Parrot Cay, Turks & Caicos
The loveliest of the Turks & Caicos's celebrated resorts can be found on the private island of Parrot Cay.
A half-hour boat ride from Providenciales, this celebrity hangout (Bruce Willis and Donna Karan have villas on the island) isn't overly luxurious. Rooms and suites have a pared-down aesthetic that's comfortable and attractive but not obviously opulent. And there's little in the way of facilities, beyond yoga and Pilates and an exceptional spa (even if you don't have a treatment, ask for a pot of its ginger tea).
But the setting is idyllic, with a mile-long beach of the palest, softest sand and intensely turquoise water, which deepens to indigo at the reef. The atmosphere is chilled and understatedly glamorous. And the staff have an extraordinary way of figuring out what you want before you've even thought of it. Heaven!
Why go now?
It's at its most alluring in winter, but any time from November to April ought to be perfect. Parrot Cay (+1 649 946 7788; parrotcay.como.bz). Doubles from $450. British Airways flies to Providenciales. Visit ba.com
The Oberoi Amarvilas and Taj Lake Palace Udaipur, India
Check into the Kohinoor Suite at the Oberoi Amarvilas, and visible not just from the bed but the bath is the Taj Mahal, built in 1648 and surely the greatest monument to love ever constructed. Standing just 600m from what is arguably the world's most beautiful building, the hotel has been designed to incorporate elements of Mughal architecture, not just in its buildings but in its lawns, fountains, pools and pavilions.
You probably wouldn't want to spend an entire honeymoon here, so combine it with a few nights at the fairy-tale Rajasthani marble building that is now the Taj Lake Palace hotel. Located on an island on Lake Pichola in Udaipur, just over 600km away, it was built in 1746 by Maharana Jagat Singh II and shares many architectural elements with the Taj Mahal, making it perhaps the most splendid hotel in India, as well as the most romantic.
Why go now?
With temperatures rarely exceeding 28°C, it will be hot, but not uncomfortably so. Oberoi Amarvilas (+800 1234 010; oberoihotels.com). Doubles from $370. Taj Lake Palace Udaipur (+800 4 588 1 825; tajhotels.com). Doubles from $455.British Airways flies to Delhi. Visit ba.com
Banyan Tree Ringha, China
Deep in the Himalayas, 3,200m above sea level in the Hong Po Valley in Yunnan Province, the setting of Banyan Tree Ringha might well be Shangri-La as imagined by James Hilton in his 1933 novel Lost Horizon. At least that's what the Chinese authorities have dubbed the county, a heaven-on-earth snowy-mountain landscape dotted with examples of fine Tibetan architecture.
Reconstructed from an authentic farmhouse settlement, the 32 suites and lodges each have a private balcony or terrace (the views, it almost goes without saying, are breathtaking), a traditional wooden bathtub and an open fire under a bronze chimney hood because it can get cold up here.
The décor favours rich reds and golds, lacquer and wood, and rooms are strewn with glorious Tibetan silks and textiles. This being a Banyan Tree, the spa is important, and if you crave privacy you can opt for the Tibetan Spa Suite, complete with its own double treatment room, relaxation area and garden.
But the real attraction of a honeymoon here is the mountain scenery, best explored on foot, following paths made by nomads as they gather medicinal herbs or move cattle from pasture to pasture.
Why go now?
The light is at its sharpest during spring and autumn. Banyan Tree Ringha (+44 2031 707 296; banyantree.com). Doubles from $400. British Airways flies to Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing. Visit ba.com
Hotel De Crillon, Paris, France
"We'll always have Paris," says Humphrey Bogart to Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca. It may be a cliché, but the City of Light, with its legendary palace hotels, is in many ways the quintessential urban honeymoon destination. But which one to choose?
When it comes to the best of the best (a list that includes the Plaza-Athénée, the Ritz and the Hôtel Meurice), The Crillon really does seem to have it all: a superb location on the Place de la Concorde, within walking distance of all the major art galleries (the Louvre, Musée d'Orsay, Orangerie and Grand Palais) and most fashionable shopping streets; a stylish bar designed by Sonia Rykiel; an outstanding two-Michelin star restaurant in Les Ambassadeurs (as well as a more modest one in L'Obélisque); and real heritage. Commissioned by Louis XV as a royal palace (though he never actually lived there), it still feels fabulously palatial, furnished as it is with antiques, gilded mirrors, extravagant brocades and Baccarat chandeliers.
Why go now?
We love Paris in the springtime - doesn't everyone? Hôtel de Crillon (+33 1 44 71 15 00; crillon.com). Doubles from €695. British Airways flies to Paris. Visit ba.com
Post Ranch Inn, California, USA
Thirty miles north of Los Angeles along Highway One, Big Sur is a wild stretch of the Pacific coast backed by mountains. It's also the setting of the Post Ranch Inn, a 98-acre estate set high above the water on a forested granite ridge, ensuring spectacular views from most of its 40 rooms, each one a modernist cabin of glass, steel and wood designed to maximise the impact of its dramatic setting.
At night, this is a superb place for stargazing, not least because there's an in-house astronomer to advise on what's visible, and the spa, pool and wonderful walking country make this a real place to retreat to. There's not even a TV to remind you of the real world.
Why go now?
The deciduous trees will be in leaf. Post Ranch Inn (+1 831 667 2200; postranchinn.com). Doubles from $550. British Airways flies to LA. Visit ba.com
Villa Feltrinelli, Italy
There aren't many places with Villa Feltrinelli's record of acceding to guests' extraordinary requests. Should your beloved prefer, for instance, white flowers to the existing red in the formal Italianate parterres, then the GM will obligingly have them replanted. (Though be warned: nothing comes cheap here.)
Located on the shores of Lake Garda, amid lemon and olive groves, Villa Feltrinelli is an almost absurdly ornate peach-tinted castello, and its Victorian architect's obsessive attention to detail extends to the way it is now run as a hotel. Nothing, it seems, has been overlooked, right down to the rose petals you will find scattered in the toilet bowl of your extravagant marble bathroom at turndown, at which time your room will also have been perfumed with Acqua di Parma scented candles.
The location is breathtakingly beautiful. The chef is a protégée of Ferran Adrià, so the food is sublime. The gilded mirrors and glitz won't be to all tastes, but the lavishness of the experience is irresistible.
Why go now?
It ought to be warm enough to dine alfresco (if not to swim in the lake, though there is a heated pool). Grand Hotel à Villa Feltrinelli (+39 0365 79 8000; villafeltrinelli.com). Doubles from €700 (off-peak). British Airways flies to Verona. Visit ba.com
Lucknam Park, Wiltshire, UK
There is no shortage of wonderful country-house hotels in England's southwest, but Lucknam Park stands out from the competition.
First, there's the building itself: a magnificent mansion dating back to 1720 approached via a mile-long avenue, planted with beech and lime. Then there's its excellent Michelin-starred restaurant. And at the end of this year, there'll also be a brand-new spa and pool. In the meantime, there are more than 500 acres of parkland and gardens to wander in, including an arboretum in which many happy couples have marked their wedding day by planting a tree. (With 600 trees thriving, it's full now, but for £200 you can still plant one in the grounds to commemorate your marriage.)
But the real pleasure is the rooms. There's nothing modern or gimmicky about them, but they are blissfully quiet and comfortable, especially if you opt for one at the front, in which case the view when you fling open the curtains is of mist rising over paddocks dotted with horses. The staff, too, couldn't be friendlier or more helpful.
Why go now?
The gardens will be at their loveliest. Lucknam Park, (+44 (0)1225 742 777; lucknampark.co.uk). Doubles, room only, from £255.
Lion Sands Ivory Lodge, South Africa
On the banks of the Sabie River, the Lion Sands Private Game Reserve - in which you have a good chance of spotting the Big Five - is home to Ivory Lodge, which boasts one of the world's most extraordinary and romantic hotel "rooms".
Set high in a century-old tree overlooking the Msutu dried-up river bed, the Jackalberry Tree House is more a fenced platform than an actual "house", but is furnished with a bed, draped in mosquito netting that hangs from the branches, and made up with fine linens, so there's no sense of roughing it, especially when you're in radio contact with a ranger at the main hotel who will bring you a picnic dinner.
If you'd rather sleep on terra firma, there are six detached villas, with verandas from which to watch the hippo wallow, telescopes and infinity-edge plunge pools.
Why go now?
It's not too hot for safaris, the grass is short (good for game-spotting) and it's low season for mosquitoes. Lion Sands Ivory Lodge (+27 11 484 9911; lionsands.com). Doubles from R5,500 per person. British Airways flies to Johannesburg. Visit ba.com
Hacienda Benazuza, near Seville, Spain
Close to Seville, the village of Sanlúcar la Mayor is probably best known for the futuristic PS10 solar power station. But it is also home to Hacienda Benazuza, a former bull ranch, behind whose crenellated façade lies the Andalucian outpost of superchef Ferran Adrià's empire.
Most of its existing buildings date back to the 17th and 18th centuries and are arranged around a succession of courtyards and patios, some painted ochre or rich Etruscan red and planted with towering palms. There's even an elegant chapel licensed, as it happens, for weddings.
The 44 rooms are no less splendid; the most romantic is 304, which has a lofty vaulted ceiling adorned with frescos of Venus and Adonis. But don't sequester yourself away, for the gardens are gorgeous, especially at nightfall when they are lit with Moroccan lanterns. The grounds are lovely in daylight too, what with their scented, sunken water gardens and orange orchards dotted with Moroccan daybeds wide enough for two, shaded by canopies that billow in the breeze.
Why go now?
The intense summer heat will be fading, but it will still be hot enough to swim in the unheated pool. Hacienda Benazuza, +34 955 70 33 44; elbullihotel.com. Doubles from €340.British Airways flies to Malaga. Visit ba.com
Ksar Char-Bagh, Marrakech, Morocco
Don't be put off by the fact that the premium suites at this self-styled "guest palace", 6km from Marrakech's Medina amid the palm groves of an area known as the Palmeraie, are called Harim. As the literature points out, "harim means a small apartment in a palace" in ancient Farsi.
Although the hotel looks like it's been there forever - or at least since Scheherazade embarked on her tales of Arabian Nights, it was completed only in 2002 - inspired, it seems, by the Alhambra and Generalife in Granada: think intricately carved arches and fretwork screens, narrow columns, intricate jewel-coloured tiled walls, fountains and reflecting pools.
Each of the 12 spacious suites is strewn with rugs and other local artefacts but for all the comforts, there's something attractively understated about the décor. Perhaps this is so as not to detract from the views to the snow-capped Atlas mountains that most of the private terraces face, though some rooms (three, for example) have secluded gardens instead.
Why go now?
It's still warm enough to swim, and the pool is stunning. Ksar Char-Bagh (+212 24 32 92 44, ksarcharbagh.com). Doubles from €700.British Airways flies to Marrakech. Visit ba.com
Four Seasons Golden Triangle, Thailand
Four Seasons' most romantic property in Thailand is, by far, the Tented Camp Golden Triangle, 280km north of Chiang Mai, in the thick of the jungle and accessible only by traditional boat. Guests stay in 15 suspended "tents" made from bamboo, teak and canvas (but mosquito-proofed thanks to a tough DuPont shell), furnished with copper bathtubs and vast beds swathed in white netting.
All but three overlook the River Ruak (binoculars are provided for bird-watching), and number 15 has a view of a pool in which the camp's resident elephants bathe. But it would be a shame to venture all the way here and not go elephant trekking, take a river trip along the Mekong, or test the 18m-high suspension bridge. In any case, there's a spa and pool to help you unwind after your exertions.
Why go now?
November to February are the "cooler" months. Four Seasons Golden Triangle (+66 53 910 200; fourseasons.com/goldentriangle). A three-night stay for two, including transfers from Chiang Mai, all meals and drinks and a spa treatment starts at $1,557. British Airways flies to Bangkok. Visit ba.com
Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius
If first impressions count, then the sight of Le Prince Maurice, the only hotel on Mauritius with its own lagoon and suites on stilts built over the water, confirms you've arrived somewhere pretty special. A polished granite floor gives way to a sequence of reflecting pools, which lead the eye to a slate-lined infinity pool and then the sea - the hotel has three beaches - all in subtly gradated tones of grey and blue.
The rooms aren't bad either. With their polished teak floors, dark Venetian blinds, louvred doors and soaring, hessian-lined ceilings, they feel slightly colonial (but then Mauritius was colonised by the Dutch, French and British before gaining independence in 1968). Those on stilts have outdoor and indoor bathrooms (unless they're bathgardens, so rich are they in flora) and two terraces: one with loungers to sleep on, one for dining in privacy. Though it would be a shame not to have a meal on the floating Le Barachois restaurant, reached by a narrow wooden bridge.
Why go now?
The sea is clearest for snorkelling from December to March. Le Prince Maurice (+230 413 9100; princemaurice.com). Doubles €980.British Airways flies to Mauritius. Visit ba.com