Honeymoons for urbanites
The Hong Kong skyline at night. (BBC)
If lying on a beach somewhere seems too laid-back for you, an urban honeymoon offers contemporary hotels, abundant dining options and a high-energy environment where newlyweds can disappear into the crowd. From Europe to the Americas, the Caribbean and Asia, here are a few favourite destinations for budget and splurge-worthy big-city honeymoons.
Europe high budget: Paris, France
Parfum-lavished Paris, a buttery city built on royalty and romance, is the perfect place to kiss in the streets sans abandon. Let yourselves be seduced by the city’s cobblestone streets, perfect for aimless ambling, and priceless art museums, like the Musee d’Orsay. While the city of love has no shortage of romantic pied-à-terres, couples will love the glitz and Parisian charm of the Hotel Fouquet's Barriere (do not miss a dip in the indoor pool). For simple but flavourful bistro fare, try Le Timbre on rue Sainte Beuve, where they pride themselves on their carefully chosen wine list. Regardless of when you travel, Paris is beautiful — even, as Cole Porter wrote, “in the summer when it sizzles” and “in the winter when it drizzles”. The city can even be seen over a long weekend (if absolutely necessary). If Paris out of your budget, Montreal can be a more affordable option for a taste of French flair.
Europe low budget: Prague, Czech Republic
Honeymooners will truly lose track of time when standing before the face of the stunning clock tower in Prague’s fairytale Old Town Square. A five-minute walk away is the Unitas House, an affordable guesthouse conveniently located near the Charles Bridge and the National Theatre.
Unlike other cities, where cocktails cost as much as a meal, a beer in Prague will only set you back a few koruna. Take advantage of those low prices and go on a pub crawl to really get a sense of the city (after all, the couple that plays together stays together). Prague can be seen comfortably in five or six days, and is best in the warmer months. August is when Europeans take their own holidays so many places are closed.
Americas high budget: New York, New York
In New York City, where so many of big-screen favourites have been filmed, life can sometimes feel like a movie. Rockefeller Center’s rooftop attraction, Top of the Rock , now leads the rankings for activities in the Big Apple, and there is little surprise as to why. While so many travellers, especially honeymooners, want to live out their Sleepless in Seattle fantasies, the view from Rockefeller Center incorporates the Empire State Building (and, really, what is the New York City skyline without it?). Reserve a room at the Setai Fifth Avenue to see the iconic building up close. Couples should also not leave town without taking in at least one Broadway show; make it The Book of Mormon if you are lucky enough to score tickets. Also be sure to spend some time in other neighbourhoods besides hectic Times Square — such as the very charming, tree-lined far West Village, trendy Soho and Nolita and the uber-hip and historic Lower East Side. The best season for visiting New York is autumn, when days are crisp, but sunny. For honeymooners who are not accustomed to the pace of a New York minute, more than a week could be sensory overload.
Americas low budget: Las Vegas, Nevada
Honeymooners head to Las Vegas for the casinos, spas and Broadway-like productions… that is, assuming they did not recite their vows at a little white chapel and just opt to stick around. But if you want to take your trip off the beaten path, take a hand-in-hand hike in the Red Rock Canyon national conservation area where non-neon light hits the rugged landscape in layers of vibrant hues. And for honeymooners who dream of Paris but could not afford the high price tag, splurge on Chef Joho’s tasting menu at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant with its views of the Bellagio. Remember: the desert cools off considerably by night, so pack accordingly. Four days would be plenty of time — but give yourself a day or two of recuperation on the back end if you like to spend nights at the baccarat table. And skip this spot altogether in summer if you cannot take the heat.