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New Zealand Honeymoon Getaway – South Island

by | Destinations, Honeymoons

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chloe van der Werf
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COMMENT

The South Island of New Zealand is absolutely breathtaking. As I sit here listening to the rain on my tin roof, finally a respite from the heat, I think back to the near month I spent in New Zealand many years ago and the beauty of this island is still fresh in my mind.

The island is made up of many gorgeous lakes, glaciers and awe-inspiring mountains. Not to mention the lush rainforests and rolling pastures where lambs frolic.

One of my dream honeymoon locations is tucked away amongst the rugged snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps, where the lodge lay on the shore of Lake Wakatipu. Blanket Bay Lodge celebrates the fine art of pure relaxation. But how could you not be relaxed in such a magical location?

Blanket Bay offers couples the ultimate all-inclusive honeymoon package. It features five nights in your choice of the luxury lodge or chalet suite. Upon arrival you’ll both be greeted with flowers and Amisfield Arcadia Methode Traditionelle. Breakfast will be served to you each morning and a five-course dinner in the evenings. On an evening that you fancy you’ll both enjoy a private candlelit dinner that will be served in the exclusive Wine Cave. One lunch is also included on a day of your choice.

Blanket Bay also caters to guests that enjoy a bit of adrenaline. Trekking, skiing, heli-skiing, jet boating, kayaking, fishing, horse riding, trips to the world-famous Milford Sound and 4WD tours just to name a few.

Now if this doesn’t quite cut it Blanket Bay has designed an over the top honeymoon picnic edition (at an additional cost). A helicopter will collect you both from the lawn of Blanket Bay and usher you off to a choice of spectacular mountaintop locations all overlooking Lake Wakatipu for an incredibly romantic and memorable gourmet champagne picnic.

When you have finished either a romantic and relaxing day at the lodge or back from an exhilarating adventure a games room, heated pool, Wine Cave, Lake View Dining Room, open fire place or at Blanket Bay’s Spa will be waiting for you on return.

Whether you want to lounge around reading by an open fireplace overlooking the lake and surrounding snow-capped mountains or get out and about and get your adrenaline pumping, you’ll both be sure to have an unforgettable time on your New Zealand honeymoon getaway.

Images provided by Blanket Bay

Nautilus Resort, Cook Islands

by | Destinations, Honeymoons, Location South Pacific

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Polka Dot Bride
1
COMMENT

Kia Orana!  Last month, Mr Polka and I took a fun trip to the Cook Islands to discover all that this much underrated country has in store for honeymoons and destination weddings. Check out part one of my adventures on the Expedia blog

Cook Islands

It was dark when Mr Polka and I arrived at Nautilus Resort, our home for our time on the island of Rarotonga in the Cook Islands. General manager Ben greeted us and we made our way to the bar for one very well needed pina cola. We couldn’t see a thing but the palm tree outside the window behind us. It was a strange feeling – I had known the sights of this tropical island from photos and all I could see was darkness. Now don’t get me wrong – our arrival was not without fanfare – from the frangipani eis placed around our necks, to the fruit platter and (aptly named Nautilus) sparkling wine waiting in our fridge to the tropical blooms which literally were on every single surface, I knew I had arrived in paradise.

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In some ways, I think the evening arrival only heightened the amazing views we woke up to the next day – a beach right in front of our room, off our own deck with infinity pool and the quintessential tropical island sitting in the middle of it, palm trees creeping out the top. This is the stuff photographs are made of.

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Nautlius Resort Pool

Nautilus is brand new – having only opened in August last year. It will have 18 rooms upon completion – each with it’s own deck and infinity pool. There are five kinds of rooms  here – the garden villas which overlook the resort’s beautiful tropical gardens, the lagoon view rooms which look directly out onto the lagoon (and are a mere few steps away) the beach front rooms and the two and three bedroom rooms (perfect for families or destination weddings). Our room – number two was a lagoon view room and was a mere few steps away from the water’s edge.

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Each room is an oasis of luxury – as well as the private deck and pool, they each have super king beds (complete with mosquito nets, Mr Polka’s new favourite thing), air conditioning and ceiling fans, an enormous bathroom with double sinks, deep bath and rain shower, a kitchenette with bar fridge, Nespresso coffee machine, kettle and toaster and decor that while chic and sophisticated, doesn’t take away, or compete from the beauty of its tropical surroundings.

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Nautlius Resort Room

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The open plan layout of the rooms allow for a living area with flat screen TV and writing desk all focused around that view that is easily accessible through the floor to ceiling doors. Internet here is free and the multi-channel TV has much to choose from. But I suspect you won’t need either during your stay here (unless it’s to instagram that incredible view).

Nautilus, like it’s sister Muri Beach Resort is eco-friendly. From the water that comes from your tap being UV treated, to the solar panels that power the resort. Even the gardens lend a hand –  filled with edible plants which make their way into the restaurant.

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Nautilus Resort Cocktails

If we’re talking about food – Nautilus Resort has one main restaurant, but let me assure you it’s a good one. Firstly the bar sits right on the sand so you can definitely tick the bucket list item of drinking cocktails under a palm tree off the list (And just a top tip? Their mojito is one of the best I have ever tried). We would often drift inside to the main restaurant for dinner after enjoying the bar’s happy hour and settle in for a three course dinner that was well on par , if not better than a lot of Melbourne restaurants (their Island fries? My new favourite!). The restaurant also serves breakfast and lunch and if you tire of it, or want to expand your culinary horizons – the resort is located right on Muri Beach and most resorts and their restaurants welcome diners in from the sand.

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The resort has a range of free water-sport equipment for guests to use – we spent one afternoon kayaking around the little island (well I sat, Mr Polka hates getting hit in the face with my kayak paddle) while Mr Polka attempted stand up paddle boarding later that afternoon. The resort also has flippers and snorkeling masks. Soon they’ll house an on site spa and active kids club.

While I send you dreaming with the resort’s facilities – all of which made our stay just that little bit perfect, there was one very special part of Nautilus that left it ingrained in my memory – the people. From Ned, who introduced himself the moment we walked into the bar that very first night and greeted us by name every time he saw us, asking about our day to telling us about the news back home. To Leilani who made me laugh every night at dinner with her cheeky personality and who gave me the warmest hug on our final night. And Ben – the general manager who always wanted to ensure our stay was okay. To the team who upon hearing we were leaving on our final day before the restaurant would open for breakfast, organised a breakfast hamper to be delivered to our room to make sure we were well fed.

These moments are the ones I remember Nautilus by. I’ve stayed in a lot of nice places and I can’t remember the people – but Ned, Leilani and Ben (as well as Jane, the lovely owner of Nautilus who we were lucky enough to have a drink with) will forever remain embedded in my mind as what Nautilus is all about. A luxury experience that comes with heart and soul.

Cook Islands Sunrise

The Polkas traveled to the Cook Islands courtesy of Expedia. My tan (Mr Polka doesn’t tan  – he remains neon white) is courtesy of the Cook Islands sunshine and still remains. Meitaki for the amazing trip and long lasting memories.

Images taken by Ms Polka Dot.

Nathalia & Thilo’s Whimsical Lombok Beach Wedding

by | Honeymoons, Inspired Destination Weddings, Inspired Weddings, Location Asia

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Polka Dot Bride
1
COMMENT

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Nathalia & Thio

Nathalia & Thilo wanted a beach side wedding for their special day, so they headed to Lombok and chose the stunning beachside location for their wedding. They worked closely with White Sand Weddings Lombok & Gili Islands  to bring their dream wedding to life – marrying right on the beach and eating and dancing with their loved ones under the stars.

Angga Permana Photo was there to capture the photographs.

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The bride and her bridesmaids wore custom made gowns, the bride creating the bouquets and hairpieces herself.

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Nathalia and Thilo chose Villa Sapi, Lombok for their wedding, explaining, “When Thilo and I began to plan our wedding, we knew that we wanted a day that was personal, intimate and most of all fun. We share a love for the ocean, so we knew from day one that we would be married on the beach. We took a short trip to Bali and Lombok, did some surveys and checked some venues. Our last venue to check was a lovely villa in Lombok, Indonesia called Villa Sapi and from the minute we walked in, we knew immediately that it was ‘the spot’. We had a beach-front ceremony on a white sand beach, overlooking the crystal clear water and perfectly blue sky.”

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Nathalia remembers, “One of the most special things for us was having all our favourite people together in a place that we are so fond of. I loved taking the sunset pictures right after the ceremony. It was gorgeous and a really special time for Thilo and I before we had to head to the magical dinner reception.”

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Nathalia remarks, “We were lucky to have glorious weather on the day. Much of our wedding was DIY and it would not have been the same without the help and support of our lovely friends and family. It really was a team effort in so many respects and we were really humbled by the effort that everyone went to for us to make our wedding so personal.”

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“We will never forget the wonderful, warm, welcoming staff at Villa Sapi for making our celebration so special and a fantastic dream come true.”

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Nathalia & Thilo, congratulations on your marriage! Thank you for sharing your day with us! Thank you also to Angga Permana Photo for sharing today’s wedding with us.

Photographer: Angga Permana Photo / Bride’s Dress: Custom tailor made / Bride’s Shoes: Christian Siriano / Groom’s Attire: Custom tailor made / Groomsmen Attire: Custom tailor made / Bridesmaid Dresses: Custom tailor maid / Bride & Bridesmaids flower crowns: DIY by the Bride / Groomsmen Bowties: theupperleft / Wedding Planner/Coordinator: White Sand Weddings Lombok & Gili Islands / Venue: Villa Sapi, Lombok / Catering: The Square Lombok / Guest Table: Decor Indonesia Bali. / Flower, Canopy and Reception table decoration: Handmade by the couple
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