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I recently stumbled across the most fabulous website full of luxurious beach houses and hotels across Australia and South East Asia called Contemporary Hotels and my, does it have some gorgeous offerings just perfect for honeymoons!

Want to stay on Sydney’s gorgeous Palm Beach? How about staying at the Palm Beach Pacific Road House?

Although the house has three bedrooms, I think it’d make a dreamy honeymoon spot. Can you imagine unwinding on that deck? A wheel of fresh creamy Brie cheese in front of you and a glass of chilled wine? Pacific Highway House offers luxuries like Aveda toiletries, large white kitchen, media room, TV & DVD player and a king sized bed.

If you’re a Sydney couple wanting to head a little further North (or just wanting to escape to a beautiful part of the world) you can choose the Byron Bay Villa.

Again the property has a mass of bedrooms (destination wedding perhaps?) but is pure luxury with a lap swimming pool, amazing views, BBQ, wet and lounging areas, TV, CD and DVD player, air conditioning, Aveda toiletries and three gorgeous bathrooms.

Next on my dream honeymoon list is Kangaroo Island Villa, Kangaroo Island

Amazing, rugged coastline views? Check! King tower room? Check! Conversation pit with open fire? Check! Open fire place? Check! Oh and is full service accommodation (including transfers, gourmet chef, food deliveries, all beverages (including alcohol) activities (including dining with the kangaroos and evening croquet), private beach gazebo, on call transport and housekeeping) available? Triple check! Dreamy honeymoon destination? I think we’re on a winner!

A little too far away? A little too isolated for your style? Perhaps my next favourite is one for you – Snapper Lodge, Newport

Now if the private dock and red and white lighthouse doesn’t win you over with it’s waterside charm, then I’m not sure what will! Snapper Lodge is situated right on Pittwater – as in the only walking you will need to do  on your honeymoon is a hop skip and a jump to your outdoor sun lounge (and perhaps inside again for a gin & tonic). This gorgeous little cottage has all the mod cons – TV, DVD Player, CD player, Aveda toiletries, private jetty, king bed and BBQ without any attitude. It’s the perfect seaside cottage, lovingly restored and cared for by an artist with an eye for detail and only 45 minutes from the city.

That’s not the end of the rental list though, Contemporary Hotels offers up properties in Bedarra Island, Port Stephens, Wombarra, Port Elliot and even for the far flung travelers – the Amalfi Coast.

But that’s not extent of this little wondrous discovery – the website also offers up four gorgeous properties for events. They’re perfect for an intimate wedding or pre – wedding celebration.

Images via Contemporary Hotels

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Whilst planning our beautiful wedding, James and I wanted to cap it off with the honeymoon of a lifetime. Knowing how hectic our year had been with planning our wedding as well as building our house, we decided on Bora Bora, Tahiti for pure relaxation and indulgence. Little did I know that James had planned for us to go to Las Vegas, San Francisco and New York as well. I knew I married him for a reason!! The moment we landed in Tahiti and had traditional Tahitian gardenia lei’s placed around our necks, we knew we were in for a real treat!

We stayed in a premium over-water bungalow at the Intercontinental Le Moana Bora Bora resort, and there was only one word for it … AMAZING!! I loved how the entire resort had more of a traditional Polynesian feel to it with beautiful hibiscus and gardenia’s everywhere. Another feature of our room was the sliding glass coffee table so that we could feed the tropical fish!

Beautiful Bora Bora!

Tahitian food is an exciting mix of French and Polynesian food, and the seafood is to die for. James and I became a little addicted to their national dish of Poisson Cru, which is fresh raw fish marinated in coconut milk, lime juice and coriander with a vegetable salad. Breakfast was a particular highlight every morning considering it was delivered to our room by Ringo! There was also the option of having an amazing buffet breakfast at the resort restaurant, but having breakfast delivered to you definitely won out!

Plenty of food and wine was consumed out here, whilst watching the gorgeous sunsets. Still so hard to believe we were there!

Considering we had pretty poor weather in the lead up to our wedding, we made sure to make the most of the gorgeous weather and come back with a tan. I found that a little easier than my other half!

As part of our gift registry with Not Another Toaster, our family and friends contributed in purchasing a few ‘touristy’ things to do on our honeymoon. One of them being spending a day snorkelling and swimming with sharks and sting rays. I have a major fear of sharks if it isn’t already obvious in the photo! James kept reminding me that they were only reef sharks, but they’re sharks nonetheless!

On our last night in Tahiti, we had dinner at the resort where they held a themed night, with plenty of good food, wine and dancing. I was only brave enough to get up there after copious amounts of alcohol! Also another thing to note, Tahitians know how to drink and boy are their drinks strong!

So after seven glorious days in Tahiti, relaxing in the sun, having romantic dinners on private motu’s (small islands) and enjoying the wonderful polynesian hospitality, we set off to the US-of-A!!

First stop … Vegas!

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We lost complete track of time as there was so much to see and do. From admiring the fountain show at the Bellagio to shopping up a storm at the Venetian, it’s hard to believe that this is all in the desert! An absolute must do is to see the ‘O’ by Cirque du Soleil show at the Bellagio. It’s an amazing acrobatic show that’s set in a purpose built stage, where the performers go from diving into the water to walking on it.

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Considering how close the Grand Canyon is to Las Vegas, we decided to do a day tour where we took a helicopter ride into the canyon to experience the breathtaking scenery.

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I’m not really that brave … just a little trick photography!

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After five full on days in Las Vegas, we set off to San Francisco, and it’s certainly a place that I could live in. Such a relaxed and great vibe about it. We made out like real tourists from taking happy snaps in front of the golden gate bridge, Alcatraz, Lombard Street and basically everything else and becoming a little obsessed with the yummy clam chowder and sourdough bread bowls from Boudin cafe located at the wharf.

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James and I had such a great time in San Francisco but knew that New York was calling!!

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It’s a city that never sleeps and a complete feast for the senses. We were in New York during their winter. The whole city looked magical and walking in the city while it was snowing was quite the novelty! Every day was exciting and we made sure to pack in as much as we could but seven days just didn’t feel like enough. We shopped till we dropped, overloaded on carbs (I could definately live off their bagels with lox and cream cheese!) and I even managed to get James to go on the Sex and the City tour with me!

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At the end of our trip we flew to Boston to watch the Celtics play the Lakers. As James and I are massive Boston Celtics fans, this was an absolute dream for us and we decided to go in matching team colours!

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After a fabulous honeymoon, we’re back to reality!

Photography from Monaliz and James’ collection

Ms Gingham says: Mmmmmm …. did you see that chowder in that chewy sourdough bread? Unfortunately I’m just not a no carbs kind of girl. No matter how hard I try.

Monaliz says:Hi my name is Monaliz Abella! I got married to my wonderful husband James on January 15th 2011 and went on an amazing honeymoon that saw us take in beautiful Bora Bora to wintery New York! It was the honeymoon of a lifetime and we’d love to share it with others!”

I have a bit of a crush on the Maldives – you see, it’s rare to see such crystal blue waters and such vast expanses of well, nothing. I think the romanticism of it all draws me in – especially on busy work days!

Cocoa Island, located on South Malé Atoll, is a highlight of the Maldives region. Part of the COMO group, Cocoa Island enjoys the COMO Shambhala program – the presence of this wellness retreat on the island not only means you can escape and restore your body and mind, but it even flavours the menu which is packed full of beautiful, fresh foods. Perfect for post wedding bliss.

There is a wide range of accommodation  on the resort – 33 rooms, all luxurious, to select from. They start with the Dhoni Suites with private sun decks, split levels and direct access to the lagoon to the Como Villa – the largest style of accommodation at 300 square feet which includes a king sized bed, outdoor shower, private sun deck, double vanity and private bale accessible via a walkway.

All rooms are also provided with complimentary espresso machines, beach bags and thongs, ipod docking station, fresh fruit and bottled water delivered daily, 42″ LCD TV and DVD player. WiFi Internet connection and the finest of Italian linens.

As a bit of a self confessed foodie – making sure my destination has amazing food is always a priority and Cocoa Island has “Ufaa Restaurant” which serves fine cuisine prepared with traditional Indian and Sri Lankan techniques. The resort makes the most of the fresh produce available serving up locally caught seafood delights and fruits and vegetables. The menu is flexible,  catering to your whims and the additional “Faru” bar is adjacent to the pool leading straight onto the beach. Cocoa Island also provides in room dining and private dining. The resort also offers a COMO Shambhala menu which focuses on Vegetarian cuisine, highlighting raw and organic foods rich in minerals and vitamins.

Relaxation is key on Cocoa Island – the resort has it’s own beautiful day spa, COMO Shambhala Retreat. Based on traditional Asian healing techniques, the day spa provides everything from a stunning hydrotherapy pool, to treatment areas on the beach. The retreat also contains an open air yoga pavilion, gym, double massage pavilion and plenty of Asian-inspired holistic therapies developed by COMO Shambhala including reflexology, Ayurveda, massage and facials.

The hotel amenities don’t end there. Guests can enjoy a number of activities on and around the resort at Cocoa Island. The facilities include a dive centre, windsurfing, kayaking, fishing, dolphin & sunset cruises, snorkeling and island tours. The resort can also arrange plenty of excursions for you – private island picnics, visits to local townships, fishing & snorkeling trips and  even a day of luxury sailing.

Of course if you don’t want to leave the comfort of the resort, then Cocoa Island has you covered! From their 25 metre infinity pool which overlooks the crystal blue waters of the lagoon, (close to the beach-side bar too – cocktails anyone?) and of course with the endless facilities at the resort, including their CD, DVD and book library, WiFi and all day dining – why, you might never have a reason to move!


For destination weddings – even though the marriages are not legal, the resort can accommodate families and arrange the entire day for you – what a beautiful excuse for a picture perfect destination wedding!

Photos from Cocoa Island