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Reality TV romance and real-life wanderlust collide each season on ABC's hit series' The Bachelor as viewers root for their favorite contestants and drool over the dreamy locales the finalists travel to for their overnight dates. See my post about Jake and Vienna on St. Lucia in the latest season here. Meanwhile, Jason and Molly (from season 13) were married at Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, last weekend for an ABC special that will air tomorrow (March 8th).
The Bachelor (season 13): Jason in New Zealand
Date Details: New Zealand is an amazing playground for adventurous romantics. The South Island’s scenic capital, Queenstown, was the setting for Jason’s action-packed dates: helicopter sightseeing with Jillian above Lake Wakatipu, a tandem bungy jump with Molly at Kawerau Bungy, and a sail with Melissa aboard MV Yvalda.
Fantasy Suites: Jason’s dinner and overnight with Jillian was at intimate Stoneridge Estate, where they famously smooched in a candlelit hot tub in their private cottage. His stay with Molly was at Kohara Lodge, a striking stone-and-wood home overlooking the Shotover River. And his rendezvous with Melissa was at luxurious Matakauri Lodge with its floor-to-ceiling windows offering views of The Remarkables mountain range.
Rose Ceremonies: After the rose ceremony at Stoneridge Estate, where Jason sent a teary-eyed Jillian home, the drama moved the North Island’s gorgeous Bay of Islands. There, Molly and Melissa met Jason’s family at the owner’s cottage at The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, before Jason chose a jubilant Melissa during the final rose ceremony at the Rahimoana villa at the cliff-top Eagles Nest.
Romance Quotient: As we all know, Jason infamously changed his mind and dumped Melissa for Molly during the “After the Final Rose” broadcast, but you will never have second thoughts about choosing a romantic escape to New Zealand.
Queenstown and Bay of Islands are two of my favorite regions and my picks for accommodations are cozy Stoneridge Estate (from $418) and dramatic Kauri Cliffs (from $874, including meals).
The Bachelorette (season 5): Jillian on Maui and the Big Island
Date Details: With five idyllic isles to choose from, Hawaii is perfect for romantics who want to island-hop. Jillian and her three finalists started off on the golden sands of Kaanapali Beach on Maui: On her first date with Kiptyn, the pair got adventurous on a ropes course at nearby Kapalua Adventures; on her second date with Reid, they flew via Sunshine Helicopters to the eastern end of Maui, where they enjoyed an oceanfront picnic courtesy of secluded Hotel Hana-Maui & Honua Spa; and on her third date with Ed, they boarded a catamaran for a snorkel trip with Trilogy Excursions.
Fantasy Suites: All the dinners/overnight dates on Maui took place during and after Kaanapali’s famed sunsets at two neighboring resorts: The Westin Maui Resort & Spa and the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa.
Rose Ceremonies: Jillian sent Reid packing after an emotional decision at the serene oceanfront Olowalu Plantation House, before heading off to the Big Island with her two finalists, Ed and Kiptyn. There, the drama escalated as the finalists wooed her at locales that included the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, The Fairmont Orchid and the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, culminating in a final rose ceremony at one of Mauna Kea’s private villas, where Jillian chose Ed.
Romance Quotient: Hawaii offers such exotic ambience it’s hardly a surprise that the Aloha State has been a top honeymoon locale for decades—and that Ed and Jillian, who are still together, recently returned to Maui for a vacation. Maui and the Big Island make a super combo and my picks are the Sheraton Maui (from $259) with its tiki-torch-lit Old Hawaii feel, and The Fairmont Orchid (from $339) on the Big Island with its tranquil setting and superb Spa without Walls.
Looking back even further, Bachelorette DeAnna chose Jesse on Grand Bahama Island, Bachelor Matt chose Shayne over Amanda and Chelsea on Barbados and Bachelor Brad overnighted with DeAnna, Jenni and Bettina in Los Cabos, Mexico, before ultimately choosing no one.