Lord of the Rings Filming Locations in New Zealand You Can Visit

November 5, 2018

Pack your bags, grab some bread and cheese, and wrestle with your fear of horses, because you’re going on an adventure! Follow the footsteps of the Baggins’ clan, seek out wonder with Gandalf, brawl with the dwarves, and more as you explore the stunning New Zealand scenery found in LOTR’s iconic movie scenes.

Fiordland National Park

Anduin River
The sparkling waters of the Anduin River appear in the first Lord of the Rings, the Fellowship of the Ring in the opening aerial scenery, and again as the Fellowship used it to make their way to Mordor from the fair realm of Lothlorien. While you won’t see the magnificent statues presiding over either side of the river, visiting the Waiau River, Mararoa River, and Kawarau Gorge in New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park will bring you straight into the Lord of the Rings world. Both are easily accessible by car or from the Kepler Track. Keep an eye out for the Silvan or Wood Elves while walking through their lands.

Mavora Lake

Fangorn Forest
The area surrounding the rivers is known on the silver screen as Fangorn Forest, but traveling along Takaro Road near Te Anau will bring you to the mighty Mavora region. Here you’ll be able to follow the route along real-life Mavora Lake that Merry and Pippin used to escape from the Uruk-hai. Travel along, seeking out the mighty if slow Ents that called this forest home, and where Aragorn set out in search of the mischievous hobbits. Set among the stunning lakes, rivers, and mountains of Fiordland National Park, its easy to imagine seeing elegant human-like creatures vanishing behind trees, or branches murmuring to one another just out of your line of sight.

Lake Wakatipu

Ford of Bruinen
Set out on an adventure to find the opening scene from The Two Towers. From the village of Glenorchy in New Zealand, you can find the northern side of Lake Wakatipu, and from there you can see all the way to the north-west sloped of Mount Earnslaw, both of which made up some of the landscape scenes in The Two Towers. From there you can also discover Lothlorien and the Pillar of Kings. Of course, all you’ll find on the quest for Lothlorien is a massive beech forest, and Anduin and Argonath were pure movie magic, so you’ll see the place where they would have stood instead. If you visit Chard Farm winery for a view of Anduin and Argonath, continue on to Crown Range Road and follow it first down into Cardrona Valley, and finally up to the summit of Mt. Cardona, which offers a stunning panoramic view of would-be Middle-earth.

Twizel River Bridge

Pelennor Fields
Visit Mackenzie Country to walk the fields that held the epic battle where thousands of brutish orcs clashed with the humans of Gondor and Rohan. While the fields are private property, tours can be arranged with the town that owns it, Twizel, and they can lead you through the foothills of the mountains that look exactly the same as they did in the movie.

Mount Sunday

Edoras
Drive to Ashburton District’s high country to Hakatere Potts Road and walk to Mt. Sunday, where the main city for the people of Rohan once sat. While nothing of the set remains of the capital city of man, the sheer-sided hill still offers a little glimmer of movie magic left behind. Set in the middle of a plan with the Rangitata River valley serving as the rest of Edoras, it’s easily photo-worthy.

Mt. Gunn

Gondor Calls for Aid
Seek out the magnificent summit of Mt. Gunn and look to the horizon. It was here that the beacons between Gondor and Rohan were lit as Gondor called for aid. This moment stood out as a prominent scene in all three movies, so be sure to see it for yourself! Mt. Gunn can be reached by a hike or even a scenic flight.

Hobbiton
Seek out the green, circular door set into a hill for second breakfast while visiting Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. Mount Victoria is easily within reach of the capital, and the forests surrounding the area were used to film the cozy, iconic scenes of Hobbit life. Mount Victoria also provided the paths where the hobbits hid from the ring wraiths.

Throughout your exploration of Wellington visitors can also see the Hutt River running through Moonshine Park and Totara Park, which also made an appearance as the Anduin River, and Harcourt Park, which served and the Gardens of Isengard. You’ll also get to see some of Rivendell in Wellington’s Kaitoke Regional Park, Queen Elizabeth Park where the Nazgul and mumakil were filmed for the Battle of Pelennor Fields, and even Osgiliath Wood, called Waitarere Forest in real life, where Frodo, Sam, and Gollum traveled after leaving Faramir. If you’re planning to go a little further over the hill to the Wairarapa region, you’ll get to see the Putangirua Pinnacles, where Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli set out in the search for the Paths of the Dead.

The Shire
Look out over lush dairy farming lands, green rolling hills, and wildflowers softly waving in the breeze as you wander through the tranquil paths of the Shire. Set in Waikato Town of Matamata, this amazing set was built a year before filming to allow weeds to grow through the cracks, little gardens to prosper, and weathering to make the whole of the Shire look cozy and lived-in. It is now a permanent attraction, where visitors can head down to the Green Dragon for a drink, dance under the Party Tree, and visit Bilbo’s house at Bag End.

Mount Ngauruhoe

Mount Doom
With the one ring hidden away in a pocket, friend and foe clashing, and the burning eye of Sauron watching, reaching the summit of Mount Doom was nearly impossible. Luckily, Mount Ngauruhoe doesn’t have quite as many orcs and lava, and it’s a good deal smaller than Mount Doom, because of the digital alteration for the movie. While filming at the summit of Mount Ngauruhoe wasn’t permitted due to it being a sacred site in Maori culture, the slopes of the mountain were used for filming, and the mountain is still open to hikers. Stop in at the Tongariro’s visitor center before making your way up to reimagine the excitement and peril Sam and Frodo faced.

Bonus: The Hobbit Filming Locations

Lake Pukaki

Laketown

Look out over the waters that Smaug terrorized and the human-run Laketown lives on the silver screen. While there isn’t a magnificent, if corrupt, floating town on the lake, Lake Pukaki in Canterbury is still a stunning glacial lake, with vibrant blue waters and breathtaking natural scenery.

Waitomo Disctrict

Trollshaws Forest
The Waitomo District made its way to An Unexpected Journey as Trollshaws Forest and Staddles Farm. It was here that the dwarves of Thorin’s company and Bilbo were very nearly eaten by trolls, before the sun rose and turned them all to stone. They can also be seen in the Fellowship of the Ring, where Sam, Frodo, Merry, Pippin, and Aragorn set up camp in those woods as well. Perhaps you’ll see a piece of sun-frozen troll lingering among the foliage

Pelorus River

Forest River
Nobody knows a brawl like the dwarves, and the tag-team styled battle in barrels floating down the Forest River in the Desolation of Smaug truly proves the brutal creativity of Thorin’s company. Legolas and Tauriel follow along from the banks, and all of them work together to fight off the orcs out for blood. The real river is the Pelorus River, and while much of the actual filming of the scene was done in a studio, Pelorus is the real-life backdrop that is actually open for kayaking! Be sure to join in on the adventure as you maneuver your way through the hair-raising rapids.

Mount Ruhapehu

Hidden Bay

For those looking for Smaug and the secret entrance to the Lonely Mountain, be sure to seek out Hidden Bay, have your key, and of course, have a dwarf with you. Hidden Bay was filmed on Mount Ruhapehu, which towers over the lowlands of the Central Plateau of the North Island. Trekking up to this spot is no easy feat, so be sure to prepare yourself, and maybe have Sting ready for action.

By:  Amanda Little

For information on honeymoons, weddings, or travel to New Zealand, please contact Nancy Barkley @ Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways

Top Destinations in Spain

October 22, 2018

So you want to explore Spain – where do you start? From cities of whimsy to postcard-worthy coastlines, there are no shortage of things to see and experience. Here are the 8 top Spain destinations – which will you travel to first?

Barcelona

Barcelona

There’s no city in the world quite like Barcelona. Psychedelic architects throughout the ages have left their mark on this whimsical city, but none quite as famous as Antoni Gaudi. Visit the one-of-a-kind buildings, grab a bite at the famous La Boqueria market, and get lost in the beauty of the Gothic Quarter.

Madrid

Madrid

This list wouldn’t be complete without a callout to the capital! Elegant boulevards, historic plaza, and world-famous museums, and there’s no forgetting the famous culinary staple sure to cure your hunger: Jamon Iberico, Madrid’s famous cured meat.

Costa Brava

Costa Brava

At the edge of Spain’s Catalonia district hugging the shore is the Costa Brava, a coastal region made up of charming seaside towns, a picturesque countryside, and even a stone village or two. Rent a car, drive along the dramatic coast, and discover amazing highlights along the way.

Andalusia

Andalusia

The Andalusian region of Spain is like no other, and is defined by its diverse rulers throughout the years. Unpeel the historical layers – from Roman to Moorish to Christian – as you make your way from plaza to plaza, and square to square. And if there’s one place you absolutely must visit in Andalusia, it’s the region’s capital, which brings us to..

Seville

Seville

The capital of Spain’s Andalusia region is a force to be reckoned with. Breathtaking plazas, lush orange trees, and charming streets sprinkled with architectural wonders make up this gem of Andalusia. Seville is also the rumored birthplace of Flamenco, and guests can get join the action at one of city’s many flamenco social clubs.

Granada

Granada

Another gem of Andalusia, Granada’s skyline is dominated by one of Spain’s most famous landmarks: the Alhambra. Feel the Moorish influence on every street in this compact city, and don’t forget to explore the Sacromonte Caves, home to the city’s Gypsy cave community.

La Rioja

La Rioja Wine Region

Spanish wine is mighty fine! Explore the country’s lush wine region at La Rioja, boasting over 500 wineries among its vast area. While locals know about the beauty and appeal of this famous wine-producing region, it is still left undiscovered by most tourists – a perfect destination to escape the crowds.

Ronda

Ronda

Though perhaps an off-the-beaten-path journey, following the road to Spain’s mountaintop city Ronda will not disappoint. This small yet stunning city is home to Spain’s largest bullring, and provides breathtaking views of the gorge below.

To plan your honeymoon, destination wedding or trip of a lifetime to Spain, contact Nancy Barkley Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways.

By Michelle Yastremsky

8 Must-See Places in Portugal

October 16, 2018

Fairytale palaces, picturesque wine regions, and over 600 miles of coastline with breathtaking beaches – it’s not hard to see why Portugal is one of the hottest destinations of 2017!

From cities of kings to canal-laden streets, here are 8 of the dreamiest destinations in Portugal.

Places to visit in Portugal

Sintra

Explore fairytale palaces!

Discover remnants of Portugal’s Moorish past with a visit to Sintra, a city dominated by pastel-colored villas and former royal residences.

Places to visit in Portugal

 

Places to visit in Portugal

Coimbra

Former residence of Portugal’s first king.

Snake through medieval alleyways, discover Romanesque cathedrals, then explore the city’s most famous landmark: the oldest university in Portugal! Coimbra is also the only city in which you can hear the haunting melodies of Portugese Fado sung exclusively by men.

Places to visit in Portugal

Places to visit in Portugal

 

Lisbon

Sloping hills and romantic coastlines.

History, art, and energy blend beautifully with Portugal’s culture of leisure in the capital city. You can even take a literal journey through history with a ride on the famous tram 28, which uses trams from the 1930s!

Places to visit in Portugal

Places to visit in Portugal

Porto

Cheers to Portugese wines!

Historic squares, idyllic riverbanks, and famous Port Wines await those who enjoy wine tours. From medieval districts to Baroque churches, there is no shortage of sights to explore and fall in love with.

Places to visit in Portugal

Places to visit in Portugal

Algarve

Unwind at famous beaches!

This postcard-worthy region of Portugal may be known for its overabundance of beaches, but there’s much more to discover in the country’s southern-most region. You can also enjoy sweeping views from scenic cliffs, or explore fishing villages sprinkled with candy-colored buildings!

Places to visit in Portugal

 

Places to visit in Portugal

Azores

Comprised of nine volcanic islands!

From bathing in mineral springs to whale watching on the Atlantic Ocean, the archipelago of Azores offers visitors an abundance of ways to unwind and connect with nature.

Places to visit in Portugal

Places to visit in Portugal

Aveiro

Nicknamed the “Venice of Portugal.”

Start your mornings off with a stroll or boat ride along the city’s romantic canals, which are lined with colorful boats and buildings. In the evening, there’s no better place to indulge in a freshly-caught meal than in one of the many waterfront restaurants – talk about a dream destination!

Places to visit in Portugal

 

Places to visit in Portugal

Madeira Archipelago

Known as the “Floating Garden of the Atlantic.”

Lush landscapes, breathtaking flower gardens, and terrains ranging from scenic cliffs to magical waterfalls await!

Places to visit in Portugal

To plan your honeymoon, destination wedding, or trip of a lifetime to Portugal, contact Nancy Barkley @ Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways.

By Michelle Yastremsky

Love Los Cabos: 5 Reasons to Honeymoon in This Mexican Dreamland!

July 31, 2018

CaboOne

Los Cabos is the picture perfect destination for your honeymoon. Complete with breathtaking seas, majestic mountains, a dramatic desert backdrop and near perfect weather, Cabo has it all! Located at the tip of the Baja Peninsula, Los Cabos encompasses two towns, San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas, connected by a 20-mile corridor dotted with championship golf courses and exclusive luxury resorts.

Cabo San Lucas is famous for nightlife and is a yacht lovers’ paradise. Here you will experience the highest quality luxury services and comforts that yachters demand. Not a yachter? No problem, just stay in the one of the nearby luxurious resorts. This is “Lands’ End,” where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean, sail by the famous “Arch of Cabo San Lucas” for a picture perfect instant Instagram winner.

San Jose del Cabo offers charming narrow streets, delightful boutiques and art galleries. This is a sophisticated town to stroll and eat, as it has a great restaurant scene and exceptional oceanfront paradise resorts. While there are endless reasons to honeymoon in this premier destination, my top five are:

Arts & Culture

top-5-reasons-honeymoon-los-cabos

Visit the Gallery District, the cultural center of Los Cabos, with galleries showcasing sculpture, prints, painting and jewelry made by local artists. If you’re staying October through June, make sure you visit the Art Walk, taking place every Thursday from 5pm to 9pm.

Amazing Activities

5-reasons-honeymoon-los-cabos

There are so many magnificent things to do, from world class golfing, snorkeling at Lover’s Beach, surfing, a sunset cruise to the Arch, and endless nightlife.

Remarkable Spas

five-reasons-honeymoon-los-cabos

Paz Spa at Cabo Azul is just one example of the region’s absolutely remarkable world-class spas. This Spa is named “peace” for a reason, this spectacular 3,000 square foot spa was built for total relaxation. Los Cabos has top notch spa facilities for everyone looking to just chill out and relax to the latest in anti- aging treatments.

Award-Winning Restaurants

five-reasons-honeymoon-los-cabos

Luxurious & Romantic Hotels & Resorts

 

five-reasons-honeymoon-los-cabos

Whatever your honeymoon hotel preference, Los Cabos has it.  From boutique and unique, all inclusive, to large luxurious resorts with everything you can imagine and more.  Pool, spas, golf, restaurants.  For a boutique experience, book a room at The Resort at Pedregal.  Your journey begins to this luxurious Los Cabos resort through a privately-owned tunnel.  When you emerge, paradise awaits on the other side where desert meets the sea. The property features a collection of breathtaking ocean view rooms, private casitas, and 5-star suites.

Then there’s The Grand Velas. This resort takes all-inclusive to entire new level with world class service. Stay here and experiencing their world class hospitality and stunning suites affording breathtaking views.

five-reasons-honeymoon-los-cabos

One & Only Palmilla truly lives up to its name as a once-in-a-lifetime experience. This ultra-luxury resort lies tucked away in a secluded location with lush tropical gardens, immaculate beachfront, superior service, food, and an incredible spa.

All this, and Los Cabos has more than 300 days of sunshine, making it an ideal location for your honeymoon. Ready to plan your your perfect honeymoon in Los Cabos? Contact Nancy Barkley at Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways at nancyb@honeymoonsandgetaways.com!

Image Credits:Top featured image, “Art & Culture” image,  courtesy of the Los Cabos Tourism Board. “Activities” image courtesy of Cabo del Sol. “Remarkable Spas” image courtesy of Cabo Azul Resorts. “Award-Winning REstaurants” oimage courtesy of Jaime Llaca Bost. “Luxurious Hotels & Resorts” images courtesy of  Resort at Pedregall, Grand Velas Los Cabos, and The One & Only Palmilla.

5 Resorts You Might Not Have Considered For A Destination Wedding.

July 19, 2018

You can never have too many ideas in mind for a destination wedding. Naturally all kinds of things come into play when you actually choose your spot. You’ll need to consider budget, travel distance, guest lists, the length of your stay, and much more. But if anything this is all the more reason to start with a big list of possible destinations that you can narrow down over time! To help with the process, we’re highlighting a few wonderful resorts around the world that you may not have thought of yet as possibilities for your destination wedding.

1. Mission Inn Hotel & Spa – California, United States 

As you might guess, California has a number of resorts that would make for a beautiful wedding. It’s a huge state with a great deal of coastline as well as innumerable vineyards and golf courses. But Mission Inn Hotel & Spa, in the town of Riverside, is a little bit different. The town itself is in the valley a short distance inland and east of Los Angeles. And the resort is a thing of beauty, something like a gigantic Spanish villa divided into luxurious rooms and top-notch amenities. It’s a breathtaking resort, and one that has specific packages for weddings.

MissionInn_1

 

2. The Venetian Macau – Macau, China 

Casinos are not unpopular options for destinations weddings. They tend to be oozing luxury, they pack plenty of entertainment for guests, and while they’re always somewhat over-the-top, they’re often quite beautiful as well. Rather than going the traditional route however and looking to Las Vegas, the Caribbean, or Singapore however, consider the Venetian Macau. It’s a casino and a region that can really rival Vegas, and has been rated as one of the most incredible casino resorts in the world. It’s got all you could possibly want in terms of facilities and entertainment, and it just so happens that the surrounding area of Macau is surprisingly lovely for a short vacation as well.

VenetianMac_1

3. Cap Rocat – Mallorca, Spain 

Cap Rocat is somewhat more understated than the Venetian Macau or the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa. You won’t find as much built-in entertainment, and the resort is more remote as well, situated on the famously beautiful Spanish island of Mallorca. That said, if you’re looking for a more intimate destination wedding – perhaps with a smaller crowd – you can’t find much more of a personal paradise. Rooms are comfortable, open-air pools and dining areas are perched on the small cliffs overlooking the sea, and the spa offerings are unique and carry a certain old world charm. And if that’s not enough, some might like to know that the resort was chosen by Michelle Obama for a personal vacation!  

CapRocat_1

4. Alila Diwa Goa – Goa, India 

Goa, a western India region up against the Arabian Sea, is becoming more recognized as a beautiful and exotic getaway, and Alila Diwa Goa may just be the best resort there for a wedding. It’s built to combine luxurious accommodations with the rich, lush natural surroundings, such that it appears at once to be a sort of super upscale camp and a world-class resort. It’s a highly rated resort that should have everything you could want or imagine from a perks and amenities standpoint. 

AlilaDiwa_1

5. Hotel Antumalal – Lake Villarica, Chile 

Hotel Antumalal sounds about as charming as it gets once you start reading about it. An article that listed it as one of the best South American destination wedding spots delved into it, comparing it to a combination between a 1950s summer camp and a natural getaway at the ends of the Earth. It’s perched on a wooded cliff-top overlooking the beautiful Lake Villarica, and while it’s still owned by the original family that built it (via a design by a Frank Lloyd Wright disciple), various amenities, like an on-site spa, have been added over the years. Like Cap Rocat, it’s a little more remote, but it’s perfect for an intimate destination wedding.

 

Antumalal_1

A LEGEND ON LAKE COMO, AND AN OPPORTUNITY TO INDULGE IN THE DOLCE VITA LIFESTYLE.

June 30, 2018

After spending 3 days in Lake Como, situated in the foothills of the Italian Alps, I quickly learned why JFK said “It is the most beautiful lake of the world.”

Forming an upside-down Y, Lake Como is an hour’s drive north of Milan.

I had the privilege to stay at the elegant Villa D’Este in Cernobbio, designated one of the best hotels in the world by Travel & Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler and Forbes Traveler.

It is truly challenging to describe how beautiful this resort is.  Upon checking in at the Cardinal Building, I was told I would be staying in the Queen’s Pavilion, both together offering a total 152 rooms and suites.

The villa was originally built in 1568 as the summer residence for Cardinal Tolomeo Gallio and was the playground of an Empress, an English Queen and aristocrats. In 1873, it was transformed into a luxury hotel and all rooms were individually decorated and furnished with antiques, silk brocade drapes, oil paintings and Como silk furnishings.

 

While being escorted to my room, I quickly became in awe of my surroundings.  To the left, 25 acres of luxuriously landscaped gardens complete with 16th-century mosaic monuments with the lower part of the gardens from the Renaissance period. To the right, the lakeside terrace and unique floating swimming pool facing the picturesque mountains.

My room overlooking the lake was classic elegance.  No two rooms in either building are alike in size or décor and are furnished with every comfort.

This hotel is the definition of sophistication; no wonder why the romances of Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner, The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles began here.

This hotel is more than just a villa, it is a destination.  Upon reaching your room, you might not want to leave.  However, there are an abundance of water sports to choose from as well as the Sporting Club.  Located in the Cardinal Building this club is connected by a secret passageway offering a fitness center, sauna, squash court and much more.  Outdoors, there are hiking trails, a tennis center and trademark floating pool to choose from.  One can also enjoy playing a round of golf at the beautiful Golf Club Villa Deste, considered to be one of the most challenging par 69’s in Europe.

 

 

Have a Bellini lakeside as the sun sets before moving to the Veranda for world-class dining.

I am still dreaming of my early morning wake up calls.   Doorbell rings, and the waiter rolls in a gorgeous white linen table bearing silver pot of coffee and fresh flowers, as I glance at the morning newspaper, the windows open, in a room with the ultimate view.

For more information on weddings and honeymoons at Villa D’Este please contact Nancy Barkley, Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways.  215-793-4808.
All images courtesy of Villa D’Este.

 

 

EXCEPTIONAL, EXCLUSIVE, AND TRANQUILITY WRAPPED IN BLUE. – ANQUILLA, BWI.

June 24, 2018

zemi-beach-house-resort

 

Something Borrowed, Something Blue?  Your luxury destination wedding can be wrapped in blue, gorgeous Caribbean blue.

I love Anguilla, a secret gem in the Caribbean. This British Caribbean Island is only 35 square miles in size but offers 33 of the most beautiful beaches in the world. All of these picture perfect beaches are public, unspoiled and uncrowded.  The white sand is like walking on powder and the tranquil waters vary in their different shades of vibrant blue.  It is no wonder why Travel Channel ranks Anguilla’s beaches among the best around the world.  These beaches are wonderful options for a destination wedding as Anguilla’s dramatic sunsets will provide the most impeccable backdrop and flawless photographs.

This eastern Caribbean island is ideal for couples looking for a high style, low- key  wedding, desiring privacy and exclusivity.  While Anguilla is a chic luxury destination that is frequented by celebrities, pretentious it is not.  Luxury villas and resorts, culinary paradise, live music scene, are a few of the reasons A-listers visit here and hide in plain sight.

Arrive Anguilla via a 20 minute Ferry ride from Margot, St. Martin, where Ferries operate daily.  Ferries are also available directly from the St. Martin airport.  Flying is an option into Anguilla, however there are no direct flights as this charming Caribbean Island airport runway is not long enough to accommodate larger aircrafts.  Most connections are via San Juan, St. Martin, St. Thomas, helicopter, or private jet.  Of course you can charter your own yacht or (byob) bring your own boat.

Your wedding in Anguilla will be captivating and one that guests will be talking about for years to come.

Villa or Resort?

The Zemi Beach House Resort & Spa,  is located on one of the world’s most beautiful beaches?  Shoal Bay.

Zemi1

The Zemi Thai House Spa is exceptional, boasting the only Hamman on the island housed in a 300 year old Thai House.  This luxurious retreat offers private spa suites, yoga, and a meditation garden along with ancient rituals to heal you.  Spa day here is a must for your guests.

Zemi 2

After a day of pampering and relaxation, return to your exquisite Caribbean Style ocean view room with soft woods and premium European linens.  If 24 hour room service is not your desire, you can dine casually at 20 Knots, or formally at Stone enjoying seasonal cuisine and freshly caught seafood.

There are many activities your guests can partake in before the big day.  Rum tasting at the luxurious rum bar, stand up paddle boarding, snorkeling, tennis, or kayaking is worth the experience.

The Zemi Beach Resort is for the couple wanting to marry on one of the most beautiful, intimate beaches in the world.  You can choose from an elegant poolside reception or formal dining, overlooking the ocean, in 20Knots before dancing the night away.

zemi 3

If modern ultra-luxury villa is more your style, I present The Beach House to you.  The Beach House sits on 1.5 acres of unspoiled beach, Meads Bay.

beach house3

Serviced with a full complement of staff, including private chefs, butler services, personal concierge, housekeeping and more, The Beach House offers the best of the good life. With its combination of world-class accommodation, breathtaking location, and impeccable bespoke service, all who stay at The Beach House agree that it has earned its reputation for being the Caribbean’s finest private luxury beach villa. For the beach lover, this is paradise found.

The Beach House

The Beach House offers luxurious Caribbean living and every imaginable amenity. Indoor and outdoor rain showers, 12-seat cinema room, tennis courts, and extra master suite apartment, fully equipped gym, bar, lounge, library, and   infinity pool and office.

The Beach Houses stunning architecture was designed for indoor/outdoor living offering spectacular views of the ocean and sunsets.  This is the perfect venue for the distinctive wedding where a bride can make a splendid entrance arriving by boat.

Anguilla exudes delightful old charm. The unspoiled beaches and pristine waters of this dream island make it a hot-spot for celebrities and those seeking an ultra-chic, wedding.

To plan your dream honeymoon, destination wedding, or romantic getaway to Anquilla, contact Nancy Barkley at Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways

Photo Credits:  Zemi Beach House and The Beach House.

MAGICAL PLACES TO VISIT IN PRAGUE.

June 21, 2018

Prague-Bell-Tower

Prague is one of the most beautiful, enchanting, and romantic cities in Central Europe.  This capital city of Czech Republic seems straight out of a children’s storybook, like the setting of a fairy tale.  Legend has it that the turrets and spires of  Tyn Church Towers in Old Town gave Walt Disney the inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty Castle. It is one of the wonderful magical places in the Europe.

This is the perfect place to simply stroll and explore. You may stumble across a hidden alley, courtyard, or a lovely garden tucked away behind an apartment block.  Even locals get lost wandering the cobblestone streets discovering this architectural jewel.

magical places

You should begin your enchanted walking adventure at the Powder Tower, the first point of the Coronation or Royal Route, and follow in the steps of Czech kings.  This will lead you on a historical path which medieval Bohemian monarchs paraded on their way to being crowned in St. Vitus Cathedral.

This will put you at Prague Castle, which takes center stage in Czech history. It sits majestically on a hill high above Prague. Rising above the castle is the 600-year-old St. Vitus Cathedral.

Arch your back and you will see the beautiful spires on top of the cathedral. It is the largest and most important church in the Czech Republic. The cathedral is one of the best examples of Gothic architecture where saints, kings, and emperors of Bohemia are buried.  The coronations of kings were held here until 1836.

Duck your head to visit the nearby houses of Golden Lane, originally the laneway of goldsmiths that served Prague Castle, dating back to the 15th century. It is one of the finest collections of traditional medieval buildings.

magical places

Climb the 287 steps of the South Tower for breathtaking views.

Here, you will also see Zikmund, the largest bell in the country, weighing in at approximately 15 tons.  Six bell ringers are required to swing the bell into motion, 4 to swing and 2 to manipulate the clapper.

Presidential guards secure the main entrances to the castle.  They are members of a special army division and services directly to the president.  The exchanging of the guards occurs every hour, with a ceremonious changing at noon that features a parade and music.  They also walk the grounds of the Castle looking over the security of visitors and reluctantly giving directions to lost travelers.

magical places

The iconic Charles Bridge, that crosses the Vltava River, is a destination in its own right. Construction started in 1357 under King Charles IV and finished in 1402.  This land connection made Prague significant as the trade route between Eastern and Western Europe. Crossing this bridge with 16th arches and 30 baroque statues, you will be treated to very talented street musicians, souvenir shopping, custom portraits drawn by local artists and Instagram-worthy photo opportunities.

Prague’s Old Town, dating back to 1328, is a plaza surrounded by former palaces.  Here you can wander in any direction and discover picturesque buildings, winding alleyways as well as galleries showcasing Prague’s Modern Artists.

The Medieval Astronomical Clock, dating to 1410, is the 3rd oldest astronomical clock in the world.  Sometime in 1490, a calendar dial was added and the entire structure was decorated with Gothic sculptures. The figures at the top and bottom had significant meaning in medieval times, while the skeleton pulling the bell cord is Death and the fourth represents lust and earthly possessions.

Join the crowds from around the world lining up on the hour to watch the procession of the Twelve Apostles appear from a small trap door.

 

After experiencing first hand, it’s easy to see why travelers say Prague is one of the most magical and beautiful historical cities in the world.

For more information contact Nancy @ Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways 

Header image courtesy Nancy Barkley.  All other images courtesy The Official Tourist Website for Prague.

YOUR DREAM DESTINATION WEDDING STARTS HERE.

June 4, 2018

Your tropical fairy-tale wedding awaits at Belmond Maroma Resort and Spa

MAR-WED-09A luxurious seaside hideaway located along the Riviera Maya. Belmond believes there is nothing more important than location when it comes to planning the best day of your life, and Maroma delivers.  The magic begins as you enter this romantic hideaway, winding your way through the jungle and being greeted with genuine warm Mexican hospitably.    Understated elegance is the style at this enchanted estate, hidden by lush foliage and coconut trees.  The resort is located on a white sandy beach, recognized as the “World’s Best” by the Travel Channel.  While discretion and privacy are dominant, this intimate 63-room resort makes it perfect for buyouts, affording exclusivity for your entire stay.

Your guests will stay in luxurious authentic Mexican style handcrafted rooms, feeling more like a home than resort, all within close proximity to the exclusive beach, truly a little piece of paradise.

 

Activities to choose from are onsite jungle bike tours, tennis, cooking and tequila classes and yoga.  The world’s second largest barrier reef just offshore, provides world-class snorkeling and diving.   Private tours of the rich Mayan culture as well as golfing at nearby premier golf courses. Golf classes can be arranged by the concierge.

Spend an entire day at KINAN Spa, voted # 1 best spa in Mexico and Latin America by Conde Nast Traveler.   Pronounced keynan, is Mayan for “the source of life”, this spa offers a full range of spa services in unique environment combining Zen and Maya concepts.  In addition to steam bath and saunas, the traditional Temazcal (spiritual Maya sweat lodge) is offered.  Beautiful caftans are worn in spa.

Savor sensational genuine Mexican cuisines at El Restaurante or El Sol where Mexican taste sensations await.

This resort exudes romance, and with the Caribbean Sea as your backdrop, make for the perfect destination wedding.  The hardest decision you will make is which magnificent location to choose from. Beach, main pool, courtyard, garden, terrace?

Rest assured from the moment we are involved, we will start working tirelessly and behind the scenes sprinkling metaphorical stardust to ensure your day is pure magic!   “And they lived Happily Ever After”

Please contact Nancy Barkley at Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways for your Happily Ever After at Belmond Maramo.

All pictures are courtesy of Belmond.

SOPHISTICATION AND LUXURY GEM IN THE CARIBBEAN

March 29, 2018
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Paradisus Palma Real  is where you want to get away if you desire the crystal blue sea, pristine white sandy beaches, stylish accommodations and exceptional dining.

This luxury all-inclusive resort is located on one of the most legendary beaches in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, the remarkable Bavaro Beach.

First impressions are everything, and this resort does not disappoint.  It is love at first sight upon arrival where you are met with a jaw dropping dramatic lobby offering stunning views of the Caribbean.

This exclusive paradise offers extravagant options and experiences for everyone, the possibilities are truly endless.  You will be treated like Royalty while staying in the adult only Royal Service, the personification of elegance offering discreet butler service during your entire stay.  You can roll out of your bed and onto the beach Bali bed reserved and waiting for you.  While you are sipping cocktails you can contemplate which fine dining restaurant you want reservations for that evening.  Private check in/check out, regal amenities, and pillow, yes pillow menus are a glimpse into your pampering.

Families can also experience this VIP treatment in Family Concierge. Children can wear their child size robes and slippers while enjoying such amenities as a Play Station before starting the multitude of children’s activities available to them.  Or you may want to stay in “The Reserve” a hotel within a hotel offering residential concierge suites.

Paradisus Palma Real is where you go to be gastronomically content.   Gourmet restaurants offer contemporary world class cuisine including Passion, by Martin Berasateui, winner of 8 Michelin stars, and well know Spanish chef.

Guests are provided endless options to relax and reduce stress. Yhi Spa specializes in Asian treatments and is a sanctuary of positive energy.  Therapists hailing from the Philippines and Indonesia specialize in treatments based on the arts of Thai Chi and Muay Thai.

Those who choose to stay active can choose from beach volleyball, tennis kayak and numerous water sports.  The Yhi Moves Fitness Center offers state of the art equipment as well as an on-site personal trainer.  However runners might want to strap on their running shoes, relish the natural backdrop of the Caribbean, and run on the miles of white sandy beaches.

Golfers will delight in the unlimited green fees included at the World Class 27 hole champion golf course designed by Jose Pepe Gancedo.

For those desiring different activities, the resort offers life enriching experiences which include sushi making, wine tasting, painting and salsa classes and more.

You will rediscover the romance of travel at this romantic haven.  This is the perfect destination to say I do or celebrate each other.

Honeymooners and anniversary couples celebrate romance “Under the Star” private dinner, rose petals bed and bath couples massages creating memories to last a lifetime.

Brides and Grooms who choose to have their wedding at this paradise are assured a postcard perfect ceremony and can choose from many glamorous locations.

This is where you want to go if you want a dreamlike location, superior service, extraordinary food, luxurious accommodations and countless activities. So what are you waiting for?  Contact Nancy Barkley at Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways to plan your once in a lifetime memory.

All pictures courtesy of Paradisus Palma Real.

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