Real Honeymoon: The Maldives

My friends Cara and Eric went on a quintessential tropical honeymoon in the Maldives last year. While the Maldives can certainly be one of the world’s most expensive vacation destinations, Cara and Eric were smart about splitting up their trip between two differently priced resorts, and the result was perfection! Read all about their incredibly gorgeous Maldives honeymoon below:

When and where did you honeymoon?

Eric and I decided to honeymoon in the Maldives, which is a grouping of 26 atolls in the middle of the Indian Ocean.  The Maldives is basically as far away from San Francisco as you can possibly get.  We went for two weeks directly following our labor day weekend wedding [September 2014].  We stayed at two resorts, to break up the trip (and the second hotel allowed us to not break our bank account).

Maldives honeymoon

Tennis in the Maldives

yoga in paradiseResort #1: Anantara – Dhigu
Amazing customer service.  Over water bungalow is a must.  We went with the half board, which consisted of a fantastic breakfast buffet (could not get enough of the local  fresh fruit) and  a 3 course dinner at all restaurants on the island.  Water surrounding hotel is a like a lagoon, so there are no waves and allows for a safe haven for baby sea life – including friendly reef sharks!  The resort supplies you bikes you can take around the island and had they had a fantastic spa that we would highly recommend.  Not as much of a water activity focus here, but there are islands you can swim or kayak to within the resort that allows for great snorkeling.

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Resort #2: Kuredu Island Resort 
This was more of a party resort – which we later discovered when we arrived.  We did the all inclusive option, which allowed us access to 3 buffets per day and all the drinks we wanted!  The water there was rougher, so we spent more time in the resort pools.  The activities were plentiful, giving options for diving, snorkeling, tours and tennis.  They also throw a white party every Friday, which I judged at first, but ended up closing the place down.

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

I had some big dreams for our honeymoon and one requirement: I wanted to stay in an over-water bungalow.  Surprisingly, there are not many places in the world where these villas exist, so this limited our selection right off the bat.   We created a short list of destinations and compared average hotels costs and airline costs.

10355441_10100339553493944_3809910131736898347_oUltimately, we decided to splurge on a “once in a lifetime experience.”  Our close friends did their honeymoon there the previous year and raved about the location, so we also felt comfortable staying in a resort that someone was able to vouch for – because who wants a bad honeymoon experience?

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The best part about our honeymoon was…

The water.  It was crystal clear, allowing us to see all of the baby sharks, fish and sting rays that swam by.  At night the hotels would put lights on in the water, which would attract all types of fish and allow for viewing at dinner.  The snorkeling was amazing, I have never seen so many different types of fish in one place.

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

Nothing really.  One thing to keep in mind is when you are booking your travel is account for travel back to the airport from your resort.  We had to take a seaplane from Kuredu and the last one the resort had out was at 4pm, while our flight was at 10pm out of the Maldives airport.  Spending 6 hours at an airport where alcohol is illegal and the fine dining was Burger King left more to be desired.

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Real Honeymoon: Paris & The Maldives

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of multi-moons (i.e. combining two or more honeymoon destinations in one awesome trip), so it’s no surprise that I’m very excited about Cari and Chris’ honeymoon in Paris and the Maldives. Read all about their incredible honeymoon below:

When and where did you honeymoon?

Paris, France & the Maldives. Our wedding was on December 7, 2013 so we left for our honeymoon on December 9th and returned on the 22nd.

paris honeymoon

Chris and Cari in Paris

How long was your trip?

It was 13 days: 4 days in Paris, 7 days in Maldives, 2 days of travel.

Maldives 2     Eiffel Tower day

How did you decide on your honeymoon destinations? 

Maldives: Chris and I lived in Malaysia and always wanted to go to the Maldives while we lived on that side of the world. We never made it there before we moved back to the States, so it stayed on our travel bucket list. We have traveled a lot separately and together, and wanted to go somewhere new to both of us and unique. Also, it is far away and a place we wouldn’t be likely to travel to at a later date.

maldives honeymoon

Paris: Chris travelled to Paris when we first started dating, and we traded emails throughout his trip where he shared how wonderful of a place it was. We got to know each other better throughout these emails and it was always a fond memory in our relationship. When he returned he brought me a souvenir Eiffel Tower and promised to be bring me back there someday. There was even a time during our wedding planning that we talked about getting married in Paris.

Paris love lock bridge

For the honeymoon, our initial plan was to go to Maldives, but when we realized the routes to Maldives required a layover in Paris, we seized the opportunity to have a two continent honeymoon. It was a wonderful way to visit two places that we had always wanted to go together. And it was fun to be in a cold city first and then end in a tropical place!

The best part about our honeymoon was… 

Paris: Finally exploring and experiencing the City of Love together.

Maldives: Relaxing on our private beautiful beach and doing absolutely nothing!

Paris 4     Maldives - private beach

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

Spend the extra money and upgrade for first class tickets!

Maldives - sea plane airport

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Real Honeymoon: Paris, The Maldives, Singapore, Hong Kong & Japan

Yes, you read the title correctly. This week’s real honeymooners went to Paris, the Maldives, Singapore, Hong Kong, AND Tokyo on one of the most amazing honeymoons imaginable. My friend Danny and his husband Graham travel frequently and very well, so of course they had to really step it up even more for their recent honeymoon. Read all about their ultimate multi-moon below:

When and where did you honeymoon?

As a global traveler on a regular basis for work and a huge airline “dork,” I wanted a honeymoon that would allow me to travel on a wide variety of airlines (in first class, of course) and to at least one exotic location that I had never been before. Fortunately, my now husband was on board with my ambitious plans and we settled on a pretty crazy itinerary.

maldives honeymoon

In the end, we went to Paris (Westin Vendome) , the Maldives (Niyama Maldives), Singapore (The Ritz-Carlton Singapore), Hong Kong (The Hotel Icon) and Tokyo (The Peninsula), experiencing Suites class on Singapore Airlines, First Class on Lufthansa and Thai Airways and business class on ANA, including a trip on their new Dreamliner.

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How long was your trip?

To keep the wedding/honeymoon as one celebration, we left on our honeymoon the Sunday after our wedding and spent roughly two weeks traveling (May 2014).

maldives honeymoon   maldives honeymoon

How did you decide on your honeymoon destinations?

For as long as I can remember, my number one criteria for my honeymoon was spending at least part of it on an overwater villa someplace tropical. Since Graham and I have been together (over 6 years), our favorite memories have been our tropical trips, sitting on a beach, drinking something fruity, and gorging ourselves with beach/pool side food. As such, he was more than happy to indulge me once again in this dream, so the focus became finding the best overwater bungalow we could.

maldives honeymoon   maldives honeymoon

We narrowed it down to Tahiti and The Maldives, but ultimately decided on The Maldives, as it was easier to get there for free with my miles and there seemed to be far more options with extra perks, like personal infinity pools and underwater nightclubs, that Tahiti did not seem to offer.

The other destinations were picked more based on getting to and from the Maldives with miles, maximizing our time in First Class, and getting to destinations where we knew the food would be amazing (our other big criteria).

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The best part about our honeymoon was…

We may differ on this, but other than the amazing flights, and beautiful Maldives, I have to say the best part was just spending 2 weeks together, with no one else and no other distractions. It was the longest time we had spent together, just us, and it was pretty amazing. Über emo, I know. Hopefully you aren’t all throwing up now….

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Real Honeymoon: Hong Kong, Maldives & Tokyo

Another couple of newlyweds who really took advantage of their travel points and miles are my good friends McKenzie and Curtis who spent the majority of their honeymoon in the picture perfect Maldives.  As I’ve mentioned before, there are definitely perks to being a consultant when you want to go all out on your honeymoon.  Read all about their “baller-status” honeymoon below ; )

When and where did you honeymoon?

We left the Monday after the wedding and our first stop was Hong Kong. We were in Hong Kong for two days before trekking to the Maldives. We were in the Maldives for 10 days and on the way back to the U.S.A. we stopped in Tokyo for a day.

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Look familiar? Seema and Tommy took the same photo!

How long was your trip?

Two weeks total.

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

Your honeymoon is your one chance to do it big. When else in your life are given cart blanche to take multiple weeks off work and spend money like you are rockstars? It has been a dream of mine to stay in an over-water bungalow, and there are only a few places in the world that have those, one being the Maldives, the exotic and remote honeymoon were looking for! After deciding on the main attraction, we needed to determine which route to take. We wanted to make a stop on the way there and back for two reasons: 1) To break up the 36 hour journey and 2) If we are going half way around the world, we might as well make the most of it. Since we have both been to Europe several times, we decided to take the Asia route. We decided to visit China on the way there (Hong Kong) and Japan on the way home (Tokyo).

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The best part about our honeymoon was… 

Our resort in the Maldives. I can officially say that I have stayed on a private island. For the first five nights we stayed in an over-water bungalow, a dream come true. While sleeping you can hear the Indian Ocean lapping underneath you. During the day, we would hang out on our deck and whenever we wanted, we would just walk down the deck stairs and we would be knee-deep in the Indian Ocean. We could go snorkeling, swimming or just float in the 80 degree water. It was heaven, we almost did not want to switch to our second room, but we are glad we did.

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For the second five nights we had our own private villa with our own private infinity pool. Privacy walls surrounded the villa so every morning when we woke up all we could see was our pool and the Indian Ocean. We spent our days lounging on our patio and when the 90 degree sun got too intense, we could cool off in our own private pool!

We also did several activities while at the resort. We had a spa day, we did two snorkeling trips and we went on a sunset dolphin watching cruise. Every night we would get drinks on the beach and go to one of the six restaurants on the island. In contrast to the couple Mexican vacations that Curtis and I have taken together, this vacation was heavier on the relaxation and lighter on the tequila.

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

I would have packed more casual clothes. Since it was my honeymoon, I packed cute dresses and heels for dinner every night; however, the paths through the island were sand and the one night I wore heels, I ended up walking home barefoot. Most people wore casual sundresses and flip-flops, and I wish I packed more outfits like that. During the day, we only wore bathing suits and cover-ups.

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Real Honeymoon: Seoul & The Maldives

Where do you go on your honeymoon when you have a million frequent flier miles and hotel points racked up?  Everywhere!  Specifically, my friends Seema and Tommy chose to check out both South Korea and the Maldives during their honeymoon.  Because Seema is a consultant and travels constantly for work, they were able to upgrade their long flights and they only had to pay a fraction of their costs out of pocket.  Read all about their awesome honeymoon below:

When and where did you honeymoon? 

Seoul & the Maldives, in September 2012

Private Pool

How long was your trip? 

12 days

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

We wanted to do a BIG trip to somewhere that we had never been before and some place we might never go again.

The best part about our honeymoon was… 

Being on a secluded island in the Maldives & the food in Seoul was amazing!

Korean Street Food

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

I’d spent 1 more day in each spot!

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Real Honeymoon: Maldives, Sri Lanka & Dubai

My friends Natalie and Josh are the first to kick off the “Real Honeymoons” series on Peonies to Palm Trees.  Read all about their incredible honeymoon below:

When and where did you honeymoon?

In September 2010, we went to the Maldives, Dubai, and Sri Lanka.

How long was your trip?

We kicked it off with 8 nights in the Maldives, then 2 nights in Sri Lanka, and 12 hours in Dubai. Plus 34ish hours on planes and another 10ish in airports ;)

Private pool at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

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

Shortly after we got engaged, my then-fiancé and I went to Paris for a long weekend. (Damn, we sound like serious jetsetters. I promise, post-baby, this has changed.) I bought a French bridal magazine in the airport and saw an ad for the Maldives. That was it, that was what I wanted to do. We looked into some other island destinations that would have been considered unique for Americans but totally normal for Europeans (Seychelles, Mauritius), but ultimately the Maldives spoke to us. Being the sort of couple whose interests span beyond sand & sea, and knowing that we were going to trek 17 hours to get to this part of the world, we decided to make the most of it. Throw in a long layover in dubai where J’s college friend could give us a full-day tour? And a few days in Sri Lanka since the civil war had just ended and it would be…. different? Sure! Sounds perfect.

The best part about our honeymoon was…

The Maldives. That place is just unreal. Each resort is its own island, as is the airport. You land in the main city, Male, and then take a seaplane or boat to your hotel/island. We did it up — half the time in an overwater hut where you are practically IN the ocean, and half the time in a private beach villa with a personal plunge pool just for us and direct access to the most gorgeous beach on the planet. Breakfast buffets, lazy pool days, an underwater restaurant, jetski adventures, and a sunset cruise were just some of the highlights. I’m proud to say we started a bit of a Maldives trend in our worlds, with now 4-5 couples having gone there for their honeymoons since as well!

Jetskiing in the Maldives

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