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T R AV E L


Destination ROMANCE


Sigh! It’s that time of year again. The garden is in bloom and, as spring turns to summer, the lovers minds turn to thoughts of weddings and honeymoons.


I hate to keep harping on that much overused word “recession”, but we have to bite the bullet and realise that we’re slap bang in the middle of a big one. At times like these it’s becoming increasingly in vogue to have a small wedding here and lash all the savings into a once in a lifetime “to-die-for” honeymoon.


Others do the whole thing abroad, with a dream day in a white gown on the beach, barefoot, exchanging those promises of undying love. Admittedly the idea of the big white gown on the tropical beach wouldn’t be my cup of tea, as my own experience has taught me that the humidity is going to melt off all the bridal makeup, giving you panda eyes and great big sweat patches under your arms.


If you’re really adamant that you want the wedding in the sun then I’d recommend sticking close enough to home and checking out the stunning fi ncas of Marbella, the cliff hugging hotels of Positano, or (perhaps a little less expensive) the tiny white Church in the very lovely Playa Blanca Marina in Lanzarote.


Having travelled much of the world, and sweltered in impossible humidity, my personal preference would be to get married locally, have a buffet type reception where everyone could mingle, followed by a great band and free-fl owing inexpensive sparkling wine. Most local hotels will let you bring in your own wine for a small corkage fee.


The high point for me would be the honeymoon.


It’s


your chance to live out your most romantic travel fantasy and splash out on something truly exotic and lavish without feeling too guilty.


My friend Mags swears by the sublime Le Touessrok in Mauritius and has been back several times.


If you’re fond of the idea


of having a little fl ag by your sunbed that you raise when you want your sunglasses polished or your cocktail replenished, then this is the place for you. At the high end of the price spectrum, it’s not going to be for everyone.


My own absolutely favourite long-haul destination has to be the tiny Southern Caribbean island of Aruba. Off the coast of Venezuela, most people have never heard of it. Dubbed “One Happy Island” by the locals, you realise very quickly that it’s exactly that.


It has everything


you could possibly want – perfectly white sandy beaches, top end gourmet restaurants, brilliant nightlife, and stunning scenery.


It’s not as lushly green as most


of the other islands of the Caribbean but it has a wild and rugged coastline that photography enthusiasts would die for.


would go here on a winter honeymoon (HINT – they have the most amazing fi reworks display ever on New Year’s Eve).


Closer to home, Madeira is that bit different. A truly romantic hideaway on this island, renowned for its lush fl ora and stunning walkways, is Choupana Hills


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Late evening sundown refl ects on the verdant pool at Choupana Hills, Madeira


Hotel. As your taxi winds its way along the tiny narrow road up the very steep mountainside you will feel the air thin as you climb almost into the clouds. At the very top stands the most amazing hotel, surrounded by pine trees.


Your senses


will fi ll with the scent of pine as you are guided to your room, a wood cabin in the hills.


sense though, as every luxury is at your fi ngertips.


It’s not a cabin in the ordinary The views from your wooden


deck are breathtaking as you gaze over the valley below.....and did I mention they have an award winning restaurant?


For some other tips and suggestions, take a look at my top romantic hotels listed in the panel. Enjoy!


Photos: Gabrielle Dalton


TOP ROMANTIC RESORT HOTELS • Bucuti Beach Hotel, Eagle Beach, Aruba - Tara Suites room. www.bucuti.com • Abama Hotel Resort, Guia de Isora, Tenerife - Villa room. www.abamahotelresort.com • Moon Palace Resort, Riviera Maya, Mexico - Oceanfront room. www.palaceresorts.com/resorts/moon-palace • Choupana Hills Hotel, Madeira - Jacuzzi suite. www.choupanahills.com/en/en_index.html • Pucic Palace Hotel, Dubrovnik Old Town, Croatia - Junije Palmotiæ suite. www.thepucicpalace.com


Playa Blanca Marina, Lanzarote


by Gabrielle Dalton, Travel Expert


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