BY SARAH EVANS, TRAVEL AUTHOR
Memorial Day, the unofficial start to summer, is nearly here. We welcome the return of outdoor barbeques, sky-high wedges, and one of my favorite aspects of the summer – love! We all know summer is officially the height of wedding season. It’s the time of year when beautiful brides don the dress and grooms get spiffy in the suiting of their dreams to walk down the aisle. But once the “I Do’s” and dancing are over, the true party starts when the happy couple whisks off to a dreamy destination for the trip of a lifetime: The Honeymoon.
Imagine jetting off to a place where you don’t have to lift a finger because the British-trained butlers anticipate your every need. Where you’re invited to indulge in gourmet fine dining and fruity top-shelf cocktail concoctions. Where you can take in the turquoise water under a thatched palapa, or spend your time snorkeling and sailing (all without having to pawn your vintage Chanel bag to pay for it). So whether you’re getting hitched or just in desperate need of a romantic getaway, I’m a big fan of the hotspots Rue La La is offering in their Sandals Luxury Included® Resorts Boutique – opening today!
Here are my highlights:
Sandals Emerald Bay, Great Exuma, Bahamas: This seaside stunner is a new Sandals addition. As if the powder white, mile-long beach isn’t enough for you and your sweetheart, how about a Greg Norman-designed golf course, a 29,000 square foot Red Lane® spa, a deepwater marina, and five superb restaurants? SOLD.
Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa, St. John’s Antigua: This Five Star, Five Diamond Resort is an oasis located on one of Antigua’s most magnificent beaches. A foodie’s paradise, nine restaurants take guests on a culinary journey around the world, with entertainment options that are virtually endless.
Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island, Nassau, Bahamas: Chic sophistication abounds from the moment you pull up to the stunning Georgian façade, once the domain of a former king of England. Regal and royal, this resort is the home of two sparkling beaches, luxe shopping venues, a swim-up bar, and exceptional cuisine.
Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort & Private Island, Montego Bay, Jamaica: I love the manicured gardens and noble Georgian-style Great House where you can enjoy High Tea each afternoon and enjoy breakfast in bed. Also available: Seven gourmet restaurants, every water sport under the sun (including scuba diving), swim-up bars, and nightly entertainment where you can dance ‘til dawn.
Sandals Whitehouse European Village & Spa, Whitehouse, Jamaica: This Jamaican gem is where the hills of the Blue Mountains, lush palm groves, pristine coastlines, and shimmering turquoise waters meet to offer the adventure of a lifetime. As far as I’m concerned, it’s romance personified.
Royal Plantation, Ocho Rios, Jamaica: This is an upscale retreat with true Jamaican hospitality. My dream day: Basking blissfully on the resort’s spectacular twin beaches while sipping “mangosas” – delivered ice-cold and sparkling by unobtrusive beach butlers. Love. Golfers can play at the Upton Golf & Country Club, and for the gourmands there are three exquisite gourmet restaurants where everything is served à la carte by chefs trained in Europe’s finest restaurants.
What to pack? Your sarong or surf shorts, strongest SPF, and the entirety of your sunglasses collection. Trust me, after wedding planning, primping, and partying, you’ll be glad that someone else is doing the thinking for you.