The Polka Dot Travel Lounge welcomes Annette, a serial adventurer who is the author of the book Bucket List Adventures. She’s a social media influencer, and creator of the award winning travel blog, Bucket List Journey, a site that encourages readers to step out of their box in order to live their dreams. We were lucky enough to have a chat with Annette about some of the top spots for your romantic honeymoon. Prepare yourself for your next trip, these recommendations sound amazing!
What is your favourite region?
I have been fortunate to travel to some pretty incredible places around the world. Some of my favourites are the Galapagos Islands for the unique wildlife, Switzerland for the green rolling hills and the serenity of Jordan’s Wadi Rum desert.
But, there is one place that I can never get enough of because of the endless exploration opportunities. Tokyo can not ever get boring. While there I ate beef that was creatively shaped like a brain, served to me inside of my private jail cell by women dressed in pink nurses’ outfits. I drank my coffee next to a dozen felines at a quirky cat café, confirming my preference for dogs. And I found out exactly what all the buttons on the Japanese toilet do (enjoying some outcomes much more than others).
There are not many places that would provide such peculiar and unexpected forms of entertainment, but Tokyo is a city of many colourful facets; a mix of avant-garde and traditional. It is a town where the illuminated skyscrapers cohabitate with historic temples, unusual anime shops and cherry blossom lined streets. It is a destination where you can attend a lively tuna auction hours before daybreak, eat skewers of yakitori in the seedy Piss Alley or scramble across one of the biggest intersections in the world with hundreds of others. In other words, Tokyo is just fabulous.
Top resort recommendation?
Not considered your conventional romantic destination, the Santa Teresita Resort & Spa in Guatemala is an underrated destination for couples. You can spend an afternoon sipping on fresh fruit smoothies and soaking in their four outdoor thermals pools that are meant to improve circulation and relieve stress.
Evenings are meant to be enjoying dinner at the modern Las Mengalas restaurant, while looking out of the floor to ceiling windows. Dine on traditional dishes that are reinvented using local products. As if that’s not enough, then you will go to your room. Their trendy Kawilal Hotel is a leader in the sustainability movement practicing efficiency in energy use, water use and material selections. Even the rooms’ roofs are built with gardens, keeping the inside temperature comfortable without the use of an air conditioner. When you open the sliding glass doors, the lines between indoors and outdoors will be blurred.
Suggestions for great honeymoon activities?
My perfect honeymoon activities would be the perfect mix of romance and adventure, all the while creating unforgettable memories as a newlywed couple. A very special bonding experience to share would be conquering a fear together. Try zip lining through the Costa Rican rain forest or taking a helicopter ride over a Hawaiian volcano. For a little romance, set up a wine-pairing dinner at a Michelin starred restaurant or take a hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia. A simple activity, and one of my favourites with my husband was hiking through the California redwoods, then setting up a hammock between two giants trees and lounging there listening to the sound of nature.
The ideal location for a proposal.
I think the ideal location for a proposal would have to be a place meaningful to you both, like a location where you had a memorable experience early on in your relationship, a destination that you’ve always wanted to travel to or while doing an adventure on your bucket list.
If my husband of almost 20 years were to propose to me again (how sweet would that be?) I would want it to either be at an Irish castle fit for a princess (like Dromoland in Clare!) or after hiking to the top of a Glacier Point in Yosemite where there was a champagne picnic waiting. These are two places that would have a personal meaning to us.
Best kept secret honeymoon location.
On a budget, staying near (or in) a national park is the best-kept secret. A place like Yosemite Valley, which is the centrepiece of Yosemite National Park in California, has grand waterfalls, flowing creeks, picturesque hiking and monumental granite cliffs. During the winter months it is a pure white wonderland for travellers who want to snowshoe, cross-country ski, make snowmen or simply sit in a lodge by a cosy fireplace. In the summer, take some waterfall hikes or a scenic drive and stay in a charming nearby B&B (we loved Tin Lizzie Inn). National parks are a chance to connect with nature and disconnect from technology.
For a more luxurious experience, take a road trip through the South of France. Plan overnight stays at all the quaint cities — don’t miss St-Remy-de-Provence, Arles, Perouges and Les Baux! There’s nothing that says romance more than strolling through cobbled streets line with cute shops and stopping at a tiny bistro along the way for a glass of Bordeaux.
Ms Chinoiserie Says: What amazing adventures – and stunning images. I think I may need to visit more national parks – Yosemite looks so dreamy!