All we knew was sun, beach, all-inclusive. Initially, those were our only requirements. Neither of us have ever been to an all-inclusive resort, and I, for one, have been dying to try it. I mean - hello? - you basically could leave your wallet at home. Sounds freakin awesome to me! Matt and I always seem to get ourselves into trouble on vacations because we forget all the other "little" things that cost money when you're on vacation and pretending that life doesn't exist outside of your vacation bubble. I mean, we pay upfront for the hotel, airfare, and car, usually, because I book "packages" through Southwest airlines or cheaptickets.com. And once I do that, it's like I seem to forget that, oh yeah, we still have to eat. And do fun things. And maybe buy Tylenol. I'm not so great at the whole money thing (which is why he manages our finances!). So, all-inclusive, where you pay for your lodging, transportation, food, drinks, and booze all at once? Yes, please!
So, we started researching all-inclusive resorts. First we talked about where we didn't want to go: Jamaica, Domincan Republic, and Mexico. Then we talked about where we did want to go. I really wanted to go somewhere I've never been - Costa Rica, Belize, Brazil...somewhere cool and exotic-sounding. I've been to several islands in the Caribbean, and love each and every one of them, but was hoping for something different for our honeymoon. I was blessed to grow up in house where travelling was important, and we were able to afford it because my mom travelled a lot for work, so we used frequent flyer miles and points to pay for a lot of things. I've been a lot of places, and I'm so, so, so lucky and grateful to be able to say that. Matt's never been, well, anywhere. His family didn't travel much growing up. In fact, I think it's safe to say that Matt's travelled more in the 5 years that we've been dating than he did his whole life. I really enjoy travelling with him and exploring with him, and look forward to being able to take him back to some of the places I've been and rediscover them with him (like Australia and Italy and Ireland...).
ANYWAY. Back to the honeymood discussions. Based on the above information, Matt kind of didn't care where we ended up, as long as it was all-inclusive and sunny and had a beach that we could relax by. A swim-up bar also wouldn't hurt. I looked at a lot of all-inclusive resorts in South America, but none of them seemed quite right. After looking at many resorts in South America and the Caribbean, and finding nothing that quite struck our fancy, we sat down again. And we figured it out - we tended to rule out a place if it had a kids' club, or lots of kid-friendly activities. [Seriously, we sound like we hate kids - no kids at the wedding, no kids on our honeymoon - but I swear, we both really do love kids!!] So, we added one more must to the list - adults-only. Well, typing that into a Google internet search gets you some interesting results! Ever heard of Hedonism resorts? Yeah, I hadn't either...and kind of wish I never had. Yish!
Finally, we settled on Sandals resorts. I had tried to stay away from this because, well, it's just so done. Everyone goes to Sandals for their honeymoons, and I desperately wanted to do something different. But Sandals is just about the only recognizable name out there that has all-inclusive, adults-only resorts! There are a few others, but they are mostly in Mexico or Jamaica, the 2 places at the top of our Do-Not-Go-To list. Oh well. So Sandals it was. But, which Sandals? Well, our DNGT list eliminated several right off the bat, and our budget cut quite a few out as well. We were basically left with Bahamas and St. Lucia. I've been to the Bahamas before, and was willing to go back, but their resorts were kind of, meh. So, St. Lucia. But there are 3 resorts on St. Lucia! Geez!! Well, one was a little high for our budget. We could've done it, but we'd be staying in the absolute lowest tier room type, and we wanted something a little more special for our honeymoon. So that left us with Regency La Toc and Halcyon Beach.
We ended up choosing Halcyon Beach. It's smaller, and only has 4 restaurants, but that's kind of what we like about it - it's small, intimate, and all the reviews I've read say it's the most laid-back of the three. And if you know us at all, you know that we're about as laid-back as they come. We booked a middle-tier room, so that we'd have some extra money for excursions and other stuff. We are SO excited! We both updated our background on our work computers to show a picture of the resort. It's so beautiful.
The bonus about being on St. Lucia is that we get to stay at one, but use any of the amenities at the other 2 resorts. So if we get bored with our restaurants, we can hop a (free!) shuttle and head over to one of the others to enjoy their restaurants. We can also use the golf course at Regency (this would cost extra - greens fees are free, but we'd have to rent clubs and they require caddies).
Excursions are a bit pricey, but we set up a honeymoon registry so that our guests can "gift" us the excursions. We talked about it before we set it up, and decided that even if no one buys us anything off of it, we'd be ok with hanging out at the 3 resorts and just lounging around for the time that we're there. We didn't want to set ourselves up for disappointment, because some people seem to have issues with honeymoon registries - like we're asking for people to pay for our honeymoon. And that's not the case at all. Our honeymoon is booked and (almost) paid for - we're just asking people to help make our honeymoon that much more special! We had a blast picking out the excursions to include on our registry and are looking forward to taking some special trips on our special trip!
So that's it - our honeymoon decision and how we came to it. Want some eye candy to be jealous of? I thought you might. [All photos from Sandals website]
Pretty, isn't it?
I'm pretty sure this is the room level we booked.
Mario's - an Italian restaurant
The Pier Restaurant - supposedly this has the best Caribbean food on the island
I want to be in one of these. NOW.