(Marty) #1



to take pictures! All we cared about was being
together,” Catherine told me, which is totally
corny and also the most romantic thing ever.
What a difference a half-century makes. Not
only has Niagara fallen out of honeymoon favor,
but the very premise of a “romantic getaway”
has evolved beyond recognition. Where, our
parents might ask, did all the chocolate-covered
strawberries go?
To gauge how far we’ve come since those
simpler, sappier times, we asked the experts
on T+L’s A-List, our guide to the world’s top
travel specialists, who navigate the romance-
industrial complex on a daily basis. They see
two trends at play.
First, travelers are swinging for the fences
with “statement” vacations. “Romantic trips are
becoming way more ambitious,” says Kara Bebell,
whose agency, the Travel Siblings, plans some
500 honeymoons each year. The common refrain:
bigger, faster, more. One pair asked Bebell to plot
a weeklong trip to both Amalfi and Japan. “It’s
doable,” she says. “But couples aren’t allowing
enough time to immerse themselves. They’d
rather just take the perfect shot and move on.”
Even small gestures are growing outsize. “It’s
all about partners impressing each other” with
over-the-top surprises, says Bebell, who’s often
the facilitator of said surprises. Like the groom
who wanted a cake delivered from his bride’s
favorite bakery to their honeymoon resort. The
catch: the resort was in rural New Zealand.
Among millennials, honeymoons have begun
to resemble team-building retreats, complete
with ziplining, rock-climbing, canyoneering—
any opportunity for couples to prove their mettle
and devotion. “This is an active, adventurous
generation,” says Kimberly Wilson Wetty of Valerie
Wilson Travel, “and they want the Instagrammable
moment.” Nor are they averse to flying halfway
around the world to get it. For Jack Ezon’s clients
at Embark Beyond Travel, “far” is the unifying
theme, as honeymooners use gifted airline points
to splurge on long-haul flights.
The second trend—tied to the first—is that
romantic travel has become, essentially,
performative. With social media, private
moments are suddenly on public display, and
programmed accordingly. (If you bungee-jump
into a ravine and your spouse doesn’t get the
Boomerang, are you two really meant for each
other?) To that end, today’s couples are hiring not
just wedding but honeymoon photographers.


ACK IN 1964, Niagara Falls was still
calling itself the Honeymoon
Capital of the World, even as
farther-flung destinations—now opened up
by the jet age—sought to usurp the title. That
January, my friend Chris’s parents, Catherine
and Dario Grdovic, spent their honeymoon
at Niagara, and somehow took not a single
photo. Their Kodak Brownie stayed in the
Pontiac’s glove box. “We didn’t even think

T+L’s Most Romantic
Hotels in the World

When visiting the Aman
Venice (aman.com; doubles
from $1,617), it’s easy to
forget which era you’re in.
The hotel occupies a
16th-century palazzo on the
Grand Canal, with opulent
frescoed walls and Rococo
artwork alongside sleek
contemporary furnishings

from B&B Italia. There’s
beauty in every corner, wall
panel, light fixture, and
garden path. I can’t think of a
better combination of city
and hotel for a couples
getaway. — John Wogan

man o e

The Romance of Travel

Free download pdf