raa Atoll. To get there it was a 35-minute internal flight from Malé (to the smallest airport I’ve ever seen!) and then a 15-minute speedboat over to the small coral island of Faarufushi itself.

We arrived and were immediately speechless. I have stayed in some pretty nice places in my time but I don’t think anything comes close to what we were greeted with. From the service, the staff, the food and the surroundings, it was just beyond anything I ever thought I’d get to experience. As we stepped off the speedboat and onto the jetty, we literally gasped a what we saw. The island smells of beach gardenias and there’s also wild ginger, Ficus Benghalensis (locally know as ‘Nika’ which is the name of the Faarufushi spa!) and of course, an abundance of picture-perfect coconut palms.

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Honeymoon Travel Guide: The Maldives Part 1- Kurumba

I’ve been sat, staring at a blank Word document for a good half hour or so wondering how I can put into words the experience of our recent adventure in the Maldives. Writer’s block is REAL when you have so much to say but you’re not quite sure how to adequately put such an incredible experience into words… The Maldives has been on my vision board for years so actually being able to go there… I mean wow, how did we get so damn lucky!? The whole trip was so magical, so perfect, and so relaxing that it almost feels like it was a goddamn wonderful dream.

Gareth and I were invited by Universal Resorts to experience two of their locations, Kurumba and Faarufushi. Completely different from each other but both equally amazing, Kurumba was actually the very first resort to open in the Maldives (47 years ago!) and Faarufushi opened just a month ago, so we really did get to have two very different experiences.

This holiday was a real once in a lifetime experience for us (although I really hope we get to experience something like it again!) The Maldives is the PERFECT place to escape to after you’ve had a busy or stressful time, making it the ideal honeymoon spot for those of you who just want to kick back and relax… in the most stunningly beautiful and luxurious surroundings!

Today I’m going to start by sharing Kurumba with you. Later, I’ll be covering Faarufushi and after that I’ll be doing a more general post about the Maldives to answer all the questions I’ve received during this trip – things such as transport and transfers, food, activities/things to do, and of course, the big one everyone wanted to know – the cost!

We arrived at Male airport after a long journey from the UK (seven hours to Dubai then four down to Male) and were greeted by a Kurumba team member at the airport. Other than being told “They’ll arrange everything for you” we really didn’t know exactly what the transfers between resorts would entail, but I’m pleased to report everything was smooth sailing! The great thing about Kurumba is that it’s just a ten-minute speed boat ride from Male airport, which is perfect if you’re exhausted from your long-haul journey. The idea of getting on yet another flight as soon as we arrived was not something I would have been too thrilled about! The location also makes it great for anyone travelling with kids. If, like us, you’d like to visit a couple of different resorts on your trip, Kurumba really is the ideal place to start due to its location and the fact that so much is included for you, so you really don’t have to think about or organise anything before you arrive (more on this below). We were greeted with coconut sorbet and cold flannels at check in, and after a short lounge by the pool while we waited for our room to be ready, we were golf-buggied to our villa.

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Honeymoon Travel Guide: Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa

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Our third and final stop on our dream vacation with Hilton Hotels was a visit to Northolme Resort & Spa. It was very different to Allamanda and Labriz and if the idea of somewhere quiet, child-free and with lots of places to explore appeals to you then I think you’re gonna like it!

Ian Fleming was staying in this very hotel when he wrote For Your Eyes Only, and once you see the view you’ll quickly realise why it inspired him so much. Unlike the other two resorts, Northolme is set up in the hillside, rather than right down on the beach. There are beachy areas just below, which you can walk down to through the villas, but the higher vantage point means it boasts the most spectacular panoramic view of the ocean. Plus, being located on the North West of Mahé it means that you can experience some of THE MOST incredible sunsets (see above!)

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Northolme felt like a secret and secluded hideaway nestled among the hills. Only a 25 minute transfer from the Seychelles International Airport, it’s surrounded by lush tropical gardens, crystal clear waters and a sheltered white-sanded beach.

I think he likes it – ha!

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Honeymoon Travel Guide: DoubleTree by Hilton Seychelles Allamanda Resort & Spa

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Can I tell you a secret? Before a couple of weeks ago, Gareth and I had never been on a beach holiday together! That was all about to change when we partnered with Hilton Hotels in the Seychelles to not only experience some of the most glorious beaches in the world first hand, but to share it with you guys on our return. I can’t quite believe how lucky I am to have seen the Seychelles with my own eyes. I’ll be dreaming about this trip for the rest of my life, for sure.

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An Action-Packed Hen Weekend Experience with Dar Jaguar, Marrakech

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This post is enormous because I have so many photos from this trip that I want to share. So grab an extra large beverage and prepare yourself for a kaleidoscopic visual assault!

As much as I adore Marrakech (this recent trip was my third in two years!) it can be a very intimating and intense place. People yelling at you, motorbikes whizzing past you in narrow alleyways, donkeys pulling carts that look way too heavy for them, old men pushing enormous trailers full of everything imaginable… and all in 40°C+ heat! It’s chaotic and buzzing all day and all night which is why having a calm oasis to retreat back to at the end of a long day isn’t just advisable, it’s a necessity!

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Las Vegas: What to Pack, Where to Stay & Things to Do

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I’ve been meaning to write a definitive Las Vegas guide for ages – you guys are always asking me for recommendations of things to see and do! I’ve been there four times now and on each visit I find something new to entertain myself with.

I often hear people say they couldn’t stay in Vegas longer than a few days, or that one trip is enough, but I completely disagree! Sure, if you’re just there to drink, party and gamble you’ll probably be ready to go home after a long weekend, but if you want to broaden your horizons a bit more then one visit is barely enough time to scratch the surface. Vegas is so much more than blackjack tables and nightclubs (although a little of both is a hell of a lot of fun!)

Las Vegas is a city like no other, with a slot machine on every corner, gargantuan hotels, amazing shopping and some of the hottest weather you will ever experience! Seriously, during this recent trip (in July – we were clearly having a moment of madness when we booked it, who the hell goes to the desert in the summer?!) the temperatures soared to a scorching 48 degrees celsius (and it was still over 30 degrees at night!) It felt like god had left the oven on, thank goodness for the ample air conditioning!

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What to pack

This is one question I get asked I lot! I like to think my Vegas wardrobe is pretty similar to my at home one… but with more sequins! Definitely bring comfortable shoes for the day time if you’re planning on walking up and down the strip, but for nights out pack your most OTT ensembles!

You see ALL SORTS in Vegas (some of them have to be seen to be believed) and its impossible to ever be overdressed. False eyelashes, glitter and your most extravagant shoes are a must. Plenty of swimwear too if you plan on lying by the pool or doing pool parties. I only bought one swimsuit on my last trip and I regretted it! Even lying poolside is a fashion moment opportunity.

Where to stay

Over my four visits I’ve stayed in five hotels – the Stratosphere, the Encore, the Cosmopolitan, the Flamingo and the Venetian. They all have their perks and downsides.

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The Mirage is next on my list!

The Stratosphere is super cheap but waaaay the fuck down the far end of the Strip. You’ll have to get cabs everywhere which can be expensive and inconvenient.

The Encore is fabulous, super glam and definitely one of my favourite hotels. It (and the Wynn which it’s connected to) is a quite a bit more luxurious then a lot of the others so you pay a premium for it. The lobby interiors are stunning and there’s lots of natural light which is rare in casinos. Our room was no bigger or better than any of the other hotels we’ve been to though.

The Cosmopolitan is in a GREAT location, right smack bang in the middle of the strip and within walking distance to a lot of the main sights. I found it overpriced for the size of the room and the lobby had a bit of a funny smell when we stayed there! The pools were disappointingly small and unexciting too, especially when you compare them to the pools at the Flamingo, Mandalay Bay (they have an actual beach!) and the Venetian (below).

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A view of the pools from our room at The Venetian

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Honeymoon Travel Guide: A Surprise Trip to Vienna!

When you decide to book a holiday, what’s the first thing you do? You probably figure out if you want to go lie on a beach, explore a new city or throw yourselves wholeheartedly into some kind of action/ adventure sports trip. Next, you might want to know how the weather is at the time of year you plan to travel. Then you’ll probably look up what the local food is like, research the must-sees and investigate all the popular sites to decide if they sound like something you’d enjoy…

But what if I told you you could go on a holiday that you knew nothing about until two hours before take off!? Well, that’s exactly what Gareth and I did last weekend!

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Surprisetrips.co.uk is a new concept from the people behind Expedia.co.uk. How it works is you tell them your preferred departure airport, send them a short list of places you don’t want to visit (maybe you’ve already been there or you just don’t fancy it) and they book you a completely surprise European holiday!

They currently offer 77 weekend destinations in Europe and the service is open to all UK, IE, CA, AUS, NZ and US passport holders (all flights depart from the UK or Ireland). All flights are at convenient times (we flew out at 9am and back at 8pm) and are under 3 and a half hours.

When I heard about the concept I was excited, if not a little bit nervous. I’m not an over-planner when it comes to travelling, but I do like to do a little basic research so I know what to expect of a new place. Not least of all, I like to know beforehand how I’m going to get to my hotel from the airport!

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The anticipation of where we might end up was definitely one of the best parts of this whole experience and everyone I told about it was like “Wow that’s so cool, I’d love to do that!” Once you book, Surprise Trips emails you a link which tells you which airport and terminal to go to and what time you need to arrive. Then, a couple of days before the trip they email you again with a weather report from your destination so you have some idea of what to pack. Ours told us it was going to be 26-30°C so we were kind of expecting that we might end up on a beach somewhere… But as you can see, that couldn’t have been further from what happened!

Now I’m no YouTuber, but I thought it might be fun to make a little travel video so you can see what we got up to. Enjoy!

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Honeymoon Travel Guide: Hiroshima

For most people, only one thing springs to mind when they hear the name ‘Hiroshima’. As the first ever city to suffer a nuclear attack, it has a sad history for sure, but today’s Hiroshima is far from a depressing place.

I had no idea what to expect when we hopped on the 90 minute train from Osaka, but what greeted us was a lively city with some of the friendliest people (and wildlife!) ever. They also have great food (make sure you try Okinomiyaki, a local speciality which is a fried cabbage, egg, meat and noodle dish) and fantastic scenery. We spent 48 hours here at the end of our time in Japan.

Here’s how we filled it:

The Atomic Bomb Dome and Peace Memorial

Our first stop was the Atomic Bomb Dome, one of very few structures left standing after the nuclear attack. The iconic ruin is a natural place to start your visit as from here you can walk down the river to the Peace Memorial Park and museum.

This was an emotional morning, especially because we’d both completely fallen in love with Japan and the people who live here. Just the thought of what it must have been like during the aftermath of the bombing is unfathomable.

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