Super-Savvy Honeymoons: Wallet-Friendly Spots That Won't Skimp on Romance
With the venue, caterer, florist, photographer, bridal party gifts, rehearsal dinner, hair and makeup, etc, etc, etc, even a wedding on a budget can end up costing a pretty penny. [Ed. note: Sorry to any bride-to-bes whom we may have just given major anxiety. But honey, that list was just the tip of the iceberg.] So often a super-luxe honeymoon to top it all off is out of the question. But hey, everyone deserves a honeymoon. After all the planning, prepping, and smiling for guests whom you definitely didn't invite ("Oh, so your my mom's neighbor's daughter's friend? I see!"), a romantic getaway will be just what you need to kick off your wedded bliss. That's why we at Oyster have found five fabulous beachy honeymoon spots that'll be kind to your new joint bank account. (Or separate! hey, we're all about independence here) And just because they're budget-friendly, it doesn't mean these spots sacrifice style. They're also some of the most quaint, peaceful, and romantic hotels around. So relax: Your wedding will be perfect (we promise) and no matter what, you'll be able to follow it up with the romantic trip that doesn't break the bank.
Book a Flight to: St. Lucia
Stay at: The Still Beach House
Though this island of friendly people and gorgeous beaches has recently seen an influx of tourism, it maintains a sense of unspoiled, exotic beauty that gives it great appeal for a romantic getaway. The Still Beach House, along Soufriere Bay, is a quaint, budget-friendly inn perfect for penny pinchers. There's little in the way of amenities -- in fact, the only extras are direct access to a public beach (that's, by the way, totally gorgeous) and a breezy restaurant and bar -- but adventurous couples will find the hotel's location exceptional and its accommodations satisfactory. Not only does the inn offers incredible views of Petit Piton -- which appears at arm’s length from every room's private balcony -- the landmark is also within walking distance of Soufriere, so there's lots of local flavor to be found. And with just five rooms, Still Beach guarantees newlyweds peace and quiet.
Book a Flight to: Barbados
Stay at: The Atlantis Hotel
Barbados on a budget? We admit it's no easy feat on this gorgeous -- and expensive -- island, but if you have your heart set on a Barbadian honeymoon, there are ways to make it work. First off, skip the ritzy Western side of the island and opt for the Eastern edge instead. Sure, it's a bit windier and the waves are choppier, but its beaches are arguably just as beautiful and is home to attractions such as the Andromeda Botanical Gardens and world-famous golf courses. Also, make sure to book your stay at The Atlantis Hotel. The historic property re-opened in 2009 and offers only eight rooms -- and they are some of the most romantic we've seen on the island, complete with canopy beds, exposed stone walls, marble bathrooms, and modern amenities. The beach is more suitable for surfing than swimming, but with a small pool with ocean views, and an indoor/outdoor restaurant that's popular among guests and locals, the Atlantis is a budget-friendly property well-suited for a honeymoon.
Book a Flight to: Oahu
Stay at: Ke Iki Beach Bungalows
Oahu is a beautiful spot for a honeymoon with calm, warm waters, a lively nightlife, and relatively dry weather year-round. Plus, it doesn't hurt that it's generally cheaper to catch a flight here (from both coasts) than taking one to Maui or Kauai. Location trumps luxury at Ke Iki Beach's 11 beachfront bungalows sitting just above the sand on the picturesque North Shore. Sure, the bungalows are modest, amenities are non-existent, and service is minimal, but the Ke Iki Beach Bungalows are just the spot for a couple looking for a laid-back, toes-in-the-sand kind of honeymoon: A beautiful, uncrowded beach is just outside the door of the bungalows -- each of which are equipped with full kitchens, hammocks, and grills, making them ideal for a private, post-wedding BBQ. And Oahu's most famous surfing spots and a charming surfer town, Haleiwa, are just down the street.
Book a Flight to: Aruba
Stay at: Boardwalk Hotel Aruba
Located outside the Caribbean's hurricane belt, the flat desert island of Aruba remains at an average 82 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year (with mostly rain free days, to boot). Though restaurants on the island can be expensive due to its importing of food, there are numerous wallet-friendly resorts and hotels, and honeymooners can even try their hand at winning some cash at the casinos for a possible upgrade. For couples in search of a truly intimate boutique experience in Aruba, the Boardwalk Hotel -- owned by a set of Belgian twins -- is an excellent mid-range choice. This peaceful 13-room property, tucked behind three massive Marriott properties and situated on a former coconut plantation, remains an oasis of calm and romance. The rooms -- more like apartments -- are spacious and bright with fully equipped kitchens, fine linens, and private patios. Snorkel gear is provided free to guests, as are beach towels, coolers, chairs and umbrellas, so you and your honey can hit the beach (within walking distance) and relax on the sand.
Book a Flight to: Jamaica
Stay at: Jake's
Beyond the nonstop all-inclusive booze-fest -- which can be fun -- there's a different Jamaica: brilliant reggae, jerk chicken from an oil-drum pan, rugged cliffs, blue lagoons, and overwhelmingly pleasant locals. Direct flights to Kingston and Montego Bay can easily be found from most major U.S. cities, and the island has numerous value hotels to boot. One of our favorites for a honeymoon is Jake's. Made up of just 30 hippy-chic cottages in secluded Treasure Beach, Jake's is one of Jamaica's most romantic hotels. Guests come to unplug -- there's no phone, Internet, or TV in the cottages, but each has its own, unique design with sexy touches such as canopy beds, fresh flowers, hardwood floors, and breezy balconies. Given its gorgeous Driftwood Spa, painting and yoga classes, and excellent food, it's a superb value and a laid-back spot for some newly-wed R&R.