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  • Thursday, February 23, 2017

    A Travel Expert's Top Destinations

    Words by Eva LaRue
    Photos courtesy of Eva LaRue

    I’m a self-professed travel junky, so it’s a foregone conclusion that I’m a big fan of destination weddings! The perks? First, you can invite everyone with impunity! You know, your boss and associates or those super distant relatives you haven’t seen since your first birthday, but your mom is afraid of insulting if you don’t include? Well, here’s the best part, if you have a destination wedding, you can invite your brains out and only the people who really love you will come! It’s a fantastic self-wedding process. Not to mention, how exciting it is to travel with everyone you adore, making life long amazing memories?

    All of my top destination wedding spots double as perfect honeymoon getaways. I’m going to go out on a limb and push outside the box since you don’t need me to tell you about all the fantastic but overly written about spots in Mexico or the California vineyards.

    Four Season’s Tented Elephant Camp Golden Triangle or Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp, Chang Rai, Thailand

    Sleep in one of the 18 gorgeous, tented accommodations with every possible luxury amenity at the Four Season's Tented Elephant Camp Golden Triangle. After spending the day interacting and learning to ride one of their magnificent elephants through the jungle, go into the Mekong River for more playtime and a bath. The Anantara Golden is a larger resort with 80 lovely rooms, set amongst lush-green rice paddies.

    Nearby excursions from the property are a day visit to the famed “Long Neck” hill tribe, and a trip to the larger city of Chang Mai to visit the Tiger Refuge. Weddings here are extravagantly magical and exotic, replete with riding beautifully decorated elephants to the ceremony on the highest spot in the valley overlooking three countries where you can have a ceremony that includes a traditional Buddhist monks blessing. 

    Add on nearby Siem Reap, Cambodia to your Thailand itinerary.

    Less than an hour flight from Bangkok, the World Unesco site of Angkor Wat and the amazing, Lara Croft-like jungle temples are an absolute must see! Take a helicopter ride to the otherwise unreachable, more remote jungle temples, for a picnic and exploring.

    The Ranch at Rock Creek, Montana

    For glamping at its finest! Your choice to stay in designer, river front tents with private in-suite bathrooms, stocked with all your favorite complimentary snacks and wines or in one of their beautiful log homes. At The Ranch at Rock Creek, there are tons of activities to keep everyone on your trip more than thrilled! Everything from cattle drives, blue ribbon fishing and archery to ropes courses, skeet and clay shooting, rodeo’s, barn dances and more! Nuptial highlights; If you choose a meadow wedding in front of the lake, they will release 100 head of horses to run through the background as you seal the deal with a kiss—It’s a truly spectacular sight! 

    Bora Bora, Tahiti

    Any of the luxury resorts here are sure to match your interests! Bora Bora is arguably the most beautiful island in the world, housing some of planets most famous beaches. It could easily be described as the center of the romantic universe, where luxury resorts and spas dot the seemingly illuminated turquoise lagoon with overwater bungalows, thatched roof villas and enchanting ambience.

    Unbelievable snorkeling in coral gardens, fishing trips that end with your captain cooking your catch on a private beach for lunch, and don’t miss the opportunity to feed and swim with the manta rays and nurse sharks—it’s safe, they’re docile and don’t bite, but you’ll sound like you were living on the edge when you repeat the tale!

    Four Season’s Manele Resort and Four Season’s Lodge at Koele, Lanai

    Love Hawaii, but don’t love crowds? Lanai is the least touristy of the Hawaiian Islands, with two phenomenal properties offering Greg Norman and Jack Nicklaus golf courses, and incredible activities. Sitting on a gorgeous white sand beach in a protected bay is the Four Seasons Resort Lanai. The Lodge at Koele has a unique, country manor feel, complete with a lacy gazebo perched perfectly in front of the resorts lake. Walk through a bamboo forest to a tiny island, perfect for "I do’s,” with a natural waterfall as a backdrop. For a welcome gathering, rehearsal party or reception, opt for amazing gourmet picnic baskets for each guest set out on blankets and pillows near the lake.

    Giraffe Manor in Kenya, Kleins Camp & Kirawira Luxury Camp, Tanzania and Londolozi, South Africa

    I absolutely adore Africa and can’t get enough of it. No photo or video can accurately depict the overwhelming feeling of being there—it just changes your molecules! The service, the food, the animals, the experiences, the rush. There is just nothing like it in the world. Wouldn’t really choose it for a destination wedding (though I have friends that have), it might just prove to be a logistical nightmare. But man, what a honeymoon!

    Giraffe Manor would be my first stop, where these beautiful, towering animals stroll in every morning and evening looking for a treat. You literally share breakfast with a giraffe who has just poked his head through your bedroom window or through the dining room door! 

    From there I would head on to the view the great migration on the Serengeti in Tanzania. Klein’s Camp or the luxurious Kirawira Serena Camp would be my choice, and I highly recommend spending a day visiting the beautiful Maasai people in their village and learning about their culture and way of life!

    If you are only going to hit one spot, then I’d have to go with Londolozi. It's a gorgeous, privately owned safari camp outside of Krueger National Park in South Africa, that provides an experience so enchanting that you will literally grieve when you leave!

    Important Travel Tip: Wherever you decide to stay in Africa, make sure the camp/resort is on a private land concession. If it’s inside a national park, the game viewing is severely restricted because the drivers are not allowed to go off-road for up-close encounters.

    And, what could possibly be better than getting one of these trips for free? Luckily, most great travel agencies have wedding registries, making it a very real possibility. Thus, providing the opportunity to begin your lives together with all the joyousness and magic of adventurous hearts.

    Eva LaRue is Dot Luxury’s Travel Ambassador who’s global experiences and insider jet-setting you can read about on the blog and website:

  • Thursday, February 23, 2017

    Five Perfect Honeymoon Tips

    Words by Emily Bernard

    Headed on a honeymoon? Make the most of your romantic getaway with these five easy tips from Emily Bernard, co-founder and chief brand officer of Whether you’re headed to Paris or Playa del Carmen, these simple suggestions will leave you feeling like a VIP and bring out the ultimate in honeymoon bliss.

    1. Share the Good News

    If there’s ever a moment to steal the spotlight, this is it! Hotels, restaurants and tour companies love when their customers are celebrating special moments – especially a honeymoon. Add a polite note in your reservation to indicate that you’re on a honeymoon and you might receive an extra amenity or two. En route to our honeymoon in the Canadian Rockies for example, my husband told the flight attendants we were celebrating and they spoiled us with a complimentary champagne toast (okay, I told my husband to tell them, but it still counts)!

    2. Reserve an Activity or Excursion

    Couples are increasingly looking to connect to their honeymoon destination in a meaningful way; whether through a cooking class, outdoor excursion, wine tasting or even a historical guided tour. We hear from our PlacePass honeymooners that these kinds of romantic activities are among the most memorable moments on the trip. Experiences bring couples closer together, especially if the activity is new! Some of our most popular honeymoon experiences for warm-weather destinations include snorkeling, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding and surfing lessons. In colder climates the focus is often on food and wine. We recommend scheduling your excursions a couple of days into your trip, as you’ll probably want to relax and catch up on sleep after the big day!

    3. Charge Up

    You’ll be snapping a lot of selfies – make sure your phone doesn’t run out of juice right before the perfect sunset shot. Pack a portable USB charger to keep your devices ready while you’re on the go. The WireCutter has a good roundup of the many options out there. I’m a fan of the Anker PowerCore products in particular, which pack serious power without lots of weight.

    4. Stay Healthy

    Don’t let a cold or the stomach flu interrupt your plans! The basics always apply (wash your hands, drink lots of water and try and get plenty of rest), but there are a couple of extra precautionary steps to take if you’ll be traveling overseas. Your first stop should be the CDC’s Traveler’s Health site to brush up on any special concerns for your destination, including immunizations as well as food and water safety. Be sure to bring a few extra doses of your prescription medications in case your return flight is delayed and don’t forget your contraceptives – it may not be easy to get your preferred brand overseas.

    5. Embrace the Unexpected

    Even the best-laid plans can still go awry, so don’t let travel snafus get in the way of a good time. Flight a bit delayed? Took a wrong turn in the Uber? Room not ready? Take a deep breath, a step back and then see what you can do to sort things out. The more you and your partner can relax and embrace the unexpected, the more rewarding your honeymoon will be. After all, just like the wedding, it’s those candid, unplanned moments that make for the best (and often hilarious) memories years down the road.

    PlacePass is an online tour and activity portal that allows travelers to quickly find and compare thousands of fun activities in more than 180 destinations. Whether you want to book a helicopter to fly over the Grand Canyon or tour the Lord of the Rings movie set in New Zealand, PlacePass’ unique online platform saves hours of research by comparing travel experiences and putting them all into one convenient place, so you can do anything anywhere in the world. If interested in making your traveling plans easier and more effective, visit

    Photo Courtesy of (in order of appearance): Anrel Hasanovic (first), Tim Stief (second), Tord Sollie (third).

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