Honeymoon Ideas & Answers
The Truth About All-Inclusive Honeymoons
Continued (page 7 of 8)
MELIÁ HOTELS & RESORTS
Locations: This Spanish chain has hotels around the world but just one all-inclusive in the Caribbean—the Meliá Caribe Tropical, in Punta Cana, the Dominican Republic. How big is it? You have to take a shuttle from your room (one of 1,000-plus) to get to the 13 restaurants.
Highlights: Despite its size, the resort exudes a sophistication that's more Miami-lounge than pool-splashing fiesta. (Check out the slinky orange chairs in the lobby and the whirlpool tubs in the junior suites.) Tip: Despite the sexy setting, kids are allowed, so book a room far from the boisterous family suites.
Romance: Sip martinis on a king-size Balinese lounge bed at the Gabi Club—by day it's a sleek pool bar; at night it morphs into a truly exclusive lounge, where only guests in Royal Service rooms get past the proverbial velvet rope.
Prices: Doubles from $200 per couple at the Meliá Caribe Tropical (low season); 888-336-3542; solmelia.com. —Yolanda Crous
OCCIDENTAL GRAND HOTELS
Locations: Most of Occidental Grand's Caribbean hotels—which vary in size from 400 to 900 rooms each—are located in the Dominican Republic, with the exception of one in Aruba.
Highlights: Slightly more refined than sister chain Allegro, Occidental Grand gives serenity-loving guests the option of booking a room at the Royal Club—a quiet section of the resort with its own pool, check-in desk, and elegant restaurant.
Romance: Avoid the crowds that can fill up the restaurants by opting for a peaceful, candlelit dinner on the beach—it's well worth the splurge.
Prices: Doubles from $222 per couple at Occidental Grand Punta Cana to $452 at Occidental Grand Aruba, both low season; 800-858-2258; occidentalhotels.com. —Yolanda Crous
Locations: More intimate (and more posh) than sister chain Meliá, Paradisus has two 500-room Punta Cana properties in the Dominican Republic.
Highlights: Public spaces, from the lobby to the pool area, have distinct atmospheres with their own music, style, andscents. The lobby, for example, is done in earth tones, with lounge music and a citrus aroma; another lounge is red with New Age tunes and amber perfume.
Romance: What's more romantic than a sunset horseback ride down Bávaro Beach? A sunset horseback ride that's included in your room rate. (Merengue and cooking classes are bundled in, too.)
Prices: Doubles from $263 per couple at Paradisus Punta Cana to $413 at Paradisus Palma Real, both low season; 888-336-3542; solmelia.com. —Yolanda Crous
Locations: This expanding Spanish chain has more than 100 hotels and resorts worldwide—and plenty of Caribbean options. There are eight in the Dominican Republic, three in Jamaica (two in Negril; one in Ocho Rios), and one each in the Bahamas and Aruba.
Highlights: Guests are a diverse group. Around the pool, you'll find a jovial mix of couples and families, Americans and Europeans, all there for the value and the lively activities.
Romance: After several nights of spending time alone, join the hot crowd at the hotel bars. Make friends with a honeymooning couple from Barcelona, who can share their family's sangria recipe and help you perfect a sexy Catalan lisp.
Prices: Doubles from $162 per couple at Hotel Riu Naiboa to $542 at Hotel Riu Palace Aruba, both low season; 888-666-8816; riu.com. —Bob Payne