101 Honeymoons

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    The Ultimate Honeymoon Awards

    Kath Freer and James Kay spent 12 months on a round-the-world honeymoon. Here they announce their awards for the best – and worst – hotels and experiences

    After 12 months on the ultimate round-the-world honeymoon, our writers Kath Freer and James Kay are back home and have announced their awards for their favourite hotels and experiences – and a few that disappointed.

    Kath and James set off in September 2010 and have been blogging regularly for 101 Honeymoons. They started their journey in Mexico and visited 18 countries in three continents – covering 55,000 miles – before finishing in India. During that time they have stayed in more than 100 places from luxury hotels to cottages, B&Bs, guest houses and youth hostels.

    Here are the winners…

    Kath’s Ultimate Honeymoon Hotel

    Alila Villas Soori, Bali – “uber-chic villas with private pools, direct beach access and uninterrupted sea views. Butlers on call 24/7.” Visit the website.

    James’s Ultimate Honeymoon Hotel

    Amanbagh, Rajasthan – “subtle and stylish, this peaceful gem is hidden in an untouched valley of Rajasthan. Book a pool pavilion.” Visit the website.

    Best B&B for Honeymooners

    Red Tree House, Condesa, Mexico City – “homely property with welcoming owners in one of Mexico City’s funkiest suburbs.” Visit the website.

    Best Honeymoon Hotel for Wildlife Lovers

    Lapa Rios, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica – “balconies with views of scarlet macaws, toucans, monkeys and more.” Visit the website.

    Best Spa Hotel for Honeymooners

    Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort, Arenal, Costa Rica – “a natural wonder where you can find your own private spa pool among the trees.” Visit the website.

    Best Honeymoon Hotel Under £50 a Night

    Father’s Guesthouse in Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands – “a wonderful location, cosy rooms, great food and friendly staff. It was exceptional value at £20 a night, excluding breakfast.” Visit the website.

    Best Honeymoon for Adventurers

    A campervan around New Zealand – “wake to a different view each day, devise your own meal plan and no need to worry about the neighbours.” More information.

    Best Honeymoon Retreat for Wellness

    Chiva-Som, Hua Hin, Thailand – “daily massages, fitness classes galore and healthy grub to get excited about.”

    Most Quirky Honeymoon Accommodation

    Bon Ton Resort, Langkawi, Malaysia – “Malay village houses transformed into a boutique hotel, complete with antique furniture and original textiles.”

    Sexiest Honeymoon Suite

    An Lam Ninh Van Bay Villas, Vietnam – “spacious villas with mammoth beds, swings for two and a private plunge pool in your own garden.” Visit the website.

    Best Hotel Pool for Honeymooners

    The Nam Hai, Hoi An, Vietnam – “choose from three gorgeous infinity pools, one an Olympic-sized stunner that seems to extend into the sea.” Visit the website.

    Best First Night Hotel in India

    Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra – “wake up and have breakfast overlooking the Taj Mahal – the ultimate monument of love.” Visit the website.

    Best Secret Retreat

    Mihir Garh, Rohet, Rajasthan – “a labour of love which oozes romance, seclusion and fairy-tale charm.” Visit the website.

    Best Honeymoon Hotel for Private Dining

    The Leela Kempinski, Udaipur – “tickle the tastebuds on a table for two by the lake, overlooking the twinkling lights of India’s most romantic city.” Visit the website.

    Best Overall Honeymoon Destinations

    1. New Zealand – “for its variety of awesome landscapes, fun adrenalin sports, ease of travelling around by car/campervan and great wines”.

    2. Costa Rica – “for its wonderful wildlife, fabulous hotels – including some world-class spas – and friendly people who will make you feel even more special than you already do”.

    3. Tasmania (Australia) – “for its stunning scenery, options for outdoorsy activities as well as romantic hotels and remote beaches and incredible food.”

    Best Airport Experience

    Koh Samui – “small but perfectly formed with some amazing shops to while away the time”.

    Best Airline

    Emirates – “always on time, lots of room, friendly cabin crew, delicious food”.

    And the wooden spoons…

    Most Disappointing Destination

    Kuta, Bali – “while the rest of the island is quite stunning and often very peaceful, this town has been destroyed by crass commercialisation.”

    Most Disappointing Experience

    “Dare I say it, but sunrise at Angkor Wat in Cambodia – too many elbows and other people’s cameras. There are far better temple complexes and ruins elsewhere in this region. We loved Beng Melea and Ta Prohm in particular.”

    >> Read Kath’s blog posts from around the world.

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