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Caneel Bay features seven secluded beaches on 170 lush Caribbean acres. We chose Scott Beach, a crescent of unspoiled fine-sand beach, as our oceanfront home for our honeymoon, and we found out that during most of the year, the resort doesn’t book families with children here. The kiddies stay on another beach closer to the main house. So we got a mostly private beach, rarely seeing any other honeymooners or vacationers. It was just us, experiencing the kind of private island stay that celebrities take.

Speaking of celebrities, we just missed Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, who were staying in Cottage 7 at the end of ‘our beach’ with the kids. Our tour guide spoke of how the Jolie-Pitts would kayak in our arch of the beach, and we also learned that the Marisa Miller cover of Sports Illustrated was shot right outside our room.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. We landed on the island of St. Thomas, clearly one of those frazzled couples without tans, wearing jeans, wide-eyed and kind of shellshocked by our wedding being over. We boarded a pristine ferry, and were immediately handed complimentary rum punches to enjoy during the ten minute ride to Caneel Bay. A few sips in, a spotting of an enormous pelican gliding alongside our boat, the speed of the ride, and we just smiled at each other, that post-wedding frazzle already melting away.

On the ferry to Caneel Bay.

When we arrived, the friendly staff greeted us with cool hand towels and flutes of champagne, and led us right to lunch at the Terrace Bar. Caneel Bay’s chefs take bar food and give it a sensational island twist: you’ve never had guacamole like this before. I could eat a vat of it.

Sated and smiling, eager to begin our beach escape, we picked up our free snorkel gear and golf-carted it to our suite on Scott Beach, an island-chic room with a blissful bed and tropical-inspired decor. And it took us about 2.5 minutes to emerge in our bathing suits, slipping our feet into snorkeling fins and walking into water so clear you can see the bottom many yards out from the shoreline. Immediately, we were surrounded by sea turtles swimming at their relaxed pace, then colorful tang, parrotfish, a veritable aquarium of sea life all around us. Even an eagle ray glided past, far below us. There’s no escape from the frantic world better than this.

 

 

During a break from snorkeling, we ordered a BBC (a banana colada) from the drinks cart, sunscreened up, and dove back into the water. During our stay, we kayaked several times, my husband achieved a dream — taking scuba lessons — and we boated and blissed out.

Caneel Bay is more than just outdoor sporting adventures. It’s a foodie fantasy, with some of the top chefs in the Caribbean creating otherwordly dishes and desserts. One of the highlights was a private dinner for two in the sugar mill ruins, a roofless structure of fascinating stone, tropical plants and flowers with a formally-set table and a private waiter. Lobster and risotto nearly made us swoon, and we tasted some of the finest wine we’d ever had from the Caribbean’s largest and most impressive wine collection.

Dinner at the Sugar Mill, image via Caneel Bay

We shopped, we sunned, we enjoyed a private rum-tasting at the Terrace Bar, attended afternoon tea and open-air breakfast with the most amazing array of tropical juices and fruits. We ate like wild, but lost weight during our honeymoon from all the hiking, swimming, snorkeling and kayaking we did. Tanned and happy, we said goodbye to Caneel Bay, only to return twice more so far, staying in the same room at our honeymoon home.

During a hike on Caneel’s grounds.

Check out Caneel Bay’s special rates and lovely rooms at Caneel Bay and tell friends and family to give you gift cards to the resort to help you book massages overlooking the beach or that dreamy private dinner in the ruins with an impossible number of stars above you.

Every morning, pelicans dove dramatically into the waters.

These island flowers smell phenomenal!

Chef Allison’s masterpiece! Organic honey-infused lunch.

Don’t miss it! A massage overlooking the ocean! Image via Caneel Bay.

Heading home, on the ferry, with rum punch smiles.

Photography unless specified from Sharon Naylor’s collection.

Ms Gingham says: Are you kidding me? Where do I book? But not when Brangelina are there … I’ve heard they’re really noisy … 😀

About Sharon: Sharon Naylor is the author of over 35 wedding books, including her newest: Bridesmaid on a Budget, Smart Guide to Wedding Weekends, and 1001 Ways to Save Money and Still have a Dazzling Wedding. Her two books for the mothers of the bride and groom are bestsellers, and she has appeared on such top shows as Good Morning America, ABC News, Lifetime, Inside Edition and more – sharing tips and insider secrets to help you plan your dream wedding on a budget, personalized to your love story. Visit her site Sharon Naylor for more on her books, free worksheets and appearances. She lives in Morristown, NJ with her husband Joe and is at work on her next two wedding books.

Polka Dot Honeymoons Directory Mid Banner

There is something special about lying on the beach in a retro inspired swimsuit- the glamour, the sophistication, inspired visions of cocktails by the pool, lazing under a palm tree and feeling like a you’ve stepped out of a Hollywood movie (instead of the hideous fluorescent lights at a swimwear outlet). Bombshell Bay brings something fresh, new and unique to the Australian swimwear scene- retro inspired swimwear with a touch of sass.

Head designer Emily was inspired from her childhood of long Summer days at the beach and a few too many ill fitting swimsuits. She met the challenge head on and created a range of beautiful, retro inspired swimsuits (each is named after a star of yesteryear, my favourite is ‘Miss Monroe’) in a range of classic blacks and playful solid hues. The silhouettes reflect the charm of yesteryear – sweetheart necklines, lower cut legs and playful ruffles all feature in the Bombshell Bay “Hollywood Bungalow” collection.

Each suit is made from a high quality Italian Lycra sourced for Bombshell Bay and the website even provides instructions (and a cleaning product) to keep your suit looking perfect.

Images by Bombshell Bay

I am an adventure girl for sure. Well, kind of. I love hiking – if I don’t have to carry a tent and then sleep in it. I don’t mind doing hard physical work and sweating and getting dirty – as long as I have a warm shower to come back to. I appreciate nature 100% — but I appreciate it’s beauty even more when I’m appreciating it from luxurious surroundings. Going to Patagonia in Chile sounds a little intimidating if you’re not one of those hard-core granola peeps, I get it. But, I promise you, both stunning natural wonders and man made comforts abound in Puerto Natales.

One of the most romantic weekends of my life was spent there at a hotel called the Indigo Patagonia. We went in February – the height of summer in the Southern Hemisphere. And it was still freezing! But I have to say, the cold simply added to the experience.

As soon as you step inside the Indigo, you are enveloped in warmth and the delicious smell of wood burning stoves. You could (and we did often, coming down from the spa) even walk around barefoot — that’s how cozy it is inside the hotel.

The entire hotel, set against a backdrop of the snow and the icy water of the fjords, is built to be a part of the Puerto Natales landscape, not to stand out. They use the same oxidized looking aluminium (? I know nothing about building materials) to fit in with the other structures of the town, all weathered from years and years of strong winds and sleet and snow.

The rooms are so peaceful and relaxing. They’re small, but comfy. I’ve never slept better than I did in our bed underneath thick down comforters while the wind howled outside.

You can soak in a tub in the privacy of your own lodgings if you want.

Or better yet, head to the roof where there are gorgeous hot tubs overlooking stunning views of the Ultima Esperanza (Last Hope, cheerful name, eh?) Fjord.

If you’re not sold on being outside in that kind of weather, there’s always the spa area so you can rest on lovely beds, sectioned off by mosquito nets (which look far more romantic than that sounds), where you can opt for a massage or settle in to read your Kindle, like us. Technology comes to The End of the World.

But really, the entire hotel is set up to give you mental peace and quiet.

I honestly could not think of a better place to go for a honeymoon. And if this looks like too much laying around, too much relaxation for your liking (Gasp! Is there really such a thing?!), the Indigo Patagonia also offers kayaking tours, trips to the nearby Torres del Paine, horseback riding trips, and more. We did some of those things as well, but I’ll save that for another post. 🙂

Photography by Kyle Hepp

Ms Gingham says: OMG!!! What a location but further to that … what amazing photography!!! Thanks so much to Kyle for sharing this with us!

About Kyle Hepp: My name is Kyle Hepp. My husband and I are world travelers/wedding photographers based out of Santiago, Chile. I blog about life as an expat, our trips, and of course our weddings here.