Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Mexico's First and Only Over-Water Suites Now Officially Open

El Dorado Maroma, a Beachfront Resort by Karisma, opened Mexico’s first and only over-water suites in Riviera Maya on September 1st. The new Palafitos offer discerning adult-only travelers a once-in-a-lifetime getaway in paradise that is much closer to home than the traditional over-water bungalow destinations of Bora Bora and The Maldives.

The 30 Over-Water Suites have glass-bottom floors, direct ladder access to the ocean, outdoor ‘Aguas del Amor’ showers, private infinity pools and oversized decks with lounge chairs that look out onto the ocean horizon, perfect for that romantic getaway or truly unique honeymoon experience. Guests can also dine at the Over Water Ocean Grill & Wine Bar, and spa treatments at Náay Spa Over the Ocean.

Rates start at US$950 per adult, per night, including Karisma’s Gourmet Inclusive Experience. 

Contact Romantic Planet Vacations today at travel@romanticplanet.ca or 1-866-247-8123 for your travel quote.

Air Canada Vacations Adds Three New Ocean Resorts To It's Sun Product!

Air Canada Vacations and Ocean Chain has added (3) NEW! hotels to our Sun Product Line up.

1. Ocean Riviera Paradise (Cancun, Mexico) is an all-inclusive 4.5 star property. It is located in Playa del Carmen on the beach and has 974 rooms in 4 sections; Daisy section – for families and children, Privilege section - an exclusive section with VIP services, El Beso Section - an area for over 18 years, Eden section- an area closer to the beach.

2. Ocean Cas Del Mar (Santa Clara, Cuba) is an al- inclusive 4.5 star property. It is located 60km from Caibarien and is 1 hr and 45 minutes from Santa Clara International Airport. It is in a privileged location on a white sandy beach . The hotel has 800 rooms and includes a Privileged section with VIP services.

3. Ocean Vista Azul (Varadero, Cuba) is an all-inclusive 4 star resort. It is located in Varadero within 25 minutes from Varadero International Airport. It has an amazing view of the ocean and has direct access to a white sandy beach. The hotel has 470 rooms that include Exclusive Privilege rooms and services.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Top 10 Romantic Destinations for the LGTB Traveler

Top 10 Romantic Destinations for the LGTB Traveler.

Laid-back and care-free, Mexico, Caribbean, Canada and USA offer some idyllic locations for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender travellers. Add in striking beaches, awe-inspiring settings, entertaining day & night activities and a fun-in-the-sun attitude and you will have everything needed for the perfect holiday.
Below are some of our top ten most romantic recommendations:
Named the ‘San Francisco of Mexico’, Puerto Vallarta has long been one of the most popular gay travel destinations. Its friendly environment, once voted the #1 friendliest tourist destination in the world by readers of Conde Nast magazine, great weather, lively beach scene and LGTB venues are just a few of its top draws. Incorporate the many cultural festivals, kitschy cafés, gourmet restaurants and vivacious nightlife and there is no question on how it earned its nickname.
#2) CANCUN, Mexico
Besides the gorgeous aqua blue of the Caribbean Sea setting, 5-star resorts and pristine beaches, Cancun offers fantastic gay-pride celebrations including The Cancun International Gay Festival in May and Paradiso International  Festival in November. These draw a free-spirited, diverse crowd with one major agenda … to let loose. Activities during this non-stop party week include a Welcome Party, Caribbean Cruise, Bar Hopping and a Beach Barbecue.
In November 2014, it was announced that a bill to officially legalize same-sex marriage in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo (Cancun and Mayan Riviera) would be approved.
#3) ST. MARTIN/ST. MAARTENGay beach destination wedding
Half Dutch and half French, a vacation to the tiny island of St. Martin is like visiting two amazing European countries at once. It is a hip combination of cosmopolitan attitude (both sides) paired with fantastic shopping, incomparable dining experiences and a range of activities that will keep you going long past seven days.
For a couple wishing to marry in St. Martin, birth certificates, IDs, and copies of proof of address are required. Divorce and death decrees are also required if applicable. Check with your Certified Destination Wedding Specialist for more details.
Bora Bora gay honeymoon specialist#4) TAHITI/BORA BORA – French Polynesia
Polynesians are known for their warm welcome. They are some of the some of the most kind, gentle, and open-minded people in the world. They embrace any opportunity to share their culture and heritage with visitors, as well as the mesmerizing beauty and tranquility of their islands.  The islands of French Polynesia such as Moorea, Bora Bora and Tahiti, are one of the most romantic places on earth, whether you’re gay or straight, the islands of Tahiti are a couples’ paradise, offering something for every traveler – white-sand beaches, vibrant marine life, rugged mountains, and colorful history.
The term “mahu” originally referred to transvestites in pre-colonial Polynesia. Much like the native American cultures, throughout Polynesia, the mahu were not only accepted in their communities, but they were also regarded as gifted and divine, possessing the qualities of both the male and female gender. Since the islands were colonized, mahu has broadened to include cross-dressers, drag queens, female impersonators, and transsexuals.  Local Tahitian prefer the term “Rae rae” which is to describe transvestites. The rae rae in the islands are pretty well respected. They tend to have jobs in the service industry and you’ll definitely come across them in the hotels, restaurants, in dance performances, and on the airlines.
#5) KAUAI, HawaiiSame sex destination wedding specialist
Hawaii has always had the reputation as a quintessential honeymoon destination for gay couples but when the Hawaii Marriage Equality Act was passed in 2013, it further solidified this with it’s legalization of same-sex marriages.  Those looking for an exciting gay-friendly nightlife may opt for the busting beach city of Honolulu but those couples seeking a more secluded relaxation experience, Maui, or better yet, Kauai, are great options.
Perhaps stemming from Ancient Greece and depictions of homosexuality in it’s art and literature, the country remains a gay travel hotspot. Though LGBT activists in Greece are still fighting for marriage equality, couples can still have a symbolic ceremony and/or honeymoon. We recommend a package to incorporate the history of Athens, and ferry transfers to see the Greek Islands of Mykonos, Santorini and more.
Curacao gay-friendly honeymoon#7) CURACAO
This beautiful Dutch Caribbean island is widely promoted as the “live and let live” island.  Although gay marriage is still not recognized here, the island is generally known to be the most tolerant of the ABC Islands, with growing annual Pride activities.
We cannot write this list without including the first country to legalize same-sex marriages. The country took the plunge in 2000 and set the precedence for countries around the world to follow.
Romance travel not only exists in our own backyard, it is flourishing! A trip to Quebec City makes you feel like you’re in a far, far away land. Or Halifax to take in the beauty and fun of the Atlantic Canada culture. The Rocky Mountains will always take your breath away. There are so many pockets of paradise’s in Canada that it’s important to explore what we have to offer, and we were the third country to legalize same-sex marriages in the world.
#10) PARIS, France
Romance is taken as seriously here as food, wine and art. No wonder ‘Gay Paree’ is a top destination for LGTB romance. France passed legal same-sex marriage in 2013 and if that weren’t enough, the french fashion scene and flourishing gay nightlife keep this city’s pulse positively pink.
Romantic Planet Vacations specializes in destination weddings and honeymoons. Contact one of their LGTB Certified Destination Wedding and Honeymoon Specialists today.

Friday, April 01, 2016

The Bahamas is Giving Away 16 Free Destination Weddings for 16.16.16

Now is your chance to win your destination wedding!

The Islands of the Bahamas is giving away 16 destination weddings in 16 exotic locations at 1600 hours, on November 16, 2016.

Entering is easy. All you have to do is select an island location in The Islands of The Bahamas and upload a short video and/ or photograph of you and your spouse along with a description of your dream Bahamian destination wedding and why you should be selected to win no later than May 16th, 2016. Creatively incorporate something indigenous to that island location using the suggested themes.

A panel of judges will select a group of 20 semi-finalists. The semi-finalists will be notified and their submissions will be placed on a microsite for the public to vote for the most creative entries. The voting deadline is June 10th, 2016.

The 16 prizes available to be won are valued at approximately $12,000 each and consist of round trip airfare for two to the Bahamas, 6 days/5 nights accommodations including a wedding package.

Visit www.bahamas16weddings.com to submit your entry.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Green Destination Wedding Ideas

Glamorous ‘Green’ Getaways
Top 4 Resorts For An Eco-Friendly Destination Wedding Retreat

One of the most recent trends in contemporary society is all things green—green energy cars, green house décor, even green fashion.

This green trend has quickly swooped into the wedding world—from outdoor venues, recyclable décor and invites, even vegetarian dish varieties. The green revolution isn’t confined however, to the wooded acres of the Muskokas.

We’ve handpicked the top 4 resorts nestled in the gorgeous corners of the Mayan Riviera and the Caribbean that are taking destination weddings to the next eco-level!

Hacienda Tres Rios Resort Spa and Nature Park
1) Hacienda Tres Rios Resort, Spa and Nature Park

Key Information
  • Located in the Riviera Maya
  •  It’s the only environmentally responsible luxury resort that offers select access to the Tres Ríos Nature Park in the Riviera Maya through their All Inclusive Plan
  •  A romantic secluded location only 45 minutes from Cancun airport

Wedding Features
  • 4 event locations to choose—from beachside romance to nature lovers paradise
  •  Choice of ceremony styles including legal, symbolic and Mayan
  • Wedding and bridal party salon services available on location
  • Honeymoon packages include spoiling’s such as bottles of house wine, in room sweet-basket deliveries, and incense/essential oils

Green Highlights
  • Hacienda Tres Rios is a leader in sustainable tourism development, focusing all its actions towards the responsible use of resources, the preservation of local ecosystems, the operation of good environmental practices, the creation of high quality experiences for visitors, and the establishment of its social responsibility.
  • Nature Park activities include bike, snorkelling, kayak, nursery and Hobie Cat tours
  • Environmental Supervision Team on staff to look after resort waste management, environmental education, plant and wildlife management.

2) Sandos Caracol Eco Resort & Spa
Sandos Caracol's Complimentary Boat Ride

Key Information
  • Located in Playa Del Carmen along the Riviera Maya
  •  Includes 3 sections of inclusive resort – family section, Select Club Adults Only, Royal Elite
  •  Provides a very local and authentic Mexican experience for those interested in Mexican culture

Wedding Features
  • Weddings allow guests to immerse themselves in the jungles, culture and beaches of Mexico’s Riviera Maya at Sandos Caracol Eco Resort & Spa.
  • Gorgeous natural scenery for a tropical wedding experience
  • Green Wedding features include;

o   Natural setup on the deck of the “Cenote Cristalino”
o   Complimentary honeymoon package for the couple
o   Personalized service from on site wedding coordinator
o   Complimentary boat ride with wine and chocolate covered strawberries
o   Celebratory certificate in the form of the “Sandos Weddings Tree”.
o   Organization of a donation to the less fortunate on couple’s behalf
o   Organization to plant a tree to honour your special day
o   Live Mayan drum music during the ceremony

Green Highlights
  • Resort is located amoung dense jungle and mangrove forests
  • Cenotes are beautifully preserved and cared for, as the rest of the property
  • Resort thrives on highlighting the natural surroundings
  • Innovative in how they preserve communities local resources
  • Committed to reducing the impact of the resort’s daily activities
  • Various recycling programs used, as well as information to raise awareness with workers, visitors, suppliers and the local community.
  • Resort staff works to improve the lives of local school kids in the Playa del Carmen area by suggesting visitors to bring school supplies on their vacation

3)  Majahuitas Resort
Majahuita Resort, Mexico

Key Information
  • Located 15 minutes South of Puerto Vallarta
  • Smaller and more intimate resort
  • Located on one the most exclusive beaches in the Bay of Bandera’s and is only accessible by boat
  • Best for winter and spring weddings (closed July-September due to extreme heat)

Green Highlights
  • Eight casitas built for each couple to enjoy an perfect ocean view
  • Resort run by solar energy and completely void of television and modern conveniences for a more authentic retreat experience
  • Resort highlights the use of composting organic materials to enrich garden soils and decrease the need for extra watering
  •  Features an ecological 3-tiered sewer system that releases clean water for garden.
  • Resort built with local materials and through the employment of local craftsmen
  •  All resort décor is locally sourced.
  • Employees come from the immediate community and no less than 50% comes from the indigenous community of Chacala.
  •  Uses plants on the property that are native to the region, requiring the use of less water.
  • Garden features 22 different fruits and vegetables
  • Food bought locally such as from local fishermen, ensuring not only the freshness of food but support for the local economy

Wedding Features
  • Majahuitas is the perfect place to host an intimate destination wedding for your closest friends and family.
  • The ceremony is performed just steps away from the waves at sunset time, followed by a beautiful beach reception
  • Coordination staff to work with couple every step of the way to make sure everything runs perfectly the day of and days leading up
  • Staff creative and flexible to making day just as imagined
  • All ceremonies are symbolical, perfect for a couple who has eloped and would like family to join for the celebration
  • Can host up to 120 guests

4) Chaa Creek, Belize
Being wildly civilized at Chaa Creek, Belize

Key Information
  • Located centrally in the Maya civilization in jungle area/private 365-acre nature reserve
  • Recognized as one of the Caribbean region’s best sustainable, Green tourist resort
  •  Includes destination wedding and honeymoon packages
  • Perfect for an authentic in-jungle experience

Wedding Features
  • Rainforest wedding day with very affordable packages to chose from
  •  Choose from 3 intimate all-inclusive destination wedding packages including highlights like horseback riding, romantic sunset canoe trip and couples massages
  • All inclusive honeymoon packages from 3-5 nights for more adventurous couples; activities including canoe trips down the Macal River, exploring Belize, and discovering ancient city sites

Green Highlights

  • Chaa Creek is highly involved in their community by continuously offering assistance to local schools, training centres, sporting teams, conservation projects etc.
  • Philosophy includes a “give-back” mentality where the resort is committed to maintaining a steward-like relationship with their surrounding environment
  • Partners with local conservation projects that centre on preserving wildlife
  • Kitchen and organic waste is later used as fertilizer for the garden
  • Restaurant leftover given to local farmer as pig feed

 For more information on planning your 'green' destination wedding, please contact Romantic Planet Vacations at 1-866-247-8123 or inquiries@romanticplanet.ca

~Laura Hemming

Saturday, February 20, 2016

U.S. and Cuba Resumes Flights

The U.S. and Cuba signed an historic deal this week to resume commercial aviation between the two countries, with U.S. airlines lining up to bid on routes which could start as early as next fall.
The deal, which will see commercial flights between the two nations resume after five decades, could see up to 110 daily U.S.-Cuba flights, the CBC reported. Twenty of those flights would be to Havana while the remainder would be to other Cuban cities, the report stated.
U.S. airlines bidding on flights will have two weeks to submit their applications, with results expected as early as this summer. Last year, it's estimated that approximately 160,000 American leisure travellers flew to Cuba on charter flights, qualifying under one of the U.S. government’s approved Cuba travel categories including humanitarian and educational trips.
Published on 02/17/2016

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Melia Nassau Beach further upgrades in 2016

Melia Nassau Beach all-inclusive resort has entered phase two of its $19 million dollar renovation and, as a result, has new features and offerings in store for 2016.

The enhancements to the 694-guestroom resort includes new kids club services, resort-wide complimentary wi-fi and food and beverage enhancements.

Among the enhancements include:

·         The newly-opened O’Grille restaurant, a beachside eatery that serves Caribbean dishes made with authentic, locally sourced ingredients.

·         The property’s tapas lounge Estavida has expanded its list of premium wine selections.

·         A la carte healthy dining menu and expanded wine list available at the property’s Black Angus Steakhouse.

·         Enhanced VIP services, including exclusive buffet breakfasts at O’Grille, the property’s beachfront restaurant.

·         Extended hours at The Kids and Co kid’s club.

·         The property’s two outdoor hot tubs have been revamped and reopened.

·         Check-out has been extended an additional hour, from 11 A.M. to Noon.

Visit www.romanticplanet.ca for more details on how to book your destination wedding or honeymoon at this perfect locale!

Friday, February 05, 2016

The Perfect In-Town All-Inclusive Caribbean Beach Wedding Resorts

When it comes to all-inclusive beach resorts in the Caribbean, it's often difficult to find one that isn't situated far away from all of the action. For those destination wedding groups that want to be able to walk right out the front gate and into town, we have compiled a list of our favorite resorts that offer just that. 

Souvenir shopping in Playa Del Carmen
Playa Del Carmen is a bustling little fishing village and tourist town located in the heart of the Mayan Riviera, Mexico. It's famous for the shopping along it's 5th Avenue where vendors warmly and sometimes boldly welcome you into their stores. Here you can find everything from high-end goods to little Mexican trinkets. 

5th Avenue is a safe and lively place day or night. In the evenings, you can sit back on a rooftop patio eating authentic Mexican cuisine and sipping on a margarita while people watching below or stroll through the many shops, hang out at a beachfront bar with your feet in the sand or get energized and dance the night away at one of the local nightclubs. 

Playacar Palace: This is one of our top picks for destination weddings. It's literally a two minute walk to 5th avenue, it's located on an expansive and gorgeous stretch of white sandy beach, the rooms are modern, the service is impeccable, it's family-friendly, and it's a quaint and quieter property but located in the bustle and heart of town. The Palace Resorts chain also offers designer destination wedding collections and every room receive a whopping $1500 resort credit that can be used anywhere - towards the wedding, spa, golf, tours, upgrades etc. It usually prices around the $2000 - $2200 range per person, all-inclusive with air and tax from Canada for seven nights.
Paradisus Las Esmeralda: This is my other favorite in Playa Del Carmen. It's newer, modern, great wedding packages as well, with 5-star service. It's on the beach but it's set back a little as there are mangroves. The plus here however, is the beach is more private than being right central in town so better for a more private beach wedding. You could move over next door to the Paradisus La Pearla (adult only) for the honeymoon. This is pricing at approximately $2000 per person, taxes in.
Sandos Playacar Beach Resort and Spa
Sandos Playacar: This is a little more authentic than other properties, with incredibly friendly service. Every time we have wedding groups here, they keep going back as it's the kind of place that it's easy to befriend the staff etc. It has all of the amenities you could ask for. The property is more a 4-4.5 star but here you get the very best price. It's looking at around $1500-$1600 per person, taxes in so an incredible value!
Gran Porto: This is in the very heart of town and one street from 5th avenue. It's a smaller, quaint property. Good food. It doesn't offer a lot of amenities because most people explore the town for this, but it still offers that all-inclusive feature. The beach is busier here than the other properties above. It's pricing at about $1700-$1800 taxes in pp.
RIU Palace Riviera Maya: This is a popular one for weddings as it feels like a palace. It's great for families and offers a gorgeous beach. It often quotes around the $2200 range.
Divi Resort All-Inclusive

Aruba is renowned for it's gorgeous beaches, neat architecture and dutch culture. Although it has the furthest flights from Canada to the Caribbean, it's worth the extra 30 to 60 minutes ride. 

The Divi Aruba is our top pick for an in-town all-inclusive destination wedding resort. It has stunning white sandy beaches, nice rooms,  and a quaint and friendly feel. This is quoting around $2400 - $2700 per person, all-in.

Nassau is definitely a hustle and bustle destination with loads of things to see and do. It's considered America's playground since its so close to Florida and offers casinos, shopping, cruise ports, etc. We love the Melia Nassau Beach for all-inclusive destination wedding groups here. It's quoting around $2200 pp. For the honeymoon, we would send you off to one of the Sandals Emerald Bay in Exuma, just a short island hop flight away, for that adult-only, spoil yourself luxury that you deserve.

Rodney Bay Village, St. Lucia
Rodney Bay Village is the happening place for locals and tourists alike and where you can get off-property to explore a little more of island life. The best situated all-inclusive destination wedding resort here is the Bay Gardens Beach Resort. The beach itself is expansive, the rooms are spacious and clean, and the staff are ultra-friendly. It generally prices out at around $3000 per person from Canada all-inclusive.  

The Sonesta Maho Beach is located in the heart of Maho Village and the entertainment hub of St. Martin/St. Maarten with duty-free shopping, casinos and nightlife at your doorstep. It's competitively priced at around $2000 per person. A further recommendation is to move up to the luxurious Sonesta Ocean Point next door for the adult-only honeymoon afterwards.

For more information on planning your upcoming destination wedding or honeymoon, please contact one of the certified specialists at Romantic Planet Vacations at inquiries@romanticplanet.ca or 1-866-247-8123.