Hot and cool honeymoon hotels
Mr & Mrs Smith the boutique hotels experts hand-pick five of the most romantic honeymoon destinations
Planning a wedding presents a taxing logistical challenge; first you have to spend months organizing minute details from frocks to flowers, and then you have to make sure the entire day runs seamlessly while looking picture-perfect at all times. The honeymoon is your ultimate reward for all the toiling, so it needs to be faultless too. To help you find the most seductive and stylish hotels, boutique hotel experts Mr & Mrs Smith have selected some of their favourite hideaways for a honeymoon to match any mood.
Best for views : Perivolas, Santorini, Greece
Style: Gaudi-contoured caves
Setting: Dream lava
For hypnotizing views of a glittering sea studded with volcanic islands, check into a 300-year-old cave, once the homes, wineries and stables of fishermen and farmers, and now transformed into 19 private houses with added wow-factor. Overlooking the sparkling Aegean, amid a landscape of curves, a pool flows over the edge of the cliff into the watery horizon, framed by vineyards and wild fig trees: it’s a Grecian formula unlike any other. Honeymooners should try the new deluxe suite which has its own Jacuzzi tub and hammam and a big, secluded outdoor terrace. Or book the very popular, and vast, Perivolas Suite, which has an in-room hot tub big enough for several brides and grooms, and an outdoor plunge pool with a view to cool off in afterwards. As sunshine bounces off whitewashed walls, people skipping up and down the endless Escher-like hillside steps will keep you entertained for a surprisingly long time – especially when enjoyed from the privacy of your own private terrace.
Number of rooms: 19
Room rates: €368–€1,400
Best for total privacy: Lion Sands, Ivory Lodge, Kruger National Park South Africa
Style: Boutique bushveld
Setting: Extraordinary plain
Set in the famed Kruger National Park, each villa at Ivory Lodge has a private pool and ultra-luxurious, contemporary-styled interiors. Nesting honeymooners have no need to wander far: there’s a telescope on the deck for spying on animals and gazing at the mesmerising African starscape. Expertly run game drives and walking safaris get you close to some of the world's most magnificent wildlife in a totally pristine habitat, or you can just relax in your hot tub and watch the magnificent wildlife come to you. Ask for the villa nearest the river for the best views and a little bit of extra privacy; or why not go into pampering overdrive and book some in-room massages and treatments from the hotel's Lalamuka spa. Lunch can also be served in your villa and for priceless views try dinner in the outdoor boma under the stars.
Number of rooms: 6 villas
Room rates: R5,500–R9,750
Best for andrenalin junkies: Vigilius Mountain Resort, South Tyrol, Italy
Style: Modernist Lodge
Setting: Dramatic Dolomites
An award-winning mountain hotel in South Tyrol that mixes stylish minimalist design with warmth and character, and comes with solid eco credentials. Set in spectacular scenery in the Italian Dolomites, this boutique refuge is ideal for health-conscious honeymooners, with an array of activities available from archery and skiing to tobogganing and horse riding. Genuine thrill-seekers can plan a tandem parascend during their stay, launching off the mountains below the hotel before floating dreamily over pine forests and hills together. Wind down with a dip in the chic, quartzite-lined pools or sample some of the more idiosyncratic local treatments: healing hay baths and apple exfoliating massages are popular. Rooms are pleasingly open-plan, yet cleverly divided with various partitions and locally-sourced larch furniture. Suites on the upper floor at the back are more secluded and, of course, enjoy breathtaking mountain views.
Number of rooms: 35
Room rates: €310–€585
Best for gourmets: Château de Bagnols, Beaujolais, France
Style: Five-star castle
Setting: Fairy-tale gardens
This antiques-filled, luxury château hotel near Lyon is surrounded by Beaujolais vineyards and a whole firmament of Michelin-starred restaurants. A fantasy castle has to be every girl’s dream setting for a honeymoon, and this one comes complete with drawbridge, towers of honey-coloured stone, taffeta-hung four-poster beds and decadent, decorated bathtubs. There’s plenty to amuse any modern-day prince and princess, including horse-riding, tennis, cookery classes and wine tasting, but for true airborne romance, order up your own hot-air balloon ride over the vineyards. The Château de Bagnols’ Michelin-starred Salle des Gardes restaurant serves modern cuisine as well as traditional French terroir dishes, spit-roasted meats and game, plus you can sneak a peek at the chefs through a trés moderne window into the immaculate kitchens. If you can tear yourselves away from your own personal kingdom, make sure you venture off to nearby Roanne to sample the sublime, three Michelin-starred culinary wizardry at Maison Trois Gros.
Number of Rooms: 21
Room Rates: €475-€875
Best close to home: Barnsley House, Gloucestershire
Style: Super-stylish manor house
Setting: Gorgeous Gloucestershire gardens
One of the most stylish country-house hotels in the UK, Gloucestershire's Barnsley House is a winning combination of imposing grade II-listed manor house and ultra-cool modern furniture. Owners Tim and Rupert have certainly been on a mission to chuck out the chintz, but they have done so with the utmost respect for original features, and old and new are blended effortlessly together. The muted tones of the traditional paints make a perfect backdrop to the B&B Italia square-backed swivel armchairs. This modish manor house is complemented by the 11 acres of grounds showcasing divinely romantic gardens created by legendary gardener, designer and writer, Rosemary Verey. The gardens are reserved for the exclusive use of hotel guests, but you’ll only have eyes for eachother as you dine alfresco under heaters in the Gothic Summer House or the Temple, overlooking the lily pond. The house is perfectly positioned for sunrise and sunset, and the whole garden is kitted out with lighting that changes with the night sky.
Number of Rooms: 18
Room Rates: £270–£475
www.mrandmrssmith.com is the indispensable guide that makes sure you get the hotel address right first time – visit the website to read entertaining, anonymous reviews and in-the-know destination guides, and to plan your perfect escape.
To book any of the hotels featured, go to www.mrandmrssmith.com or call Carolyn, our honeymoon specialist in the Smith travel team on 0845 034 0700 to arrange your flights, transfers and car hire, as well as hotels.