Guest Author - Kara Williams
Modern Bride magazine polled more than 6,000 travel specialists to learn the world's top honeymoon destinations for 2008. Once again, Italy ranks at the top of the list.
In addition to asking elite travel agents about favorite romantic spots, the magazine solicited their expert feedback on topics ranging from "Resorts with the Best Bathrooms" to "Ultimate Honeymoon Suites" to "Best All-inclusive Brands." They also chimed in on the luxury resorts with the best spas.
Here are the travel agents' top picks for sublime hotel spas, plus some reasons why the resorts are first rate:
1. Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai, Thailand: The Four Seasons (named the "Best Hotel Brand" in the survey) is known for its upscale luxury, and its resort in Chiang Mai, Thailand, is no exception. Guests don't stay in "rooms" here, but rather spread out in one of 64 pavilions with their own verandas. The spa offers seven private treatment suites, each equipped with its own outdoor shower, soaking tub and steam room. Treatments feature aromatherapy using native herbs, oils and spices.
2. The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, Maui, HI: The Ritz-Carlton is synonymous with luxury, so it's no surprise this resort made the list. The outstanding spa is 17,500 square feet with 15 treatment rooms; therapies are based on native Hawaiian healing and the plants, herbs and flowers that are indigenous to the island. The AAA 5-star accommodations start at 440 square feet for Terrance Rooms; sprawling suites reach up to 2,560 feet.
3. Maroma Resort and Spa, Riviera Maya, Mexico: This resort is part of the Orient-Express travel collection, which also includes train and cruise experiences. Maroma is about 20 miles south of the hustle and bustle of Cancun. The treatments at its Kinan Spa are based on ancient Mayan healing rituals, such as the unusual Hot Poultice Massage. Enjoy treatments in the "massage tower," where you have 360-degree views of the surrounding jungle and ocean.
4. Esperanza Resort & Spa, Los Cabos, Mexico: Esperanza belongs to the Auberge family of luxury boutique hotels. Fifty oceanview casitas and six spacious suites range from 925 to 3,000 square feet. Spend the entire day at the resort's spa: enjoying a variety of body treatments, taking fitness classes, relaxing in the steam cave, soaking in the warm pool, plunging in the cold pools and sunning in the garden.
5. InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa, French Polynesia: Here, couples can get married in the only overwater wedding spa in French Polynesia! Spa treatments at the Deep Ocean Spa incorporate the benefits of deep-sea water and minerals extracted from the ocean at 3,000 feet. The spa is 13,200 square feet with 14 treatment rooms.