Romantic Minimoons; A short getaway can be long on romance
Peak wedding season is now underway, but for many, a full-length honeymoon immediately following the wedding is no longer feasible due to limited time and/or money. Enter the minimoon. A long weekend escape is the perfect compromise and no less enjoyable. Even better, these stays, which are either all-inclusive or provide on-site options, remove the effort of planning, so newlyweds can simply revel in post-wedding decompression.
The Chanler at Cliff Walk, Newport, R.I.
This 19th-century oceanfront mansion is the only hotel located along Newport’s famed Cliff Walk, a 3.5-mile path that meanders along the waterfront.
It’s also within easy walking distance to most of the town’s acclaimed manses, such as The Breakers. Complimentary bikes are also available, or use Chanler’s free car service to venture into town or explore area beaches.
That’s if you want to leave: the hotel’s 20 sumptuous rooms boast views of either the gardens or the ocean, and are individually decorated in historic periods, from Colonial to Victorian. While rooms maintain their original character with fireplaces and other charming details, they’ve also been updated with high-definition televisions and soaking tubs.
In fact, you can even upgrade your tub time by arranging for the hotel’s bath butler to draw you a customized soak. Onsite restaurants offer a blend of French and New England fare; weather permitting, take advantage of Cliff Walk Terrace, which combines casual dining with front-row seats of both the ocean and Cliff Walk. Cap off brisk New England nights by enjoying s’mores around Chanler’s firepit.
The Lodge at Woodloch, Hawley, Penn.
Less than three hours from Philadelphia and New York City, couples seeking the perfect wellness retreat will find it at this adults-only destination spa in the Poconos.
An all-inclusive couple’s package comes with a welcome bottle of wine and keepsake wine glasses, a rose petal turndown and chocolate-covered strawberries. It also bundles in one spa treatment a day, held in the sprawling 40,000-square-foot facility, which uses natural products from Naturopathica and Kerstin Florian.
Book treatments, such as the popular Rosemary Awakening, well in advance to score a couple’s suite. The bi-level space also houses popular fitness classes throughout the day, and caters to all levels and interests, from barre and yoga to cardio and pool workouts. Speaking of which, the pool area encompasses a large indoor pool, two hot tubs with a massaging waterfall feature, and a sundeck with another whirlpool.
If you can tear yourselves away from the spa and pool, the grounds also feature a private lake for kayaking and nature trails.
The activities don’t end there: There are also cooking demonstrations and art classes such as watercolor painting—sign up if you want to take home a masterpiece of the local scenery. The couple’s package covers all meals, but don’t worry: Unlike some spa resorts, there aren’t any calorie restrictions here. Full-service meals are locally sourced (and as local as its own garden) and worthy of five stars. When you’re too full to partake in any activities, retire to a spacious room with a private balcony, where you’re likely to spot deer.
Farmhouse Inn, Sonoma, Calif.
Rustic chic prevails at Farmhouse Inn, a restored 19th-century farmhouse in Sonoma’s enviable wine country. While it’s not all-inclusive, it covers all of your needs, including a Michelin-starred restaurant, a full-service spa housed in a former carriage house and a pool and hot tub.
Beyond that there are no organized activities, but no matter, since there are hundreds of wineries to explore. The inn can even arrange customized winery tours if you prefer to have a designated driver.
Farmhouse’s fifth-generation owners also operate Lost and Found Winery, which produces limited amounts of pinot noir that’s only found at high-end restaurants such as The French Laundry.
However, the inn has its own acclaimed restaurant specializing in locally sourced food and expert wine pairings, including some of the region’s best. Didn’t have a chance to try a particular wine at dinner? No worries, since each room comes stocked with a wine fridge. Guests can even work with a personal sommelier to not only choose which wines are awaiting in the room, but also create an itinerary for when you’d like to drink them. Abolish any wine over-indulgences with a three-course breakfast that’s included in your stay, including farm-fresh eggs and homemade pastries.
Homemade goodies, like marshmallows, reappear for evening s’mores around a firepit, followed by a milk and cookie turndown (and perhaps another glass of wine).
Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, Mont.
Staying at this adults-only Relais & Chateaux property means couples can fulfill their Wild West dreams without having to rough it.
Found in the rugged, unspoiled Bitterroot Valley, an all-inclusive option covers meals, alcohol and on-site activities. The latter encompasses horseback riding, fly fishing at one of the ground’s trout ponds (the kitchen will even cook your catch), and sapphire panning. In the event you find a sapphire (!), the ranch can even assist with getting it appraised.
The expansive property also offers a heated outdoor pool, tennis court and fitness center. In between activities, retreat to a rustic-chic log cabin; popular one-bedrooms feature a wood-burning fireplace and a wrap-around deck where you can watch wildlife from a private hot tub. Each cabin even comes with its own golf cart for puttering around the grounds.
Although you might prefer to walk off gourmet meals, which include fresh produce sourced from neighboring CB Ranch, Triple Creek’s 26,000-acre working cattle ranch.
Triple Creek also uses the ranch to conduct nature safaris (where you might spot bison, elk, mountain lions and bears) and cross-country horseback rides. Spring and fall bring signature events at no extra cost, which encompass artist workshops, cooking classes and a cattle round-up.
Travaasa Austin, Austin, Texas.
Situated just outside of Austin in bucolic Hill Country, Travaasa bills itself as an experiential resort, and there’s no shortage of experiences here. All-inclusive pricing provides access to a full schedule of activities, from aqua pilates to a juicing demo.
There’s also a bevy of homegrown fun, including harmonica lessons, Texas two-step classes and mechanical bull riding. (There’s even hatchet throwing, but that may not be the most newlywed-friendly activity.)
The property also features an infinity pool, ropes course and hiking trails. Certain activities, including spa treatments, are an additional cost, but the organic spa with its 11 treatment rooms is a highlight.
A private couple’s suite boasts a courtyard, steam room and small pool; a full-out couple’s escape package entails massages, facials and strawberries and champagne to boot. Food, eggs and produce at the on-site, farm-to-table restaurant are sourced from the resort’s farm. Travaasa’s healthy ethos extends to its 70 rooms, which include organic linens. Opt for a balcony room to admire Hill Country’s rolling greenery by day, and to stargaze at night.
Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, Mich.
Both the Grand Hotel and Mackinac Island are throwbacks to a bygone era when life was slower and simpler. In fact, the island is still car-free; the only way to get around is by bike or horse and carriage. The Grand Hotel has been a fixture since 1887; its 660-foot-long porch, considered the longest in world, was an early claim to fame. Since then, five U.S. presidents have visited, and major movies, including ‘Somewhere in Time’ starring Christopher Reeve, filmed on its grounds.
Legendary design firm Dorothy Draper & Company individually redecorated its 390 rooms in 19th-century decor, with an emphasis on bright colors and floral patterns. Couples who opt for the honeymoon package are treated to champagne, flowers and a carriage ride. The package also includes breakfast, afternoon tea and a five-course dinner in the main dining room.
In keeping with a throwback time, the evening dress code requires a suit and tie for men, and a dress or similarly stylish attire for women. Afterward, head to the Terrace Room for nightly dancing to The Grand Hotel Orchestra.
The hotel’s activities are another nod to a more genteel period, so don’t expect to find the latest fitness craze here. Instead partake in croquet or tennis, or golf, bike or swim in the 220-foot-long pool. Or simply stroll around the property’s manicured gardens hand-in-hand and pretend that you live at the turn of the century. (FYI, couples might want to avoid family days.)
Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, Little Torch Key, Fla.
For a truly remote getaway, this five-acre private island resides just off the Florida Keys, and is as close as you can get to the Caribbean without leaving the States. It’s only accessible by boat or seaplane, making this adults-only escape feel like a true island retreat.
Thirty thatched-roof bungalows are tucked among tropical foliage along the ocean, and feature air-conditioning, private decks and outdoor bamboo showers. Meals can be eaten at either the oceanfront restaurant or at a private table on the beach.
An all-inclusive package includes meals and unlimited use of kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and fishing equipment. Other activities cost extra, but the resort can arrange a multitude, whether it’s scuba diving or spending an afternoon on a private yacht with a gourmet picnic spread.
A full-service spa offers enough treatments to fill an entire vacation, from a milk and honey body wrap to a Javanese ritual that involves a Balinese massage, exfoliation and flower petal bath. Most services can also be experienced as a couple’s treatment. Beyond the spa and watersports, there’s little else to do except relax and bask in each other’s company.