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Romance is revving up all over the place during the month of February, from sun-kissed beaches to sophisticated big cities. Here are 25 deals and packages – from Fort Lauderdale to Fiji, Maine to Madrid, and St. Kitts to Sedona – that you can still book to make this Valentine’s Day the most memorable ever:
IN THE U.S. & CANADA
The Grand Del Mar: Unplug and relax with the “Disconnect Package” at the luxurious The Grand Del Mar near San Diego (shown above at left) and you’ll get one night’s accommodations (with the room TV unplugged and upgrade upon booking if available), berry-infused champagne cocktail upon arrival, choice of a 60-minute couples massage, or a 2-hour horseback ride for two, breakfast in bed for two, and late checkout, from $795/night. Read more
Alas, my stint as the Romantic Getaways blogger has come to an end: After 90-plus blogs, I am giving up this weekly freelance assignment to take a full-time job. But I want the romance to live on, so I thought I’d list a handful of my Ultimate Romantic Getaways must-dos – each with two suggestions, one a splurge and the other a steal. I hope you’ll find the time to get away soon and enjoy some of the places I’ve loved writing about.
Enjoy a Private Jacuzzi Rendezvous
Splurge: If you want to feel like you are the only two people in Venice, stay at the Bauer Il Palazzo, and book the private rooftop Jacuzzi (shown above at left) for one hour just before sunset. You’ll get champagne, strawberries, and 60 amazing minutes to soak in the sexiness of La Serenissima – and each other. Rates start at $853/night (private Jacuzzi bookable at an extra charge).
Steal: Every suite at Excellence Playa Mujeres, an adults-only all-inclusive located on a white-sand beach just outside Cancun, Mexico, has a private Jacuzzi with both indoor and outdoor access. Plus, the décor is contemporary chic, with polished marble floors and a dramatic four-poster bed. The beach and the meandering freeform pool may beckon, but the top spot to relax à deux is just steps from your bed. Rates start at $375/night, all-inclusive.
Everyone loves to travel during the summer – including families with cranky babies, manic preschoolers, and brooding teens. And when it’s just the two of you on a relaxing and romantic getaway, the last thing you want is to choose two chaises on the beach or near the pool and have the moment ruined when a family straight out of National Lampoon’s Vacation plops down right next to you.
So, here are some tips for how to out-maneuver those omnipresent family groups – and with multi-generational travel all the rage, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins are all too often along for the ride, too – and truly enjoy some adult time (such as the daybeds at the adult-only pool area at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai on Hawaii’s Big Island, shown at left).
Spring is a great time for a romantic getaway – either to Europe, the Caribbean, Mexico, Canada, or the West Coast – so here are four tips to help you maximize your enjoyment of the destination, and each other, while away à deux:
Avoid kids and conferences: Nothing wrecks a romantic mood more than screaming kids – but loud, badge-wearing conference-goers are a close second. The best way to avoid both is to book a smaller resort, preferably one where children under 16 are either not allowed or discouraged.
We’re already a month into 2011 (and close to Valentine’s Day), so I’m sure you’ve begun thinking about when you can get away with your sweetheart – for an anniversary or birthday – and where to go. Here’s a roster of my favorite ideas:
January: New Zealand You missed out this year, but that gives you time to save for next year and see one of the world’s most beautiful places. It offers a superb mix of outdoor adventure (from hiking to bungee jumping) and excellent food and wine (amazing lamb and world-class pinot noir). It will be summer, so plan ahead and allot two weeks as the North and South Islands combined are about the size of California.
February: Costa Rica This jungle-meets-beach playground – home to loquacious howler monkeys, luminous blue morpho butterflies, and next Monday’s episode of The Bachelor” – is close enough to enjoy on a five- or six-night getaway. Most flights are into the capital, San Jose, but if you plan to explore the Pacific Coast, you can fly into Liberia. Another option, a seven-night cruise on Windstar (www.windstarcruises.com), which also visits neighboring Nicaragua.
In just a few days, the New Year will dawn – and we all know what that means: Many a resolution will be made. I am writing this now in hopes of urging all couples to make their number-one resolution for 2011 to get the most from their romantic travels in year ahead. Here’s how:
1. Be spontaneous. Sometimes the best trips are planned on very short notice. And at ShermansTravel.com, great last-minute travel deals are just a few clicks away.
2. Try a new Caribbean island. Far too many couples get caught in a vacation rut – revisiting the same spot year after year. Repeat getaways are safe and familiar, but it’s fun to head somewhere entirely new: If you like the Bahamas, consider Turks & Caicos or the British Virgin Islands (shown above at left). If you like St. Thomas, try Barbados or St. Lucia. If you’re a fan of Aruba, try Grand Cayman or Anguilla. If Puerto Rico is your usual spot, give Jamaica or Curacao a try.
Craving a last-minute spring getaway for two and not sure where to go? Consider these six destinations, each of which basks in the glow of April’s longer days, warmer temperatures and air of hope and renewal.
April in Paris is a cliché, you say? So what? When spring arrives, the City of Light is both appealing and affordable (many four-star hotels can be had for under $350 a night). The French adore Easter—chocolate shops and patisseries overflow with all things gooey and yummy—and the legions of London plane trees that line the city’s streets drip with pale green buds. Stay at: One of the city’s five Radisson Hotels—romantic Radisson Blu Le Dokhan’s Hotel being the top pick (from $342).
Our nation’s capital is at its most alluring in early April, when 3,000 cherry trees, a gift from the city of Tokyo, create a pale pink floral cumulous cloud all around the Tidal Basin. With humidity still at bay, walking the city is a breeze—from the marble monuments framed by fluttering cherry blossoms to the cafes and shops of atmospheric Georgetown. Stay at: One of seven Kimpton Hotels in DC, ranging from affordable, New-Age-themed Topaz Hotel (from $259) to luxurious, newly renovated Hotel Monaco (from $449).
Newly engaged? If springtime “I dos” in a romantic setting sound appealing, you can plan a fabulous fete—destination weddings average about 60 guests—that won’t break the bank for you or your family and friends. Spring is shoulder season in several top resort regions, meaning rates are one-third to one-half less than during peak season (for the best price, consider a weekday wedding). Here are a few ideas:
To counteract the euro’s strength against the dollar, spring is the best time to enjoy unforgettable luxury for less on notoriously pricy Lake Como and the Amalfi Coast, where five-star resorts offer wedding-perfect vistas and gardens. On Lake Como, rates at Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni and Grand Hotel Tremezzo Palace are $380–$540 in April; along Amalfi, rates at cliff-top Hotel Santa Caterina drop to $345 in March and most of April, while those at Sorrento’s Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria start at $424 in April and $446 in May. Read more
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