TOP DESTINATIONS

10 Big Trips . . . on Little Budgets

France places 10th in the Modern Bride poll? Locations 1-9 must be tremendous.
France places 10th in the Modern Bride poll? Locations 1-9 must be tremendous. (Michel Euler - AP)

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Modern Bride magazine surveyed 6,000 travel agents last year -- its ninth annual survey on the subject -- and came up with a Top 10 list of honeymoon destinations and lodgings. But what if these trips exceed your budget? We've added our own suggestions on how to bring them within bounds.

1. Hawaii came in No. 1 overall for the ninth year running, ranking first for romance and beaches. Among the resorts getting special mention were the Grand Wailea (at least $405 a night) in Maui, which garnered a top spot for its spa, and the Four Seasons Hualalai ($625 and up a night) on the Big Island, which received top marks for its over-the-top bathrooms.

CHEAP ALTERNATIVE: Stay at a bed-and-breakfast inn. GLAD (Global Adventure) Travel (888-207-6236, http://www.gladtravel.com/ ), for example, offers a $99-a- night room less than 300 feet from Maui's Kamaole beaches.

2. Italy, not surprisingly, is tops in the food and culture categories. Among the hotels singled out for special honors were the Westin Excelsior Florence ($454-plus a night) for its fine beds, and the Palazzo Sasso in Ravello for its sea-view Infinito Suite ($2,464 a night).

CHEAP ALTERNATIVE: If you're not fussy about lodging, book a package with tourist-class accommodations. Go-today.com (800-227-3235, http://www.go-today.com/ ), for example, recently offered a six-night special for $2,220 per couple, including air and hotel.

3. Tahiti's claim to fame is "sexy ambiance." Bora Bora Lagoon Resort ($419-$858 a night) and Le Taha'a Private Island & Spa ($900 and up), which both feature over-the-water bungalows, garnered special mention.

CHEAP ALTERNATIVE: Travel from January to March and book a package. Prices for a week-long deal run about $1,500 per person double including air and decent hotel; try Swain Tours (800-22-SWAIN, http://www.swaintours.com/ ) and Air Tahiti Nui (877-824-4846, http://www.airtahitinui-usa.com/ ).

4. Anguilla placed in the top 10 for seclusion, food, beaches, romance and "up-and-coming locale." Cap Juluca ($345 and up a night) was singled out for its ritzy bathrooms.

CHEAP ALTERNATIVE: Stay at a small inn (try http://www.inns.ai/ ), where a week will run about $450.

5. Fiji rated tops for seclusion. The South Pacific island also got high marks for snorkeling and diving, romance, beaches, up-and-coming locale and sexy ambiance. The all-inclusive Turtle Island resort ($1,975 per night per couple) was rated the "ultimate resort for seclusion."

CHEAP ALTERNATIVE: Opt for a package that includes lodging and air. For example, Pleasant Holidays (800-742-9244, http://www.pleasantholidays.com/ ) recently had a five-night deal with hotel and air from Los Angeles starting at about $1,300 per person double.

6. St. Lucia is another winner in the romance category. The Sandals Regency St. Lucia Golf Resort & Spa ($360 and up a night) got a nod for its private plunge pools.


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© 2006 The Washington Post Company


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