Believe it or not, the days of beach bungalows over the Fiji waters are long gone—so is first-class airfare and the two-week-long vacations.
Long Islanders have had to adapt to the dwindling economy in the past few years and unfortunately they may not be able to celebrate the fortunate find of a lifetime lover with an exotic honeymoon. But, lucky for us, there are plenty of paradise-like places right around the corner.
It’s called a staycation, and although it doesn’t sound like a real Galapagos Islands getaway, some of Long Island’s honeymoon destinations are just as gorgeous.
1. Shelter Island
Nestled quietly between the two luxurious forks of Long Island’s East End is the beautiful little island that hosts two hot honeymoon locations. One of them is called Sunset Beach (35 Shore Rd., www.sunsetbeachli.com). This romantic seaside hideaway is so exclusive it houses only 20 guest rooms. Each room is equipped with its own sundeck and sea view, providing total privacy. The Andre Balazs hotel is also palate-pleasing with a fantastic French beachside restaurant—don’t leave without trying the moules frites. After dinner, head to the bar and watch the sun go down while sipping on Andre Balazs Reserve Rose. For fun during the day, opt for mountain bikes, go horseback riding or take in a game of golf. If you’re into water sports, try sailing or jet-skiing around the scenic island. And, if you’re down for a little shopping, you can always browse the luxury beach boutique.
Another Shelter Island option is La Maison Blanche (11 Stearns Point Rd., www.maisonblanchehotel.com). The hotel, neighboring the famed Crescent Beach, made its official debut this summer. Actually, this hotel is The Olde Country Inn, which was recently transformed by John Sieni and Alistair MacLean. The expert hoteliers made the quaint inn into an international vacation destination. Giving it a beach chic twist while embracing the classic charm of its origins, the place has become an eight-room luxury hotel complete with a restaurant where Chef Charles Le Tous, known from his work at L’Absinthe and Bistro Vendome in NYC, promises a wide-ranging brasserie menu, bar and bakery. Take a bike tour or lounge by the beach or, if you’re in need of a treat, head to the bakery for a fabulous French pastry.
Right in the heart of Long Island, one will find a great honeymoon destination. The Viana Hotel & Spa (3998 Brush Hollow Rd., Westbury. www.vianahotelandspa.com) is the latest luxury hotel to hit Nassau County, but stepping inside you will definitely find another world. This Westbury hotel is Long Island’s only green-built Feng Shui hotel. “There’s no other place like it on the Island or even in the rest of the states,” says Alan Mindel, Viana Hotel & Spa managing partner. The hotel is also a member of the coveted exclusive Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Get this, everything from the colors of the rooms to the public areas (including the chandeliers) of the eco-friendly space is inspired by the ancient art form of Feng Shui and designed with peace and tranquility in mind. Guests can not only enjoy the tranquil guestrooms but they can also head to the Zen-inspired spa, salon, fitness center, indoor pool, restaurant and bar. Try this package: Luxury Romance, and enjoy dinner, spa appointments with a couple’s massage, adult game room access and breakfast in the morning. These packages range from $350 to $500.
3. The Hamptons
Always a top honeymoon destination, people journey far and wide to visit the famous area known to attract celebrities and socialites of all kinds. One of the coolest places to hit for a honeymoon is Capri Southampton (281 County Road 39A, www.caprisouthampton.com). The hotel is new on the Hamptons scene, having just opened this past Memorial Day, but it definitely is no rookie resort. The hotel features every inch of luxury a guest could ask for without having to leave the property. With 31 luxury guest rooms, a select few visitors can roam the resort property, making for a very private stay. Guests have the option of spending the day at the pool, shopping at the hotel’s own Cynthia Rowley boutique or heading to a five-star dinner. Only in the Hamptons are guests able to dine on the world-famous signature dishes of Chef Nobu Matsuhisa. Oh, another awesome amenity: the hotel offers property-wide WiFi which is a must to keep friends and family updated on Facebook.
And, finally, a Montauk retreat that Andy Warhol would approve of. Ruschmeyer’s may look familiar—that’s because it was built back in 1952. Over the past few years, it underwent a major renovation and opened its doors again this past Memorial Day. This nautical resort located minutes from the beach features 19 private cabins, a restaurant from the guys behind NYC’s Fat Radish, which features locally sourced, fresh fish. Also on location is the Magic Garden and The Pool, a swimming pool turned beer garden. The activities are sure to leave honeymooners satisfied, and include kite surfing, ping pong, paddle boarding and yoga. Just want to relax? Head to the treatment room for a body wrap. The best part, and a definite accent often overlooked, is that many hammocks hang throughout the resort. What could be more romantic than watching the Montauk stars each night while swinging under them?