A travel editor for You & Your Wedding magazine for eight years, Amanda Statham has visited countless luxury resorts and hotels all claiming to be the most romantic in the world. Here she shares her selection of the 10 ultimate honeymoon destinations, all perfect choices for those who want to ensure their first holiday as a newly married couple kicks off in style.
Best for a scenic setting: Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort, St Lucia
A recent trip to this sprawling propertyrevealed it has the best setting in the Caribbean: 59 villas dotted across a hillside between the Piton Peaks, which tower like sentinels either side of a crescent of golden beach. This is UNESCO territory and it’s impossible not to be captivated by the forest and mountains.
You could pass whole days on the enormous terrace of your pool villa, or, after waking late in a cocoon-like four-poster, you could ask your butler to hail a buggy and head to the beach for freshly grilled fish and a swim in the warm sea. Also notable are the Rainforest Spa with treehouse treatment rooms and the resort’s late-night lounge which looks like it’s been transplanted from New York.
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Best for 24-hour entertainment: NIYAMA, Maldives
This fashionable new Maldives escape has all of the usual honeymoon essentials – white sand beach, turquoise lagoon – but it’s the unusual extras that set it apart. At NIYAMA guests aren’t tucked up in bed by 10pm, instead they’re at Subsix nightclub, where you can watch rays and reef sharks through floor-to-ceiling windows as you dance six metres below sea level.
Should post-party restoration be required, the spa is 24-hour (another Indian Ocean first), while a beach cinema beneath the stars, supper at offshore restaurant Edge and sunset drinks at rooftop bar Fahrenheit all boost its romance credentials.
Best for wild beauty: Loisaba, Kenya
Heaven-sent Loisaba lies on top of a rocky escarpment in a 60,000-acre private reserve. Suites are dreamy affairs with four-poster beds and timbered decks with views across the plains to Mount Kenya; if you really want to embrace the elements you can also spend an unforgettable night on a handcrafted Koija star bed, rolled onto an elevated, open-air platform for an evening spent gazing at the Milky Way.
Loisaba has also just started offering couples a thrilling guided evening star safari, either on horseback or foot; to unwind together afterwards, request an al fresco champagne bath for two in the bush
Best for cultural mystique: Taj Lake Palace, India
Widely regarded as one of India’s most romantic hotels, Taj Lake Palace is a beautifully preserved 250-year-old white marble building which appears to float in the middle of Lake Pichola – a sanctuary of tranquillity amid Udaipur’s churning chaos.
ou arrive by boat (always a great start to a honeymoon) and it’s not hyperbole to say your jaws will drop once you see this fairytale retreat of turrets, domes, ornate windows and opulent rooms filled with exquisite antique furniture and hand-painted murals.
Dine al fresco on gourmet Indian dishes at the Lily Pond Courtyard or at a floating, candle-lit pontoon for two. Excursions to explore Udaipur are a must, as is a couples massage in the Jiva Spa. Already finding that the property seems strangely familiar? That could be because the hotel appeared in the Bond movie Octopussy. Double-Oh-Heaven indeed
Best for laidback luxury: Ponta dos Ganchos, Brazil.
The fact you can have breakfast at 3pm if you choose sums up the ethos of this hip resort by Florianopolis. Everything is exquisitely simple and geared towards relaxation, such as the Christian Dior spa (the only one in South America), which has just three ocean-view white tents, or the 25 vast bungalows with double hammocks and private pools to laze in.
Dining on octopus rice and basil (a local speciality) at a petal-strewn table on the resort’s tiny private island is distractingly romantic. A special mention has to go to the staff, who second guess your every move: favourite drinks are remembered, candles are lit in your room at night and your initials are drawn inside chocolate hearts on top of your coffee at breakfast.