InterContinental Hotels & Resorts

When agent Anne Morgan Scully
of McCabe World Travel honeymooned in Hawaii almost 40 years ago, the height of
luxury was a clamshell sink and a humble hot tub. Fast-forward a few decades
and things are decidedly more extravagant for newlyweds in resort land. “The
expectation of what a honeymoon suite should be has changed enormously,” says
Scully, who regularly counsels couples on finding fabulous vacation destinations
across the world. “It’s not only a matter of size but of having all the bells
and whistles.”

Today’s top honeymoon suites,
in her book, offer amenities such as private pools, sunken Jacuzzis, outdoor
showers, and “major” terraces. “The terraces are getting bigger than the
rooms,” she says.

 Given the odds that this trip
could be the most expensive and extravagant of a couple’s life together, Scully
also stresses that being fussed over is high on the list of expectations for
modern honeymooners: “Couples are very aware of whether the hotel staff ‘get
them’ and are turned on to how much attention or privacy they need.”

So we went in search of the
best honeymoon suites on the planet. Many of them come with round-the-clock
butler service. Private plunge pools are increasingly a feature of high-end
rooms, as are novelties such as walk-in “rain showers” and dedicated spa rooms
within the suite, where couples can arrange for massages. Then there are the
really decadent extras like screening rooms, top-shelf sports cars for guest
use, and private workout areas.

 Privacy, of course, tends to be
a crucial concern for honeymooners, and resorts are increasingly catering to
solitude seekers with stand-alone villas, suites separated from public areas of
the hotel, and access to exclusive beaches or other natural features. (Certain
villas at Parrot Cay, in Turks and Caicos, for instance, have direct access
onto the beach from their terraces.) Over-water bungalows provide an even
greater separation from other people. The presidential suite at the Palacio
Duhau in Buenos Aires comes with its own separate entrance so that guests never
have to mingle with the hoi polloi in the lobby.

Sometimes the luxury factor is
a case of unique access, like at Eagle Island Camp in Botswana, where guests
booking the Romance Suite have a personal game-watching drive with a dedicated
guide. In other cases, it means getting the royal treatment: guests in the
Crystal Penthouse Suite on Crystal Serenity cruises are ferried to and from the
ship by limousine.

But no amount of champagne and
limo service can make up for a hotel room lacking in romantic ambience. That’s
why Dallas is abuzz about the honeymoon suite of the Stoneleigh, originally
designed by legendary interior designer Dorothy Draper and recently revamped by
her protégé Carleton Varney. “A honeymoon suite in gray and beige will never
sell,” Varney declares. “People are desperate for color in this time of
dreariness. They want a return to the glamour of yesterday.”