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Get Busy In The Maldives

by | Destinations, Honeymoons, Location Indian Ocean & Maldives

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lisa Perkovic
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Kandolhu Resort_Lisa Perkovic

Crystal clear water lapping over water villas, palm trees swaying in the breeze, not a cloud in the sky. The Maldives really is as picturesque as all those photos make it out to be. But what do you do once you’ve made it to paradise? Despite what you might think, there’s more to a honeymoon in the Maldives than Pina Coladas and perusing your wedding photos on Instagram. I’ve just returned to my editor’s position at Expedia Australia after my dream Maldives honeymoon – and here’s my ‘Listopedia’ on how to make the most of your honeymoon in paradise.

Make a Rockstar Entrance

Start off the honeymoon with a rock star entrance. International flights arrive into the capital of Male, and from there the fastest way to zip out to your island resort is by seaplane. Aside from an awesome bird’s-eye view as you zip over the archipelago of islands, a seaplane ride is a seriously stylish way to arrive. You’ll touch down and be whisked away to paradise. If you’re staying at one of the islands closer to shore, a speedboat ride is very James Bond. PER AQUUM Huvafen Fushi’s speedboats are available 24/7 so you can skip the Male stopover and head straight out to the island. Coconut water, cold towels and in-boat wifi are just the icing on the cake.

Conrad Maldives_Ithaa Undersea Restaurant_high

Stay Fit and Fab

Your health and wellness regime doesn’t have to end just because the wedding is over. We’re not talking about boot camp. Slow down and start the morning with a stretching class or a yoga session. Conrad Rangali has yoga and meditation pavilions dotted around the resort looking straight out to the ocean. No need to visualise waves lapping on the shore! For a more active start to the day, the Run Rangali is a guided jog around the two islands – don’t worry, they’re not very big islands. At One&Only Reethi Rah the well-equipped gym has a protein shake station, chlorophyll water and outdoor hanging yoga.

Soak up the Celebrity Lifestyle

Beloved by celebrities for the privacy and ultimate luxury on offer, the Maldives has plenty of activities designed to make you feel like a celebrity. A private dinner for two? Yes please. At PER AQUUM Niyama you’ll be whisked away to a private beach on the edge of their island. Lush jungle gives way to the stars, with thousands twinkling all around you as you sink onto a day bed on the sand. Drinks and canapés are served, before your personal chef whips up a decadent three course meal lit by candles and hurricane lanterns. Post-dinner, your butler will be waiting with a golf buggy to whisk you back to a rose petal bubble bath. The butlers are available 24/7 to do anything from restock the complementary ice cream to organising guided snorkel tours.

Get Back to Nature

A house reef is one of the biggest draw cards in the Maldives. Islands perched inside coral atolls offer access to some of the world’s best snorkeling. Hop in the water straight from your over-water villa at Kandolhu Island Resort and work your way around the entire island – the house reef is home to turtles, sting rays, thousands of fish and friendly reef sharks. At PER AQUUM Niyama, the coral adoption program allows you to assist with the rejuvenation of the reef. You’ll head out with the resident marine biologist to pick your very own baby coral to sponsor and will receive yearly updates on its progress on the reef.

LUX South Ari Atoll Bathroom

Get an Adrenalin Rush

Thought the Maldives was all sunsets and long walks on the beach? For some. But for others, they’ll be racing to try out the jet skis and jet packs. Conrad Rangali’s water sports centre staff are busy all day long setting up water jet packs for guests. Then there’s the parasailing, jet skis, kayaks and paddle boards. At LUX South Ari Atoll freediving courses are hugely popular.

PHUV_Snorkle_LonuVeyo_01_G_A_L

Go to Foodie Heaven

Who would have thought tropical islands would be famous for their food and wine? The Conrad Rangali’s cellars are stocked with more than 20,000 bottles of wine. Pair that with the 100 cheeses from around the world, and you have a very appealing cheese and wine night. Then there’s Ithaa. The hotel’s undersea restaurant is located on the bottom of the ocean floor, with a clear domed roof that is the ultimate dinner with a view. Watch the manta rays glide overhead during a six course degustation. At Amilla Fushi Australian celebrity chef Luke Mangan has designed the menu at Lonu by Luke Mangan that showcases local seafood and international flavours to much critical acclaim.

Water Sports_Conrad Rangali_Lisa Perkovic

Bliss Out and Relax

After the happiest day of your life come the most relaxing days of your life. No matter how small and intimate your big day was, unwind with a little bit of much needed pampering. Varu Spa is hidden among the trees on the tiny Kandolhu Island Resort. At just 150 x 250 metres, the island is small and intimate, but has given over plenty of space to the spa. Chill out in the pre-treatment saunas and hot tubs before heading in for a two hour couple’s massage. Try not to fall asleep! At PER AQUUM Huvafen Fushi’s underwater spa you won’t have that problem. Tucked underneath the end of a jetty, the spa’s glass walls give you uninterrupted views of a stunning reef. Don’t worry, once you face down on the table, mirrors on the floor allow you to watch fish swim overhead while the therapists are at work.

Kandolhu Aerial Ocean Villas

Get Ready to Party

There’s plenty of peace and quiet in the Maldives but there’s also plenty of spots to party. The celebrity DJ nights at the W Hotel are legendary and at PER AQUUM Niyama, SUBSIX is a restaurant by day and underwater nightclub as soon as darkness descends. LUX South Ari Atoll’s Beach Rouge is a beach club with a difference – the floating dance floor (complete with disco bathroom and photo booth) is the place to party, or perhaps re-enact your first dance.

All images via Lisa Perkovic at Expedia Australia

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Ms Chinoiserie Says: With dining, dancing and adventures aplenty, the Maldives is definitely a luxurious place to get busy on your honeymoon!

About Lisa Perkovic: I am the Expedia Australia blog editor and have spent the past decade getting out there, discovering the world and sharing my experiences. I make sure Expedia’s blog is always stocked with the best and most up to date travel stories, tips and news from our team of travel experts!

Romantic Honeymoon Places To Chase The Cold

by | Destinations, Honeymoons, Location - North America, Location Europe

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Naomi Neilson
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Zurich Tourism Image via © Zürich Tourism

There are so many breathtakingly beautiful places across the globe that are celebrated for their dusting of snow and crisp, mountain air. If you’re heading to the romance of the cold for your honeymoon, you may also experience the bonus of the stunning Northern Lights or clear night skies that shine bright with thousands of stars. If you’re an adventurous and sporty couple, pack your skis and head up the picturesque Swiss Alps. Or if you prefer the comfort of a warm crackling fire and a place with a cosy heart, check out some enchanted historic towns. Every honeymooning couple can find somewhere perfect in the world to chase the cold!

Places to Chase the Cold: Lapland Image via Visit Finland

Zurich, Switzerland

The stunningly beautiful city of Zurich is a winter wonderland. With the advantages of sitting on the river and a lake, and being close to the Swiss Alps, this romantic honeymoon destination has some of the most breathtaking views in Switzerland. Dotted with an array of scenic locations and attractions, Zurich is the absolute perfect place to start chasing the cold.

For the best place to stay, check out the Baur au Lac, the leading hotel in Zurich for more than 170 years. Not only does this hotel offer luxury and unique views of the lake and the Swiss Alps, it is also conveniently close to the celebrated shopping high street. To get the most out of your getaway, take a cosy stroll through Old Town. In Zurich you can also indulge in spas and pampering, spend a day exploring the museums, and take advantage of the winter sporting thrills and go skiing or ice-skating.

Places to Chase the Cold: Zurich Image via © Zürich Tourism

Hella, Iceland

If you and your beloved  are considering spending your honeymoon in a colder climate, but you’re not quite ready to commit to snow, then Iceland is a perfect choice. Not only does the small town of Hella barely see snow, it’s incredibly romantic underneath the Northern Lights.

Make sure you take the time to explore some of Iceland’s most beautiful scenery, like the glaciers and hot springs. Seek out the incredible natural beauty of the Golden Circle to marvel at the national parks and waterfalls, and experience some of the best of Iceland. After a full day of exploring, come back to the gorgeous Hotel Ranga. Here you can relax into a private hot tub or enjoy the acclaimed restaurant underneath the Northern Lights.

Places to Chase the Cold Image via icelandnatural

Lapland, Northern Finland

This snow covered region in Northern Finland is stunning. If you time your honeymoon just right you can be sure to be greeted by the Northern Lights every night. With September through to March being the best time to go, a honeymooning couple can always expect to enjoy the cold from the sleds pulled by reindeers as well as other winter adventures including skiing and ice-swimming.

It’s hard to really grasp just how breathtaking Lapland is. The incredibly alluring natural scenery offers some of the best views in the world, and if you’re staying over December and January, you will also get to experience the polar nights, a unique spectacular to witness at least once in your lifetime. For the best views, consider the unique Kakslauttanen where you can sleep in adorable igloo rooms and watch the Northern Lights through glass roofs.

Places to Chase the Cold Image via Kakslauttanen

Old Quebec, Canada

Quebec in Canada has been preserved for over 400 years, so walking through the cobblestone streets and experiencing the European feel of the lovely neighbourhoods is like stepping back in time to a more romantic age. As a UNESCO World Heritage site it’s no surprise the walled city wraps you in its historic charm and immerses you in an unforgettable journey.

It would be impossible to miss the history of Quebec when you’re there. Historic neighbourhoods and attractions are only a minute’s walk from any number of the hotels so you’re sure to always be in the centre of art and culture. For the most romantic historic experience, check out the Hotel Le Clas Saint-Louis Quebec, an authentic Victorian hotel in the heart of the city.

Places to Chase the ColdImage via quebecregion

Chamonix, France

Sitting in the junction between France, Switzerland and Italy, the adorable resort area of Chamonix also sits at the base of Mont Blac, which gives visitors the amazing opportunity to take a trip up the mountains for panoramic views. With so much on offer, Chamonix is perfect for the adventurous couple with advanced alpine ski experience, or those simply looking for relaxation.

In Chamonix, enjoy candlelit dinners at any number of the hotels. For the best eating under the stars, consider Hotel Le Hameau Albert 1 er or Hotel Les Grands Montents. Not only do they offer outstanding cuisine, they are also incredibly luxurious. Spend your honeymoon either underneath the stars or enjoying a sunset picnic on the mountains. Either way, you’re sure to be caught up in the beauty.

Places to Chase the ColdImage via Chamonix_France

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Ms Chinoiserie Says: Perhaps some of my favourite destinations – cuddling up beside a roaring open fire is just honeymoon bliss!

Honeymoon A – Z: Dubai

by | Honeymoons, Honeymoons A-Z, Location Asia

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Samantha Chua
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Honeymoon-A-Z-Dubai

Image via Sofitel Dubai

Exotic Dubai has, for the past few years become a popular tourist destination. The city, known for luxury shopping, modern architecture and a lively night scene strives for excess. Be prepared for sensory overload from the moment you touch down in the desert city that rose like a mirage to the powerhouse it is today.

5 Places to Stay

1. Burj Al Arab

The iconic sail-shaped hotel has long been the trademark of Dubai. Standing tall at 1,053 feet on an artificial island off Jumeirah Beach, Burj Al Arab’s 202 massive suites are all bi-level, with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, a dedicated butler service, fully equipped private bars and opulent velvet upholstery.

honeymoon-dubai-burj-al-arab

Image via Burj Al Arab Jumeirah

2. Sofitel Dubai, Jumeirah Beach

Rising magnificently from Jumeirah Beach, Sofitel Dubai is situated in the heart of Dubai’s most popular promenade “The Walk” and the new beachfront low-rise leisure “The Beach”. This luxury 5-star hotel provides 438 guest rooms and suites that open to private balconies with sea-views.

honeymoon-dubai-sofitel-jumeirah

Image via Sofitel Dubai, Jumeirah Beach

3. Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara

A palatial retreat in the midst of the world’s largest uninterrupted sand desert, the Qasr Al Sarab is like a dreamy mirage. Rooms are decorated in subdued earthy tones with intricate mosaics and jewel-encrusted accessories. All rooms have views of the expansive desert, some overlooking the sandy dunes.

honeymoon-dubai-qasr-sab-hotel

Image via Qasr Al Sarab

4. Shangri-la Hotel Dubai

In a city of excess, Shangri-la offers first-class luxury in a more restrained manner: Sleek lines and warm décor best describes Shangri-la’s style. The hotel’s location on Sheikh Zayed Road puts it right in the centre of Dubai’s action, with shopping, entertainment and wild skyscrapers just a few blocks away.

5. Bab Al Shams

Literally translated to “gateway to the sun,” Bab Al Shams is the destination for a romantic Arabian getaway. Nestled in the dunes of Dubai, the exclusive low-rise resort in the desert offers guests a one of a kind traditional desert experience. Shaded courtyards, walkways and water features provide cool shelter like an oasis in an Arabic fort. Rooms look out over the vast desert of perfectly landscaped gardens, offering guests the ultimate luxury experience.

honeymoon-dubai-bab-al-sham-hotel

honeymoon-dubai-bab-al-sham-hotel

Images via Bab Al Shams

5 Places to Visit

1. Burj Khalifa

A trip to Dubai is not complete without a visit to the Burj Khalifa. Currently the tallest structure in the world, the building also boasts the world’s highest mosque as well as the highest and fastest elevator. If you’re not afraid of heights, the observation deck at the top offers spectacular views across the city and surrounding desert.

2. Dubai Mall

Right next to the Burj Khalifa is the Dubai Mall. Along with its 1,200-plus shops and 150 restaurants, the venue is home to an indoor theme park, an ice rink, a huge indoor waterfall, a choreographed fountain and a giant aquarium and underwater zoo.

honeymoon-dubai-mall

Image via Gray Line

3. The Palm

Dubai is dotted with various man-made islands but none as iconic as The Palm – the island is literally in the shape of a palm tree. Atlantis on the Palm, is by far the most unique and stunning piece of architecture, not only offering luxury accommodation, but plenty of shops. The Aquaventure Park in Atlantis features several slides, including one through a real shark pit!

Honeymoon-Dubai-The-PalmImage via Highway Tourism

4. Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood

The oldest neighbourhood in the city is a fresh change of scene away from the glitz and glamour the rest of Dubai offers. Best explore on foot, this area offers a nostalgic view of a bygone era with traditional wind towers and winding alley ways. After exploring, take an atmospheric abra ride to the souks on the other side of the Dubai Creek.

5. Dubai Creek

The saltwater estuary is where the Bani Yas tribe settled, and its waters were vital for what used to be Dubai’s main form of economy: pearl diving and fishing. Today, the area is home to the Dubai Museum as well as the labyrinthine alleyways of the gold, spice and textile souks.

honeymoon-dubai-creek

Image via It’s About Dubai

5 Things To Do

1. Dine With The Fishes at the Al-Mahara Restaurant

Although not actually situated under the sea, guests are seated around a large cylindrical floor-to-ceiling aquarium, teeming with exotic fishes. The experience at Al-Mahara Restaurant starts with a simulated underwater submarine ride from the reception to the dining room. Although it’s a bit kitsch, the setting is plush, tranquil and offers a pretty unique experience.

honeymoon-dubai-al-mahara-underwater-restaurant

Image via My Magic Places

2. Explore the Sand Dunes

Travel by 4×4 across the deserts of Dubai while admiring views of the barren yet magnificent landscape. Visit a traditional camel farm and take a camel ride around the enclosure. Then, master the art of “surfing on sand” and race down the sand dunes during an adrenalin-rushing experience. Enjoy a traditional dance show, get a henna tattoo design and feast on a delicious barbecue dinner as you watch the sun set. It’s an experience that could be straight out of One Thousand and One Nights!

honeymoon-dubai-camel-ride-Dubai-desert

Image via Wigeon Travel

3. Watch the Choreographed Fountains

Spectacular, exciting, and best of all – free! Dubai is livelier after the sun sets and the temperature cools down. If you’ve seen the Belaggio fountains in Vegas, be prepared for the taller, bigger and louder version in Dubai. The fountains are situated outside the Dubai Mall. For an even better experience, book ahead to dine on the terrace of one of Dubai Mall’s restaurants and see the fountains in all their glory.

honeymoon-dubai-mall-fountain

Image via The Dubai Mall

4. Snowboard or Ski at Ski Dubai

Take a break from the desert heat in Ski Dubai. A surreal experience, this massive indoor winter wonderland is never without fresh powder, even when the city is enveloped by sizzling temperatures! Ski Dubai boasts five ski runs, the longest of which spans more than 1,300 feet with a 197-foot vertical drop, a freestyle snowboard zone and even a chairlift – you will absolutely forget that you are in a desert!

honeymoon-dubai-ski

Image via Oceanair Travels

5. Bargain for Gold at the Gold Souk

Dubai is, and has been, a titan of trade for centuries. To get a sense of what commerce was like back in the day, take a stroll through one of the city’s traditional souks, or bazaars. The Gold Souk, located in Dubai Creek’s south bank, features a glittering display of necklaces, bracelets and earrings from more than 300 retailers. You’re also guaranteed to get what you’re pay for as the traders in the souk are tightly controlled by the government. Happy shopping!

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Ms Chinoiserie Says: A truly memorable experience – ultimate luxury in the desert!

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