Monday, March 28, 2011

What Do You Mean You Want to Run With the Bulls?

When planning your honeymoon, it is VERY important to discuss expectations and assumptions with your fiancée and your travel agent to avoid disappointment.

Although honeymoons are probably the biggest and at this point in their new lives together, most important, trip a couple has planned together, it is very surprising how little they have talked about their desires, assumptions and expectations for their honeymoon. This is probably the most critical piece in honeymoon planning!

Communicate about what you hope and desire for your honeymoon. Do not assume that he will want to see all the museums on your list. Do not assume that she will be ok spending hours along while you are out scuba diving (she can’t swim and is afraid of sharks…)

One of HoneyLuna's first ever honeymoon clients came to meet with me in our offices and had told me they wanted to honeymoon in Tahiti . So I filled the conference room with Tahiti brochures and sample itineraries. Their eyes were as big as saucers and they held hands as they looked at the beautiful pictures of this romantic paradise.

We began getting down to the details of planning the trip: specific dates of travel, islands to visit, hotels, etc.. Suddenly the groom says “Now there is golf in Tahiti, right?” I explained that there was a golf course on the island of Tahiti, but not on any of the outer islands. “So there is no golf on Bora Bora? No golf on Moorea?” No and No. (There is now also golf on Moorea but that wasn't an option back then) He became a little unglued so I suggested planning their last few nights on the island of Tahiti so that he could golf there before flying home. This did nothing to appease him and he kept asking “What about Rangiroa? Huahine? Is there golf there?” No.

Finally his previously beaming bride turns to him with a very red face and demands “Well just how much golf were you planning on playing on our honeymoon anyway? Aren’t you going to spend any time with me?” I stepped out of the conference room to give them some privacy while they talked about this very obvious difference in their “ideals” and after a few minutes they come storming out, pausing only long enough to say… “We’ll get back to you”.

Needless to say, they did not end up on a honeymoon in Tahiti. Fortunately for this couple, they were able to discuss, in advance (but obviously after their meeting with me), their honeymoon desires and expectations. Ultimately they did plan and have the honeymoon of their dreams. But the argument in our offices was an eye opener – they had different ideals of their honeymoon. After they left I emailed them a questionnaire and instructed them to fill it out together. This questionnaire asks questions of both the bride and groom about their expectations ranging from budget, activity level, romance, etc.. and should be completed individually and then discussed together.

Most couples find that at first glance, there are seemingly major differences in assumptions and expectations, but after discussing each item on the questionnaire, most couples come to a very important understanding of each other and are able to design a honeymoon based on compromise and mutual respect – rather than forging ahead in blissful ignorance.

The Tahiti/golf couple ended up honeymoon on Maui. Initially it seemed as if the bride had “given” in to his demand to go where there was golf. However, after talking with both of them extensively in the ensuing planning process, she shared with me that she learned that he had always dreamed of golfing on some of the luxurious and tropical high end golf courses in the South Pacific. He did not intend to golf their entire honeymoon – but since they were planning on immediately starting a family (and then severely restricting future golf vacations) he wanted to make sure he could fulfill his golfing dreams while they were in the South Pacific.

After learning that she envisioned a “much together” honeymoon with lots of down time on the beach and romantic hikes to waterfalls, he understood why she was so upset at the thought of “all that golf”.

Ultimately they both got what they wanted – she had massages and spa treatments while he golfed and they had plenty of time together for the beach and waterfalls. They are still happily married with three children. He still plays golf. She still has massages.

P.S. We really did have a honeymoon couple going to Spain for their honeymoon and the groom thought it would be fun to "run with the bulls" on their honeymoon. We agreed with the bride... probably NOT a good idea!

HoneyLuna's Honeymoon Registry

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

HoneyLuna's store -- The Luna Line

Check out HoneyLuna's store - The Luna Line. The Luna Line has everything you need for your wedding and honeymoon.

All items in our store have been specifically selected for comfort and fit; whether it's for hot sultry days or warm evening breezes, you'll look stunning in any exotic location around the world.

The Luna Line has fun tropical dresses and beach cover ups, flip flops, jewelry, hats, beach bags, and more!!! CHECK IT OUT for all your HoneyLuna needs!!!

HoneyLuna Honeymoon Registry

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A tropical paradise awaits you for your HoneyLuna!

Costa Rica and Panama are unique destinations which appeal to eco-tourists, beach lovers, adventurists, history buffs, romantics and families. While both are blessed with rich bio-diversity, a myriad of protected natural resources and countless species of exotic plants, animals and marine life, each offers its own unique attractions, from Costa Rica’s incredible Arenal Volcano to theinfamous Panama Canal.

So much to See: Lush, emerald rainforests/exotic cloud forests/stunning volcanoes and hot springs/oceans, rivers and waterfalls/mountains/national parks/ exotic bird, marine and wild life/beautiful beaches/cosmopolitan capital cities with world-class museums, sites, shops, restaurants and clubs

So much to Do: Hiking-fishing-snorkeling-surfing-bird watching- white water rafting- canyoning-kayaking-zip lining-trekking and rappelling through jungles and mountains

GREAT honeymoon deals are available -- from $999 per person with air fare!! Click Here to check out packages at different resorts with air fares from your city! Or call HoneyLuna's partner Apple Vacations and speak to a honeymoon specialist!! 877-332-1097

Click here to visit HoneyLuna's honeymoon registry site.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The perfect Hawaiian vacation from Oahu, Maui and Kauai to the Big Island of Hawaii

Here are some great tips for honeymooners headed to Hawaii! Be sure to add some of these ideas and activities to your HoneyLuna honeymoon registry!

By Mimi Towle from Marin Magazine

Headed for Hawai‘i, not sure where to go? We asked veteran visitors and Facebook friends to tell us their favorite spots and why they go back.

O‘ahu: Waikiki or North Shore?

Waikiki The name Waikiki translates as “spouting fresh water,” referring to the days when freshwater springs and streams dominated the landscape. Hawaiians chose this white sand beach early on as a playground for the rich and royal. The first hotels for visitors were built in the late 1800s, including the Sans Souci, followed by the stately white Moana Surfrider, in 1901. In the late 1920s came the famous pink Royal Hawaiian, coinciding with construction of the Ala Wai Canal and subsequent draining of the wetlands, opening this one and a half square mile swath of land for development. Visitors to Waikiki come from all over the world; it’s not uncommon to hear five different languages spoken within earshot. And while you are not likely to run into your neighbor or coworker, San Francisco Bay Area is the second largest visitor market for this international destination.

“My favorite part of the day in Waikiki is dawn. Except for a few tourists wrestling with their own wacky time change, I usually have the beach to myself, and the calming rhythmic lapping of the waves prepares me for the day ahead. As a child on the windward side of O‘ahu, I saw Waikiki, on the leeward side, as “the bomb”: the shiniest, loudest, happiest place on earth, at least as glimpsed through the car window when our family cruised Kalakaua Avenue en route to the Outrigger Canoe Club. As an adult living on the mainland, I’ve returned every chance I get—often with my girls in tow. We’ve taken surf lessons with Hans Hedemann Surf School, returning home with photos of us tandem surfing (somehow we look a lot goofier with our hands in the air, giving the world our best hang-loose shakas and biggest smiles, than we felt at the time). We’ve rented paddleboards to look for dolphins. And it’s no surprise that my girls love the International Marketplace—heaven for a nine-year-old with $20 to spend—with over 100 shops and carts selling rhinestone geckos, puka shell necklaces and a chance to find a real pearl in an oyster. And then there are my food fixes: Chef Mavro for the big night, Alan Wong’s any night, and I can’t be within two miles of the Diamond Head Cove without stopping for one of the acai bowls. Like to shop? Ala Moana is the world's largest outdoor mall, and the retail offerings of Waikiki always include something new: on the last visit my daughter was thrilled to find a Sanuk sandal store right next to our hotel. Waikiki is not a tranquil tropical escape—you can find that on the other side of the island, or any of the other neighbor islands. Waikiki is big, bold, busy and one of my favorite spots on the planet.”

Hilton Hawaiian Village, 3,500 rooms, $199–$4,900
Outrigger Reef, 639 rooms, $209–$1,299
Halekulani, 453 rooms, $435–$7,000
The Royal Hawaiian, 529 rooms, $295–$1,360
Sheraton Waikiki, 1,636 rooms, $205–$4,100
Moana Surfrider, 793 rooms, $250–$3,520
Outrigger Waikiki, 524 rooms, $199–$1,299
Waikiki Edition, 353 rooms, $195–$9,995
Trump Towers, 462 rooms, $329–$13,999

Mimi Towle, senior editor of Marin Magazine, still calls Hawai‘i home even though she’s lived on the mainland all her adult life. Waikiki has always been a favorite destination.

North Shore O‘ahu In 1898, long before the monster waves of Waimea Bay enticed throngs of dudes and chicks to seek their own endless summer, businessman Benjamin Dillingham opened a hotel on a strip of land between the beach and the Anahulu River. He named his hotel Hale‘iwa—hale means “house of,” and iwa is a local graceful frigate bird. Dillingham wanted to create a destination that would encourage an extension of the railroad to reach his sugar plantations. His plan worked: people visited, and eventually the town adopted the name Hale‘iwa. There are a few small lodging options in town, but the main resort is Turtle Bay, with five miles of its own wild beach, three great restaurants, a public golf course and miles of backcountry for horseback riding. Visitors to the North Shore are loyal to their favorite food haunts, from legendary burger joints to shave ice stands to the prolific shrimp trucks.

“One of my favorite drives on the island is a trip up to the North Shore. I always head up through the windward side, stopping at the Pali lookout to soak in the views of Chinaman’s Hat and Kaneohe Bay. For lunch, an absolute must-try is the shrimp scampi plate from Giovanni’s Original White Shrimp Truck. A dozen or so huge shrimp, sautéed up with copious amounts of garlic, a squeeze of fresh lemon, and hot sauce on the side. Delicious! The beaches on the North Shore are great, but it all depends on what time of year you visit. In the summer, the water is usually pretty flat and good for snorkeling or checking out the turtles at Laniakea. In the winter, stay out of the water and leave the big waves to the pros—all the big-wave surf tournaments are held here during the winter and you can watch right from the shore. When I’ve got a sweet craving, I have to visit Ted’s Bakery for the chocolate haupia pie and Matsumoto’s for shave ice. Turtle Bay is a wonderful and romantic stop for a weekend in the North Shore and a good home base for exploring the world outside Waikiki.”

Turtle Bay Resort, 375 rooms, $309–$1,670
Ke Iki Beach Bungalows, 11 bungalows, $135–$230
Camp Mokule‘ia, 18 rooms, 6 cabins, $100–$1800

Malia Yoshioka is resident Hawai‘i expert at and loves to explore the islands every chance she gets.

Kaua‘i: POIPU or Princeville?

Poipu!! The name Poipu translates as “crashing waves” in Hawaiian, and if you’ve been to its namesake beach on the “sunny-side of the island,” you’ll agree the moniker is accurate. The Poipu Beach Hotel was the first resort to open in 1962, followed by the Sheraton in 1968. The area's agrarian past is also celebrated at the Plantation Gardens restaurant, with photos and memorabilia of the Hector Moir family. Famously in the path of destruction of Hurricane Iniki in 1992, Poipu has been rebuilt and is back stronger (and luxer) than ever. Poipu is also popular for having accommodations to fit all budgets, and for superb golfing and water activities like body-surfing; the scenic drive west to stunning Waimea Canyon is considered a must.

“One of the first things I love about Poipu is getting there. Driving through the ‘tree tunnel’ on Highway 520/Maluhia Road, followed by charming Koloa town before heading down to Poipu, strips away all the stress from the mainland that I might have brought with me! The climate is sunnier and drier than the rest of the island’s, and most of the beaches are swimmable. It’s also a great central location, situated between the north shore and Waimea Canyon. When I get there, I love to body-surf at Kiahuna Beach or at the beach in front of the Sheraton, have lunch and a beer down the road at Brennecke’s and later dinner and champagne at the Beach House. My favorite spot to watch the sunset (glass of wine in hand, standing in the water) is at the protected cove called Baby Beach. And truly a stunning walk is out through the lithified cliffs to Haula Beach. I usually rent a home at Turtle Cove, but for clients who want a resort-type condo, I recommend Kiahuna Plantation. I love the grounds and the old plantation feel of the property—plus, it’s on Poipu Beach. If they want something more luxurious, the Hyatt.”

Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i, 602 rooms, $440–$5,200
Koa Kea Hotel & Resort, 121 rooms, $329–$2,572
Sheraton Kaua‘i Resort, 394 rooms, $239–$3,600
Outrigger Kiahuna Plantation, 200 condos. $179–$545

Nancy Williams, founder of honeymoon registry website HoneyLuna, has been to almost every romantic part of the islands and to her favorite island, Kaua‘i, at least 10 times.

Princeville On the north side of the island, Princeville is renowned for its dramatic vistas (as well as its golf offerings). Hawaiians grew taro plants in the fertile Hanalei Valley. When Westerners first arrived they brought livestock and grew potatoes and fruit (which was exported to feed the California gold miners during the Gold Rush). Plantation owner Robert Crichton Wyllie named the area in honor of an 1860 visit by the young Prince Albert Kamehameha, Hawai‘i’s crown prince. The first major hotel, the Princeville Resort, built in 1985, is now The St. Regis Princeville Resort. Activities include swimming at Hanalei Bay and Kee Beach; horseback riding, zip-lining, snorkeling, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and surfing; hiking the Hanakapiai and the Kalalau trails; browsing the shops in Hanalei town; and sightseeing jaunts to Hanalei lookout, the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge and Lighthouse, and (by boat) the fabled cliffs of the Na Pali Coast.

“Hands down we love the Hanalei/Princeville (north shore) area of Kaua‘i. The weather may vary, but the local feel can’t be beat and there are many possibilities for extreme adventures—great surfing, kayaking, climbing, golfing, zip-lining. We stay at the Westin Princeville Ocean Villas; the all-inclusive nature of the resort is great for families. It’s also fun to rent a house on Hanalei Bay. Some must-dos on the north shore: golf at Princeville (best golf in the world), the ahi burrito at Kilauea Fish Market, and hanging on Hanalei Bay beach, watching the sunset with a mai tai.”

The St. Regis Princeville Resort, 252 rooms, $375–$6,500
The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas, 358 rooms, $259–$1,535
Castle at Princeville, 34 rooms, $230–$555

Stephanie Ziegler, owner of Tiburon Pilates, has been going to Hawai‘i for nearly 20 years and has been to every island except for Lana‘i.

MAUI: Wailea or Ka‘anapali?

Wailea is named for a Hawaiian legend about a goddess named Lea who was transformed into a beautiful bird often seen flying over the wai (water) at five crescent-shaped golden-sand beaches. In 1957, the Matson Navigation Company purchased 1,500 acres of scrubland on the sunny southwest part of the island to expand its hotel operations. The first hotel, the Maui Intercontinental (now the Marriott), didn’t appear until 1973; today, quite an array of lodging options line the 1.5-mile coastal trail. Each resort offers its own unique experience, from the huge waterslides of the Grand Wailea to the super-luxe Four Seasons. Activity offerings include three championship golf courses at the Wailea Golf Club, with a David Leadbetter golf academy; 11 tennis courts at the Wailea Tennis Club; five spas plus fitness centers at the resort hotels; and shopping or dining at the Shops at Wailea. One of the most popular events here is the Maui Film Festival, which each June attracts celebrities and film buffs from around the world.

“We started visiting Maui together about 15 years ago and eventually purchased a home in Makena, right next to Wailea on Ahihi Bay, which Jacques Cousteau dubbed one of his 10 favorite snorkeling spots. We chose the leeward side of the island because of the dry climate. It will be sunny here when it is raining everywhere else. Also, we love the views of Kahoolawee, Molokini and Lana‘i. Our first-night ritual is to dine at Joe’s Bar and Grill; we love Joe’s barbecue ribs and Sharon, the manager, is very knowledgeable about wine.”

Fairmont Kea Lani Maui, 413 rooms, $479–$2,400
Destination Resorts Hawai‘i, 260 condos, $250–$2,800
Makena Beach and Golf Resort, 305 rooms, $289–$1,800
Four Seasons Resort Maui, 380 rooms, $465–$14,500
Grand Wailea Resort Hotel and Spa/Ho’olei, 780 rooms, $389–$1,294
Wailea Beach Marriott Resort and Spa, 544 rooms, $525–$3,250

Mary Constant and her husband, Freddy, split their time between Maui and Napa, where they own the Constant Diamond Mountain Winery.

Ka‘anapali Located just north of the historic whaling village of Lahaina, Ka‘anapali means “the rolling cliffs,” a reference to the wide, open ridges behind the beach that sweep upward to Puu Kukui, the highest mountain peak on West Maui. Legend has it this three-mile stretch of white sand was not only a favorite resting spot for Hawaiian kings and queens, but a training spot for warriors. Today these sands are home to weekend warriors visiting from around the world, looking for a slice of paradise. Development didn’t start happening here until the 1960s, with the Royal Lahaina, built in 1962, followed by a Hilton in 1963 and Ka‘anapali Beach Resort in 1964. The ’80s saw a second wave, with the Hyatt Regency in 1980, the Maui Marriot in 1982 and the renovation of the Maui Surf into a Westin in 1987. At the north end of the three-mile paved path is Black Rock, or Pu‘u Keka‘a, where ancient Hawaiians believed the souls of the dead leapt from this earth to join their ancestors in the spirit world.

“It’s all about the beach. Ka‘anapali Beach Hotel was developed in the 1960s along the mile-long Ka‘anapali Beach, a gorgeous stretch of golden sand on the leeward side of the island (less rain, more sun). Ka‘anapali is an all-inclusive, park-it-and-leave-it resort with a bewildering number of lodging choices in every price range, as well as golf, tennis, diving, etc. It’s not the fanciest (the Kapalua Resort up the road is far nicer), but it offers the best bang for your buck without being cheesy and cheap. It’s also family-friendly with tons of children’s activities that allow the parents some … personal time.

Even the locals like to hang out at Leilani’s on the Beach at Whaler’s Village. It’s by far the most popular place to drink and dine at Ka‘anapali. If you’re a fan of TS Restaurants—Sunnyside in Tahoe, Duke’s, Jakes in Del Mar—you know the vibe. Other highlights include the nightly sunset cliff-diver ritual at the Sheraton Maui, a sunset sail on one of the catamarans that dock right on the beach, and the nightly hula show at the Ka‘anapali Beach Hotel. Above all, make a plan to watch every sunset, every night. Nobody on their deathbed said ‘I saw too many beautiful sunsets.’”

Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa, 806 rooms, $270–$7,000
Ka‘anapali Beach Hotel, 430 rooms, $143–$327
Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa, 508 rooms, $279–$5,00
Westin Maui Resort, 759 rooms, $299–$1,100

When former Maui resident and travel writer Matthew Poole of Mill Valley planned his first out-of-pocket trip to Maui, he remembered how much he enjoyed a press trip to the Ka‘anapali Beach Hotel. When he saw it included in the offerings of Pleasant Hawaiian Holidays, he booked a true vacation, leaving his laptop at home.

Big Island: Kona or Kohala?

Kona In the Hawaiian language kona means leeward, referring to the dry side of the island, as opposed to ko‘olau, which means the windward or wet side of the island. In ancient Hawai‘i, Kona was the name of the leeward district on each major island. The Kona on the Big Island was named Kailua-Kona for clarity. This popular retirement town is just south of the airport and was the original capital of King Kamehameha’s unified Kingdom of Hawai‘i. When the capital moved to Lahaina on Maui and eventually to Honolulu on O‘ahu, Kona remained a retreat for the royal family. The Kona Coast Hotel, Kona Surf and the King Kamehameha were the first major hotels in the area and have all been recently renovated; the Kona Surf is now the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort and Spa. Known for its nearby black sand beaches, this town is also host to the Ironman World Championship triathlon, the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival and the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament. Perhaps best of all, for travelers on a budget, Kona features great restaurants, abundant activities and newly renovated rooms for a fraction of the cost of most resorts just up the coast in Kohala.

“I still remember my first visit here. I had left Idaho while it was still quite gray and arrived in Kona where everything was in Technicolor. I felt like I had landed in Oz! People who wouldn’t want to move here say, ‘I would miss the seasons.’ I say, ‘We have seasons! They are just different than on the mainland. We have whale season (December to April), when the humpbacks come to warm water to give birth. We have jacaranda season (February to June), when the hills are filled with lavender-tinted trees. We have night-blooming cereus season (June to October), when the gnarled cactus along the rock walls blossoms until the morning light brightens, and of course we have Ironman season (October)!” There are many beautiful places, but I am so blessed to call Kona my home.”

Sheraton Keauhou, 521 rooms, $189–$2,550
King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, 452 rooms, $149–$499
Royal Kona Resort, 436 rooms, $115–$550

Barbarak Sasaki, a handbag designer, moved to Kona in 1994 after visiting only once before. “I fell in love with the culture and the people, and the weather wasn’t bad either!”

Kohala For regulars to the Kohala Coast the fact that this 20-mile stretch only gets seven inches of rain a year is not a surprise. Named after the oldest of the five volcanoes on the Big Island and estimated to be over a million years old, Kohala the mountain is just north of the hotels. The Kohala Coast boasts some of the iconic Hawaiian destination properties, including the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, completed in 1965, and the Kona Village, completed shortly thereafter. Besides luxurious hotels and top-of-the-line spas, this area boasts seven golf courses and excellent restaurants.

“We would go to the short game area at Hapuna Golf Course when Brody was two. He would go through a bucket, practice putting, and then enjoy a grilled cheese sandwich in the clubhouse; this was so much fun. Then we would head to the Mauna Kea to swim and he would catch waves on his boogie board. We also loved going to the Mauna Lani to see the turtles. When people came to visit, we would suggest they catch the sunset and get dinner at the Canoe House at the Mauna Lani, or enjoy island-style farm-to-table cuisine at Merriman’s in Waimea. If they were traveling with kids, Cafe Pesto at Kawaihae Harbor. One of our favorite things to share about the Big Island is the Onizuka Center observatory at about 9,000 feet on Mauna Kea—amazing clarity of sky and volume of stars.”

Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, 258 rooms, $500–3,500
Hapuna Beach Hotel, 350 rooms, $415–$1,000
The Mauna Lani Bay, 343 rooms, $395–4,655
Fairmont Orchid, 538 rooms, $292–$3,900
Hilton Waikoloa, 1,242 roomss, $219–$1,199
Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort and Spa, 555 rooms, $385–$2,00
Kona Village Resort, 125 hales, $349–$1,280
Four Seasons Hualalai, 243 rooms, $625–$12,595

Belvedere residents Kim and Joe Root recently returned from a three-year stint of living on the Big Island, where their son, Brody, was able to enjoy his barefoot toddler years playing in the sand. Joe was the director of golf for five years at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and is now working on a new golf/residential project called Kohanaiki on the Kona Coast. Kim recalls their sunny sojourn.