Our travels and ideas for planning your next trip!

Romance, pampering, luxury with a pinch of adventure is the woven silk of a honeymoon tapestry. Come, dream along with me as we explore some options where our honeymoon tapestry still glows with golden threads, while the green stuff flying out of our pocket doesn’t devastate us.

When researching these resorts, I did not look for the very cheapest, because after all this is your honeymoon.  The Super 8 lodgings can wait for future budget trips.  My criteria required an element of luxury, beautiful surroundings, pampering and activities to enjoy.  The resorts are all at least 3 star and known by me to be reputable, reliable properties.  Prices are estimates based on mid-summer rates and usually include airfare.  Deals come along every day which may give you an even better rate.

After you dream shop, call or email me if you want information about specific dates and places.  I would love to book any of these honeymoons/vacations for you.  Though you could go online now that I have done all the work for you, why bother when I guarantee the best price, provide payment plans, a fee honeymoon registry and wedding website and a free photo card account.  Doesn’t it just make sense to get more service for the same or better price?   www.honeymoonsbyannemarie.com anne@dreamalongtravel.com (208) 964-3578)

A special note – Every trip can be more economical if you are willing to do the following:

a)      Book the lowest price room in the resort or ship, forgoing the view.  Most of your time will be spent outside the room.  As a honeymooners, you may qualify for an upgrade when you arrive if space is available, but if not, this is a big area to save money.

b)      Take a carry-on suitcase and a day pack only.  Tips on packing will be in a future blog.

c)       Pack a special picnic for airplane travel.  Take an empty water bottle and fill it up after you go through inspections.  Shop for breakfast and lunch foods you can make in your room.  Pick up an insulated bag or Styrofoam ice chest at a local store.  Share a dinner with an add-on of an extra soup or salad at the restaurants.

d)      Look for activities which are free or inexpensive when you arrive at the resort.  Expensive tours are not required for a good time.  Choose one that appeals to you most.

e)      Adults Only resorts are often more expensive so consider how important this is to you.

f)       A few days less to be at a wonderful resort can be a good trade-off.

g)      Plan your flights so you arrive early in the day and leave to go home late in the day.  You will gain a whole extra day that way.

Let’s go dreaming…  All prices are quoted from Spokane, WA airport (cause that’s my airport now).  Prices are always subject to change.

Hawaii – Aloha

Waikiki, Oahu is your very best bet for an economical Hawaiian vacation.  Deals abound every day of the year.  If you enjoy city life, lots of activity and people, and cooking for yourself in a condo, this is a great choice for you.  My husband and I have had a fabulous time in Waikiki without a car (the bus system is great).  Special to Waikiki is the Kehoe Marine Reserve for snorkeling, and the Arizona Memorial. The Polynesian Culture Center is worth the extra time and expense for a tour, or you can rent a car for the day or do it the hard way on the bus for less than $3.00 per person plus the entrance fee.   My Picks:

1) WAIKIKI SUNSET Four Nights for $1900 Includes Airfare and 2 for 1 luau.
The Aston Waikiki Sunset offers relaxed island-style living in large 1 and 2 Bedroom suites, all with full kitchenette, in a quiet residential neighborhood only 2 blocks from Waikiki Beach. Most rooms offer views of the ocean, the mountains, or Diamond Head.   (We stayed here for a family vacation.  It is a bit of a hike to the beach – the blocks are long- but was very nice.)

2) CASTLE WAIKIKI SHORE Four Nights for $2011 Includes airfare.
Waikiki Shore is the only beachfront condominium in Waikiki. This exquisite condominium is located on Waikiki Beach just next door to Fort DeRussy Park and one block from bustling Kalakaua Avenue. Most spacious condominiums feature incredible panoramic ocean views. Each studio, one- and two- bedroom suite features kitchenette or full kitchen and in-room washer/ dryer. This resort has a two-night minimum stay requirement, and all rooms are non-smoking.   (Can’t beat this price for beachfront.)

Maui is the island of choice for honeymooners in Hawaii.  Sun, beaches, relaxing is the draw.  You will need to rent a car to get around. I recommend a condo because restaurants are expensive. However, I did include a favorite beach hotel.   A drive to Hana is a beautiful  day long outing.

3) KA’ANAPALI BEACH HOTEL 3 nights for $2300 Includes airfare and car. Located in the heart of Maui’s premier resort fronting a flawless stretch of world-famous Kaanapali Beach. With 432 rooms, two restaurants and a poolside bar and grill, this is the ideal setting to turn your Hawaiian dreams into lifelong memories. Serenades by singing employees, Hawaii regional cuisine, complimentary nightly hula show, signature interactive Hawaiian cultural activities, free year ’round children’s program, weekly arts and crafts fair, welcome breakfast and farewell lei ceremony add to the value. Enjoy Hawaiian ho’okipa (hospitality), aloha at its best!

4) CASTLE KAMAOLE SANDS 4 Nights $2349 Includes airfare and car.  3 Nights $2143.
At Kamaole Sands, the three ‘Rs’ are ‘relax’, ‘refresh’ and ‘rejuvenate’. You choose how, starting with a choice of Maui condo rentals ranging from a 1 to 3 bedroom suite. Each condo rental comes with a fully-equipped kitchen, private lanai, high-speed internet, color cable TV and air conditioning. Will it be a garden view or partial ocean view condo? Either way, you’ll get your fill of both with 15 acres of mesmerizing tropical gardens and a magical white sand beach outside your door. (This is the absolute favorite of my cousins who go to Maui every year.)

Mexico

Mexico is still an option!  If there is trouble in Los Angeles, CA you would still be safe to visit North Idaho.  They are hundreds and hundreds of miles apart.  So with Mexico.  Feel free to visit Cancun and Los Cabos, even Puerto Vallarta if you stay at the resorts.  At this point, these locations are still fine.  And Mexico has the best bargain all-inclusive resorts to be found for those of us on the west coast.  Here’s my picks…

5)  Dreams Puerto Vallarta Resort        4 Nights $2024 including airfare.All-Inclusive Meals and Activities. (This is one of my all-time favorite properties.  You do not need to spend a penny extra if you do not want to.) In a lush tropical paradise, Dreams Peurto Vallarta Resort and Spa offers Unlimited Luxury in a secluded, private beach cove.  Luxurious accommodations include spacious ocean-view rooms and suites overlooking the hypnotic blue-green water and large private beach.  To unwind there are three pools, four gourmet restaurants and friendly bars plus lounges.  Dreams Puerto Vallarta has also received special recognition by the prestigious readers of Conde Nast Traveler magazine.  All guest rooms have 24-hour room service, a satellite TV, mini-bar refreshed daily and superior amenities.  Activities abound – you’ll find unique daytime activities and entertainment, water sports and fitness center, as well as a number of excellent a la carte restaurants and lounges with live entertainment.

6) MELIA CABO REAL, Los Cabos   4 Nights $1943 Includes airfareAll-Inclusive: Meals and activities Melia Cabo Real is ideally located between the desert and the Sea of Cortes with the only swimable beach of the Tourist Corridor, 10 minutes from San Jose del Cabo, 25 minutes from the airport and 20 minutes from Cabo San Lucas. The hotel features 305 rooms and suites completely redecorated with modern-day touches and a warmer palette, four culinary experiences and three energetic bars. The all-inclusive service provides the freedom of a worry free vacation and lets guests enjoy gourmet, a la carte dining, buffet option, unlimited snacks, select premium brand beverages and cocktails, professional entertainment for all ages, a daily program of activities and one of a kind leisure fun. Guests may partake in non-motorized water sports, snorkeling, tennis and such adrenaline rush adventures as climbing wall and zip line. The resort is surrounded by the 18 hole world-class signature championship golf course Cabo Real, designed by golf architect Robert Trent Jones II.

Tucson, Arizona

Still want sun, fun and pampering but Mexico is too far?  Take a trip to Arizona.  Tuscon is in the mountains so the heat is not as intense in the summer.  Tucson is a place worth considering for the budget wise, especially if your time is limited.  I have loved Tucson since first visiting it as a nine year old.

7) HILTON TUCSON EL CONQUISTADOR Three Nights $1275 Including airfare.The Hilton Tuscon El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort is located on 500 acres of serene, colorful high Sonoran Desert terrain in the foothills of the majestic Santa Catalina Mountains. The magnificent granite cliffs of Pusch Ridge rise directly behind the resort. This AAA 4-Diamond resort offers 45 holes of championship golf on 3 courses, 31 lighted tennis courts, wellness center, 4 outdoor swimming pools and 5 whirlpools. It includes indoor racquetball, volleyball and basketball courts at.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas is the capital of hot deals.  If you enjoy gambling, city life, glitz, or want a tour of the grand canyon this is a great place for you.  I have also included locations if you want to relax in the sun away from the gambling scene.  Take a look…

8) Trump Hotel Las Vegas                 3 nights $953 Includes airfare.
(What a deal – relax in a quiet atmosphere but quick access to the sizzling stuff.  No car needed.)  Soaring high above the Strip the new Trump International Hotel and Tower Las Vegas rises 64 stories to offer captivating views of the city against a majestic backdrop of surrounding mountains.  The building houses extensive spa and fitness center, exceptional dining and well-appointed amenities.  The resort is adjacent to some of the city’s best shopping, shows, and resort casinos and mere steps to the exhilaration of the strip.  This is a non-gaming and non-smoking luxury property.

9) Hard Rock Hotel and Casino       3 Nights $846 includes airfare.(We have stayed here numerous times.  It is a fun place.)  Premier resort offering a unique entertainment and gaming experience.  Our 30,000 square foot casino includes the infamous Center Bar, Race and Sportsbook, High Limit gaming, slots, table games, Rockstar Club and a new Poker Lounge.  The Tahitian-style beach swimming pool includes the Beach Club, swim-up gaming, cabanas, Friday Night Live summer concerts and REHAB Sunday Summer Pool Parties.  Nightlife includes, celebrity packed Bod English nightclub, The Joint concert venue and the new Wasted Space rock club.  Five restaurants, including world-famous Nobu Sushi, Robert De Niro’s AGO Northern Italian, Pink Taco Mexican, AJ’s Steakhouse; Mr. Lucky’s 24/7 Diner, Starbucks and plus and 8,000 square foot spa, salon and fitness center.

10) Aston Montelago Village Resort                               3 Nights $731 Includes airfare.The Aston MonteLago Village Resort offers the perfect mix of deluxe accommodations on a spectacular lakefront setting near the action of Las Vegas, yet a relaxed departure from the hustle and bustle of the Strip.  This uniquely themed resort offers a total vacation experience with its Mediterranean-style setting and diverse activities.  Each suite offers a private patio and a kitchen.  Amenities include three pools, two spas, two fitness rooms, a game room and business services.  Located in Henderson on the south shore of Lake Las Vegas, approximately 17 miles east of the Strip.

Seattle, Washington

Seattle vistas on a sunny day is picture perfect.  Give me a stroll through Pikes Market followed by a cup of tea at the Crumpet shop and I’m content.  Take a ferry ride to Bainbridge island and walk into town for a pastry, then hop on back for dinner.  Seattle is a wonderful place for a honeymoon. Keep the trip short so you will have plenty of money for eating out. Skip the rental car because once you are downtown the bus is free.  Catch a cab or the local bus to the hotel.  T

11) THE EDGEWATER               3 Nights $1025 Includes airfare.Nestled on Seattle’s waterfront at Pier 67, The Edgewater is Seattle’s original and only waterfront hotel. We’re surrounded by beauty: the majestic Olympic Mountains; the sparkling waters of Elliott Bay and the Velvety-pink sunsets of the Northwest sky. Relax in an overstuffed chair in our lobby, admiring the Olympic Mountains beside a river rock fireplace. Dine on the outdoor patio at Six Seven, watching sailboats drift by and keeping an eye out for jumping salmon. Or enjoy indoor pleasures-browsing our boutique and using our fitness center. We’re in the heart of downtown, so you’ll be within walking distance to the city’s favorite sites. But you just might decide to relax right here, soaking up the view beside a river-rock fireplace. If you are looking for unbeatable views, the scenic views you’ll get from Seattle’s only waterfront hotel are just outside your window.

San Francisco, California

My home city for all of my life until 2 years ago when I moved to North Idaho.  I left my heart in San Francisco.  You may leave yours as well.  It is a wonderful place to visit.  We would stay at a hotel in the city for anniversaries even though we only lived an hour away, just to enjoy.  No need to have a car once you are there if you are willing to walk a bit.  The buses go everywhere and of course there is the cable car.  Take the hop on-hop off bus option to make all the famous stops.

12)  PLACE $1978             4 Nights Includes airfare & transport to hotel Campton Place is in the premiere central location in San Francisco at Union Square and in the heart of the business district, the City’s best shopping, dining, art galleries, theatre and nightlife; it is very easy to get to/from the hotel from anywhere in the City or Greater San Francisco Bay Area by foot or via public transportation at reasonable cost. The hotel offers superior services and amenities with state-of-the-art electronics throughout, fine dining restaurant, bistro/bar & 24 hours full menu room service, complimentary fitness centre and complimentary hotel town car service. The hotel has been named the number one San Francisco hotel for the last 3 years by Travel + Leisure and for the same period on Conde Nast’s Gold list of Best Places in the World to Stay, both as a result of the Hotel’s exemplary service and attention to detail.

13) OMNI SAN FRANCISCO 4 Nights $1713 Includes airfare & transport to hotel The Omni San Francisco Hotel provides luxury accommodations in the heart of downtown San Francisco – the jewel of California. This beautiful Nob Hill hotel is close to everything and is located right on the cable car line. The hotel is only a short walk to Union Square, the San Francisco neighborhood that has become a mecca for high-end shopping and art galleries. Ideal for a romantic getaway, the Omni San Francisco Hotel offers modern amenities in a boutique ambiance due to its Florentine Renaissance architecture. Built as a bank in 1926, the lobby is adorned with Italian marble, rich fabrics and Austrian crystal chandeliers. This classic elegance makes the hotel the perfect location for a memorable wedding reception. Our on site restaurant, Bob’s Steak and Chop House, has carved out a reputation as one of America’s great steak houses. From great food to the attentive and seasoned wait staff, Bob’s offers an unmatched dining experience in the heart of San Francisco. The Omni San Francisco Hotel is elegant, comfortable and close to everything.

14) KENSINGTON PARK HOTEL 4 Nights $1436  Includes airfare & transport to hotel Kensington Park Hotel is the best address in Union Square for both business and leisure travel. In 2008, all rooms were renovated to reflect a sophisticated, stylish, yet comfortable decor. The hotel is centrally located in Union Square, just half a block away from the famous Cable Car line. Shopping, restaurants, art galleries and the Theatre District are all within an easy walk from the front door. Walk to the Moscone Convention Centre and Chinatown. Complimentary tea and sherry served each evening in the grand lobby. Spectacular Nob Hill and Union Square views from many guest rooms.

Cruises My husband likes nothing better than to sit on the stern of a ship with a coffee watching the water, helping the captain navigate.  Cruises are all about being aboard the ship with sumptuous food, scintillating nightly shows, and pool side lounging.  Of course, on shore you can explore or take an excursion or just relax at a café.  A few things to know about cruising – the food is included as are the shows and activities aboard ship, the drinks including soda are not and can cost quite a bit.  The shore excursions (trips sightseeing or activities) are extra, costing from $35 to $300.  At the end of the cruise, you will be automatically charged about $10 per day per person for tips.  Airfare is not included in these quotes so plan that extra cost into your figuring. You will also need a hotel the night before the cruise.  Carnival is the fun ship, primary colors and young focus.  Norwegian is one step up with more subdued colors and quieter focus.  These prices were for prime summer cruise time.  Off season prices are less expensive.

**NOTE:  If you book a cruise with me, I can make payments once a month for up to a year including your gratuities, so it isn’t a big financial burden all at once.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Alaska is sensational beauty.  Cruising Alaska, my mom and I saw two whales jump out of the water in gracious arcs early one dawn.  We took not one excursion but wandered each town enjoying the ambience.

15)  7-Day Sawyer Glacier Roundtrip Seattle

Ship: Norwegian Star

Embarkation port: Seattle

Embarkation: Sep 3, 2011

Disembarkation: Sep 10, 2011

Ports of call: Seattle; Ketchikan; Juneau; Skagway; Prince Rupert

Total Price: $1,781.60 Not including airfare or tips.  Plan about $400 for Southwest flights plus $100 for overnight in a hotel.  $140 for gratuities.  This doesn’t leave you much from our $2500 budget for drinks and excursions but you can have fun just looking and walking.  There are lots to see and you are getting a 7 day trip.

CARNIVAL Cruise Line (We go to Catalina Island almost every summer. It feels as if you are on a Caribbean island even though it is right off the California coast.  The town is quaint and small.  The dancing casino is worth a visit.  The glass bottom boat is fun.  Take a ride up to the park and you may see some buffalo.  Or just take your swim suit and lay on the beach.  If you walk past the casino you will find a wonderful beach resort where you can rent a cabana for the day or sit and sip a marquerita.)

16)      3 Day to Baja Mexico – Los Angeles, Catalina Island, Ensenada Mexico, Los Angeles.  Total Price $1036 Not including airfare. Plan about $600 additional for air and hotel the night before the cruise.  $60 for gratuities.  Plan about $300 for drinks and excursions.  This brings you in under $2000.

17)      5 Day Western Caribbean – Tampa, Florida, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, Cozumel, Mexico.  $1333 not including airfare.  Plan about $1100 for air and hotel.  $100 for gratuities leaving you about $100 for drinks and excursions.   Again, this doesn’t leave you much for drinks or excursions but you can window shop on shore and sip a Corona in a café.

THERE IT IS…17 TRIPS UNDER $2500!  One of these should work for you.  Of course there are a lot more options if you have a bit more money in your budget.  Would love to work with you.   Have fun planning,   Anne

www.honeymoonsbyannemarie.com anne@dreamalongtravel.com (208) 964-3578

Comments on: "17 Honeymoons Under $2500 Including Airfare-Summer 2011" (2)

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