Hotels We Love

A Return to Cap Juluca, and Classic Caribbean Luxury

All photos courtesy of Cap JulucaAll photos courtesy of Cap Juluca

Once upon a time, when I was brand new to travel writing, I got an invitation to go to Cap Juluca resort in Anguilla. I had no idea where Anguilla was exactly, but had heard of Cap Juluca because of the celeb fan base (Jennifer Aniston, Janet Jackson, Bill Gates…the list goes on…). At the time, I had traveled, but in a college budget-type way. That trip was an eye-opener to what a luxury hotel experience could be, and in some ways set the course for where my life would go. I’ll never forget sipping a welcome glass of champs on that amazing beach; my first experience with a in-room  …

Meet Jicaro, A Romantic Eco Resort in Nicaragua

Jicaro Island Ecolodge, a romantic private-island resort in NicaraguaJicaro Island Ecolodge, a romantic private-island resort in Nicaragua

The buzz is growing about Nicaragua. The Central America country is undergoing a tourism renaissance, and our recent visit found a lot of romantic eco resort options — including Jicaro Island Ecolodge, an unexpected treasure.
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Globetrotter: Photographer Laura Grier on Romantic Bali

Photo by Laura GrierPhoto by Laura Grier

Photographer Laura Grier is always on the move — be it shooting destination weddings and engagement shoots around the world with her company Beautiful Day Photography, or capturing the work of indigenous craftspeople in developing countries with NOVICA/National Geographic. As much as she likes to go someplace new, she also keeps returning to one special place: Bali, Indonesia. Here is her take from her most recent trip there, and the honeymoon-perfect hotel she fell in love with.
Bali always feels like home, every time I land here. There is something nostalgic and romantic about being here. It’s like how a certain smell or song can bring  …

Private Island Honeymoon Bliss at Parrot Cay

Photo by COMO Hotels and ResortsSunset at Parrot Cay. Photo by COMO Hotels and Resorts

The first time I went to Parrot Cay, I missed Brad Pitt by a day. That was back when he was with Jennifer Aniston. Resorts can change a lot over time, but on a recent return I was glad to see nothing at Parrot Cay had changed, in the best possible way.
Parrot Cay sits on its own private island, accessible by a 30-minute speedboat ride from Providenciales. Paparazzi is a non-issue, which makes it great for high-profile guests; Paul McCartney, Jennifer Lopez, Keith Richards have all visited, and Donna Karan and Bruce Willis own property on the island. And privacy  …

Globetrotter: Destination Wedding Photographer Donna Von Bruening in Maui

Photo by Donna Von BrueningPhoto by Donna Von Bruening

Savannah-based destination wedding photographer Donna Von Bruening is on the road a lot, and we love keeping up with her travels. She recently returned from Maui, Hawaii, where she was shooting a birthday party at Montage Kapalua Bay. She managed to snap a few shots for us in her downtime; here’s her report. 
“Earlier this fall, work brought me to the shores of Maui’s Kapalua Bay for a week at the exclusive Montage Resort. I was in good company, there with top event designer Luke Wilson of Luke Wilson Special Events in Charleston and NYC.
Our first day revolved around an intimate birthday dinner  …

The Honeymoonist Picks The Best Honeymoon Plunge Pools on About.com Travel

Courtesy of Jade MountainCourtesy of Jade Mountain

We LOVE a good plunge pool — it’s the top request we get for a honeymoon suite. And with good reason: A fantastic plunge pools is the ultimate romantic indulgence, a place you can relax and connect away from the crowds (and splashing kids!) at the main hotel pool, and a nice retreat when you’re have your fill of beach time. But it’s also one of the biggest areas for potential disappointments, if you don’t get what you think you’re getting. We know this firsthand: We’ve experienced plunge pools that look great in photos but when you get there, the pool is only a few inches deep–more  …

Top Southern California Destination Wedding Venues in USA TODAY Travel

Ceremony at Terranea Resort courtesy of Kirsten Manick PhotographyCeremony at Terranea Resort courtesy of Kirsten Manick Photography

We love Southern California for destination weddings; it’s sunny, accessible and home to a slew of amazing venues and vendors. We headed out earlier this summer to scout hotels for USA TODAY Travel, we found it hard to narrow it down to just 10 — but we managed. From an historic inn in Palm Springs built by a mobster to a sprawling contemporary resort perched on the bluff just south of Los Angeles, these 10 hotels were the cream of the crop.
 
 

Inside Engage! at Romantic NIZUC Resort in Riviera Maya

Photo by Dave NoonanPhoto by Dave Noonan

Earlier this summer I headed to Mexico to speak about honeymoons and destination weddings at the Engage! Luxury Wedding Business Summit. I’ve been going to this conference for quite a few years now, and it’s amazing for many reasons. First and foremost, at Engage! I get to connect with top event pros from all over the world, from amazing event planners to rock-star photographers, which expands my network of connections for our honeymoon and wedding clients. Secondly, the Engage! family is a tight-knit bunch, and many of my fellow attendees have turned into close friends, so it’s as much about community and having fun as it is about sharing intel and inspiration. Last but not  …

The Coolest Hotel in London

Scarfes Bar at Rosewood LondonScarfes Bar at Rosewood London

I love everything about London. The history, the shopping, the style — and of course, the hotels! One of my absolute favorites is Rosewood London, which opened to much fanfare in late 2013. From the outside, it looks very much a traditional English hotel, set in a circa-1914 building with stately iron gates marking the courtyard entrance.
Inside, things get more interesting. I love the striped floor in the lobby, and the great collection of artwork and coffee table books make it feel more like a salon than a lobby.
Design touches are everywhere, from the birdcages by the elevator to this hallway off the  …

A Secret Honeymoon Villa in Guatemala

Casa Palopo at Lake AtitlanCasa Palopo at Lake Atitlan

Most visitors to Guatemala head straight to the historic capital Antigua and leave it at that, but you’re missing out if you don’t head into the highlands. Lake Atitlan is the deepest lake in Central America; think Lake Tahoe only surrounded by rural villages and the Sierra Madres instead of the Rockies. It’s a three-hour drive from Guatemala City by car, or 30 minutes by helicopter (which is how the wealthy Guatemalans do it; many of them have second homes here).
One of these homes has been turned into the sweetest boutique hotel, ideal for honeymoons or buyout weddings. Casa Palopo is a former villa-turned-9-room hotel,  …