Betsy & Franco – Hong Kong/Bali

Betsy and Franco of Downers Grove, Illinois are a couple that prove, “newlywed is a state of mind, not measured by time.”  Ten years after they first said “I do” the couple still travel with the mindset to “Always be honeymooning”.  For instance, these two foodies recently celebrated their ten year anniversary with a kids free weekend full of celebration and eating their way around Barcelona.  But before we get into the anniversary, let’s see how they celebrated their nuptials the first time around….

For Betsy and Franco, their ideal honeymoon was somewhere exotic, preferably in Asia.  Lucky for Betsy, Franco had visited Bali as part of a larger Asian trip several years earlier and had fallen in love with all it has to offer. I say lucky for Betsy, because we know from our own recent trip just how magical Bali can be for a romantic destination. But the couple didn’t limit themselves to just Bali, they also made Hong Kong part of their first-class, luxury 17 night honeymoon.

Don’t worry about how long the flight is, how many connections you need to make, or how hard it is to get there. Sometimes the hardest journeys gave us the best rewards.

The honeymoon started in Hong Kong, where the couple stayed at the Harbour Plaza Metropolis, located in the heart of Kowloon.  Aside from the usual tourist spots, Franco would tell you that, “No visit to Hong Kong is complete without a walk up Nathan Road and choosing a tailor for some custom clothing. Men’s dress shirts, suits and women’s long coats of any cut and color are available in a custom fit.”

It was also in Hong Kong that the couple experienced their best meal during the trip, “a traditional Cantonese restaurant called One Harbour Road in the Grand Hyatt Hotel.

“Huge double story windows overlooking Victoria Harbour frame a formal yet relaxed classical Chinese meal. The staff expertly guided us those the menu as our unfamiliarity with traditional dishes such as abalone, birds nest soup, shark fin and others began to show through. Several hours later a ten course tasting menu culminated in a light and fireworks show over the bay.  The meal was so good and the menu so diverse and different – Franco stole it as a memento.”

Though Hong Kong seemed to steal their stomachs with food, the bulk of their 17 night honeymoon was spent in exotic Bali, Indonesia.  While staying at the Alila Hotel Ubud (Brenden and I also stayed here, you can see our review here), Betsy and Franco had their most intimate and funniest interaction with some of the natives.  As Franco tells it, “In Ubud Bali, there’s a nature reserve and temple complex called the Monkey Forest. No fences and no gates, the macaques are free to come and go.  They live in huge populations and survive by visiting tourists feeding them. Our hotel room key, obtained earlier that day, looking quite like a piece of fruit. Upon entering the monkey sanctuary – the room key was quickly poached by a macaque – and was only re-obtained after much encouragement and bartering over a bunch of bananas.”

The Pool at Alila Ubud

The Pool at Alila Ubud

The room key bandits

The room key bandits

Moving to another part of the island, the couple relished in the beach location of the Four Seasons Jimbaran.  “In Bali, outside of the traditional fire dances and visits to temples, our favorite experience was the beach at Jimbaran Bay. At night, dozens of restaurants put their tables out at the ocean edge and cover them with thousands of candles. You stroll past each [restaurant] looking at their catch of the day, and eat with your feet in the water. We did it 3 nights in a row!”

The private plunge pool in their Four Seasons Suite

The private plunge pool in their Four Seasons Suite

 

So what is the couple’s advice to other newlyweds considering a multi-country honeymoon?

Don’t worry about how long the flight is, how many connections you need to make or how hard it is to get there. Sometimes the hardest journeys gave us the best rewards.

What was the best marriage advice the couple received that help keep the spark alive for 10+ years?

I don’t know – we didn’t listen to anyone when they gave it to us. :)

Any other advice the couple would add for newlyweds considering Bali for their honeymoon?

The couple also enjoyed their stay at the Conrad Hilton Nusa Dua in Bali and made note of the airline they flew. Franco says, “Cathay Pacific is one of the best in terms of service and there’s been few flights in the last 10 years that have come close to that one.”

So just how did these two celebrate ten years of marital bliss?

For our 10 year anniversary [earlier] this year, we were still living in Belfast. We left the kids with a friend and flew to Barcelona for a foodie weekend. We ate at two restaurants from the Adria brothers (owners of El Bulli, former #1 ranked restaurant in world) called 41 degrees (serving 41 courses) and Pakta (Japanese/Peruvian). We also had cocktails at his vermouth bar called Bodega 1900. Add in the streets of Spain, some sangria and Barcelona beaches – a great way to celebrate.
These two truly exemplify the #alwaysbehoneymooning attitude toward marriage.  I love that even with kids now in the picture, they make time for their relationship and enjoying activities that initially brought them together.  A big thank you to Betsy and Franco for sharing their luxurious honeymoon with us.  Congratulations on the first 10 years, may the next 10 continue to be blessed.
Photo Credits:
Honeymoon Photos: Franco and Betsy – Follow them on Instagram
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