After planning a wedding comes planning a honeymoon and that’s something I am very excited about at the moment having just booked our own honeymoon for October this year. If you are planning a honeymoon in 2014 and looking for some real wow factor from your first night, then check out this selection of out-of-this-world honeymoon hotels around the world.
Six Senses Yao Noi, Thailand
Spread across a stunning hillside on the island of Yao Noi, Six Senses gazes out over the luminous turquoise waters and limestone karats of Phang Nga Bay, between Phuket and Krabi. Naturally, guests arrive by speedboat and are greeted at the pier by buggies and personal butlers who whizz them through butterfly-filled gardens to luxurious over-sized villas hidden in the jungle hillside.
Fabulous design, impeccable service, fine organic food and a destination spa round things off nicely, but it’s the surrounding panorama – all swirls of emerald and opal waters and staggering limestone islands – that will have you pinching yourself to check you’re really there.
Newly-weds looking for the ultimate (blow the budget) honeymoon destination can stop here. 30 spacious, design-led villas (11 of which don’t sit on the island, but on stilts amidst the ocean) are cleverly spaced around this peaceful resort to create a feeling of complete exclusivity. Many have private pools and gardens complete with mood lighting, plus outdoor showers, flat screen TVs, fluffy robes, Voya seaweed products and an iPad in every room, arranged around smart German furnishings.
Here, scuba diving and snorkeling never involves a lengthy boat trip as it’s a matter of grabbing your kit and wading in. Ocean villas villas boast private decking with steps leading into the perpetually still ocean, the house reef brimming with so much sea life, it’s the norm to spot dolphins, octopuses, turtles, sharks, gargantuan sting rays and thousands of fish each time you jump in.
Castello di Vicarello, Tuscany
Castello di Vicarello is less a hotel in Tuscany, more a sort of hard-to-believe-your-eyes romantic fantasyland. An 11th-century castle set on a hill overlooking the wild Maremma country to the south of the region, it feels both remote and accessible and looks out across gardens swathed in jasmine, lavender, rosemary and rose bushes to 360-degree views of olive and vine-covered countryside.
At night, blazing torches light the cobbled paths and there are a plethora of terraces, rooftops and shady nooks in which to sit back with an early evening drink, a meal, or to try out one of the estate’s excellent wines.
Riad Farnatchi, Marrakech
One of the most beautiful (and secreted away) of riads in Marrakech, Riad Farnatchi clusters around a couple of central courtyards decorated with flickering lanterns and echoing to the sound of water.
Rooms-wise, Suite 5 is perhaps the most elegant of the nine spacious suites, but most of them come with private roof terraces or balconies from which to enjoy the generous breakfast spread of delicious pancakes and honey or listen to the call to prayer reverberate around the city in the evening.
The Leela Palace, Udaipur
The Leela Palace balances modern luxury facilities with a palace hotel feel in jaw-droppingly romantic Udaipur. From the trio of excellent restaurants and the fabulous swimming pool, to the top to bottom sparkling thikri and ornate decoration and stunning lake-side setting, it all adds up to a special place to start a honeymoon or Indian trip of a lifetime.
La Residencia, Mallorca
La Residencia in Mallorca is a favourite with the A-list likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Moss and Jade Jagger – and it isn’t hard to see why. For starters, the setting is sublime – backed by the majestic Tramuntana Mountains, perched on the craggy Mediterranean coast and surrounded by stepped terraces draped with olive and citrus groves.
Pretty flower-filled pathways and pergolas lead to the rooms, all of which are gorgeously decorated with soft cream walls and linens, antique furnishings, and original local artworks, while there’s an excellent restaurant and spa, and a general, all-round sense of privilege and privacy.
Amarya Shamiyana, Goa
Amarya Shamiyana is made up of a collection of opulent, safari-style tents. Banish all ideas of a camping holiday, though, as this is glamping Goa style, and the rooms have a regal feel, inspired by the notion of a traditional Maharaja’s tent.
The vibe is certainly relaxed, but for those who aren’t quite ready to part with all of the standard amenities of a luxury hotel on their honeymoon, all the necessary little luxuries are present and correct, while Asvem Beach (one of the most stunning in North Goa) is just minutes away from the hotel on foot.
Palladio Hotel & Spa, Venice
We finish with a gorgeous former convent in Venice. Because, after all, no list of romantic hotels would be complete without at least one place in ‘La Serenissima’.
This new addition to the Venice hotel scene is actually just across the water in Giudecca – and being away from the tourist hordes, means there’s even more peace and quiet to enjoy the opulent rooms, fine restaurant, excellent spa and extensive gardens.
La Bastide de Marie, Provence
La Bastide de Marie sits within 24 hectares of its own working vineyard surrounded by the Luberon mountains. Flares of lavender and tall Cypress trees line the drive, while ancient olive trees grow on the lawn. Outside the building is all smoky blue-shuttered windows; inside, it’s elegant, rustic farmhouse chic with carefully selected Provencal antiques scattered throughout.
For gourmet honeymooners, though, the real draw is the food – the restaurant is one of the most highly regarded in Provence, and eating out on the terrace in the evening as the shadows lengthen on the surrounding vines is a truly special experience.
Finca Cortesin, Andalucia
With 67 suites, a couple of superb restaurants, a world-class spa and two huge outdoor swimming pools set within a 215-hectare private, Finca Cortesin is not so much a palatial honeymoon hotel as a full-blown Andalucian pleasure dome.
Luxurious facilities aside, though, it’s the privacy, space and intimacy of the place that really makes it stand out – whether it’s in the lovely gardens, the chic Moroccan-style chill-out area that opens out onto a stunning courtyard or the countless other quiet corners to sneak off to together.