RAVE: Honeymoon Hotspots – 2

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Honeymoon Hotspots
RAVE

May 2005
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WHERE: LOS CABOS, MEXICO

WHY: The southern-most tip of the Baja Peninsula, Los Cabos offers the best of both worlds, blending the party-hearty vibe of Cabo San Lucas and the old-time Mexican charm of San Jose.

WHEN TO GO: Skip summer, when temperatures hit 100 degrees, and go in late February for Carnaval’s parades and partying. Mid-September brings Mariachi

bands celebrating Mexico’s Dia de la Independencia.

HONEYMOON BUBBLE: Perched on the bluffs of Punta Ballena (“Whale Point”) overlooking the Sea of Cortez, only ten minutes from the heart of bustling Cabo San Lucas, the Esperanza Resort has drawn celebs like Paul McCartney and Gwyneth Paltrow (who loved it so much, she dropped about $310,000 a year on the hotel’s timeshare) with its hushed barefoot chic style. Score one of the stunning Palapa-level beachfront suites, which comes complete with a private infinity-edged ocean view hot tub. (866.311.2226, www.esperanzaresort.com, garden-level suites starting at $375) Honeymooners craving fiesta-style accommodations can sip tequila pool-side while a Mariachi band plays at the Melia San Lucas on Playa El Medano, which, with views of the landmark El Arco, is just four blocks from bustling downtown shopping, dining and nightlife. (www.meliasanlucas.solmelia.com, doubles starting at $169)

IF YOU ACTUALLY LEAVE THE HOTEL: Got $2,500 burning a hole in your pocket? Charter Esperanza’s yacht and sail out to the mind-blowing El Arco at Lands End, where the ocean extends enthrallingly as far as human eyes can see. Jump ship to snorkel in the stunning turquoise Sea of Cortez or drop a line to reel in some of the area’s wild marlin. Or sunbathe on the exquisite Playa de Amor, where the Pacific meets the Bahia de Cabo San Lucas. When you’ve worked up an appetite, skip the Hard Rock Café to sample the local fare—indulge in fresh-caught seafood delights at the rowdy Giggling Marlin and maybe catch Sammy Hagar (you know, that other Van Halen dude) at his own Cabo Wabo Cantina. If you’re feeling flush, at Esperanza, request the ‘Night to Remember,’ a $7,000 candlelit made-to-order feast for two on a private beach complete with fireworks. For couples braving the club scene, best bets are Panchos, with over 200 varieties of tequila, and the iconic El Squid Roe, a pulsating three-story party where waiters with spray-tanks shoot tequila directly into willing mouths of table-dancing patrons.

WHERE: SANTORINI, GREECE

WHY: Some seventy miles south of Crete, this small island resort in the Cyclades chain in the Aegean Sea offers the typical pristine beaches—and a whole lot more. With the west side of the island cradled in a caldera cliff created by a still-smoldering volcano (which last erupted in 1956), Santorini’s rough pebble-beachscape is marked by exquisite white villages against the backdrop of azure skies and the turquoise sea. Donkeys and cable cars help locals traverse the rugged terrain, which descends dramatically into the Aegean. Greek Orthodox festivals throughout the year prompt island-wide feasts and jubilation complete with spit-roasted lamb and local wines.

HONEYMOON BUBBLE: Set into caldera cliff, the 17-villa Perivolas hotel was created from restored 300-year-old cave structures that once held a winery and stables. Modern luxury—complete with an infinity pool that seems to meld into the Aegean—blends with traditional charm in the form of island antiques and astonishingly white walls. (www.perivolas.gr/) Or stay at the charming, homey three-suite 1864 Sea Captain’s House, run by the owners of Ambrosia, regarded as the best restaurant on the island. (www.santorini-gr.com, with suites starting at $350 a night)

IF YOU ACTUALLY PLAN ON LEAVING THE HOTEL: Stomp grapes I Love Lucy-style in the fall, or head to a winery for a taste of the local grape year-round. History buffs shouldn’t miss the archeological excavations at Akrotiri, the intact ash-preserved remains of a Minoan town evacuated in 17th century B.C. after earthquakes predicted the volcano’s next eruption. (www.santorini.com)

WHERE: LAS VEGAS, NV

WHY: Not planning a quickie Vegas wedding? Up the stakes (and the sizzle) with a Sin City honeymoon that’s high on glitz and glamour—but still affordable. With its relatively cheap thrill-a-minute nightlife, Vegas is ripe for spend-savvy honeymooners who know that getting married doesn’t necessarily mean settling down.

HONEYMOON BUBBLE: High rollers can score the 2,900-square-foot 3-bedroom ‘Real World’ suite at the shiny new Palms Hotel & Casino for a mere $10,000 a night. But with deluxe rooms starting at just $89, even broke folk can party like Britney, Paris and Lindsay at the resort’s super-trendy Ghostbar and Rain nightclub. (Palms Casino & Resort, 866.942.7770, www.palms.com, deluxe king from $89) In the mood for something a bit less flashy? Go minimalist (Vegas-style) at THEhotel, a Mandalay Bay-built skyrise whose chic, spacious 750-square-foot suites come complete with 42-inch plasma screen TVs, a wet bar and marble baths. Chill in the lobby billiards lounge or at the uber-mellow Bathhouse Spa, where you and your honey can indulge in hot and cold facials or a crystal energy massage. (THEhotel, 877.632.7800, http://thehotelatmandalaybay.com, one-bedroom suites from $169.95) Or check into the Bellagio, with its lush botanical gardens and art gallery. (The Bellagio, 888.987.3456, http://bellagio.com/)

IF YOU ACTUALLY PLAN ON LEAVING THE HOTEL: Get matching his-and-hers tattoos (and your reality TV fix) at the Hart & Huntingon Tattoo Company at the Palms, where they’re currently shooting the BRAVO reality series Inked. (702.942.7777,
http://www.hartandhuntingtontattoo.com) Not ready for that kind of commitment? You could always jump ship, er, plane. Skydiving in the Nevada desert, half-an-hour from the strip, is a sure to be a honeymoon highlight. (Look Tours, http://www.looktours.com/, $189 per person) Honeymooners looking for excitement from the safety of their seats can check out Cirque du Soleil’s new shows, the operatic O (www.bellagio.com) or the racy Zumanity (www.lasvegas.com). Oh yeah, and then there’s always gambling.

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