Travel Explainer

The Honeymoon’s Over

But the special treatment newlyweds get from hotels doesn’t have to be.

Champagne toast!
A champagne toast is just one of the possible honeymoon perks.

Photo by Tom Merton/Getty Images

Everyone knows about the honeymoon suite—the luxurious hotel room usually decorated with red rose petals and featuring a fancy, canopied bed. But not every couple celebrating their newlywed status opts for such lavish digs, nor do they necessarily reveal their status before arriving at the front desk. Do honeymooners who choose to keep their sleeping arrangements simple still get special treatment from hotels? And can you and a somewhat loved one lie and get that same treatment?

Generally, yes and yes. While the major hotel chains all have honeymoon packages that you can spring for at any number of their resort locations (which include amenities such as private dining in a particularly romantic spot), you don’t always have to pay extra in order to get romantic perks. At the Walt Disney World Resorts, if you inform them at the front desk of your celebratory sojourn, they will provide you with buttons you can wear around the parks and resorts to make you easily identifiable. (These buttons currently feature an image of Cinderella’s pumpkin carriage and the words “Happily Ever After” written below.) Upon seeing your button, cast members—the term Disney uses for its parks staff—may then create a “spontaneous magical moment,” which could be anything from a champagne toast with strawberries to a drink on the house to a VIP viewing of fireworks or a parade. (Beyond Disney, complimentary drinks and chocolate-covered fruits are among the most common ways for a hotel to fete honeymooning guests.)

At other resorts, the decorative demarcating button may not be a button at all. At the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort and Spa in Puerto Rico, guests who reveal that they are honeymooning have their reservation flagged in the computer system by the front desk agent. When they explore different areas of the resort—say, a restaurant, the spa, or pool—and charge it to their reservation, the staff is alerted, and can acknowledge the occasion as they see fit. One such gesture could be a kind note signed from the staff or a festooning of rose petals upon the bed. Other newlywed perks could include a complimentary room upgrade if available (as at the W Retreat & Spa Vieques Island in Puerto Rico), access to more exclusive amenities (like the rooftop at the Opéra house in front of the W Paris), and free Wi-Fi (the Westin New York at Times Square and Grand Central).

And just as a waiter won’t ask to see your license when you tell them it’s your friend’s birthday in order to get a free dessert, hotels will take you at your word if you say you’re on your honeymoon—no need to present a marriage license or wedding photos as proof. Such interrogation isn’t really in their best interest: Like any business, hotels are looking to create repeat customers, and going above and beyond for a honeymooning couple—even if it’s just a small gesture—goes a long way to ensuring that they’ll return in years to come for anniversaries and other occasions. (Plus, lots of people delay their honeymoons by months, or even years.) So you can go ahead and pretend that you and your traveling companion are just-married, even if you’re just friends. However, be prepared to maintain the ruse for the duration of your trip—the staff will be watching.  

Explainer thanks Resort General Manager Danny Williams of the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort and Spa, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, W Hotels, and Starwood Hotels and Resorts.

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