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Blissful Vietnamese Honeymoon

by | Destinations, Honeymoons, Real Honeymoons,

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Koren Harvey - Marriage Celebrant Melbourne
Find me on Ms Polka Dot's Directory | korenharvey.com.au
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When my husband and I planned our honeymoon, one thing was immediately clear to both of us – this would be a relaxation holiday. All of our previous travels had involved exploring urban metropolises, famed historical sites or visiting family and friends, so the idea of getting away from it all to simply relax was incredibly appealing.

We settled on Vietnam as our destination or more specifically, the Fusion Maia resort in Da Nang. Billed as Asia’s first all-spa inclusive resort, Fusion Maia boasts an enviable spa with all treatments included as part of the nightly room rate. This means that on each day of your stay, you will receive at a minimum (I repeat, at a minimum) two spa treatments each – and more if you can handle them. Hello happiness!

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All rooms at the resort are villas, with sleek decor, lush green courtyards and private swimming pools for those moments when leaving your own villa is simply too tough or you fancy a midnight swim. Fusion Maia promises relaxation from the moment you walk through the door and that’s exactly what we got.

We arrived just as night had fallen and were led along a fragrant, lantern-lit path to our villa, the only sound that of water gently gurgling in a nearby fountain. Somewhat jet-lagged and a little exhausted after the whirlwind week leading up to our wedding, I briefly eyed off the deep stone bath before opting to collapse onto the plush king-size bed for some well-deserved sleep.

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In the morning we opened the curtains to take in the magnificent blue water of our private pool, fringed with vivid green palms. Husband got to work making us both coffees on the in-room coffee machine while I plunged straight into that pool. Coffee, a refreshing swim, tropical surroundings and my gorgeous new husband? I’d only been there a few hours but this already felt like my happy place. Only the promise of French-inspired pastries for breakfast could lure me out of the pool.

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When we were deciding on a destination, one of the things that won my husband over was Fusion Maia’s ‘breakfast anytime, anywhere’ policy. While we usually made the most of the sizeable breakfast buffet, we also had the option of having breakfast delivered at a time of our choosing in our room, on the beach or at the resort’s lounge in Hoi An. Learning upon arrival that he could have steak (yes, steak) as part of his breakfast each day only made him happier!

On our way to breakfast, we were able to take in all the views we’d missed the night before. After spending weeks (ok, months) ogling the photos on the Fusion Maia website, I had been eagerly anticipating seeing if the resort lived up to the beautiful images online. I wasn’t disappointed.

The resort is thoughtfully designed, with the villas integrated into the landscape. Palms and bamboo offer privacy and shade and the divinely scented, vibrantly coloured tropical flowers that feature at regular intervals remind you constantly that you’re on holiday.

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The view as you exit the main pavilion is utterly seductive. A glistening water feature leads down to the crystal clear infinity pool that sits just above an unspoilt and seemingly private beach. It doesn’t so much encourage one to linger as insist you stay indefinitely. Leaving was going to be hard.

We made the most of the in-house spa during our stay at Fusion Maia and I tried almost every treatment available, whereas the husband established on day 1 that a daily Thai-yoga style massage was the perfect way to release any wedding-induced stress. (Side note: a facial followed by a massage right before bedtime is the perfect jet-lag antidote). Following treatments up with a cocktail – or, if we timed it right, the daily complimentary poolside ice cream – only added to our relaxation.

Photo by Fusion Maia Da Nang

Most of our days followed the same pattern – sleep in, pool, breakfast, pool, spa treatment, pool, cocktails, pool, cocktails and dinner. When we felt ourselves getting that little bit too relaxed (who even knew there was such a thing?), we used the resort’s complimentary shuttles to make a sojourn into the old trader port of Hoi An.

This charming town is listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO and you understand why at first glance. Cobblestone streets are lined with Japanese merchant houses, buildings painted in gelato colours and masses of flowering bougainvillea. Market traders ply their wares on the street, where you can buy anything from fresh produce to a goldfish, bagged and ready to be taken home.

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Hoi An is famous for its abundance of tailors (take some of your favourite clothes to have copies made) but what really made an impression on us was the food. We ate at several Hoi An restaurants but the one we kept returning to was the street food-inspired Morning Glory. The words ‘world famous’ are overused but in the case of Morning Glory this seems to be a well deserved adjective, as friends in Europe, China and Australia had all told us we couldn’t leave Hoi An without visiting.

Their advice was not without merit. I’ve forgotten the names of the dishes we ate over our three visits but not how delicious they were. My only regret from our time in Hoi An was that we didn’t try out the cooking classes offered at Morning Glory – but can I really complain when it gives us another reason to return?

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When we got engaged, we didn’t give much thought to the honeymoon but I am so glad we took one. With so many people flying in from interstate and overseas for our wedding, the weeks leading up to the day were a whirlwind of planning, catch-ups and last minute errands.

A honeymoon meant we had two weeks just for each other once all the madness had subsided. It gave us time to debrief about the wedding day, get used to saying ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ without giggling, think about the (wedding-free) year ahead and just catch up on sleep, reading and ice-cream consumption. It was utterly intoxicating, good for the soul and good for us.

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We utterly adored every part of our honeymoon – from our morning coffees in the pool to the friendly greetings we received from each staff member we passed, to the post-massage cocktails and evening walks through Hoi An. We left Da Nang reluctantly, but refreshed, relaxed and with many wonderful new memories – and ready to plan our return to Vietnam.

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Ms Gingham says: Wow! What a find!!! This resort looks beyond amazing Koren!

Koren Harvey says: “I love standing with a groom waiting for his bride to arrive and watching the emotions well up in his eyes. I love seeing the joy on a bride’s face when she catches sight of her husband-to-be. I love what I do. Being a celebrant is the best job in the world.”

Tasmanian Heritage Honeymoon

by | Destinations, Honeymoons

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chloe van der Werf
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As I’ve recently come back from yet another lovely trip to Tasmania, I thought why not check out some of the stunning luxury accommodation the state has to offer. On researching, I stumbled upon the gorgeous and bespoke Red Feather Inn. This inn is located in Hadspen, approximately 18 mins from Launceston, Australia’s third oldest city and 14 mins from Launceston airport.

This exquisite heritage listed sandstone inn is absolutely breathtaking. Built with convict labour in 1842, it is full of old world charm. Think French provincial and Georgian dancing but with today’s modern-day luxuries.

You have the choice of either a suite or room, 7 in total. All of which are appointed with a gas log fire and state of the art bathroom. Each room overlooks the stunning French inspired garden.

Not only do they offer luxury accommodation but also a unique dining experience. Serving local Tasmanian produce and an abundantly stocked cellar with local and mainland wines.

If you enjoy cooking or would like to improve your cooking skills, Red Feather Inn also offers a cooking and lifestyle school. Ensure your stay coincides with one of the cooking school dates, these can be viewed on Red Feather Inn’s website.

The local area offers guest plenty to see and do. There are many historic buildings and gardens to meander through, cute markets to browse, world-class restaurants for the palate, snow fights/skiing at Ben Lomond (season permitting), ziplining through the tree tops at Hollybank or maybe a trout fishing adventure would be more up your alley, there is bound to be something you’ll both enjoy.

While all times of the year are stunning in Tasmania, my favourite time to visit is Autumn. The colours of the gardens and surrounding country are just magical and the temperature is perfect for a nice red by the cosy fire.

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Red Feather Inn isn’t just a whimsical honeymoon destination and cooking and lifestyle school but they can also hold small to medium weddings.

Credits: All images supplied by Red Feather Inn

Natalie and Alex’s Cook Islands Engagement Photos

by | Honeymoons, Inspired Engagements

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Polka Dot Bride
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COMMENTS

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Natalie & Alex

When I visited the Cook Islands in December, I’m not sure I realised how much I would fall in love with this  paradise. So seeing others who love it just as much, who choose it as the backdrop for their engagement photos makes me oh so very happy. The couple hired Gemma Clarke Photography and wandered around the island at sunset for what turned out to be a stunning engagement session.

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Of their proposal, Natalie remembers “Alex surprised me with a weekend away to Queensland and popped the question on the last night we were there.”

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On what Natalie loves about Alex, she says, “I love the security and safety he brings to my life, I love the life we have built together over the past 8 years, I love that I know what he is thinking without him having to say anything, I love that I don’t have to ask for compliments, he gives freely. I love that he is the calm in our life to help control my ‘control freakness’ and constant over thinking of things.”

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Natalie recalls, “Our sunset photo shoot was set up as an opportunity for us to feel more comfortable in front of the camera prior to the wedding day and also a great opportunity to explore the island. Gemma had spent a few days scouting the island for the best spots and discussed the options with us. On our way to the first spot Black Rock we passed a little gift store with flower head leis out front, a lot of the women in the Cook Islands wear these so we thought it would be a nice addition to my outfit and to embrace the culture.”

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On what Alex loves about Natalie he says, “I love that she puts her family first and look after the needs of others, I loves all the little things she does that make a big difference and how she make a house a home, I love her motivation for making her dreams a reality (planning things in our life), and I love how open, honest and trustworthy she is.”

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Natalie tells, “We don’t have any really funny relationship stories but the best part of the photo session was having fun with my husband, which started with him dropping me in the water! I don’t have one place in particular that is my favourite as the whole island is just so beautiful. The views of the mountain were amazing and watching the sunset go down over the still waters was breathtaking, such a lovely moment to have captured. This photo session really captured the love we have for each other.”

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