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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 1, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 9
Honeymoon away! - Three exotic places to celebrate your union
Arts & Entertainment
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Honeymoon away! - Three exotic places to celebrate your union

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN Travel Writer

Honeymoons can be romantic, or they can just be an escape. If the intent is to go somewhere exotic, consider this trio of international destinations for your newlywed bliss.

CÔTE D'AZUR, FRANCE
Picturesque scenery and warm temperatures are two reasons to steer toward the South of France, which skirts the Mediterranean Sea. Aside from the bigger areas, like Nice and Monaco, you'll also find rustic small towns with terrific artisan stalls, specialty museums, and seasonal festivals. Go to www.francetourism.com for additional information.

Getting there: Delta Air Lines (www.delta.com) flies nonstop between Seattle and Paris' Charles De Gaulle (CDG) Airport, and Air France can then zip you over to Nice in about an hour with glimpses of the French Alps along the way. You may have to transfer to Orly Airport from CDG, but shuttle service is convenient and quick between the two.

Stay: From Cannes to Nice, there's no shortage of beautiful hotels to anchor your visit. But I'd recommend the Garden Beach Hotel (www.juanlespinshotel.fr) in Juan-les-Pins, a waterfront property that hosts as many business travelers as it does leisure ones, which lends itself to reasonable rates.

Sightseeing: Take a late morning stroll through the adjoining fortressed town of Antibes and in the afternoon drop by the Picasso Museum overlooking the sea. Daytrips to nearby Monte Carlo and Vence are also suggested, but do block out some time on your itinerary for everyone's favorite activity here: lounging lazily on the beach. After all, this is the French Riviera. For evening jazz music, Le Bastion is the place to be.

BANGKOK, THAILAND
The Thai capital is one of the world's most fascinating cities, a vibrant mix of traditional and contemporary lifestyles, aside from having Asia's largest (and a very diverse) LGBT community. The food is sensational, the night markets are heaven for bargain hunters, and the storefront foot massages are a cheap treat. Go to www.tourismthailand.org/us for additional information.

Getting there: Eva Air (www.evaair.com) offers nonstop service from Seattle to Taipei. From there, a hassle-free connection to Bangkok is around three hours.

Stay: The Grande Centre Point Hotel Ratchadamri (www.centrepoint.com) is situated in one of Bangkok's most happening districts and within footsteps of restaurants, retail boutiques, and local markets. Catering to long-term guests, rooms come equipped with full kitchenettes and modern appliances.

Sightseeing: The Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha are worth visiting, and you should definitely pack a pair of khaki or linen trousers because you won't be allowed entry with shorts or cut-offs. Siam Niramit provides a history lesson on Thailand, plus a colorful dance and music show in a 2,000-seat theater. And, for cocktails with a thrill, ascend to the 63rd floor of the Tower Club at Lebua for drinks at the rooftop Sky Bar complete with panoramic city views.

DUBLIN, IRELAND
Its unlikely you'll see leprechauns in Dublin, but other iconic emblems such as antiquated pubs, Celtic street musicians, and menu after menu with lamb stew and fish 'n' chips are easily noticeable. The Irish capital is a wonderful city with many quiet, unique neighborhoods to wander around and discover, not to mention an exciting nightlife that offers something for everyone. With a weather climate similar to Seattle's, it's a place Northwesterners will feel right at home. Go to www.tourismireland.com for additional information.

Getting there: British Airways (www.britishairways.com) can get you from Seattle to London in 9.5 hours, and flights over to Dublin are frequent all day long.

Stay: At the Fitzwilliam Hotel (www.fitzwilliamhotel.com), a modern, boutique property directly across from the lush St. Stephen's Green. Its central location allows you to shop, wine, and dine at numerous spots in Dublin's downtown core, and you can party into the wee hours at any of the city's Gay bars - The George, The Dragon, Wilde - and literally crawl back to your room.

Sightseeing: You can see much of the city on foot, although the Dublin Bus Hop-on Hop-off Tour will navigate you through the city's streets and neighborhoods in a double-decker bus that includes stops at most of the top attractions. Definitely tour the Guinness Storehouse, birthplace of the world-famous stout, and enjoy a complimentary pint at the brewery's Gravity Bar, which impresses with unbeatable views. Christ Church Cathedral, dating from the early 11th Century, features historical exhibits and the underground Crypt Cafe. And I highly recommend a film screening at the Irish Film Institute, which boasts its own restaurant and separate cafe, plus intimate theaters to watch new indie releases.

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