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hotel, honeymoon

Honeymoon Planning: Booking Your Romantic Room

Photo: Thinkstock

After months of stress and hours of dancing, an indulgent hotel room or suite is just what the doctor ordered for post-nuptial R&R. Whether you're eyeing a wedding-night nest or honeymoon hideaway, here are some tips to book your love lair. (For ideas in specific cities, peruse our top bridal suite picks for Atlanta, Colorado, Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle, plus honeymoon destination articles -- too numerous to list! -- on The Knot.)

Knot Note: Consider booking a simple, inexpensive room for your wedding night if you plan on stumbling in at 3 a.m. so you don't waste money on amenities you won't have time to enjoy.

When to Book

  • Book a room as soon as you've committed to a reception location. It's not a matter of missing out on the mid-range rooms -- those are often last to go -- but the luxe suites and budget beds that you have to worry about.

How to Book

  • When you call to make a reservation, be sure to mention that you're booking the room for your wedding night or honeymoon, then remind the desk clerk the day before you arrive. You may get a free upgrade.
  • If possible, call the hotel directly for this special occasion instead of using a toll-free reservations number. Customer service reps for an 800-number may never have been to the hotel you're calling about, and may not be able to tell you which room has the best view or what promotions and packages are offered at a specific location.
  • Have you been using a credit card to charge wedding expenses? Now is the time to redeem frequent flyer miles or membership points for the hotel-room upgrade of your dreams. Call your credit card company and ask about hotel partnerships, allow plenty of time for miles or points to be transferred, and remember that blackout dates may apply.
  • If there's a possibility that you'll arrive later than a hotel's check-in time -- or don't want to be tied to arriving at a specific time -- guarantee your room with a credit card. Be sure to also get the name of the person who takes your reservation and your confirmation number, in case there is a discrepancy when you arrive.

Questions to Ask

  • Do you have a "romance" package?
    An add-on package can enhance your trip and spare you some stress. Not only does it pull together indulgences that you don't have to worry about organizing -- such as a chilled bottle of champagne and fresh flowers in your room when you arrive - but some also take care of headaches such as tips and airport transfers.

    Evaluate a package based on whether it will save you money (how does the price compare if you'd paid for each item a la carte) and on your interest in what's included -- complimentary breakfast is a waste, for example, if you normally only have a cup of coffee in the morning or you have to leave for the airport before breakfast is served. Check honeymoon destination articles on The Knot for hotel romance package details.

    Knot Note: Be sure to check on the quality of items included -- a bottle of Andre may not be the "champagne" you envisioned, for instance. If a meal is included, ask if the menu is limited and which alcoholic beverages are covered, if any.

  • Which room is… farthest from the pool? Closest to the beach?
    The location of your room on a hotel's property can have a huge influence on how much you enjoy your stay. If you seek a quiet escape, choose a room far from pools (which may have live -- read: loud! -- outdoor entertainment at night), restaurants, the casino or disco. The only dig may be the lengthy stroll you'll take to eat and spa.

    Knot Note: Corner rooms are usually farthest from heavily trafficked areas.) Conversely, party animals may want to request a room in the middle of the action for easy access.

    If possible, scope out the rooms ahead of time. If not, pump the hotel's front desk for information and request a room, room category, or room block that fits your bill best. (Unfortunately, most hotels will not guarantee a specific room but will do their best to honor requests. Putting your request in writing helps.)

Issues to Consider

  • Kids: If you'd rather not be belly-flopped by five-year-olds in the pool or serenaded by a tired baby's scream at dinner, think about staying at an adults-only resort or B&B. At big resorts that allow kids, ask whether there are any adults-only pools or restaurants.
  • Checkout Time: Ask about the checkout time and whether there's a later option. The morning after your wedding you'll likely be exhausted and want to sleep in as long as possible, and then enjoy a leisurely brunch before you have to pack up. If your room is not booked the following night, you may be able to negotiate a checkout as late as 4 p.m.
  • The Rub-a-Dub-Dub Tub: After a night of heady celebration, a relaxing dip a deux is just the ticket for sore feet. Inquire about a room with a Jacuzzi-jet bathtub or a deep tub that's big enough for two.
  • The Bed: For your first night together as a married couple, nothing but a king-size bed will do! (Also make sure you're not getting two twin-size beds pushed together to create a king.)
  • Room Service: Is it available? What are the hours? Even though you paid handsomely for that reception caterer, you may be able to squeeze in just a bite here and there between greeting and dancing. Make sure room service is available late or, if you're not hungry, at least reserve breakfast for the next morning the night before.

What to Pack

  • When it comes to aphrodisiacs, you might not need any fuel for the first night, but it's nice to tote a few toys along for the honeymoon.
  • If you're traveling to your honeymoon destination the day after the wedding, pack for your trip in advance and keep a change of clothes in your carry-on so that you can still have a great first day or night if your luggage disappears for a few hours. Don't forget a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and swimsuit so that you can take a cool dip and freshen up once you arrive at your hotel.

-- Elise Proulx

See More: Honeymoon Basics