Real Honeymoon: Sonoma, Kauai & South Korea

Not only does the multi-leg itinerary make this honeymoon incredibly unique, but it’s also the first one that I’ve ever come across that involves both sets of in-laws! Read all about Jane and Sean’s one-of-a-kind honeymoon in wine country, Kauai, and South Korea below:

When and where did you honeymoon?

We had three legs to our honeymoon (Sonoma, Kauai, and South Korea), and we left the very next day after our wedding [May 11, 2014]. It was ambitious on our end, but we wanted to maximize the number of hours we had on actually enjoying our first destination rather than spending the precious time on a plane. Needless to say, we were two very, very, very tired (and hungover…) passengers on our flight [from Chicago] to California.

Healdsburg Honeymoon

Wine Country!

Kauai Honeymoon

Kauai!

South Korea Honeymoon

South Korea!

How long was your trip?

We spent three nights in Sonoma, six nights in Kauai, and five nights in South Korea.

hawaii honeymoon

How did you decide on your honeymoon destinations?

My in-laws have always wanted to visit Northern California (specifically, wine country) so we thought, “let’s go there first and invite them along!” So, we spent the first leg of our honeymoon with them in beautiful Sonoma (specifically, the adorable town of Healdsburg). If anyone is planning a trip to wine country, I would highly recommend staying at Hotel Healdsburg. Perfect location, exceptional hotel staff, and intimate (without being too quiet) ambience.

Healdsburg honeymoon

We live in Chicago so our Norcal destination was “on the way” to the second destination of our honeymoon (Kauai) which segmented the overall flight time. Kauai was an easy pick for us because that is our favorite of the Hawaiian islands. We’d both been there separately as kids so we were excited to explore the beautiful island together as adults. And, of course, Kauai did not disappoint!

Kauai honeymoon

As for the last and final leg of our honeymoon, we chose South Korea as Sean had never been there before and because every husband should see where his wife was born/raised! My parents joined us for this leg of the trip and they planned out the entire itinerary for our stay there. Since the majority of my extended family still reside in South Korea, my parents also planned a second wedding reception while we were there so that extended families who couldn’t make it to our Chicago wedding could attend. :)

south korea honeymoon

The best part about our honeymoon was…

Risking the fear of sounding too corny and mushy, the best part of our honeymoon was that we were ON our honeymoon. We were both bitten by the travel bug at an early age so we’ve both (together and separately) had significant travel logs under our belts. But, there is something so special and charming about being on your first trip as husband and wife. Even the most mundane activities such as enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning from the balcony of your hotel is novel and sweet. However, If I had to pick a single activity of our honeymoon that stood out the most, I’d have to say it was the 17-mile kayak tour along the Napali coast. Absolutely breath-taking.

napali coast

Kauai

kauai

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Where to Stay During Your Honeymoon in Kauai

I published a post last week about where to stay during an Italian honeymoon, and this week I’m going to focus on one of the most popular islands for honeymooners: Kauai!

honeymoon in kauai

If you decide to honeymoon in Kauai, I’d recommend staying in more than one hotel so you can check out different parts of the island, or just so you can maybe splurge a little at one hotel and then find a more reasonable place to stay throughout the rest of your trip.

Below is a list of hotels that that Real Honeymooners who’ve contributed to the blog would recommend:

Happy travel planning, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Real Honeymoon: Kauai

After their beautiful wedding in Lake Tahoe, Matt and Amy chose to honeymoon in Kauai where they knew they’d be able to relax and still find tons of fun things to do.  They also kept things interesting by staying in hotels in three different parts of the island.  Read all about their amazing honeymoon in Kauai, and make sure to check out their great restaurants and activities tips at the end:

When and where did you honeymoon?

We went to Kauai in Early August [2013].

sunset

How long was your trip?

We were there for 10 days.

hike

How did you decide on your honeymoon destination(s)?

We both wanted a place where we could relax and unwind after the wedding festivities. Somewhere warm, with beaches, and warm water. The place also needed to offer areas to explore and a plethora of outdoor activities. We also wanted it to be a place neither of us had visited before, so it could be a new experience together.

bay

The best part about our honeymoon was…

You mean aside from spending 10 days in paradise with the one you love, relaxing and soaking up the tropical sun? The best part was not having to stick to a schedule. Our days were just about perfect. First, enjoy some morning coffee and breakfast, then embark on activity for some adventure and exercise. Then beach time, then a great dinner.

beach

If I knew then what I know now, I’d change…

We split our time between the north and south sides of the island. In the North, we stayed in Princeville, which was absolutely gorgeous. The frequent, very quick rain spells kept everything lush and green and also provided some a quick refuge from the hot tropical sun. A five minute drive down the hill and over a one lane bridge took us straight into Hanalei, where we spent fair amount of time. Hanalei Bay and the town of Hanalei proved to be a perfect match for everything we enjoyed. On the south side of the island, we stayed in sunny Poipu. Poipu was dry, had more strip malls and had more of a large resort feel to it. We decided that we really enjoyed Princeville more and would have spent more time there.

princeville

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Real Honeymoon: Kauai & Tahiti

What do you do when you want a relaxing honeymoon in Tahiti but your significant other wants an exciting honeymoon in Hawaii?  Compromise and do both!  Yes, that’s right.  Katie and Adam decided to honeymoon in Kauai AND Tahiti.  Is that the ultimate multi-moon or what?  Read all about this amazing honeymoon and check out their incredible photos below:

When and where did you honeymoon?

We went to Kauai, Moorea, and Bora Bora in July [2013] (immediately after our wedding). There is only one flight a week from Hawaii to Tahiti, so you have to plan around that.

Kauai Honeymoon

How long was your trip?

2 weeks

How did you decide on your honeymoon destination(s)?

My husband loves activities! We wanted to do a mix of adventure (Kauai) and relaxation (Tahiti).

Bora Bora Honeymoon

The best part about our honeymoon was…

Bora Bora! We literally wanted to move to the island! We stayed at the Four Seasons and took advantage of every second there. Favorite parts: the breakfast buffet, daily happy hour (which you can enjoy while watching the sunset), paddle boarding around the hotel, a 3 hour snorkel tour we did with Christof, and dinner at La Villa Mahana. Pretty much everything!

Bora Bora Honeymoon

If I knew then what I know now, I’d change…

We would skip Moorea and head straight to Bora Bora. Not because we didn’t enjoy it, but because it was a pain traveling there for just one night.

How much planning did you do in advance?

A decent amount for Kauai. My husband bought a book on the island and sought out reccs from friends who had been there. We made restaurant reservations in advance, which was key, since the hotel (and island) were pretty full! For Bora Bora, the one reservation we made far in advance (6+ months out) was dinner at Villa Mahana. (There is only one seating each night, and 8 tables, so this is a must!)

Kauai Honeymoon

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Real Honeymoon: Kauai

I’ve written several times before that my consultant friends really lived it up during their honeymoons (e.g. Seoul/Maldives Honeymoon & Hong Kong/Maldives/Tokyo Honeymoon), and Lauren and Chris are certainly no exception.  Because both of them travel so much for work, the biggest priority for their honeymoon was to slow down and just take it easy.  Read all about their incredibly relaxing Hawaiian honeymoon below:

When and where did you honeymoon?

We honeymooned in mid-to-late June [2013] in Princeville, Hawaii which is locaed on the island of Kauai. We stayed at the St. Regis there for the entire trip.

St. Regis Kauai

How long was your trip?

Two glorious weeks.

How did you decide on your honeymoon destination(s)?

We debated back and forth on this, because ultimately we vacation for “free” whenever we go anywhere so cost is less of an issue for our vacation planning. We are both consultants, so we have accumulated a lot of points over the years towards flights/hotels. We got married on the West Coast in Napa, California, so we debated going to Phuket or Bora Bora, but ultimately determined that neither of us felt like spending any MORE time in an airplane than we had to. We love Maui, so we figured why not try a different island!

Kauai

The best part about our honeymoon was…

Doing absolutely nothing for two weeks. We both have so much stress in our careers that we enjoyed the opportunity to do a whole lot of nothing. We really enjoyed the nightly champagne sabering in the St. Regis lobby, all of the amazing sunsets we saw at Hanalei Bay and a couple of the island restaurants (Bar Acuda and Mediterranean Gourmet). We spent 3 hours every day sitting at the pool bar hanging out with the bartenders and ordering lunch in “courses” only to be washed down with delicious Mai Tai’s and K’apaa Margaritas. We also went snorkeling and kayaking almost every day, which is so easy because its on your own schedule and does not have to be planned.

Champagne

If I knew then what I know now, I’d change…

I’d do more research on the room type at the hotel and pre-request. There are a couple of great websites that tell you the pros/cons of each floor/section of hotels. We had an amazing suite overlooking the bay, but I think ultimately would have been happier with a smaller room that had a balcony. We really love to sit outside at night.

How much planning did you do in advance?

None. We don’t often “plan” our vacations other than booking airfare and hotel. We really love to have no formal schedule when we aren’t at work.

Kauai

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Real Honeymoon: Kauai & Maui

This week’s real honeymoon blog post features another California couple who took advantage of the West Coast’s proximity to Hawaii.  Jessie and Jon really nailed the perfect balance between beach/relaxation time and doing exciting activities during their trip.  Read their fun recommendations and check out the beautiful photos below:

When and where did you honeymoon?

We left one day after our wedding and spent 10 days in Hawaii…..six nights in Kauai and four nights in Maui! [July 2011]

Four Seasons Maui

How long was your trip?

Our trip was 10 days! Wish it was more :)

Kauai

How did you decide on your honeymoon destination(s)?

My husband and I discussed where we wanted to go….we both wanted a place that was fun, chill and beautiful! Since I planned a majority of our wedding, my husband was happy to plan our honeymoon. I had been to Hawaii before and thought it was a beautiful place that would let us just chill and enjoy being married without to much travel or stress :)

Kauai

The best part about our honeymoon was…

Staying at the Four Seasons in Maui….and just being able to enjoy being husband and wife! It was the first time in a long time that I allowed myself to just chill!

If I knew then what I know now, I’d change…

Really nothing…we had a great time, the service, the side trips we planned, our days just relaxing at the pool…. everything was just “us” and gave us the time to enjoy one another’s company instead of getting caught up in the day to day obligations!!!

Hawaii

How much planning did you do in advance?

My husband did most of the planning….which was very difficult for my OCD tendencies! But he did an amazing job planning awesome activities as well as massages! Here are some of the best activities we did:

Helicopter Tour: Jack Harter Helicopters
We went on a helicopter tour, which was amazing. About 70% ok Kauai is only accessible by air, so this definitely gave us a chance to look at some of the amazing views of the waterfalls, beaches, etc that would not have otherwise been able to see.

Helicopter tour

ATV Tour:
This was by far one of the best, most fun activities we did. Amazing, kind, nice guides! Really fun drive, got to see where movies were filmed, provided lunch! Just awesome :)

Catamaran Tour:
This was really fun! Beautiful views, got to go snorkeling, saw dolphins, provided breakfast and lunch! One word of advice, if either one of you or your fiance get motion sickness I would recommend taking something before, a couple people got sick on the boat….mostly kids though!

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Real Honeymoon: Kauai

Liz and Pat are one of the busiest couples that I know, so they really wanted their honeymoon to be a chill vacation.  Read about their relaxing Hawaiian honeymoon below:

When and where did you honeymoon?  

Kauai [August 2012]

How long was your trip?  

10 nights

How did you decide on your honeymoon destination(s)?  

Pat had never been to Kauai and I hadn’t been since I was in 1st grade.  I always vacationed there when I was young so it was really special to me.  We wanted the most relaxed atmosphere so Kauai was a clear choice of all the islands. We had gotten engaged in Italy last year so we wanted to change it up and go somewhere tropical and relaxing and just spend time together.

The best part about our honeymoon was…  

Waking up and drinking mimosas on our patio and playing cards every morning.  To spend time like that is almost impossible when we are both working so much and it was just a time I will never forget.

If I knew then what I know now, I’d change…

Nothing :)

How much planning did you do in advance?  

[The trip] was very easy to plan. Booked hotel early and everything else was very easy to book while we were there.  Great location choice for busy people who don’t have time to do a bunch of planning in advance.

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Real Honeymoon: Kauai & Maui

College sweethearts and fellow Michigan Wolverines Megan and Mike didn’t want to choose between Hawaiian islands, so they decided to go to two!  Read all about their fun and adventurous Hawaiian honeymoon below:

When and where did you honeymoon?

Hawaii in the beginning of September (2011) – Kauai (Grand Hyatt in Poipu) and Maui (Hyatt Regency in Lahaina).

Hawaiian Jeep Tour

How long was your trip?

5 days on Kauai and 5 days on Maui.

How did you decide on your honeymoon destination(s)?

We wanted somewhere warm and tropical, where we could relax AND be adventurous.  We knew we would be exhausted and need lots of pool and cocktails, but we also knew we would get restless if we couldn’t get out and explore.  We also didn’t want to sacrifice too much time and budget of the vacation traveling, since we were already flying from Northern Michigan back to LA.  We decided on two islands because we don’t get to travel very often, and we wanted to make the most of the time off.  We chose Kauai based on recommendations from friends.  It sounded more quiet, so we started our trip there to unwind after the wedding.  We chose Maui as the second island b/c there were so many “adventures” we read about (volcano and watefalls!).

Hawaiian bike ride

The best part about our honeymoon was…

Watching Michigan beat ND under the lights…jokes (but it was an added bonus)!  This is actually really hard to answer because we got to do so many amazing things.  I loved the day we spent in Waimea Canyon in Kauai because we were both totally in our element together.  We found ourselves alone on most of the trails, we went off roading in our jeep wrangler (a must on both islands!), and just enjoyed some spectacular views.  I also loved our day on the Road to Hana.  Nothing is more Hawaii then swimming in a waterfall.

If I knew then what I know now, I’d change…

The day we spent on the Road to Hana in Maui.  It was an epic adventure, but there are two things I would have changed.  1) I would have charged our camera before we went or even brought a waterproof disposable for all the waterfall photos and 2) I would have bought water shoes for all the slippery rock climbing in the water fall lagoons.  In Kauai, I also wish I would have known to get into Waimea Canyon Park early and up to the Napali Coast viewpoint at the top before the clouds roll in.  We were lucky and got a quick sneak peak, but the longer you wait the less likely the view gets.

Napali Coast

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Real Honeymoon: Kauai

West Coasters are so lucky that Hawaii is only a five and a half hour plane ride away. Read all about Sam and Amy’s fun honeymoon on Kauai below:

When and where did you honeymoon?

We went to Kauai (stayed on the South Shore in Poipu) and left the day after our wedding (my birthday) on May 20, 2012.

How long was your trip?

11 days

How did you decide on your honeymoon destination(s)?

We didn’t want to have to deal with passports and/or visas or foreign languages – which can be kind of limiting! We just wanted good weather and beaches. My brother in law went to Kauai for his honeymoon as did some close friends of ours and we heard there was plenty to do.

The best part about our honeymoon was…

Eating whatever I wanted to because I didn’t have a dress to fit into. No, seriously, my favorite part was driving around the island listening to one of three radio stations (all reggae) after spending the day on the beach. Also, coming from living in the fog of San Francisco, it was amazing not wearing a sweater for 11 days.


If I knew then what I know now, I’d change…

I’d absolutely, never go on the 17 1/2 mile Napali coast kayaking trip. I’d also wear more sunscreen and spend more time on the North Coast.

How much planning did you do in advance?

We booked our flights and booked our accommodations. That was it!

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