Jade Mountain, St Lucia
JADE Mountain is about the most spectacularly situated hotel in the Caribbean. Facing out across a bay towards the Pitons, St Lucia’s iconic pair of dramatically steep mountains, it hangs against the side of a jungle-covered mountain like an eagle’s nest. Some nest. The rooms – or “sanctuaries” as they are called here – are each reached by their own private bridge, and are open to the elements: the far wall is that vast, gorgeous view. Oh, and you get your own, private infinity pool too, where you can bask with a glass of bubbly as you watch the sunset melt into the horizon. Then head up to the rooftop Celestial Terrace for a cocktail. Below is the resort’s private beach, with its own restaurant and scuba diving facilities. Your personal butler can arrange anything from in-room treatments to island tours. For details of honeymoon packages see www.jademountain.com
Le Couvent d’Herepian, France
THIS former convent, secreted in the snaking streets of a quiet Languedoc village surrounded by vineyards, farms and hills, is a place of simple, exquisitely chic charms. Perfect for those who like their luxury understated and discreet, it’s a beautifully romantic retreat. Candles light the stone staircases that lead up to the 13, individually-styled suites, each of which retain lots of the character of the 17th century building while reflecting tasteful modern design sensibilities (and they’re also jolly spacious). A tranquil basement spa, including a majestic pool and treatment room, leads out onto an immaculate garden. The marvellous, rustic food is served at the huge high table in the kitchen itself – or enjoy a candelit dinner in your suite. The subterranean bar area was a Resistance meeting room during the war. For prices and info go to www.garrigaeresorts.com/le-couvent
Uxua Casa Hotel, Brazil
FANCY a rustic treehouse resting in the arms of a mango tree, yet with all the comforts and space of a top-flight hotel? How about an ancient fishermen’s bungalow that gives way to its own private courtyard, swimming pool and Jacuzzi, with sinks carved from tree trunks and hammocks swinging from the palms? Uxua Casa Hotel features 10 “casas” – six of them are designed to sleep two, the others sleep between four and six – some adapted from old fishermen abodes, some built and designed anew by fashion designer, Diesel-founder and the hotel’s owner Wilbert Das. It’s an eco-chic sanctuary with plenty of Bahian colour and cool in the mellow fishing town of Trancoso. Stroll down to the beach to take cocktails and eat Bahian specialities while longing on the vast sofas of Uxua Praia Bar. For more information go to uxua.com or book via www.originaltravel.co.uk
Four Seasons Florence, Italy
AS MUCH a beautiful museum as it is a luxury hotel, this is a palace of romance.
A former Medici Palace, the foyer alone is enough to make you swoon, with its impeccably restored mosaics, sculpture and majestic glass atrium.
There are just 116 rooms and suites – all different, all oozing Florentine refinement, many with valuable art. At the top end – for couples with a lot of cash to spend (about £10,000 per night) – is the Royal Suite. Amid its frescoes, stuccoes, vaulted ceilings and original ceramic floor, you’re sure to feel like Florentine nobility.
Across the exquisitely landscaped gardens is the spa: a stucco building of delicious beauty, with some seriously exclusive pampering products. And, of course, you’re bang in the centre of one of Europe’s most atmospheric cities.
For more information and prices, see www.fourseasons.com/florence
Mustique, the Grenadines
A STAY on the private island of Mustique must be the ultimate jet set honeymoon. There are just a handful of villas dotted around the island’s two square miles, or you can stay in the 17-room Cotton House, the island’s only hotel which sits looking out onto the beach – think stunning sea views, plunge pools and candle-lit dinners on private balconies. For the villas – seven of which are two-bedroom, and ideal for honeymoonerss – we’re talking seriously extravagant, individually designed havens of luxury and indulgence, most of them with their own plunge pools, plus complimentary use of a vehicle if walking is just too much effort. For those who do fancy a bit of exertion, there’s horse riding, tennis, diving and sailing (including day trips to the neighbouring islands). The chief activity, however, is kicking back on the long, gorgeous sandy beaches. For more information see www.mustique-island.com