Finding the next big thing in travel is tricky, but when the editors of Holidays for Couples were charged with the task of sifting through hundreds of new luxury hotel and resort openings to short list a couple-perfect top 25, they pulled out both their passports and their little black book of travel professionals for the inside scoop on who is living up to the hype.
"There were many hotels and resorts that were marvellous in their own right, but if they didn't have that special something that turns a luxury escape into a romantic luxury escape, then we had to let them go," says our editor Tanya Joslin.
The end result is The Romance List 2012, showcased in the February issue of Asia Pacific’s leading travel magazine for couples of all ages, Holidays for Couples.
For luxury-loving couples looking to indulge their romantic side, and honeymooners searching for an ultra-chic hideaway, this discerning collection of properties is sheer inspiration. The list also ticks the box for enticing diversity, including everything from glamorous urban retreats to secluded tropical escapes.
"These amazing destinations go that one step further in providing the perfect sanctuary for couples of all ages".
Featuring much-loved Australian, South Pacific and Asian locations, The Romance List 2012 also underlines the emergence of several new romantic destinations, including Cambodia. This tiny country has only recently started embracing tourism, yet two distinctly romantic resorts made the cut. Alila Sothea in Siem Reap is a hotel built in honour of a man’s love for his wife, while the brand new Song Saa (‘the sweethearts’ in Khmer!) is located on jungle-enveloped twin private islands in the Gulf of Thailand. We also made it our 'Dream Destination' on the blog last week - because it is THAT special! The Romance List positions this resort as 'taking Cambodia’s coastal accommodation scene from laid-back to seriously luxe.'
Featured Indian Ocean resorts include the Raffles Praslin Seychelles, Angsana Balaclava in Mauritius and the stunning ‘all-pool-villa’ Anantara Kihavah Villas Maldives, complete with underwater restaurant and wine cellar, which The Romance List calls "a stellar standout in an increasingly competitive field”.
City hotels include glitzy and glamorous, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and two from the City of Love – the decadent Shangri La Hotel Paris, housed in a nearly 120-year-old mansion originally built for Prince Roland Bonaparte, and the elegant yet contemporary Mandarin Oriental Paris. Closer to home the magazine earmarks the buzzy Darling Sydney as the ideal venue for couples in a party mood.
Amanresorts appear with two deliciously romantic properties. Amanruya on Turkey's Bodrum Peninsula, surrounded by ancient pine forests and overlooking the insanely deep-blue waters of the Aegean coast, is sheer honeymoon heaven according to The Romance List. While Aman Sveti Stefan – which highlights four years of work for Amanresorts, painstakingly restoring what was a 15th-century fishing village off the coast of Montenegro – offers couples a unique historic charm.
The full list can be found in the new edition of Holidays for Couples magazine, available nationally in Australia, New Zealand and most parts of Asia and also available worldwide from the iTunes App Store.
For more information or to organise a copy of the magazine or a full list of winners, email the editor at email@example.com