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Jamaica - A great honeymoon destination!
Posted: October 5, 2011
Looking for a tropical, romantic, affordable (or pricey too if you want) honeymoon destination? Jamaica has it all! Jamaica tops many of the “World’s Best Honeymoon” Lists every year. And, Jamaica has an amazing inventory of fantastic hotels with a variety of styles – no matter what your romantic preferences may be.
Here are just a few of the many wonderful choices available to you. Let us help you plan your romantic honeymoon to Jamaica!
Goldeneye, once the home of Bond’s creator, Ian Fleming, is now a resort run by Island Outpost ( http://www.islandoutpost.com/), a collection of five distinct small properties located in Jamaica and the Bahamas. Created by Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records and Palm Pictures, Island Outpost tries to create environments reminiscent of staying at a good friend’s home. Among its Jamaican properties are Goldeneye, Strawberry Hill and The Caves, all wonderful choices for romance. Throughout the resort’s 40 acres are beaches, a tropical forest, caves and secluded nooks. Five villas stand on a bluff over the Caribbean Sea, while Fleming’s former home overlooks a secluded cove.
The Caves, Island Outpost’s haven in Negril, is situated on a volcanic cliff honeycombed with grottoes. One such grotto is candlelit for dining, another features a hot tub. The Caves underwent extensive refurbishments, including upscale in-room extras and new facilities.
Negril’s Couples Swept Away is one of four Couples (http://www.couples.com/) properties in Jamaica. This 234-room, 18-acre all-inclusive resort situated on one of Jamaica’s best beaches is highlighted by its spa and by five quality restaurants specializing in cuisine from Jamaican to Asian to Mediterranean. The mood is set by the private hammock that hangs outside each suite, in-suite Jacuzzis and the hors d’oeuvres that are delivered each evening to couples who wish to enjoy them with a glass of wine on their private balcony. The resort also has a special in-room dining menu available nightly. The property’s 10-acre fitness complex specializes in body shaping, yoga, Pilates and abdominal workouts. Other popular programs for those looking to grow a little closer are Soca dance classes, cocktail mixology and the Couples Resorts’ signature massage course. Here, couples learn the art of a romantic massage.
Half Moon (http://www.halfmoonweddings.com/) recently added a Romance Concierge program, staffed by specialists who help plan weddings. A Romance Concierge is prepared to coordinate florists, chefs, spa therapists and other wedding services, as well as offer creative suggestions. Among the details he or she can arrange are gourmet picnic baskets or a champagne beach ride on horseback, with a private breakfast on the beach just after dawn. The Half Moon resort stretches across two miles of beaches, featuring manicured gardens, a semi-enclosed chapel, a spa and restaurants. Accommodations include suites, cottages and villas. Half Moon also features a recently renovated Robert Trent Jones, Sr.-designed 18-hole golf course, the Half Moon Golf Academy, 13 lit tennis courts, an equestrian center, fitness center, 51 swimming pools, a Dolphin Lagoon and more. Fern Tree, The Spa at Half Moon, recently opened with beachfront spa suites, hydrotherapy swimming pools, yoga pavilions and a host of treatments.
The 74-suite Royal Plantation Ocho Rios (http://www.royalplantation.com/) is Jamaica’s only member of Leading Small Hotel of the World. The adults-only resort was originally opened in the 1950s, and its elegant British Colonial plantation style still recalls a time when luxury was much more exclusive. The resort sits on a bluff some 25 feet above the sea, with 74 suites looking out over the ocean. The “Royal Plan” allows guest’s to receive the added convenience of an all-inclusive.
Last November the resort won a World Travel Award as the Caribbean’s Leading Honeymoon Resort. The resort offers such activities as private cooking classes or a couple’s treatment at the Red Lane Spa. Set on 17 manicured acres, its flagship accommodation is a private, 3,000-square-foot, three-bedroom villa with a private pool and dedicated household staff. The resort, a Sandals property, underwent a complete renovation in 2004.
Round Hill Hotel and Villas (http://www.roundhilljamaica.com/), is a luxury resort in Montego Bay. The resort sits on a former pineapple plantation on a 110-acre peninsula, where guests may be accommodated in either the 36-room Pineapple House Hotel (recently designed by Ralph Lauren) or in one of the 27 individually owned villas with suites overlooking the sea. The resort features gardens, a secluded beach and a spa in an 18th-century Great House at the edge of the sea. All suites have huge verandas, air conditioning, ceiling fans and Jamaican antiques.
Sandals (http://www.sandals.com/) spent $6 million and four months renovating its Whitehouse Hotel European Village Spa on the south coast of Jamaica, a project completed in December. Sandals Whitehouse opened in 2005 with government participation in order to bring tourism to a part of Jamaica that sees few visitors. Set within a pristine, 500-acre nature reserve, Sandals Whitehouse comprises three seaside European villages—French, Italian and Dutch.
The resort’s 360 rooms and suites in nine categories, all with beachfront views, are complemented by eight restaurants and six bars; the largest freshwater pool in Jamaica; and a European-style square, complete with duty-free shops, formal gardens and more. As with all Sandals Resorts Luxury Included vacations, Whitehouse offers exclusive butler service in select room categories, unlimited premium-brand wine and spirits, and championship golf, among other amenities. Sandals offers many other stunning properties in Jamaica!
SuperClubs (http://www.breezes.com/ or http://www.superclubs.com/) rechristened three Jamaican properties to the Breezes brand. Breezes serves a value-conscious market that’s every bit as interested in romance as the high-enders are. The Grand Lido Braco became Breezes Resort & Spa Rio Bueno. The Breezes Resort & Spa Rio Bueno houses within its grounds the Braco Village at Rio Bueno, a “hotel-within-a-hotel.” The Village includes a separate au naturel section with 52 beachfront suites and a 24-hour clubhouse serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Au naturel, or nude, bathing is offered at many Breezes resorts, but it shouldn’t be confused with the sort of market that Hedonism is reaching out to. It’s more akin to the kind of bathing you find on the Mediterranean. All guests receive Rio Bueno’s Super-Inclusive amenities, including complimentary rounds on the resort’s golf course, a selection of dining options, room service in suite accommodations, cooking classes with the culinary team, and access to the sauna as well as the fitness center with floor-to-ceiling views of the beach.
Jamaica Inn (800-837-4608, http://www.jamaicainn.com/) is an independent property that has been operating in Ocho Rios since 1950. This little jewel of 47 suites and cottages offers lodging without TVs, radios or clocks for the couple who seeks to get away from it all without forgoing luxurious comfort. Every suite and cottage has sea views that can be appreciated from balconies or verandas that are fitted out with a large sofa and breakfast table. The cottages are free-standing suites with oversized bathrooms featuring a separate shower and tub, and marble floors. Each has an outdoor shower and an infinity pool for plunging, just off the bedroom. Cottages Three and Four are exclusively private, with their own entrances to the sea. A wet bar is located in the living room of each. Cottages are available by request only.
When you do go to Jamaica, be sure to use Honeymoon Wishes (www.honeymoonwishes.com) for your honeymoon registry! When only the best will do….
Honeymoon Registry: TO FEE OR NOT TO FEE?
Posted: October 3, 2011
In my opinion, there is truth in the oft heard phrase…”You get what you pay for”…..
I often read the wedding website forums and bridal chat rooms and see that many bridal couples think that charging a service fee for a honeymoon registry is a crime. Obviously I understand that every bridal couple wants a good deal and are looking to save money wherever they can! But do read on to learn how thinking saving with a “free” honeymoon registry could actually harm you in the end!
Although I could probably write pages on WHY Honeymoonwishes.com charges a fee and why either paying the fee or having your guests pay the fee is a WISE decision, I will narrow it down to a few key points.
First, let’s look at all of the things that brides and grooms DO pay for — and are WILLING to pay (often exorbitant prices) for — for their wedding — excluding the necessities like location and hard goods such as food, let’s focus on “services” 1. Caterer 2. Florist 3. Minister 4. Photographer 5. Musicians or DJs 6. Valets Wedding Coordinator 7. Psychic (just kidding…. maybe…) 8. And the list goes on…. Let’s be honest, couples pay for these services because they want them “just right”, classy, to be fun/good for their friends, and they want plain old good service.
Honeymoonwishes.com is a service. It is a service that provides not only the bridal couples with an exceptional honeymoon registry experience, it also provides LOTS AND LOTS of other tools that bridal couples love — like a FREE wedding website (yes, it IS truly FREE), online wedding photo albums, wedding blogs and a comprehensive, easy to use, looks beautiful honeymoon registry.
I think it warrants a SPECIAL mention that our registries are AD FREE!
Did I mention that we have a toll FREE phone # for you to call with questions. And yes, your guests can call too if they have a question or want to place their order over the phone? We have dedicated customer service staff to provide both you and your guest’s excellent customer service!
Now let’s talk about your guests’ experience. Many of your guests may not have heard of a honeymoon registry. As such, it’s especially important that their experience is a happy one. So let’s consider, what does your honeymoon registry look like? Is it aesthetically pleasing? Does it have professional images for each item with a descriptive narrative of the items? If it’s fun and exciting to read, your friends and family will have more fun shopping for your gift.
Now back to your guests… does the registry allow them to actually complete their transaction with a credit card? With some of the free registries couples have to have a paypal BUSINESS account for their guests to use credit cards!
And if they can’t pay by credit card, they are only “pledging” to give you cash or a check at your wedding. That brings me back to the “classy, easy, positive user experience” I mentioned above. Which I think warrants a second mention — the “free” honeymoon registries have ADS all over your honeymoon registry page!!
(And ironically, some of the ads are for the competition!)
In my mind, classy and elegant is out the window. What they have done is traded a service fee revenue to support the business with selling advertising space so that in order to have a free registry your friends and family are inundated with ads on your registry page. That may be good for some, but personally, I prefer — and don’t mind paying for — fees when a good service is provide!
Now, let’s look at actual gifts received — with Honeymoonwishes.com, the average gifts received is $2,500/ registry (actual amounts vary of course and depend on many factors — but this is “average”)
By their own accounts, free registries receive MUCH LESS than $2500. One company posts that their “free” registries receive on average just over $1100… hmmmmmmm….
I can’t help but wonder if it’s because friends and families don’t like the look and experience of the free registry — and don’t like pledging cash or checks. I wonder if it’s because for a small fee, guests actually LIKE ad free registries, the convenience of paying by credit card, and knowing they can call a real person to talk to, ask questions, and place an order. So for saving a 7% service fee, you LOSE $1400?….. Free registries just don’t add up!
For the record, I’ve never had a call from a gift giver that was mad / upset about the service fee. In fact, most calls are happy callers and LOVE HONEYMOONWISHES.COM!
In the end, my feeling is that many couples choose the “FREE no fees option” thinking they will come out ahead — but in reality, for a small fee, couples using Honeymoonwishes.com will have more wedding tools, more gifts, and happier guests!
CHOOSE HONEYMOONWISHES.COM! The Premier online bridal registry for honeymoons since 2003.
Lastly, many people comment with companies like Honeymoonwishes.com, that, in the end, the couple is still just receiving cash. Yes, that is true. But it’s a much more elegant and sophisticated way of receiving the cash to pay for the items and activities of their honeymoon. If a couple chooses to dupe their friends and family by not using the gifts for which they were intended, well that’s their karma.
But, if this is really a sticking point for some, then take a look at some of our partners’ sites where the gift monies actually go the resort or cruise line for the couple to spend on the actual gift while they are there…
Paul Gauguin Cruises
Intercontinental Bora Bora Thalasso and Le Moana
and many more!