Learn more about a real honeymoon to Japan, Bali, Singapore, the Maldives, and the United Arab Emirates.
Two weeks following their luxurious wedding in New York City (see the celebration here), newlyweds Lindsay Tillis and Seth Levine embarked on a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience. Spending nearly an entire month exploring Japan, Bali, Singapore, the Maldives, and the United Arab Emirates, the pair enjoyed an incredible honeymoon filled with exploration, culture, and romance.
Destination #1: Tokyo Japan
Photo courtesy of The Peninsula Tokyo
The first stop on the newlyweds’ honeymoon was Tokyo, Japan. “As a chef, Seth has always loved the Japanese culture and cooking techniques and really wanted to experience the authentic cuisine,” shares Lindsay. The Peninsula Tokyo, which is located in the high-end shopping district of Ginza, became their home base for five nights as they explored the delectable dining options Tokyo has to offer. “We loved being able to walk out of the hotel and just wander around to get a feel for the amazing city.” Favorite restaurants included Sukiyabashi Jiro of the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi, as well as another Michelin star-rated establishment, Nihonryori Ryugin.
Visiting the Tsukiji fish market. “We spent two to three hours just exploring all the different types of seafood, sampling sushi and dumplings, and observing the vendors.”
Having drinks over the city. “We had a drink at Peter: The Bar on the 24th floor of the hotel, and the views of Tokyo were absolutely breathtaking!”
Dining at Sukiyabashi Jiro. “This was number one on Seth’s food bucket list. It was an amazing experience to see how skilled these chefs are at their craft.”
Destination #2: Ubud, Bali
Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan
While on the Eastern side of the world, Lindsay and Seth knew they couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit Bali. “We’ve done a lot of traveling, but neither of us have ever been anywhere like Indonesia,” confirms Lindsay. They stayed at Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan, and would highly recommend it to other honeymooners. “The service provided was exceptional. Even just walking to breakfast in the morning, we were greeted (by name!) by everyone from the gardeners to the waitress,” she adds. Testing their patience, however, Mount Agung erupted during their stay, closing the airport and forcing them to drive 15 hours to get a flight out the next day. “We just kept reminding ourselves that it would be a great honeymoon story,” muses Lindsay.
Experiencing the wildlife. “We visited the Ubud Monkey Forest where you literally just walk around as hundreds of monkeys freely roam the grounds.”
Sampling delights at Mozaic. “They have an incredible tasting menu that features all local ingredients. It’s extra beautiful if you sit outside in the garden!”
Enjoying the spa. “We got three couples massages during our four days there, and each was better than the last.”
Destination #3: Singapore
Photo courtesy of The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore
When mapping out their trip, the newlyweds selected Singapore as the perfect place to stop between Bali and the Maldives. “We had both heard great things and ended up loving it even more than we expected,” shares Lindsay of their choice. The duo booked their stay at The Fullerton Bay Hotel, a luxurious waterfront property. “It’s right on the bay with beautiful views of the Marina Bay Sands’ light shows, and the service, room, and location were all fantastic!” exclaims Lindsay.
In addition to enjoying the eateries at their five-star hotel, the food-loving pair couldn’t wait to experience the traditional fare the area has to offer. At the direction of the concierge, they visited No Signboard Seafood to have one of Singapore’s signature dishes: chili crab. They also spent an entire afternoon walking around the Maxwell Food Centre, a popular open-air hawker centre (or food court) in search of local favorites. “Specifically, we were there to try Tian Tian Hainese Chicken Rice, which Anthony Bourdain had raved about,” notes Seth. Though they were supposed to stay for three nights, the volcano incident in Bali shortened their trip to two. “We wish we had more time there and already can’t wait to go back!”
Lounging on the rooftop. “The rooftop pool and cocktail bar at the hotel were amazing!”
Trying Singapore’s signature dish. “As soon as we arrived at the hotel, we asked the concierge where we could find the best chili crab around.”
Visiting food stands. “The hawker centres in Singapore are really not to be missed!”
Destination #4: Maldives
Photo courtesy of One&Only Reethi Rah
The longest leg of Lindsay and Seth’s honeymoon was spent in the Maldives. “The idea of staying in a hut in the middle of the ocean just seemed like a quintessential honeymoon,” Lindsay explains of their choice to stay at the picturesque One&Only Reethi Rah for eight nights. “We would absolutely recommend it to anyone and everyone! It was truly heaven on earth,” she adds.
When they weren’t enjoying their gorgeous overwater accommodations, the newlyweds spent their time sampling the cuisine from the property’s many restaurants. “Reethi offers Asian, French, and Italian dishes, and Tapasake is an amazing Japanese restaurant. You really can’t go wrong!” shares Seth of his favorites. Though the couple’s personal concierge met them at breakfast each morning to share the happenings for that day, the couple mostly chose to stay on their own schedule. “They offered countless activities, from snorkeling to fitness classes to wine tastings, but we didn’t take advantage as much as we could have,” notes Lindsay. “We were just so happy laying out and taking in the most beautiful surroundings!”
Taking in the views. “A friend described it to us as ‘living in a desktop screensaver.’ Once we got there, we kept saying that was the most accurate description!”
Having breakfast each morning. “We always love hotel breakfasts, and this breakfast buffet was probably the best we’ve ever experienced.”
Enjoying live music. “We would have a romantic dinner and then go to the lounge for nightly live music.”
Destination #5: Dubai
Photo courtesy of Dubai Corporation of Tourism & Commerce Marketing
On their way back to New York, the couple stopped at two locations in the United Arab Emirates – first, Dubai. “Dubai always seemed so exotic and exciting. The culture alone is so intriguing,” says Lindsay. For their three-night stay, the couple selected Armani Hotel Dubai, a luxury property situated in the Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest building with over 160 stories. Since their accommodations were so centrally located, the pair was able to easily access Dubai Mall and the Dubai International Financial Center, which houses over 60 food and beverage outlets. Lindsay and Seth’s favorite meal was experienced at Le Petite Maison, which offers French Mediterranean and Niçoise cuisine.
In addition to the high-end dining and shopping experiences, the couple also visited the vast Arabian Desert. Though the hotel concierge recommended several excursion programs, the pair opted to take a private tour so they could come and go as they pleased. “It was incredible to see and feel the desert’s whisper-thin sand, some of which we brought home with us!” affirms Lindsay. In addition to viewing the sights, the couple partook in adventurous activities including camel riding, sand boarding, and dune bashing – a form of off-roading on sand dunes.
Experiencing the desert. “Seth donned traditional Arab garb for the excursion, which is available for purchase on site. Great photos and mementos!”
Visiting the Burj Khalifa. “Staying in the tallest building in the world was pretty amazing… even if we were too chicken to go to the top!”
Having high tea at Burj Al Arab. “We had Champagne, tea, and delicious canapés at the Skyview Bar while overlooking all of Dubai! Simply mesmerizing.”
Destination #6: Abu Dhabi
Photo courtesy of Emirates Palace
The final destination on the couple’s trip was Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi for two nights. “A lot of people recommended we just do a day trip to Abu Dhabi, but we really wanted to get the full experience,” says Lindsay. Though the two cities may seem similar, Lindsay notes: “They are actually completely different... Dubai was a high-energy, amazing city, and Abu Dhabi felt more old-world and traditional.” In addition to experiencing one of their favorite meals at BBQ Al Qasr, the hotel’s beachside restaurant, they also visited iconic sites in the capital including the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – the largest mosque in the country. “It felt so spiritual and powerful, and the architecture was truly magnificent. It is absolutely a must-see!”
When reflecting on their unforgettable honeymoon, the couple agrees they wouldn’t change a single thing – even though not everything went how they expected. From marking off restaurants and dishes on their culinary bucket list in Tokyo and Singapore, to relaxing and romancing in Bali and the Maldives, to experiencing the culture of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the newlyweds couldn’t have planned a better trip to celebrate their marriage. “We made so many different stops, and each place offered something unique,” muses Lindsay. “We knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to just press pause on our everyday lives and spend a month traveling the world!”
Seeing the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. “We went right before dusk, so we got to see it in daylight and after nightfall, which we definitely recommend.”
Dining on the sand. “They decorated the table with rose petals, and the views of the water and incredible palace made the evening truly memorable.”
Experiencing the hotel. “It’s everything you would imagine Abu Dhabi to be and is a really unique, grand hotel experience.”
Travel Tips from Lindsay & Seth:
“Don’t overpack! I brought about eight pairs of high heels and honestly wore them maybe twice the entire trip.”
“We visited Bali during the rainy season, which we were aware of but didn’t think much about when booking. If we were to return, we would definitely make sure to not go at that time.”
“Talk to the locals! We were pleasantly surprised by how warm and welcoming everyone was in each country we visited.”
“Take everything as it comes. Knowing what we know now about the volcano incident, it would be easy to say we would have skipped Bali. The truth is, it’s one of the best stories from our honeymoon that I’m sure we’ll be telling our grandchildren about.”
“Just enjoy the moment! You’re going to be way more concerned about having that extra hour of exploring or relaxing time than you will be about doing your hair and makeup.”