Bride and Room
After losing sleep over table displays, canapés and what the best man may say; squeezing into that dress, declaring undying love before an avid audience, feeding all your family and friends, dancing ’til your feet ache, eating ’til your stomach bulges and being photographed ’til your jaws hurt, chances are you’ll both be in need of a restful honeymoon. Let Mr & Mrs Smith (mrandmrssmith. com), the boutique hotel experts, guide you in the right direction.
Great Barrier Reef, Australia
With azure waters, powder-white sandy bays and spectacular snorkelling and diving, the sun-kissed tropical islands of the Great Barrier Reef are the kind of escape you dream about, but wake up here and they’re blissfully real. Stretching 2,300 kilometres up the length of Queensland, the reef can be seen from space, but you don’t have to work for NASA to suss why its unique geography has been declared a World Heritage Area. With over 90 islands, you’re sure to find your own pocket of paradise with a boho mix of backpackers and millionaires for company, or many uninhabited coral cays if you want ‘quality time’ solo. 17 miles off the Queensland coast, at the northernmost tip of the Great Barrier reef, Lizard Island couldn’t be more remote. With 24 ivory-white beaches to bask on you’re guaranteed privacy, and with some of the most spectacular diving, fishing and snorkelling on the doorstep, the hotel’s as much a magnet for adventurous ocean-goers as it is for romance-struck couples in search of real desert-island relaxation. Their Anchor Bay Suites at the far end of the bay have expansive balconies offering glimpses through the trees to the tranquil turquoise waters of Anchor Bay and Sunset Beach, and a path straight from balcony to beach.
Rooms: 40, including 18 suites and 15 villas.
Rates: Double rooms from AU$1,543.
Rosas & Xocolate
Rosas & Xocolate is as pink as the flamingos that decorate the local wetlands like long, languid water lilies. This is the kind of hotel Willy Wonka might take his new bride to, were he feeling generous – there’s an onsite chocolate shop serving gourmet Belgian and Mexican confections. There’s also a mini perfumery (keep honeymoon memories alive by bringing a bottle of scent back with you) and a pretty little pool in the courtyard, flanked by palm trees. Couples keen to sample the local cuisine should start at the hotel’s restaurant. Begin the day with huevos motuleños (fried tortilla topped with eggs, beans, lashings of tasty tomato sauce and sprinklings of cheese). At dinner, order the moreish chicharrón de pulpo (fried octopus bites). The Yucatán’s romance is its mystery – it’s a land of epic former empires, of mighty temples and sophisticated cities. When the sun makes you wilt, cool down with a dip in the cenotes, pools connected by a network of underground caverns and rivers and regarded as sacred sites by the Maya, who thought they represented the entrance to the underworld.
Rooms: 17 including three suites.
Rates: Double rooms from US$215.
Tree of Life Resort & Spa
This hotel is as rosy as a blushing bride. The setting is the Rajasthan desert, or more specifically the rugged Aravalli Range, and staying here will get your marriage off to a colourful start: aquamarine pools, a glinting gold cupola and candy-pink villas are all at your disposal. Inside, dazzling palettes of fuchsia, yellow, orange, aqua and lime, teamed with intricate thekri (mirror work), echo the swathes of sari fabric Rajasthan is famous for. Plump for a Luxury Pool & Spa Villa, and you’ll get a suburban-sized backyard complete with plunge pool, Jacuzzi, marble bath tub, waterfall shower and massage pavilion. Honeymoon heaven. Sample pan-Indian specialities and Western favourites in the hotel’s Ashtam restaurant, and hog the Jacuzzi, steam room and sauna in the Ekam day spa. Having exhausted the temptations to hand, venture out into Jaipur and tap into village life with elephant jaunts and mountain treks. Invest in some cool cotton kurtas (traditional Indian outfits) or a ceramic vase or two from the hotel to remember your time here.
Rates: Double rooms from INR15,000.
Lake Powell, United States
Straddling the borders of Utah and Arizona, landscapes don’t come much more dramatic than the geology-flaunting formations of the American Southwest and the Glen Canyon. A pocket of modernist luxury in a wild and wind-carved Utah landscape, Amangiri hotel is a sleek sandstone hideaway at the heart of Navajo country – not the place you’d expect to find an incredible spa, excellent restaurant and every-whimmet indulgence. Amangiri, which means ‘peaceful mountain,’ emerges discreetly and organically against a dramatic mesa – architecture rarely manages to be so iconic yet humble. It’s a resort of concrete geometric planes - they stand out against the swerving shoulders of rock all around, but still seem perfectly suited to the setting. The concrete has been subtly tinted with pink, ochre, and light yellow among the dominant hues in the surrounding cliffs, to soften its profile. Huge suites in pale hues all come with staggering views offering you the chance of absolute seclusion, perfect after all the fun and mania that weddings usually bring. The high desert canyons hundreds of millions of years old that stretch away in every direction will make you feel like the only two people in the world.
Rooms: 34 suites.
Rates: Double rooms from $1,000.
St Lucia, Saint Lucia
Shades of emerald, ebony and teal form the colour palette on this breezy and relaxed island, making St Lucia - the second largest of the Windward Islands - the ultimate Caribbean destination. The landscape switches between powder-soft beaches and lush pitons that soar 2,000ft up towards the deepblue sky. Architecturally astonishing and blessed with breath-snatching views of the Caribbean Sea, Jade Mountain is a curvy spider web of zigzagging stone walkways, sculpture-topped stone pillars and cascading koi pools. You can arrive by car, but why not by speed boat if you’re looking for even more glamour on your getaway? This hotel does nothing by halves. With every one of its vast suites having one wall completely open to the mind-blowing Piton panorama, and most boasting private infinity pools to admire it from, this hilltop hotel is the ultimate honeymooner’s hideaway. Jade Mountain’s guests can also take advantage of the indulgent delights at the neighbouring Anse Chastenet resort, including a duo of private beaches, the spa, restaurants and a plethora of activities should you want to investigate and explore.
Rooms: 29 suites, 24 with infinity pools.
Rates: Double rooms from US$950.
The island of Santorini is a rugged Aegean beauty, the southernmost of the Cyclades, famed for its sunsets and the turquoise sea that surrounds it. Grace Santorini hotel is a gleaming white minimalist marvel, carved out of a clifftop on Greece’s sunset paradise. When it comes to jaw-dropping views, there are some places in this world that have a blithe disregard for the rules of fair play. One such place is Santorini and the breathtaking scenery can be best viewed from the terrace here. Tottering up the cliff face, the hotel is steeply spread over different levels, with the chalky restaurant taking up its own floor. The glamour extends to the lengthy infinity pool’s terrace by night, when all that glitters comes to life. The hotel and its sundecks are terraced into the side of the cliff in a cascade of white walls and black rock buttresses. Inside, the rooms are sheathed entirely in white, and the flooring in cool polished grey concrete... the hot Greek heat and cool slick interiors contradict and complement one another so perfectly that you may never wish to leave.
Rooms: 20, including seven suites.
Rates: Double rooms from €350.
Côte d’Azur, France
On the coast that defined seaside glamour, you can never be too rich or too tanned. This is where rustic glamour was invented: a balmy playground, equally endowed with show-off glitz and craggy, pine-clad coastline. Beautiful beaches stretch east from Hyè res towards the Italian border; the celebrated hot spots – Cannes, Nice and Monte Carlo – are synonymous with unashamed ostentation, and have Italianate architecture and rock-star villas to match. On a secluded peninsula snaking out into the Med, Cap Estel’s gated mansion is a shot of Riviera glam amid the azure. Surrounded by palms and terraced gardens, with an elegant restaurant and Monaco and Nice close by, this exclusive retreat is A-list alluring. Beneath the terraced gardens you’ll find Cap Estel’s own secluded stony beach and since there’s only 18 rooms in the hotel, there’s every chance you’ll have it all to yourself once in a while. Our favourite suite, Le Cap, is a palatial expanse with cream and oatmeal decor, high ceilings, a living room with splashes of crayon-bright colour, a vast terrace and two bedrooms and bathrooms.
Rooms: 18, including 14 suites.
Rates: Double rooms from €431.
Take all the golden-sun, white-sand, azurewater clichés you care to think of, shake well, sprinkle over the equatorial ocean, and season to taste with luxury – well done: you’ve made it to the Maldives. Spread over 26 silk-sanded coral atolls lost in the heart of the Indian Ocean, they are the textbook desert-island paradise. The archetypal honeymoon destination, these far-flung palm-tree hideaways tick all the tropicalisland boxes, offering balmy adults-only seclusion above water and a spectacular undersea landscape below. Connected only by speedboat and sea-plane, the Maldives – all 1,192 of them – were made for romantic sun-soaking, beach-based star-gazing, and turquoise-ocean toe-dipping. Cocoa Island is the embodiment of understated elegance. Resembling a collection of Keralan boathouses, the individual over-water villas have soothing white-on-white interiors and teak flooring to create an ambience of laid-back romance. The scuba diving here is terrific, and after an afternoon of reef watching you can soothe away any aches and pains in the world-class Como Shambhala spa.
Rooms: 33 dhoni-style suites and villas.
Rates: Double rooms from US$930.