Twelve romantic resorts to get you in the mood for Valentine’s Day
Compiled by Jackie Caradonio
If romance is on your mind this February, then there’s a good chance that travel is too. More and more, couples are heading afar in search of the most memorable way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. From a cozy cottage in the mountains of upstate New York all the way to a treetop tent in the bamboo jungles of Thailand, these romantic resorts are a surefire way to get you and yours in the mood for love — and wanderlust.
Santorini, Greece: Iconic Santorini
With its white-washed Cycladic architecture and crystalline blue waters, Santorini has been a honeymooner’s favorite for decades. One of the newest resorts on the scene, the Iconic Santorini cave hotel, takes the cake for dramatic settings thanks to its location just along the rim of Greece’s famed volcanic caldera.
For the best views of all, book the Cliff Suite, an eye-popping retreat that welcomes couples with a candlelit indoor grotto pool and a private terrace for maximum seclusion and privacy. (iconicsantorini.com) - Jennifer Ashton Ryan
St. Barts: Hôtel Le Toiny
Hôtel Le Toiny’s 13 villas were designed with couples in mind. Each spacious suite is enshrouded within flora, hidden away from plain sight behind palm trees and verdant brush. Inside, a private-plunge pool and spacious living quarters, including a living room and a terrace for in-room meals, offer little reason to roam. And a little red flag, just at the entry gate of each villa, signals to all hotel staff and guests that, when raised, absolute privacy is required.
Should couples choose to stray from their private paradise, they can find plenty of sun and sand at the Relais & Châteaux resort’s new beach club, or indulge at its recently revamped restaurant and bar. (www.letoiny.com) - Jackie Caradonio
Bora Bora, French Polynesia: InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa
There’s nothing more romantic than an overwater bungalow, and the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa has some of the best in the biz. Each of the property’s 80 overwater villas is a perfect little oasis, with a thatched roof above and the crystal-clear waters of a protected lagoon below. As the resort’s name implies, the spa game here is serious, offering thalassotherapy (seawater therapy) in glass-bottomed treatment rooms.
Our favorite couple-approved therapy is the Bora-Bora Deep Blue Massage, which uses water-infused products for the soothing sensation of diving deep into the Pacific Ocean. (intercontinental.com) - Jackie Caradonio
Chiang Rai, Thailand: Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle
Set within a bamboo jungle near the Mekong and Ruak Rivers, the Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle pairs the luxuries of Bill Bensley–designed accommodations with the adventure of exploring the surroundings by elephant.
Days begin with sunrise elephant treks and end with sundowners for two at the Burma Bar or a bubble bath in your tent’s hand-hammered copper bathtub overlooking the flora and fauna below. (fourseasons.com) - Adam Graham
Lake Placid, New York: Lake Placid Lodge
Every February, Lake Placid Lodge is hidden beneath a blanket of fluffy white snow. But guests of the resort — a Relais & Châteaux property that sits on the edge of tranquil Lake Placid — have no problem making do in the wintery conditions, warming themselves by the fireplaces of their cozy Adirondack-style suites and cabins, and toasting themselves with a private dinner in the wine cellar.
Should cabin fever strike, the conditions outside are perfect for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or a snow bonfire with s’mores and spiked hot chocolate. (lakeplacidlodge.com) - Jackie Caradonio
Marrakech, Morocco: La Mamounia
Redesigned by Jacques Garcia in 2009, the famed La Mamounia within Marrakech’s walled city features restaurants helmed by Michelin-starred chefs, an otherworldly spa, and magnificent private gardens.
Of the 209 accommodations, couples will find most privacy in the hotel’s three riads, each featuring a salon, a swimming pool, and impressive examples of ornate Moroccan craftsmanship. (mamounia.com) - Meg Nolan Van Reesema
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania: Faru Faru Lodge at Singita Grumeti
Singita Grumeti Reserves, a 340,000-acre private reserve bordering Serengeti National Park, is open only to guests of its three small lodges and two mobile camp.
The most romantic and exclusive is Faru Faru Lodge, a contemporary retreat where interiors feature modern canvas furnishings and floor-to-ceiling windows, and the infinity-edge swimming pool overlooks a watering hole — the perfect place to wind down after a day of exploration in the Tanzanian bush. (singita.com) - Scott Goetz
Seychelles: Fregate Island Private
Seven beaches, two swimming pools, two restaurants, a spa, and just 17 villa accommodations make up this private retreat set on a 740-acre jungle-covered island in the Indian Ocean. Guests of Fregate Island Private find plenty of room for R&R in their villa, each of which includes its own infinity-edge pool.
For a beach picnic without interruption, couples can claim Anse Macquereau for only themselves by turning over the “do not disturb” sign at its entrance. (fregate.com) - Jackie Caradonio
Napa Valley, California: Poetry Inn
Nestled into a hillside vineyard in the elite Stags Leap District, Poetry Inn stands alone in Napa Valley. A long, steep driveway leads from the Silverado Trail to a Craftsman-style structure with five distinct and airy guest rooms. Minibars in the rooms and a cellar downstairs are stocked with selections from Cliff Lede Vineyards and FEL Wines.
Our pick for most romantic accommodation? The 1450-square-foot Robert Louis Stevenson Suite, which occupies the entire top floor and features a wraparound deck — perfect for late-night wine tastings and maybe even a poetry reading or two. (poetryinn.com) - Bruce Wallin
Canyon Point, Utah: Amangiri
Amangiri — an off-the-grid hideaway nestled in the canyons of a 600-acre private reserve in Utah — is bound completely by nature, its clay-coloured walls and serene swimming pools blending unobtrusively with the surrounding sandstone formations. Stone-and-concrete accommodations forgo elaborate decoration so as not to detract from the dramatic views, which couples can enjoy through floor-to-ceiling glass doors and from cosy outdoor terraces with fireplaces.
Adventurous duos can tackle one of the resort’s via ferrata courses or a hike to nearby Ulrike’s Cave. Leisurely lovebirds, meanwhile, should head to the 25,000-square-foot spa, where a flotation pool is filled with imported Dead Sea salts. (aman.com) - Jimmy Im
Cernobbio, Italy: Villa d’Este
Lake Como’s most romantic retreat, Villa d’Este, has a mighty history. The 16th-century estate has lured aristocrats from Milan to Manhattan for its graceful Renaissance architecture and manicured gardens dotted with Roman-style statues. Modern-day couples will find the hotel’s 152 suites filled with sumptuous silks, glittering chandeliers, and old-world antiques.
Sunset for two takes place — where else? — on sparkling Lake Como aboard one of Villa d’Este’s many speedboats. (villadeste.com) - Sue Wallace
Los Cabos, Mexico: Las Ventanas al Paraíso, a Rosewood Resort
With its minimalist adobe structures and maximum attention to detail, Las Ventanas al Paraíso is a longstanding standard bearer for Los Cabos luxury resorts. Following 2014’s Hurricane Odile, the property upped its game with property-wide renovations, including the restoration of its 12 expansive villas. Romantic highlights include private hot tubs and an indoor/outdoor spa. At the latter, book a couple’s treatment on the beach. (rosewoodhotels.com) - Bruce Wallin