casa lecanda, merida
What’s not to love? Casa Lecanda is absolutely charming. Once a 19th century colonial home, Casa Lecanda was refurbished as a small luxury property situated in the historic center of Merida, Yucatan—the spot for newlyweds who want more than Mexico’s beaches, and who yearn for a historically rich city filled with mid-19th century homes, a flourishing restaurant scene, and architectural wonders.
With only seven rooms, this quaint property is picture-perfect for honeymooners in need of privacy and intimacy. In 2009, it was completely restored with stone and marble archways, tropical gardens, clay floors, a pool, and three distinct patios that separate the hotel into unique sections. The rooms offer the classic comforts like air conditioning and ceiling fans; flat-screen TVs; WiFi; iPod docking station; walk-in rain showers; and a minibar. Each room category is simply stated: Patio, Balcony and Garden suites.
Casa Lecanda is located just two blocks from the Paseo Montejo, a must-stop spot in town for sightseeing, dining and shopping. The property is only 15 minutes by car from Merida’s International Airport, and if your clients want to head south to Cancun or Riviera Maya, the drive is about 3.5 hours.
The hotel’s Romance package ($280 pp) includes two nights in a Balcony room; a special romantic suite set-up for the newlyweds (with a dozen red roses); breakfast; a bottle of red wine upon arrival; a 4-course dinner; and a 1-hour horse carriage ride through town. The Luxury package offers honeymooners a 2-night stay in a Garden suite (romantic set-up included); breakfast; a bottle of champagne and red wine at arrival; a 4-course dinner; a 1-hour horse carriage ride; and airport transfers (rates are $390 pp).
esperanza, an auberge resort, los cabos
A Relais & Chateaux property, Esperanza, An Auberge Resort, is for the couple wanting the most out of their honeymoon, meaning from dusk till dawn there will always be something to do besides spending hours frolicking in the ocean.
Newlyweds can test their skills in the kitchen in a couple’s cooking class or spice it up with the resort’s Pasion de la Noche (“passion of the night”) program at The Spa, which features an evening of spa experiences designed to help couples relax and reconnect. Every Wednesday, the resort hosts an authentic asado, Argentinean BBQ, while Thursday night it’s a Mexican fiesta with live music and fireworks. Honeymooners can shake their moneymaker with salsa lessons; test their tongue with complimentary Spanish classes; take a 2-hour painting session with a local artist; or go horseback riding on the beach.
Located on the Baja Peninsula, only four miles outside of Cabo San Lucas, this oceanfront hotel is nestled on the bluffs of Punta Ballena overlooking two coves on the Sea of Cortez. With 57 casitas and suites, 60 privately owned villas and 36 private residences, other amenities include complimentary yoga classes, personal concierge services, daily breakfast, and pet room service for the newlyweds that decided (for whatever reason) to bring Fido along.
Look into the 4-night Luna de Miel Honeymoon package (booking window Jan. 2-Dec. 19, 2013; $2,270) providing guests with complimentary private roundtrip airport transfers; a bottle of the resort’s sparkling wine; chocolate-dipped strawberries upon arrival; daily breakfast and dinner for two at Cocina del Mar; and a 120-minute couple’s spa treatment. The 7-night version of the package includes the same amenities, but kicks it up a notch with two 120-minute couple’s treatments at The Spa, valid for the same dates (pricing starts at $4,232).
(866) 311-2226 or esperanzaresort.com
hotel xixim, yucatan
Hotel Xixim is made for newlyweds not only in love with each other, but with Mother Nature as well. Located inside the Celestun Biosphere Reserve of western Yucatan, Hotel Xixim (pronounced “she sheem,” a Mayan word for sea shell), is surrounded by the tranquility of nature, except when flocks of thousands of pink flamingos settle on the reserve every November through March; after all, the area is an avian sanctuary.
At Hotel Xixim it’s all about ecologically sustainable nature, yoga and wellness—a honeymoon retreat ideal for days of peace, quiet, and miles of white-sand beaches. The hotel offers only 32 individual Mayan bungalow suites each nestled in its own bed of tropical vegetation with minimalistic interior design, woven palapa roof, swinging hammocks and rocking chairs on the terrace.
Couples can do absolutely nothing, or close to nothing if you count yoga classes an activity. Excursions are in abundance, as is biking, kayaking, birdwatching, or leisurely walks through nature trails. The hotel is also LGBT-friendly and welcomes same-sex couples to the property to celebrate their union (similar to the United States, parts of Mexico have legalized same-sex marriage).
The hotel’s 6-day Honeymoon in Paradise package ($2,300 per couple) offers airport transfers; breakfast, lunch and dinner; a bottle of chilled champagne; a 30-minute couple’s massage; private candlelit dinner; private tours to explore the surrounding flora and fauna; use of bikes and kayaks; and a tour to Sotuta de Peon, a traditional Mexican hacienda.
la puertecita boutique hotel, san miguel de allende
The jewel that is San Miguel de Allende, a mountainous settlement almost 500 years old and declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, is really the icing on the (wedding) cake for honeymooners looking to escape to a town of cobblestone streets and colorful colonial buildings.
La Puertecita Boutique Hotel with 33 rooms and suites and a member of the Preferred Hotel Group, is set upon a hill close to the town’s downtown center and the perfect spot for newlyweds to rest their heads after spending days people watching, shopping, or just relaxing in a hole-in-the-wall cantina sipping back tamarind martinis.
The hotel’s colonial architecture keeps the feeling of San Miguel de Allende alive with stone arches and columns, vaulted ceilings, and hand-carved stone windows, as well as patios and terraces. Rooms are uniquely designed in earth tones of deep red, green, brown and orange, and decorated with wood, clay, palm, and wrought iron furniture and authentic pieces created by local artisans.
Dining options include the hotel’s restaurant and bar serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, and couples are strongly urged to reserve a table at La Palapa, an isolated terrace with views of an ancient 300-year-old aqueduct. Additional onsite amenities include a swimming pool, jacuzzi, and spa, although couples can opt to have their spa treatments by the pool or in-room.
Book the Honeymoon Junior Suite, hidden away from prying eyes in a romantic corner of the hotel and surrounded by gardens. It boasts a king-size bed with a jacuzzi and is $270 per night; taxes and breakfast for two are included.
nizuc resort & spa, riviera maya
The newest addition to the Rivera Maya hotel landscape, NIZUC Resort & Spa is for honeymooners who were frugal for the ceremony, but want to splurge on the honeymoon. The property is impressively vast—274 luxe suites and private villas scattered on a 29-acre property with two white-sand beaches on either side of the resort. Located only 20 minutes from Cancun International Airport, guests at NIZUC can take a dip in five different pools (two are adults-only); savor some Mexican, Peruvian, Asian or Mediterranean cuisine at six different restaurants on property; choose from a selection of tequilas at Havana Lounge; or hang out on the rooftop with some cocktails and a live DJ at Terra Nostra Lounge & Bar.
Now to the spa: The 30,000-sq.-ft. NIZUC Spa by ESPA offers Mayan-inspired treatments like the Mayan Cacao massage and the NIZUC Renewal treatment that purifies the skin using natural sea salts and Mexican agave; warm jade and turquoise stones followed by a meditative scalp massage. After the treatments, the concierge can set up a private dinner on the beach, en-suite or on the pier beneath the starry sky.
Although the resort lacks honeymoon-inspired packages, its Endless Indulgence Plan (think all-inclusive) is bundled up to offer accommodations; daily breakfast, lunch and dinner; access to watersports; WiFi; 24-hour room service; hydrotherapy access at NIZUC Spa; snacks and beverages during the day; butler service; valet parking and more. Starting rates for a Garden Suite are $656 per night; $1,104 per night for a Garden Pool Villa.
(855) 696-4982 or nizuc.com
WHAT TRAVEL AGENTS ARE SAYING…
Have yet to tap into the destination weddings and honeymoons market? Here are a few tips from Angela Turen, president and owner of travel agency Churchill and Turen, and noted as a honeymoon travel specialist by Conde Nast Traveler:
♥ “The best way to get your feet wet is to find the best honeymoon specialist and become their apprentice. Work for event and honeymoon planners and develop a personal rolodex of the top hotel executives (the director of sales is a good place to start) in the Caribbean and Mexico.
♥ Sometimes it’s best to book with a hotel that does not have a honeymoon package. The outcome will usually be better if you can get together with the property to create an exclusive experience that will be truly memorable like sky diving into a field of lavender set with one dining table in Provence; a chalet on the top of a mountain in Switzerland; or a small private island with picnic that is totally secluded.
♥ A property can look really nice on a colorful brochure; that means nothing. You need to know that management really gets it. One of my favorite questions is, ‘What can you and your staff do to completely blow away these guests? What will you do for them that will have them recounting memories of this honeymoon 10 years from now?’
♥ Have the resort’s general manager meet-and-greet the newlyweds; flower petals in the room are always a must. Planning a couple’s honeymoon is, ultimately, a privilege that has no equal.”