The one-size-fits-all honeymoon is dead.
''Honeymooners today want to make sure theirs isn't a cookie-cutter week at the beach,'' says Cookie Anspach Kohn, a honeymoon specialist at the Highland, Ill., branch of Valerie Wilson Travel, a luxury travel consultancy. Customers want trips tailored to their personal interests, with limited vacation time.
Kohn recently booked a Hawaiian honeymoon for a couple in their early 30s who always wanted to learn how to surf. She arranged lessons for them at a surf school in Oahu. For a couple in their 20s, she planned a 10-day holiday in Costa Rica devoted to jungle hiking.
Extraordinary honeymoons like these don't come cheap. The average post-wedding trip costs $3,600 and is six days long, according to the Bridal Association of America. Costs for more exotic 'moons can climb to $10,000 or higher, without airfare.
Still, for couples set on a once-in-a-lifetime spree, there are plenty of options available.
Honeymooning foodies can learn Thai cooking at the Oriental Cooking School, part of the hotel. Three-and-a-half-hour classes are held here each morning. Participants grind, stew and chop their way to dishes like prawn rolls, fish cakes and chicken in Pandan leaves. When you tire of slicing and dicing, indulge in a meal at Le Normandie, a French restaurant run by three-star Michelin chef Guy Martin.
Want history with your honeymoon? Head to , an hour outside of London, and book a stay at Hidcote Cottage at the Cotswold House, a 30-room townhouse located in a building that dates back to medieval times.
The room has a stone fireplace, a shower large enough for two and a private garden with a hot tub. Visit more than a dozen historic homes in the area, such as Sudeley Castle (once home to Katherine Parr, wife of Henry VIII) and Blenheim Palace (seat of the Duke of Marlborough). Shakespeare's birthplace, Stratford, is also nearby.
Of course, after all that wedding planning, many couples want to spend their time away doing nothing at all.
“Brides and grooms may be experimenting with different kinds of honeymoons," says Kyle Brown, executive director of Bridal Association of America, ''but at the end of the day, beach vacations are still the most popular.”
Beach bunnies should check out , a property carved into a mountainside above the ocean. The smallest of its 24 rooms measures 1,400 square feet. Each room has a bathroom Jacuzzi, its own infinity pool and an entire wall of glass that overlooks the water. To help you disconnect from the outside world, there are no televisions or phones. Couples can get massages or take yoga classes on the private deck. A jitney transports you to the beach below.
Final note: No matter how luxe or out-of-this-world the trip, none of these honeymoons is complete without pulse-racing romance. How you make that happen is up to you.