A Passport-free Honeymoon
Domestic travel just got a little more worldly.
When you’re planning your honeymoon trip, consider that you’ll need one important carryon that you might not have packed in years past: your passport.
As of January 23, travelers to Bermuda, Canada, the Caribbean, Central and South America must have a passport to cross the U.S. border. That means there are no more quick trips across the border with just your ID and birth certificate. Forget about the restrictions and you’ll be left behind at the gate on your honeymoon.
Fortunately, there are plenty of domestic destinations that deliver all the excitement, cultures, and sometimes, iconic landmarks of a foreign destination. Here are six to consider. (Rates are subject to change and may depend on the season and
Just a short drive from Miami, Cheeca’s West Indian-style accommodations possess a Caribbean sensibility.
There is no shortage of aquatic activities. Along with a palm-fringed beach, Cheeca boasts an onsite dive center and two swimming pools.
Islamorada, meanwhile, is called the world’s sport-fishing capital, and there are more than 600 species of fish off its coast. Stroll down Cheeca’s 525-foot pier, drop a line and you’re good to go. Or, take a charter boat out for wahoo, marlin and tuna.
For landlubbers, Cheeca has six tennis courts, as well as a par-3 Jack Nicklaus-designed, nine-hole golf course.
No matter your sport, find time to relax with the spa’s “Cool Caribbean Body Elixer,” which regenerates the skin with marine sugar. Then dine in the romantic oceanfront restaurant, the Atlantic’s Edge.
The 199 guest accommodations all have a plasma-screen TV, wireless Internet, marble baths and mahogany-accented furniture.
Expect to be pampered. Cheeca, which in 2006 celebrated its 60th birthday, is no stranger to top-shelf service. It is the winner of the AAA Four Diamond Award.
Rates range from $159 to $1,268. The resort handles weddings.
If your idea of romance is an intimate European-style inn then you will love this resort inn in California’s wine country, located just 80 miles from San Francisco.
Built in 1883, the Italianate Victorian home defines luxury. Owners Steve and Cathi Fowler have spent more than $13 million to develop the resort grounds, which include a 40-foot lap pool, tennis and bocce courts, a quarter-acre of Zinfandel vines and a putting green modeled after a green at the Mayacama Golf Club in Windsor, California.
The 13 guestrooms all have European linens, feather beds, imported toiletries and other top-shelf amenities. Seven have spa tubs on private decks.
Honor Mansion, a AAA Four Diamond Award winner for four years, offers a full breakfast, a room-service menu and onsite massage. It is also within easy reach of Sonoma’s famed wineries. You can take Jeep tours or hot-air balloon rides and go antiquing, hiking, canoeing, rafting and boating.
Rates are $230 to $600 per night.
Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch
Beaver Creek Mountain, Colorado
Named for the bachelor miners who settled the area, Bachelor Gulch is one of the quaint villages that cluster in Swiss fashion around Beaver Mountain. Only 25 minutes from Vail, the village’s gated privacy ensures exclusivity.
The 238-room Ritz-Carlton, situated mid-mountain, boats ski-in/ski-out con-venience and access to 1,625 acres of ski and snowboard terrain on 146 trails.
The Ritz’s 21,000-square-foot spa, which has received Mobile’s four-star rating, was recently ranked the third favorite spa in North America by the 2006 Condé Nast Traveler reader’s poll. The spa features 19 treatments rooms, as well as a co-ed rock grotto with a hot tub.
In warmer weather, go hiking, mountain-biking or fly-fishing. There are two new 18-hole championship golf courses, and the Ritz offers preferred tee times.
The hotel offers a wedding specialist, and venues include the mountainside terrace. Rates are $775 to $1,750.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Once owned by the French and Spanish, New Orleans is a city spiced with European flavor. American visitors truly feel like they are in another country.
The Windsor Court Hotel takes that European sentiment a step further. Part of the esteemed Orient-Express Hotels, Trains & Cruises collection, the hotel was created in 1984 to pay tribute to its original owner’s love of England. Paul McCartney, Prince Albert of Monaco and Uma Thurman are among the many celebrities who’ve stayed here.
Located in the New Orleans business district, the Windsor Court Hotel is within easy access of the French Quarter, which was largely untouched by Hurricane Katrina. (To encourage tourism, the Windsor Court is working in collaboration with local charities and Habitat for Humanity to rebuild the city.)
Of the 324 rooms, 266 are suites. All possess either a private balcony or a bay window with views of the Mississippi River or the city. Penthouses are also available.
New Orleans is synonymous with fine dining, and Zagat has ranked the hotel’s New Orleans Grill on its list of top 10 restaurants. But if you want to venture into the French Quarter for some gumbo or a po’ boy, you’re just steps away.
Rates are $350 to $600 per night.
Red Rock Casino Resort Spa
Las Vegas, Nevada
With casinos and resorts that pay tribute to France, Italy and Egypt, Las Vegas delivers an overseas experience in the midst of desert beauty.
The hottest new spot on or off the strip is Red Rock, a $1 billion dollar hotel whose spa promotes “Champagne facials and caviar creams.”
All the 800 guestrooms and suites feature 42-inch plasma TVs, iPod sound systems, in-room spa service and upscale linens—along with a fabulous desert view. A separate entrance lets hotel guests go to their rooms without crossing the casino floor.
In addition to gaming, there is plenty to do on site. There are nine restaurants and 16 movie screens. The 3-acre pool complex contains 19 private cabanas, fountains, a main pool and separate wading pools, along with swim-up gaming. Cindy Crawford’s hubby Randy Gerber runs the ultra hot nightclub, Cherry, an indoor-outdoor venue with its own private pool and rotating sun beds. The 35,000-square-foot spa’s private treat-ment rooms appear to float on water. For outdoor relaxation, select an excursion on the spa’s adventure fitness menu, which in-cludes hiking, kayaking, mountain-biking, horseback riding and mountain-climbing.
Rates start at $219 per night.
San Juan Marriott
Resorts & Stellaris Casino
San Juan, Puerto Rico