BEAT OTHER HONEYMOONERS TO THE HIPPEST HOTELS BY BOOKING ONE OF THESE HOT OPENINGS NOW
MONASTERO SANTA ROSA, ITALY
This 20-room hotel, housed in a 17th-century former convent, has been 11 years in the making. Looking down from a clifltop, it’s gasp-inducingly beautiful and tranquil. Paved terraces dotted with double day-beds, canopied sun loungers and swings a deux cascade down the hillside, to the aqua infinity pool with dizzying views of the sea below. The rooms are all local chestnut and walnut furniture, marble bathrooms, king-size beds and eye-popping sea vistas. This is Italy so food is, naturally, a highlight. Whole grain spaghetti with cuttlefish and violet potatoes, or vegetable lasagne with Provolone del Monaco cheese are prepared with seasonal, local produce. Be sure to visit the spa (opt for a Candle Massage in the 80sq m Treatment Suite), and the pretty, albeit touristy, town of Amalfi (take the hotel’s private shuttle bus). From here you can explore the coast with boat trips to Salerno, Sorrento, Positano and chichi Capri. Magnifico.
WOW FACTOR Wake up at sunrise when other guests are asleep and the only sound is the odd speedboat. Head to the top-floor terrace for views of the Med all to yourself.
GO Double rooms cost from £324, B&B (monasterosantarosa.com) while British Airways (ba.com) return flights to Naples start at £82. Private transfers (1.5 hours each way) start at £130 return.
CONRAD ALGARVE, PORTUGAL
Yes, the Algarve is back on our honeymoon radar.
Portugal’s most photogenic stretch of coastline is shaking off its package-holiday image with a smattering of gleaming new hotels, like the snazzy Conrad Algarve in fashionable Quinta do Lago. Modelled on an 18th-century Portuguese palace, this is the 21st-century version, all shiny white and glass exteriors, glamorous marble floors and walls, and muted, modern rooms full of high-tech touches. A TV pops out at the end of the bath, there’s a Conrad Concierge app for anything from room service to spa bookings and even underwater music in the pool. Although not on the seafront, there is a choice of three pools (grab a spot by the palm-lined infinity one, pictured) and a complimentary 10-minute shuttle to the beach, where reserved loungers await. Considering its modest 154 rooms, the hotel offers an impressive selection of dining options — from the poolside South American eatery Dado to smarter Louro for modern Portuguese. The show-stopper, however, is Gusto, headed by chef Heinz Beck, who’s weighed down with four Michelin stars.
WOW FACTOR Indulge in the eight-course tasting menu at Gusto and be treated to a modern, Mediterranean, culinary extravaganza. Hell, why not order the matching wines too?
GO Classic Collection Holidays (classic-collection.co.uk) offers seven nights from £984 per person, B&B. Includes flights and transfers.
TAJ PALACE MARRAKECH,
You might recognise this palatial pad from its starring role in Sex & The City 2, where it plays the impressive Abu Dhabi retreat for the fashionable foursome. Before the hotel even opened, the cast took over the stunning Royal Suite (pictured), which sprawls across the entire second floor and has its own bar, butler and curtains dripping in Swarovski crystals. Ceilings are hand-painted, interiors feature a whopping 3km of gold leaf and the pool is easily confused for a lake. Much of the decor is made in India (home of the Taj hotel brand) and, although its newly built, the low-lit, jewel-hued interiors give off the stately air of a renovated palace. Every room comes grandiose — take tea in the massive Jade Room and we guarantee you’ll get a crick in your neck. Since it’s situated in the leaf)’ Palmeraie district half an hour’s drive from town, you’ll probably split your time between the madness of the Medina and luxuriating by that massive pool — or in the equally impressive five Spa.
WOW FACTOR This place is one big, swanky wow from the moment you glimpse its palatial Louette — and the 22m-high chandelier in reception — against the Atlas Mountains.
GO Cox & Kings (coxandkings.co.uk) offers three nights from £875 per person, B&B.
MARTI HEMITHEA, TURKEY
Located on a hillside above the Aegean Sea, every room at Marti Hemithea looks on to the stunning bay. Luxurious but informal, this new addition to the Marti boutique hotel chain is the perfect retreat for newlyweds looking to be pampered but not too fussed over. Enjoy lazy Aegean breakfasts on the terrace, including home-baked breads and local honeycomb, cocktails at the flower-festooned beach bar and dinners by the water. Rooms are muted woods, sand and mink hues, with splashes of gold. Some are pricey — its an eye-watering £900 a night for the Lighthouse Presidential Tower suite — but the cheaper ones feel just as luxe. Save your money to take a private boat trip to neighbouring islands — you can even head to Greece for a day. The service could be slicker, but characters such as bar manager Okum (who plays Elton on his white baby grand piano) will make you feel right at home.
WOW FACTOR We only wish we could have taken some of the amazing seafood home -from barbecued octopus to flaming salt-baked sea bass, it was all mouthwatering.
GO Double rooms cost from £170 per night, B&B (martihemitheahotel.com), including transfers, while easyjet (easyjet.com) flights to Dalaman start at £82.
PALACIO NAZARENAS, PERU
Fancy spending the most romantic holiday of your life at a former Spanish palace in the ancient Inca capital of Cusco? Yes, us too. No detail of this serene whitewashed idyll has been overlooked — from bespoke mattresses produced after two-and-a-half years of testing, to hand-carved jewellery boxes designed to fit just-so in your safe. There’s even a button on your room phone that connects to the managers mobile if there’s a problem — although since the hotel opened it’s only been used twice, once to check it worked and the second time by accident! Oxygen is pumped into your room to alleviate the effects of the altitude (you’re 3,400m above sea level), and a butler is on-hand to make anything from a Pisco Sour from your in-room cocktail station to a herb-infused bath. The to-die-for food is created by the hottest chef in Peru, Virgilio Martinez (who opened hip restaurant, Lima, in London last year). Between dips in the pool and visits to the spa, you might forget that another wonder, Machu Picchu, is just a day trip away.
GO Cox & Kings (coxandkings.co.uk) offers seven nights in Peru, including two nights at the Palacio Nazarenas, from £2,895 per person, B&B. Also includes flights, transfers, return tickets on the Vistadome train to Machu Picchu and a guided visit.
Although brand-spanking new, Singapore’s W Hotel has ‘future classic’ written all over it. In the exclusive south of Sentosa Island, the hotel curves around a palm-fringed pool featuring the WET Lighthouse — a look-out tower over the marina with swim-up WET Bar below (pictured). Inside the hotel, a waterfall cascades down one wall, while the lobby changes from lounge and bar to cool evening club. Rooms have a retro feel: we loved the lighting menu that ranges from a bright ‘hello’ to a sexy purple ‘flirt’ The Away Spa is all about polishing and revitalising — the Detox massage pinpoints every weary muscle — so you’ll be ready for their signature spiced blue-berry martini. Fine dine at Skirt for a South American grilled steak, or laid-back at The Kitchen Table. Cosy and romantic this place is not, but it’s perfect for a sexy city stopover.
WOW FACTOR The fantastically slick and friendly service. They promise ‘whatever, whenever’ and deliver, whether it’s breakfast at 4pm or a tip-off on the hottest new fashion boutique in town.
GO Virgin Holidays + HIP Hotels (vhiphotels.co.uk) offers seven nights in a Wonderful Room from £1,899 per person, B&B. Includes Singapore Airlines flights and transfers.