A dream wedding on the beach in Mexico… or not.
For some couples planning to get married or renew vows in coveted destinations in Mexico, it's just not their style to have sandy feet and sea salt-crusted hems of gowns on that special day. Even if you love a beach vacation, you might want a different venue for the ceremony itself.
We've got you covered with 5 spectacular, fairytale venues that aren't on the beach - although 4 are in beach resorts.
Bonus: all of these hotels/resorts are terrific for the friends and family of all ages traveling with you.
Where: The Occidental at Xcaret, Mayan Riviera
What we Love: Mayan archeological ruins (pictured above) are the star destination wedding or vow renewal location of the Occidental at Xcaret. This exclusive area offers a beautiful setting that looks out onto the Caribbean from a rock outcrop, fine white sand, and the ruins of a Mayan temple. The combination of nature, culture and Mexican tradition in a setting of great beauty and ecological value, nestled in an unbelievably beautiful cove.
And not only can you have a civil ceremony or a symbolic ceremony, you can also celebrate in the Mayan tradition.
Where: Sandos Caracol Eco Resort in Playa del Carmen
What we Love: A secluded, immersed-in-nature venue is the cornerstone of its 'Green Wedding': a wooden deck over a cenote (say-NO-tay) – a natural, fresh-water-filled limestone sink hole. Live Mayan drum music, organization of donations to the less fortunate, a tree planting, and even a Temazcal ritual for the couple at the Spa can be arranged.
Weddings can also be held in a gazebo on the white sand beach and on the chic rooftop terrace. The resort is affiliated with the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association and welcomes and supports the community.
Sunset Colonial Rooftop
Where: Rosewood San Miguel de Allende
What we Love: In the mountains of Mexico, UNESCO World Heritage site San Miguel de Allende is an enchanting, preserved colonial town with cobblestone streets, colorful facades, red rooftops, an ornate Gothic church surrounded by a traditional Mexican plaza. The 'stepping back in time' feel is balanced by a famously thriving cultural scene; the town is an artists' colony inhabited by ex-pats from around the world.
Rosewood San Miguel de Allende is a fairytale destination wedding hotel. Couples can marry or renew vows in historic churches and chapels in town, or at the hotel's lush gardens, lavender lawn or the spectacular rooftop terrace. A sunset wedding on one of the 'hottest rooftop terraces in the world' would be unforgettable. An animated, and truly Mexican callejoneada can accompany your guests to the venue with live music (Mariachi or estudinatina) and toast with tequila for the happy couple.
Where: Dreams Huatulco Resort & Spa
What we Love: located on Tangolunda Bay, Dreams Huatulco Resort & Spa overlooks the dazzling golden beaches and the sapphire blue waters of the coast of Oaxaca. Set among lush jungle, soaring mountains and coral reefs, there's a perfect ceremony venue everywhere you look. But we love the gazebo set against the rocks next to the sea for its rustic, almost primeval and earthy feel.
The resort's Waterford Yours Truly toasting flutes program provides you with a premium memento of your day, and Free Anniversary Nights programs give you an excuse to re-visit the happy day year after year. We also love that the Dreams Huatalco Resort & Spa is Rainforest Alliance Certified.
Where: Azul Beach Resort by Karisma, Mayan Riviera
What we Love: The Sky Wedding takes your destination wedding ceremony to the next level - literally! Imagine saying vows overlooking stunning 360-degree views from the private rooftop terrace that makes you feel on top of the world. Sky Weddings are available at a number of this family of resorts in Mexico: Azul Beach, Azul Sensatori Mexico, Generations Riviera Maya.
Gourmet Inclusive® restaurants and bars combine a selection of mouthwatering à la carte menus and exotic drinks in a variety of settings. And there's a Romance Experience Menu and the personal service of resident 'Romance Maître D's' who help you plan the perfect romantic getaway uniquely designed for your love story.
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French company Accorhotels is launching JO&JOE, a new hotel concept it says is 'disrupting' traditional hotel codes and 'reinventing' the hotel experience in design, food&beverage, service and lifestyle, blending 'the best of private-rental, hostel, and hotel formats for solo, groups, pairs or family 'tripsters'.
A lot of jargon, but what does it mean for travelers?
JO&JOE hotels are an economy option that will be located in on-trend European and global city-center locations close to public transportation and a city's major points of interest.
The design and experience focuses on the hotel as a 'vibrant living space' for 'Millennial-minded trend-setters' who value sharing, spontaneity and experience. So you don't have to be actually under 30 to appreciate the JO&JOE approach, just in tune with millennial trends: mingling of locals and travelers in an 'open house' environment, offbeat design, digital ecosystems and a next-generation approach to food and beverage.
Is this really new? Would we want to stay? Would you?
JO&JOE is possibly more about its 'open house' lifestyle than a place to lay your head. Designers envision welcoming both 'Townsters' (people living nearby) and 'Tripsters' (people in town to explore) who treat the hotels as an annex of their own living rooms at home.
Common areas and interaction foster community living and a full calendar of programs, from concerts, yoga classes or DIY workshops. JO&JOE local teams and the Townsters and Tripsters themselves help keep hotels active and buzzing, using the brand's geosocial app as a social accelerator which helps bring people together, enabling Townsters and Tripsters to connect, meet, initiate events, share tips, or arrange to get together for a meal or a walk.
We see this as a great step towards two things increasing numbers of people – not just Millennials – are saying they want more of when they travel: 'authentic' local experiences and meeting local people.
Stays at JO&JOE are incredibly affordable, with target price points starting at only €25. Think about it: less than 10% of what a city center hotel in a major travel destination like Paris would cost.
JO&JOE hotels will have a private area called "Happy House" where 'Tripsters' can relax, work, cook or wash their clothes, just like at home. And you have multiple sleeping options:
- 'Together': an ingenious modular sleeping area that guests share without sacrificing privacy, with spacious beds, private lockers, reading lights and USB ports, shared recreation areas and bathrooms.
- 'Yours': rooms and apartments for two to five people with a private bathroom and, sometimes a kitchen area. Ideal for small groups and families, the space offers a completely different look from a conventional hotel room thanks to originally shaped and extremely comfortable beds.
- 'OOO!' (Out Of the Ordinary): unexpected and unforgettable accommodation, different at each JO&JOE, including yurts, hammock and caravans.
Also incredibly affordable. Dining options begin at €10 for a menu, and also reflect a supposedly Millennial spirit with a focus on interaction, sharing, local, and healthy cuisine:
- A central bar with unique design and high street visibility to encourage local residents to join guests enjoying a wide range of drinks, with a selection promoting flagship local and craft products.
- Local, affordable craft cuisine serving quality food without the frills through simple, authentic, and warm restaurant concepts: grills, open flame barbecues, woks or wood fired pizzas.
- Collaborative kitchens offers guests a showcase for their culinary talents and a stage for sharing their best recipes. Guests can stay on budget by using the space to cook meals, just for themselves or for a whole tribe.
If this means the demise of the sad, $30 Club Sandwich, we're on board. We're also excited to have a place to create a meal after a visit to a local market, BUT where you can also order a terrific local wine and enjoy a cozy, healthy meal if you don't feel like cooking or trekking back out to find a restaurant after a long day exploring.
Our conclusion? It might not be a revolution, but this new hotel brand is delivering in style the innovations and lifestyle more and more travelers - not just Millennial 'tripsters' are looking for when they visit a new destination.
We can easily see JO&JOE's new concept hotels being a terrific part of many holidays: families with young adult children, teens, and even small kids, fun, on-trend couples and solo travelers who want to connect with locals and local trends, on its own or integrated into a larger trip like a pre- or post-cruise, group/escorted tour, or balancing a more traditionally-structured trip.
So stay tuned! In the coming year, Accorhotel's first JO&JOE's will roll out in Paris and Bordeaux, France, as well as Warsaw, Poland, Budapest, Hungary, and outside Europe in Rio and Sao Paulo, Brazil. It has plans to expand rapidly around the world, launching 50 hotels in 'destinations popular with Millennials' by 2020 to catch the wave of the future of travel.
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Business and frequent travelers, have you ever thought about how many of those little soaps you leave behind in your hotel room after you've used them only a few times? Ever wondered what happens to them?
Hilton has announced that all 750 properties across its All Suites brands will recycle discarded soap and amenity bottles and donate them to reduce hygiene-related illnesses for communities in need.
This is a major expansion – nearly doubling – of what is already the travel industry's largest soap recycling program. 1,370 hotels across Hilton's portfolio will now be participating. And it's the first time in the industry this is required as a brand standard, so all of Hilton's All Suites, including Embassy Suites by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton and Home2 Suites by Hilton will be part of the program.
Through its partnerships with Clean the World and other organizations, Hilton's hotels have already collected more than a million pounds of partially-used soap! That's been recycled into more than four million new bars of soap.
Here's how your leftover hotel soap and mini shampoo helps people in need: hotels' partially-used soaps and amenities are shipped to Clean the World's collection and recycling centers. There they are processed, remanufactured into new soap bars and prepared for distribution to homeless shelters, community centers and medical facilities in impoverished communities around the world. In addition to supplying the soap, these organizations educate people about the importance of hygiene and hand washing.
In a double win, the program has also prevented more than 570 tons of waste going to landfills.
That's not all this hotel chain is doing for the environment. In addition to its soap recycling program, Hilton's Travel with a Purpose sustainability initiatives include not allowing microbeads in any of its amenities globally.
Hilton President & CEO Christopher J. Nassetta visited a hospital in Guayaquil, Ecuador to deliver recycled soap while in the country for a conference (pictured). Here's what he says about his and the company's motivation for the project:
"We are strongly committed to helping communities around the world through our Travel with Purpose corporate responsibility program, including our soap recycling partnership. Nearly two million children die every year from preventable hygiene-related illnesses, and simple hand washing could cut these rates by nearly 50 percent."
Clean the World says this expansion of Hilton's soap recycling program will contribute to saving the lives of thousands of children every year.
We give this program two (clean) thumbs up.
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The icon of the exotic honeymoon or romantic getaway is now much closer than Polynesia and South East Asia.
Uber-luxury overwater bungalows have arrived in the Americas. Here are our new favorite places to sleep under a thatched roof with the sea lapping around you, where you can slip out of a gauzy, draped bed into the sea or your private pool-with-a-view. You'll be the envy of your social media circle when you post your travel pics of any one of these resorts with floating villas.
Mexico: El Dorado Maroma
Karisma Hotels and Resorts calls them the 'Palafitos': 30 luxury bungalows over Mexico's beautiful beach area of the Riviera Maya. All the overwater bungalows include palapa-style roofs, outdoor showers, glass-bottom floors to the sea, private infinity pools, an indoor jacuzzi and direct ladder access to the ocean. Exactly what you'd expect of a luxury overwater bungalow. What makes them different is that they are said to be inspired by the ancient Aztecs who built homes over Tenochtitlan’s lake, and local design touches include Zapote wood and Mexican white granite. It's a luxe all inclusive experience that comes with an overwater restaurant, overwater spa, butlers, and concierges. Might be hard to tear yourself away for an expedition to nearby Tulum or an outing to Cancun.
Five opulent, game-changing overwater villas make the Sandals in Montego Bay stand out of the Caribbean luxury resort scene. Floating decks /living rooms, his 'n' hers vanities, a glass floor, private infinity pool, a hot tub/spa with an outdoor shower, floating water hammocks that suspend over the sea and butler service put this resort experience on par with some of the best resorts in the world. The ultimate romantic couple's getaway, or the honeymoon of your dreams in an overwater bungalow is now just a short, and for many North Americans, non-stop flight to Montego Bay away.
Panama: Viceroy Bocas del Toro
Bocas del Toro, Panama, is already known as an eco-travel destination. Its archipelago is home to critical wetlands, the most biologically diverse tropical coral reef in the region, and savvy travelers know it as an ideal place for bird watching, cycling, guided eco-hikes, snorkeling, and deep sea fishing. The Viceroy Hotel Group's 2019, exclusive overwater bungalows polish the luxury sheen of the glorious location. Over sparkling Caribbean waters at the edge of a rainforest along miles of pristine, private white sand beach, the property's 42 overwater bungalows feature their own private plunge pools and direct access to the ocean. The eco-friendly resort allows only electrical cars and sustainable technologies, and sustainable and indigenous landscaping and gardens to supply its chefs with the ingredients for local cuisine. Getting there is half the fun and feeling of exclusivity: it's only accessible by boat, seaplane or helicopter from Panama City.
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Japan, “The Land of the Rising Sun”, has a very rich culture, tradition and history, but there is another side of the Japan, a country known for its eccentricities, unusual attractions, fun and amazing cosplay and anime culture, and the newly opened Henn-na Hotel, one of the most unusual hotels in the world.
Located in the city of Nagasaki, Henn-na was opened to the public in July 2015. Incorporating technology, highly efficient Japanese service and modern facilities, Henn-na Hotel is the world's first hotel to be staffed by humanoid robots! Located in a 380-acre waterfront theme park called Huis Ten Bosch, a mini-Netherlands, Henn-na Hotel is expected to lure more visitors with its unusual concept. The hotel and Huis Ten Bosch is about an hour away from the heart of the city. You can reach Nagasaki by sleeper trains from Tokyo, bus and regular train from Fukuoka. You can also fly into the Nagasaki Airport served by domestic carriers and a few international carriers.
Nothing will prepare you with what you will encounter in Henn-na Hotel. Its staffs from the porters, receptionists, concierges, to cloakroom clerks are all humanoid robots! You might feel a little uneasy at first but once you exchange pleasantries with them, it’s as if you are just interacting with humans. Make friends with an English-speaking dinosaur robot, a bowing humanoid “lady” called Yumeko, or small cartoon-like robot called Churi-chan. Although the hotel does not have any elevator, it only has two floors. It has 72 rooms ranging from the standard, superior, and deluxe types. Its facilities and services include a Café Corner, Smart Kiosk, and an Amenity Store. If you want to revel in its superb technology, you can request for a facial authentication for unlocking your door. Another wing of the hotel is expected to open in March 2016.
Book a room in Henn-na Hotel before people start flocking to Henn-na so they can relish a unique hotel experience. Consult your travel agent for more details.
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Located on the idyllic Nai-wok Bay, the Baan Manali Resort is a 14-bungalow resort that clearly knows how to treat guests if the number of the guests it gets every year is anything to by. The resort is located just a 10-minutes' walk from the inviting village of Thongsala.
That this resort is a watersports’ lover haven is understatement. There is virtually no popular watersport that you will not find here. Among the sports you will engage in are; paddle boarding, windsurfing, sailing, snorkeling, kayaking, kiting and many more.
Your accommodation at the resort will feature bungalows, deluxe rooms, and family garden room. Among the amenities you can expect therein include; air conditioning, coffee and tea facilities, writing desk, no-smoking policy, private terrace, wireless internet, bathroom with both hot and cold shower, laundry and ironing facilities and many more.
For your dining needs, you can never go wrong at Kokomo's Kitchen. You will be served with tasty traditional and exotic dishes. The menu will be made by ingredients such as rye bread, jam, muesli, and yogurt among others.
Make a reservation and have a new high. Alternatively, you can click here to view what other travellers are saying about the resort before you make a decision to visit.
Fresh breeze, waves' whispers, sunny days and sometimes the howling winds that sway the palm rafters are some of the defining elements that you encounter at the Sugar Beach. You will get the views of the Pitons and the Caribbean Sea as you sip away at freshly pressed juice from local farms...how about that for a great holiday? Welcome to Sugar Beach A Viceroy Resort St. Lucia.
And the leisure does not stop at the beach. The accommodations at the resort are such that you cannot help but be awed. The surroundings help you sit back and reflect on your happy life. There is a happy feeling around the resort.
There are 4 classes of accommodations at the resort including; Luxury Guestrooms, Luxury Villas, Luxury Beachfront Bungalows and The Residences. The minimum amenities that you can expect from each of these accommodations include;
- Butler Services
- IPod docking station
- In-roof safe
- Coffee maker
- Flat screen TV and DVD player
- Bathroom amenities
- Wi-Fi internet
- A plunge pool and many more
For your dining needs, you are welcomed to the Great Room Restaurant for red wine and Jerusalem artichoke, Bayside Restaurant for beachside dining and the Terrace for poolside breakfast and the stunning morning views of the Caribbean.
For drinks, visit Bayside Bar, Cane Bar, The Late Night Bar and The Palm Court Lounge. Note that each of these bars serves authentic cocktails, beers, wines and teas from all over the globe.
If you want specialized dining setup, all you have to do is make an order. There is a room service for in-room diners, beach service for those that want to feel the sand between their toes as they dine and dine anywhere, anytime package for those that need special romantic considerations.
Among the holiday activities to be enjoyed here include; spa services, yoga and fitness, scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, windsurfing, riding hobie cats, paddle boarding, and tours to various attractions such as Morne Coubaril Estate and Gros Piton.
Sounds like a fantastic destination to spend your holiday, doesn't? Well, make a reservation at the resort and start living your holiday dream.
Click here to view comments about the resort on Trip Advisor.
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