Couples can celebrate their special day at one of these three seaside sanctuaries that offer both romance and relaxation for newlyweds.
Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara, CA is an ideal destination for couples that are California dreaming. The resort can accommodate wedding requests ranging from a private ceremony in one of the Mediterranean-style guestrooms to a ballroom wedding, hosting up to 1,250 guests and many options in-between.
Pictured: Su Casa, a private waterfront Spanish-Colonial hacienda is one of several venues to exchange vows at Dorado Beach.
The 11,300-square-foot Bacara Ballroom features 23-foot-high ceilings and six balconies and can be divided into three separate areas, each accommodating up to 350 wedding guests. The ballroom also has 8,700 square feet of additional event space, including a vaulted foyer with fireplace, an adjacent ocean-view terrace and an expansive lawn, where guests can enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres prior to the ceremony.
Other options include the Rotunda and Rotunda Terrace, a 1,734-square-foot circular area atop Bacara’s main lobby offering views of the ocean, along with an outdoor area perfect for an al fresco celebration. For a more intimate wedding, Bacara’s wine cellar features a display of 12,000 wines from around the world, along with a private dining room that can seat up to 40. Those looking to take in the natural beauty of the resort can choose from The Bluff, an expansive lawn area with ocean views that can accommodate up to 300 guests for a seaside wedding ceremony or reception; the Ocean Lawn, which affords panoramic ocean views; or the Residence Lawn, a more intimate, oceanside venue that can be reserved in conjunction with The Residence, Bacara’s 3,700-square-foot retreat. This option can accommodate up to 120 guests for outdoor wedding receptions and includes a two-night stay in The Residence. Finally, the Oval Lawn offers couples a private and enclosed garden area, accommodating up to 300 guests.
The Ocean Lawn at Bacara Resort & Spa affords panoramic ocean views and is surrounded by the resort’s lush landscaping.
To book a wedding at Bacara, contact Elaine Sandoval ([email protected]), director of sales.
After the tying the knot, newlyweds can retire to one of the rooms right on property. The Residence, which is the closest accommodation to the ocean on the bluff and includes ocean views, three wood-burning fireplaces, a patio for private dinners and its own workout area, is one of the top two options for honeymooners. The other is The Terrace Suite, which features ocean views, a master bedroom area with a fireplace, a wrap-around terrace overlooking the ocean and a relaxing soaking bathtub.
Pictured: Bacara Resort & Spa has 358 newly renovated guestrooms, suites and luxury retreats.
When the new couple is ready to venture out, many options are right at their fingertips, including a visit to the 4,200-square-foot, 36-room spa that offers private treatments, or they can reserve the roof deck area, where they can host a group get-together with their wedding guests, enjoying treatments such as a private mud bar and private massages, overlooking the ocean. While it is recommended to make reservations as far in advance as possible, the spa will do its best to make last minute arrangements. Contact Lana Tierre ([email protected]), spa director.
For outdoor enthusiasts, Bacara offers a variety of ocean sports, including surfing, body boarding, ocean kayaking and sailing. Also available is horseback riding, cycling, mountain biking and hiking. Those looking to hit the links are in luck. There are three nearby 18-hole championship golf courses: Sandpiper Golf Club, Glen Annie and Rancho San Marcos.
For those with kids, Monarch Kids’ Club offers fun activities and exploration options for children ages five through 12. The program was designed especially to reflect Bacara’s surroundings and rich Chumash history.
Ko’a Kea Hotel & Resort’s oceanfront guestrooms provide unobstructed views of Poipu Beach.
Always a popular wedding and honeymoon destination, Hawaii offers myriad options. Ko’a Kea Hotel & Resort at Poipu Beach near Kauai’s southernmost point is one of the many options for couples to spend their honeymoon. Although wedding ceremonies and receptions are not currently available at Ko’a Kea, discounted accommodations are on offer for groups celebrating elsewhere on the island.
Among the most popular retreats for honeymooners is Room No. 376, an oceanfront suite closest to the water on Kauai. The 624-square-foot room has a separate living room, wooden-beamed ceiling and large soaking tub (one of just 12 on property). A patio with chaise lounges is ideal for taking in 180-degree views of Poipu Beach.
For family or friends traveling together to celebrate their loved ones’ special day, the resort presents 29 sets of connecting rooms located in various areas of the property. They range from two Partial Ocean View Rooms (Nos. 269 and 271) to an Oceanfront Room and Oceanfront Suite (Nos. 378 and 374). And good news for those traveling with their furry friends: the hotel permits dogs 25 lbs. or less. The pet fee is a non-refundable $100 per day, and a bed, food, water bowl and toys are supplied. (Note: Due to limited availability of oceanfront and suite rooms, it is advisable to book at least two months in advance. During high demand periods such as summer and winter holidays, booking three, or more, months before is recommended.)
To book a room, contact Mahealani Miles ([email protected]), guest services manager.
Ko’a Kea Hotel & Resort at Poipu Beach is a 121-room oceanfront hotel near Kauai’s southernmost point.
Romantic dining can be found in the resort’s upscale seafood restaurant, Red Salt, where they can enjoy the Red Coral Martini, Ko’a Kea’s signature cocktail made with Stolichnaya vanilla and raspberry vodka with a splash of pomegranate juice. Tables 22 or 27, next to the windows overlooking the property and ocean, are the most romantic seats in the house. Reservations are recommended one week in advance.
Pictured: The Surf Room at Dorado Beach is a ballroom with floor-to-ceiling windows that open onto an outside terrace overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
Couples or groups can enjoy some down time at The Spa at Ko’a Kea, which has five treatment rooms, plus a seaside cabana. Why not live like the natives and enjoy a traditional Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage before taking a walk along the seaside path that runs in front of the hotel or directly on the sand. More vigorous oceanfront hiking is located nearby on the bluffs of Mahaulepu. Bicycle rentals are available at Outfitters Kauai, about four minutes from the hotel.
Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, located in Puerto Rico, gives couples an option to celebrate their big day a quick plane-ride away. The resort offers a variety of venues to exchange vows, including the Surf Room, a 4,558-square-foot luxury ballroom streaming with natural daylight provided by floor-to-ceiling windows that open onto an outside terrace overlooking the Atlantic Ocean; Su Casa, an 8,000-square-foot private waterfront Spanish-Colonial hacienda; and several outdoor venues that highlight the lush grounds and ocean views. (Note: Su Casa, referred to as “the crown jewel of Dorado Beach,” is a historic seaside home that was once owned by Clara Livingston and comes with five bedrooms, a gourmet kitchen, vast outdoor space, wraparound verandas with oceanfront views and its own private pool, perfect for families and friends looking to share accommodations.)
After the last toast is given and the final dance takes place, honeymooners can retreat to the popular Tranquility Suite, which has a rooftop lounge area with a private plunge pool. Each room is designed to cater to the bride and groom’s individual wishes, so they can choose which accommodation suits them best.
To book a wedding, contact Iva Jozic ([email protected]), director of travel industry sales.
Dorado Beach is steps away from the Atlantic Ocean and surrounded by acres of tropical forest.
Josh Alexander, a travel advisor at Protravel International in New York, says that he’s seeing a trend in luxury honeymoons to Australia and New Zealand, with each offering great luxury properties and countless activities. “Given the long flights, I recommend at least a two-week stay in order to be able to experience some of the amazing luxury properties, as well as the destination itself,” says Alexander. “An additional perk is the strength of the U.S. dollar compared to both the Australian dollar and the New Zealand dollar, which offers travelers an incredible value.”
In Australia, Alexander recommends the One&Only Wolgan Valley in the Blue Mountains, a two-hour drive from Sydney that offers an “Australian Safari” type of experience. “That’s one of the main reasons we include this property in our luxury honeymoon itineraries,” says Alexander. “As the first highlight of their destination, couples have the opportunity to see their first kangaroo while their driver is picking them up from the airport early in the morning — international flights normally arrive in Sydney before 6:30 a.m. — and taking them to the ultra-luxury conservation-based resort. At the resort, couples can enjoy a private villa, spa and fitness, or go on 4x4 nature tours, experiencing the breathtaking scenery and, of course, the Australian wildlife.”
At the Great Barrier Reef, Alexander loves qualia — a private hideaway at the northern tip of Hamilton Island that can only be accessed by guests — and One&Only Hayman Island, “the perfect place for couples to enjoy relaxation and adventure alike.”
This year, Alexander is seeing a big demand for Japan and exotic destinations in Southeast Asia, like Thailand and Vietnam. “In Japan, I recommend the Aman Tokyo, which just opened last year. My clients want to stay in Tokyo and Kyoto, but also have an interest in staying at a traditional ryokan and exploring the Japanese countryside. This year, the Aman group is opening its first onsen (Japanese hot spring) resort Amanemu. It’s an exclusive ryokan-style retreat on the shores of the Bay of Pearls, on the Shima Peninsula south-west of Tokyo. Blending modern and classic design, Amanemu provides honeymoon couples with the perfect destination to explore the sacred Shinto shrines and the Kumano Kodo ancient pilgrimage routes.”
Dorado Beach is steps away from the Atlantic Ocean and surrounded by acres of tropical forest.