Planning

Today help is at hand for all of you planning an amazing honeymoon. There are just so many choices and it's hard to know where to go, and when, so we are lucky to have Mr & Mrs Smith answering your questions live this morning. The idea for M​r & Mrs Smith​ was sparked when co ­founders James Lohan and Tamara Heber-Percy spent a dreary weekend away in a so­ called ‘boutique hotel’; on their return they resolved to rescue couples from lacklustre mini­breaks by self­ publishing a guide book, which appeared on shelves in 2003. Today Smith is a global online booking service with more than 900 pulse­ quickening stays; but at heart, they’re still incurable romantics, with a soft spot for honeymoons. If you’re a bride (or groom)­ to­-be planning a post­ wedding trip, and you need a little advice, Smith travel consultant A​lexandra Cagney ​– a French­ and Spanish­ speaking wanderer with a passion for Latin America and samba – is here to help, whether you want a short ­but­ very­ sweet minimoon or screw ­the ­budget multi­stop getaway. Alexandra will be online from 9.30am to 1pm, to answer all honeymoon­ related ponderings, so questions at the ready.
Alexandra Cagney: Honeymoons are one of the most important holidays you’ll plan – no pressure – your first trip as Mr & Mrs should be about making memories and discovering exciting new things together: it might be something simple like trying a new wine, or more adventurous like climbing a frozen waterfall. It’s also a great excuse for booking a trip you’ve always dreamed about; to take some of the stress out of the planning (alongside a wedding), I recommend talking to an expert, like myself, who can make a set­ in­ stone plan a reality, or offer some tried­ and­ loved suggestions.

Short­haul Honeymoon

Europe

If you want to spend a little more time enjoying newlywed life than reaching your destination, set a course for Spain’s Andalucia region. Flights from the UK to Seville arrive in just under three hours, leaving ample time to check­in to 18th­century palace turned hotel P​alacio de Villapanés,​ then hit the orange­ tree­-lined streets. A mighty Gothic cathedral presides over the city’s colourful c​entro,​and inventive tapas plates are washed down with t​xakolí​ white wine and rich rioja. Over Easter, Holy Week celebrations bring curious costumes and candlelit shrines to the streets – it’s a unique snapshot of Sevillan history. Next, drive past the sun­baked plains and villages on the hour­long drive to Córdoba, where Moorish magnificence reigns at the ogee-arch­-sporting H​ospes Palacio del Bailío​hotel (although the Roman ruins in its restaurant hold their own), the Great Mosque of Córdoba and in parts of the Alcázar of the Christians. Then, drive south towards the coast. If you’re a history buff, or a fan of maximalist interiors, stop in Granada, to stay at whimsically dressed Hospes Palacio de los Patos ​and ogle the Alhambra fortress. To experience countryside and coast – where kitesurfing shifts your honeymoon into sixth gear – stay at H​acienda de San Rafael​ in Seville Province, where the shore is roughly a 50 ­minute drive away.

Long­haul Honeymoon

Argentina

I’m a little biased – this is my personal honeymoon daydream – but a holiday in Argentina is a great start to married life. Fly out to cosmopolitan capital Buenos Aires, where Tango is a near­-religious pursuit, and steaks are uniformly grilled to perfection. Sultry L​egado Mitico pays homage to Argentine icons, including Evita and Che, and it sits amid cobbled streets lined with shops and celeb­-hangout restaurants. Recap the first dance at your wedding in the San Telmo b​arrio;​ even two­-left­footers will find somewhere they can sauce up their moves. Madonna belted out D​on’t cry for me Argentina​from the balcony at Casa Rosada, visitors can see the famed spot, but I recommend not bursting into song. Mendoza is a two­ hour flight from Buenos Aires. Argentina’s renowned wine route snakes through the regions improbably green valleys. Drink and be merry at Casa de Uco, an eco­friendly stay surrounded by vineyards and soaring Andean peaks. Stop for tastings at small wineries nearby, and sample Francis Mallmann's just right steaks at Siete Fuegos. A two hour flight north lies the rugged Salta region. At Finca Valentina ranch, equestrian ephemera adds a rustic touch to light modern interiors.​T​he owners can arrange visits to see the Humahuaca Gorge’s ochre­ to­ sage­coloured striations. Estancia la Bamba de Areco wears its impeccable horsey heritage like a first­ prize rosette: staff dress like gauchos, horse riding is included in room rates and polo teams practice here. The old­ school stay also hosts an authentic a​sado​ (Argentinian barbecue). For serious sunlounging, join the beautiful bodies stretched E​stancia Vik José Ignacio’​s private beach deck, across the border in Uruguay.   So fire away with any honeymoon related questions you may have and Alexandra will help you create your ultimate getaway.

Written by Lottie Manns

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