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Hot honeymoon spots this season

December 22, 2006 12:13 IST
If the shubh mahurat on December 13 saw 36,000 marriages getting solemnised in Delhi, it also had tour operators working overtime to book honeymoon packages for the newly weds. Working overtime because couples are now seeking offbeat destinations even for their honeymoon.

Though there are still some who want to go to Switzerland (all thanks to Bollywood!), there are others for whom their honeymoon is as much about catching up on some adventure as being together, alone. Here's a quick check on some sought-after destinations this honeymoon season.

Turkey is one place, which seems to have caught the fancy of honeymooners, never mind the fact that it's really cold out there. Then there are the fantastic beaches in the Philippines or, better still, the wild surrounds of Kenya and Tanzania.

"People are opting for top of the line properties in Kenya and Tanzania like Arusha Coffee House or Tarangire Treetops. Luxury apart, they seek the wildlife experience as well," says Ashish Chadha of Leisure Ways.

Talking of cold weather, requests seem to be pouring in from couples who want bookings at Ice Hotel in Sweden or seek an east Europe trip covering the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.

Money, say the operators, is not a problem. An operator claims to have booked a one-week cruise for a couple for close to Rs 20 lakh.

The more exclusive a place, the better it is. Take, for example, the Maldives, where people are spending as much as Rs 1 lakh a night at Banyan Tree Resort and Spa, says Arun Khanna, head-strategic initiatives, Stic Travels. Other exclusive resorts in the Maldives like the Royal Island Resort and Spa and Kurumba Village Resort and Spa too are doing well with newly-weds.

A self-drive on the garden route in South Africa too is growing popular with honeymooners, says Khanna. He recently received a request from a couple to book them a trip to Rio during the carnival period in February.

Another hot favourite is an exclusive 10 days yatch cruise around the Greek Islands, never mind if it costs Rs 8-10 lakh! "This aside, people are renting honeymoon villas in Barbados, and the package includes full staff for $2,500-5,000 a day," says Ketaki Kapur Pande, CEO of HOPP Worldwide.

Another exclusive is the couples-only Sandals Resort in Acapulco, Mexico, which costs $700 per night, all inclusive. The Versace-owned Palazzo Versace on the Gold Coast in Australia costs $1,000 a night but that doesn't stop people from spending a night or two there.

Saltours has also received a lot of requests for Scotland but those are for the summer season. For now, they have requests for Bali and some self drives in New Zealand.

Interestingly, the longest honeymoon that Saltours has organised so far has been a little over a month - a month and ten days to be precise - in New Zealand and Australia! A long break, we must say!

Ravi Teja Sharma in New Delhi