Their staycation had the European flare the couple originally planned.

By Cailey Rizzo
October 14, 2020
Conrad Hilton Washington D.C.
Credit: Courtesy of Conrad Hilton Washington D.C.

A 30-day honeymoon in Europe turned into a just-as-sweet staycation in Washington, D.C. thanks to a hotel staff that went "above and beyond" everyday duties.

Jacob and Abbie Bennett were supposed to jet off on a lovely trip around Europe this summer, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, their romantic plans did not happen. Before Jacob returned to his job as a kindergarten teacher, the couple decided to book a consolation trip at Conrad Washington, D.C.

And after check-in, they discovered that Europe was being brought to them.

“My wife and I have been strict about social distancing and staying home during this pandemic – it’s been tough,” Jacob said in a statement, provided by Hilton. “After canceling our European trip, we decided to book a staycation at Conrad Washington, D.C. I emailed the hotel in advance to ask about safety measures and mentioned our canceled plans. Let me just say, they went above and beyond.”

The month in Europe was actually the couple’s second attempt at a honeymoon. They could not attend their first planned honeymoon directly after their wedding because Jacob caught the flu.

When Vera Vandijk, front office director at Conrad Washington, D.C., heard about the couple’s canceled plans, she coordinated an effort to bring Europe to the American capital.

Vandijk reached out to several luxury hotels across Europe, including Waldorf Astoria Berlin, Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam, Waldorf Astoria Versailles - Trianon Palaceto, and Conrad London St. James. The hotels came back with themed canapés and cocktails to represent their cities, and give Abbie and Jacob a taste of Europe during their staycation. The couple also received “passports” to commemorate their stay and personalized notes, photos, and videos from each hotel for a virtual travel experience.

Vandijk felt a special attachment to the couple’s story as she is originally from the Netherlands and had also canceled an overseas trip to visit family due to the pandemic.

Jacob and Abbie are hoping to reschedule their 30-day European vacation in 2021.

Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. When in a new city, she's usually out to discover under-the-radar art, culture, and secondhand stores. No matter her location, you can find her on Twitter, on Instagram or at