If you think you were all loved up at your wedding, wait till you go on your honeymoon. Everyone wants to make it special for you,” says Khyati Kothari, 24, who recently went to the Caribbean Islands after she tied the knot. “At Antigua, they even have a separate, fast-track line at immigration for honeymooners.” That’s how desperately people want you to enjoy yourself.
Many couples tend to plan their own honeymoon – every detail from the tickets and hotel bookings to sightseeing. For a couple that is already planning a wedding, this is an unnecessary burden, says Vikram Malhi, Expedia’s general manager for South and South-east Asia. “They are not equipped to plan it properly,” he adds. Most honeymooners don’t even realise that they are entitled to so many discounts and freebies.
Those who do, make the most of it. Ambika Seth, who went to New Zealand after her wedding, was advised by her travel agent to darken her mehendi before she left. “I didn’t understand it then, but when people in New Zealand saw my hands, they realised we were newlyweds,” she says. “Freebies started pouring in. A free drink here, a free meal there. And souvenirs!”
That’s as simple as it gets. Rope in your wedding planner or a travel agent to find the finest deals. “We know the tricks of the trade,” says Malhi. “We also do business with these guys on a regular basis, so pulling some strings is easier for us.” A wedding planner is also better placed to pick what you and your partner will like, says Barkha Athania of The Wedding Co, who works with a travel agent to plan honeymoons.
What to expect
Before you jet-set with your beloved, there are a couple of things to remember. Be the last people to check in for your flight and tell them that you’re on your honeymoon. “Chances are you will be upgraded to business class,” says Malhi. “After economy seats fill up, airlines tend to upgrade some passengers. Honeymooners are their favourite.”
Didn’t get an upgrade? All is not lost. Inform the flight attendants that you are on a honeymoon; they’ll make it special for you. “Watch as they pop open a bottle of champagne for you,” says Athania.
Hotels, however, are pretty cagey about their deals. Some refuse complimentary frills outright, others send up a ‘free’ bottle of wine that’s already been added to your bill in disguise. Several, however, go out of their way to make it memorable – handwritten notes, Swiss chocolates, bubble baths for two and special treatments on the spa menu. Somnath Dey, F&B director at Delhi’s Hyatt Regency, says they make sure honeymooners get the room with the best view, rose-petal decorations, and a sensual bath organised in their room. At Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, they knock 15 per cent off laundry services so you always look your best.
Rope in an expert
Agents are better placed to give you the suite of your dreams, instead of a dingy room that only looks good in the website photos, says Kannan Fotedar, founder of TravelNLiving. Manjari Verma, co-founder, Broken Compass, says going through a travel professional is better as they do business with hotels and pass on the perks to you. So don’t be surprised if you score a dinner under the moonlit sky. “We managed to get a hotel to organise a meal in the middle of a water body with candles all around and romantic music,” says Fotedar.
Honeymoons are also the time when, for a fee, your dreams can come true. Horse rides in the moonlight? Yes sir. A meal on a Ferris wheel? Done. Jumping off a cliff hand in hand with your beloved? Err…Of course! So flaunt that new mangalsutra.
Fly away, fly away…
Paris is too expensive, Rome too jaded and Greece is too clichéd. Visit these lesser-explored destinations for an exotic trip.
Hamilton Islands, Australia: These virgin islands are great for water-sports enthusiasts. Also check out the coral reef. Hotel deals are designed for honeymoon couples.
New Zealand: New Zealand is picturesque, with snow-clad mountains, alpine trees and wooden houses. If you and your partner are adrenaline junkies, head there now.
Europe: Salzberg, Austria and the French Riviera during summer are great picks. Salzberg is an incredibly romantic city, while the Riviera has great beaches and good weather.
From HT Brunch, November 17
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