Minimoons may be short, but they sure are sweet

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      Hawaii, Bali, Fiji - these are dream honeymoon destinations. But the reality is that you may not have the time and/or money for an exotic vacation. You may be squeezing the wedding in between work weeks. Or maybe you can only sneak away for several days, and are postponing the love fest. Or you simply may want to keep the honeymoon low-key and low-budget, like your nuptials.

      But weddings are stressful, and it makes sense to take a day or two after saying “I do” to relax and make mad, passionate love (read: sleep in and watch TV). So consider a minimoon: a quick two-night getaway close to home. Here’s a spectrum of choices, from simple to extravagant. All rates are for a standard room for a Saturday night in July, tax excluded.

      Yes, you live here. But do you really want to go directly from a ceremony pledging your undying love to a kitchen full of dirty dishes? Check into a local hotel to avoid the anti-climax. Tourism Vancouver (, 1-877-826-1717) lists options, including $229 a night for a sleek, recently renovated Hyatt Regency Vancouver room; $265 for bed and breakfast at the oh-so-pink Sutton Place Hotel; and $270 for a room with European ambiance at the Wedgewood Hotel and Spa, which boasts the romantic Bacchus restaurant.

      Washington state
      Twenty minutes past the border and through Birch Bay, there’s charming seclusion to be found at the Semiahmoo Resort (, 1-800-770-7992). On a spit in Puget Sound, with views to White Rock and Blaine, this sprawling low-rise resort offers grand common spaces, soothing waterside promenades, and rooms with folksy touches (US$229). A spa (see page 35) and nearby golf add to the relaxation.

      Harrison Hot Springs
      If the honeymoon is a family affair, the Harrison Hot Springs Resort (, 1-866-638-5075) is a good bet. The kid-friendly pools provide distraction, and the one-bedroom cottage ($259) has enough space for two kiddies. Couples can book a standard room ($169) and enjoy an adults-only pool, and dining and dancing.

      Averse to chintz and high tea? Check into the Laurel Point Inn (, 1-800-663-7667) for modern, Asian-influenced luxury. North-wing rooms go for $269, but it’s worth upgrading to a studio suite ($369) in the Arthur Erickson wing for the flat-screen TVs, marble bathrooms, and
      spacious glass terraces with a view of the Inner Harbour. This is a sophisticated urban pad, with city activities only a short walk away.

      Sunshine Coast
      For something different, consider a tenthouse suite ($399) at Halfmoon Bay’s Rockwater Secret Cove Resort (, 1-877-296-4593). Far from roughing it, each luxury tent built on a boardwalk among the trees has a king-sized bed, heated slate floor, bathroom and shower, ceiling fan, and fireplace. An indoor tub looks out at the treetops, and a private veranda has views of Malaspina Strait.

      For a knock-your-socks-off minimoon, skip the road trip. When I flew to Tofino as a guest of Tourism B.C. on Orca Airways ($360 per person round-trip including tax,, I was enthralled by the panorama for the whole 55-minute ride. Once you’re there, the Wickaninnish Inn (, 1-800-333-4604) caters to romance. When you return to your room ($480) you can find candles lit, a fire blazing, soft music playing, and your double soaker tub filled with flower petals (for an additional $55). Not just a weekend getaway, this is wedding-worthy wow.