Is there a better way of relaxing after a stressful wedding than spending some time at a luxury spa resort? I think not.
Over 15 years of writing about honeymoons, I've visited and experienced many fabulous hotel spas. During that time spa and wellness holidays have moved on apace. They are no longer regarded as faddish or niche, but mainstream and fashionable.
Just as we have become more aware of health and lifestyle issues, many of the world's leading resorts have invested millions in their spa facilities and are ready to pamper couples with everything from wasabi facials (in Japan) to coconut scrubs (in St Lucia).
Top of my list of spas for "wow" factor - along with the high standard of its treatments - is the COMO Shambhala Retreat at Parrot Cay in the Turks & Caicos. It's utterly beautiful in a way that will calm your soul, and looks out from this private island over the North Caicos Channel, surrounding wetlands and turquoise ocean beyond. Highlights include an outdoor Jacuzzi garden, double massage rooms and Japanese baths.
Another stand-out is the Rainforest Spa at Sugar Beach in St Lucia, for its originality and spellbinding location amongst ancient trees. The focus here is on natural local ingredients and their powers. Who knew that bananas smoothed away wrinkles while coconuts were good for exfoliating? Couples can indulge in a range of treatments such as a Time for Two Cabana Massage with a massage each and a watsu pool experience, or the Sulphur Seduction which includes bathing at St Lucia's volcanic sulphur springs.
In Europe, the Anassa hotel in Cyprus is hard to beat for a romantic spa honeymoon with its Roman-style Thalassa Spa. It is a haven of rejuvenation and relaxation with a spectacular columned indoor pool, 18 treatment rooms and seawater exercise pool. Couples wanting to spa together can book the Champagne Aphrodisiac - two therapists massage you in your candlelit suite then leave you to enjoy a luxurious bath with a bottle of Champagne.
Here are some more fabulous spa hotels on my honeymoon hot list:
Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, near Bath
Lucknam Park, the quintessential English country house hotel, has a surprisingly bold contemporary spa amongst the lavender rows and walled gardens. Couples can enjoy the large indoor pool, and indoor and outdoor hydrotherapy pool. Other facilities include five thermal cabins, a salt water plunge pool and experience showers to enjoy together.
Gilpin Lake House, Lake District
For a sublime spa-based honeymoon in the calming Lake District, Gilpin Lake House is unbeatable. The spa overlooks a private lake surrounded by woodland and feels like your own intimate retreat. After a couples massage, take a soak in the cedar wood hot tub with a glass of Champagne and enjoy an outing on the lake in a cute blue rowboat.
Borgo Egnazia, Puglia, Italy
With therapists in flowing robes and gorgeous marble interiors, the Vair Spa at Borgo Egnazia in Puglia. It regularly wins awards for its fabulous treatments whether you want to detox or relax. Couples treatments include the Paraveis in a private garden with stone bathtub and heated beds. An outdoors aqua therapy is followed by a couples massage, shared head to head for an intimate experience.
Hotel Kulm, St Moritz
St Moritz is one of Europe's swankiest ski resorts, and the legendary Hotel Kulm boasts a fabulously romantic spa. Its outdoor hot tub with jets overlooks the frozen Lake St Moritz with views across to the Engadine Mountains. A three-night winter spa package includes use of the hotel's private spa suite with hydrojet bath, waterbed and bio sauna, where couples can enjoy treatments for two. A horse-drawn sleigh ride through the snow adds to the romance.
Fregate Island, Seychelles
The secluded idyll of Fregate Island is home to just 16 residences with private pools and no fewer than seven beaches. Its Rock Spa on top of the island is one of the best in the Indian Ocean. Spa product ingredients are grown on the island and couples can indulge in a range of Ayuvedic treatments and therapies following an initial medical consultation.
Huvafen Fushi, Maldives
This stunning island resort makes the most of its Indian Ocean setting with the world's first underwater spa. Couples at Huvafen Fushi can experience the signature LIME Light Ritual with a massage using coconut, lime and minerals followed by an application of Anne Semonin's Radiance Ice Cubes. Relaxation pods have soothing views of the lagoon - from below the surface!
Couples will love the Lime Spa at Niyama with its private Spa Sanctuary rooms with outdoor bathtub, shower and open cabana lounge. If you want a treatment the night you arrive, that's no problem here with After Dark treatments designed to banish jet lag.
Chiva Som, Thailand
This legendary resort of Chiva Som regularly tops the spa charts. Honeymooners can experience the 'Spa Pampering' programme with a foundation of daily massage, or go for something more intense such as the 'Art of Detox' or 'Inner Peace'.
The Sarojin's award-winning Pathways spa is hidden from view by mangroves and features two double and two single treatment pavilions, with outdoor tree showers and secluded couples baths that blend into the natural habitat. There is also a facial treatment room, a post-treatment relaxation lounging area and a stilted yoga and Tai Chi deck shaded by palms and mangrove canopy. Couples can choose to have their treatments on the white sand beach or in a pool pavilion.
For a spa honeymoon that is totally immersed in the culture of the country, go to Japan for its traditional hot springs. The resort of Shimoda near Tokyo has both luxury hotels and family-run inns with treatments including shiatsu massage. The spa resort of Kurama Onsen near Kyoto has a vast range of hot spring baths, some hidden in the rocks, others in Japanese gardens. For a totally beguiling honeymoon experience, head to Lamp-no-yado Inn on the west Japan Sea coast located at the foot of a cliff, lit after dark by lamps and candles.
One&Only Hayman Island, Australia
You know if you opt for a One&Only resort you're going to be in for a treat, and at the recently opened One&Only Hayman Island, the spa offering for couples is memorable and includes massages in the ocean or the rain forest.
* Jane Anderson is Editor of 101 HoneymoonsSuggest a correction