The allure of a 'boutique' hotel industry is clearly growing. While there will always be a need for global hotel chains where the service is engineered to the mass markets, we're now in an age where even the most unadventurous of travellers are dipping their toes into the world of 'authenticity'.
It's become an over-used word in the travel industry but we all know what we mean by it. We're talking about a hotel check-in where you actually meet the owners, a service that's so personalised, they know how you like your morning eggs, and a guestbook filled with the names of the same guests who return year-on-year like old friends.
This applies to wedding travel too. While some newly-wed couples want nothing more than a one-size-fits-all honeymoon, many others strive for more. They want to dig deep into the character and history of a hotel. They want to return home and tell their friends about the unique stories and quirks of their stay. So isn't it handy then that the Boutique Hotel Awards have just rewarded the best hotels who are making this happen?
For those like me, who have their eyes on romantic retreats right now, here's a round up of the world's best boutique hotels, which go above and beyond in the honeymoon hideaway category. Read and dream my friends...
The Americas' Best Honeymoon Hideaway - The Hacienda Xcanatun
Where? Near Merida, The Yucatan, Mexico
What? This hotel - a former 18th century sisal hacienda nestled in the lush and less commercialised corner of The Yucatan peninsula - promises to deliver a far-flung Mexican experience. Think lazy hammocks, saltwater pools and 18 individual suites filled with beamed ceilings, arched stone walls and wonderful antiques. With no TVs, it's the perfect place for couples to get their 'digital detox' and fully recharge.
Why? Couples are attracted by the promise of absolute privacy, ancient Mayan spa therapies and gorgeous colonial style guest rooms. It's the perfect set-up for honeymoon bliss.
Asia's Best Honeymoon Hideaway - The Hezen Cave Hotel
Where? Village of Ortahisar, Turkey
What? An old house of natural 'cave' walls, the Hezen Cave Hotel lies within steep soft rock slopes and natural stone structures (known as 'fairy chimneys) giving the landscape a bizarre 'lunar' appearance. Once inhabited by the ancient civilization of the Hittites Empire, the hotel is a stone's throw from historic monasteries and churches. It has just 14 rooms and suites and staff provide daily help with planning excursions.
Why? Let's face it, who wouldn't want to stay in a hotel that's built into a series of caves? This hotel ticks the novelty box and offers incredible views over the Ortahaiser Fairy Chimney Castle. Besides the quirky factor, sunset cocktail hour and rather surreal setting, honeymoon couples will get the enchanting vibe they're often looking for.
Australasia's Best Honeymoon Hideaway - The Remote Resort
Where? Rainbow Reef, Vanua Levu, Fiji
What? Sail across the world famous Rainbow Reef and you'll get to this far-flung island hotel. Once you're there you'll find incredible diving, coconut trees and understated luxury are all at your feet. It's clear that Australian hotelier Dan Dimmock was passionate about this place. He slept in a tent here for a whole year until the hotel was complete.
Why? The name says it all. Located on a 64-acre jungle-clad island, you don't get much more secluded and romantic than this. With romantic beach bonfires, stargazing and an incredible natural beauty, this is a dreamy spot where loved-up honeymooners can bliss out Robinson-Crusoe style.
Europe's Best Honeymoon Hideaway - The Ion Luxury Adventure Hotel
Where? Selfoss, Iceland
What? A former abandoned inn, this now unique boutique hotel is perched on stilts and carries a sleek and sustainable feel. With the dramatic Mount Hengill and Iceland's volcanic rural landscape as your backdrop, it's the perfect place to hike by day, then sink into the comfort of Scandi-chic interiors by night.
Why? Honeymoon couples get the faraway bolthole feel and real sense of romantic adventure at this boutique hotel. While they revel in steaming outdoor pools and cuddle up on sheepskin rugs, they'll also get to see The Northern Lights. The best bit? You can nod off knowing you won't miss this spectacular natural phenomenon, as staff can provide wake-up calls if the aurora borealis appear in the middle of the night.
Southeast Asia's Best Honeymoon Hideaway - Villa Moonshadow
Where? Koh Samui, Thailand
What? Honeymoon couples in search of a room with a view, will be in their element at this achingly chic boutique hotel. Surrounded by a carpet of trees, this series of 'armadillo' shaped hotel blocks present infinity pools and open decks that provide panoramic views right out over the ocean and Koh Samui Coral Cove. You can see why it's been recognised for its architectural design.
Why? Wherever you are in this hotel - whether it's the luxurious bathtub, infinity pool or king sized bed, romance seekers will always have breathtaking vistas of the emerald green ocean. It firmly ticks the paradise box and creates those instagram-worthy honeymoon snaps.
Africa's Best Honeymoon Hideaway - Pondoro Game Lodge
Where? Greater Kruger National Park, Hoedspruit, South Africa
What? Husband and wife Robbie and Lize have crafted this beautiful game lodge within a beautiful spot by Olifants river, within the private Balule reserve. Robbie also acts as the ranger, taking guests out on game drives and nature walks. While the stay is super personalised (there are just five luxurious suites), so are the special touches. Think post safari glasses of sherry, home-made snacks and evening drive G&Ts. The elegant cave-like rooms present driftwood art pieces, luxurious linen and natural earthy tones.
Why? Seeing the Big Five together is on many honeymooners' wishlists, but doing it in style is even better. Aside from getting close to Africa's incredible wildlife, couples can enjoy candlelit wine cellar dinners, Jacuzzis overlooking the river and al fresco massages within the ambient spa. There's a stunning treehouse hideaway too which you can book for the night. This South African retreat oozes romance.